Free Contract or Handbook Review

There is no doubt that like all of us at the moment, we have suddenly had some of our work cancelled, and many of our clients are very worried about how the Coronavirus will impact their businesses in the long term and whether they will be able to survive the next few months with either fewer customers, less employees able to work, or reduced manufacturing or products to sell.

It’s important that during uncertain times like these you know that your contracts of employment and employee policies and procedures are legally compliant and fit for purpose.

But it’s also important to know what you can and can’t do with your employees in these times of uncertainty.

For example, do you have a short term working or lay off clause in your contracts of employment that allows you to lay off staff temporarily?

Are your staff on Statutory Notice Periods or longer, more costly notice periods if you have to make them redundant?

If you have staff working from home, what’s your working from home policy say about calling clients whilst watching Netflix in pyjamas?

If these are things that you are worried about, then why not take advantage of either our free contract of employment or employee handbook review? We will review your documents and provide you with a clear and concise report which will tell you whether you are legally compliant and suggest any changes that need to be made.

To take advantage of this offer, click on the link below to book a quick call at a time that suits you to discuss this offer. http://bit.ly/CallMerakiHR.

Or, simply drop me a line and send us your documents and we will get back to you with your report in 48 hrs: emma@merakihr.com 

3 Top Tops to Help Remote Working

It’s no secret that the number of remote workers is on the rise due to better technology, globalisation, and changing workplace culture.

Add to this the recent changes to us all being asked to work from home if at all possible, it’s safe to say the number of remote workers is likely to accelerate even further.

But with the scale of remote working we’ll likely see in the coming weeks and months, it’s never been more important to consider the impact it can have on your employees’ performance, development and well-being.

Good remote management of your people is essential, not only to help your people achieve their best work, but also to ensure they don’t feel isolated. That’s why it’s critical to make sure existing business processes and support are tailored to the individual and not the masses.

1 Ensure your processes are fit-for-purpose

Remote workers can be more productive than their traditional office-based colleagues, and even experience higher job satisfaction due to factors such as lower stress levels which are often associated with commuting.

There has been research of remote workers which suggests they need more stimulation and greater challenges than average office-based workers. But, with the lack of formal face-to-face meetings, they’re also less likely to ask for feedback or demand recognition.

That’s why transferring good performance processes to remote working is essential to help your business function as usual – and your employees continue to feel supported and valued.

Being transparent about how you intend to evaluate remote employee performance can help to provide a smooth transition between the office and home.

And by continuing regular communication and performance feedback, you can help your people feel that processes are being appropriately managed and help keep them fully engaged in your day-to-day operations.

2 Account for individual personality traits

Unlike working in a traditional office environment, remote working requires a higher degree of self-motivation and time-management. And while the majority of people work well remotely, it’s not always ideal for everyone.

Thomas’ High Potential Trait Indicator (HPTI) is an assessment tool which measures six key traits that indicate personality and affect work performance. Personality is a stable psychological concept that affects our thoughts, behaviours and emotions. The six key traits measured by the HPTI are conscientiousness, adjustment, curiosity, risk approach, ambiguity acceptance and competitiveness. It’s a fab tool and I love using this with clients and their teams.

The three important personality traits that will influence how your employees handle remote working are; Conscientiousness, Adjustment and Curiosity, so it’s essential to keep in mind these traits and how you feel your team members manages these traits when managing remote performance.

  1. Conscientiousness – self motivation and an ability to work to deadlines are helpful skills when working remotely, but be aware that this doesn’t suit all employees, and some may need closely managing and greater support when working remotely.
  2. Adjustment – Employees with a high adjustment level are more capable of handling stress and managing their emotions. It’s a good idea to monitor people in your teams with low adjustment levels to ensure they are coping with their new work environment and managing their stress levels.
  3. Curiosity – High levels of curiosity and new work environments go hand in hand. That means that those with low curiosity levels will need extra support to cope with new working methods, tools and technologies.

3 Create remote performance management routines

With limited physical communication, it can be a challenge to maintain the same performance and development for people working outside the office.

Good performance management is critical to maintain office-based expectations and deliverables while your employees are working remotely.

But performance management should always be tailored to the individual. According to research, there’s a balanced split between the number of average employees who prefer feedback on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis. My advice would be to ask people how often they want to meet with you to discuss how they are getting on – let them set the frequency.

It’s also important to consider how you provide feedback. Whether it’s written – such as email and instant messaging – or via video calling, these seemingly minor considerations can have a significant impact on employee and business outcomes, so again discuss this with your team member and agree how best to have these discussions.

Good luck out there and as we’ve been working remotely for over 5 years, we have first hand experience of what works in our own team!  If we can be of any help in this new working world, then book a call to have a chat with us; http://bit.ly/CallMerakiHR.

Our top tips to successfully managing change in the workplace

We are living in a Volatile, Uncertain, Changing and Ambiguous (VUCA) time. If you are struggling to keep everything together at the moment, take some time out from the madness and have a listen to this online training that will help you to deal with and manage all the change that is going on in the world at the moment.

We give you our top tips, including some change management theory and models that will help you to practically implement and manage the changes needed in your business, whatever they may be as a result of the Coronavirus.

Corona Virus Update

In these difficult and unprecedented times of a Pandemic in the UK, it’s important to remain calm and focussed as a business leader. Your employees are looking to you, to keep them informed of their responsibilities to prevent the spread of the virus and how you want them to work and how you will pay them over the coming weeks/months. They will also be looking to you on your position as a business in terms of how you will deal with the virus.

As if you didn’t have enough on your plate already?! If you are a business owner or responsible for people in an SME at the moment, your focus might simply be to survive whatever the next few months throws at us!

We can help you! We have put together a pack of relevant and practical information about how to manage the Coronavirus in your business, to save you the time and hassle of doing so! Get in touch if you would like us to send you the pack which costs just £150. The pack includes;

  1. A fact sheet that we will update regularly for you with our best practice advice on how to interpret the myriad of advice that we are being given on a daily basis.
  2. A checklist on what you should be doing as a business to manage the Coronavirus
  3. A letter for your employees about absence, sick pay and their obligations to manage the spread of infection.
  4. A generic policy to manage Infection in the Workplace
  5. A generic policy to manage a Pandemic

If you want to work with an HR team who can provide you with sensible, practical, commercial and professional HR advice that you can trust, then we are your go to HR experts. We can help you get past the disruption to your business that Coronavirus has and will continue to create and help you to think logically and strategically about how to manage this and help you to rebuild your business once Coronavirus is a thing of the past.

We’ve been using technology effectively with our clients for a while now, so we are well equipped to talk to you via MS Teams conference calls, MS teams video calling as well as using Zoom or WebEx, so why not book a call with us to see how we can help you? http://bit.ly/CallMerakiHR

Coaching for Success

Given the myriad examples of successfully coached sports teams last Summer, I wonder how many of us have taken the very large hint that it may well be very worth investing in some training for your managers to help them to become coaches?

You can help your employees improve their current performance, or in the case of an already effective employee, help them become even more effective. Performance coaching is a powerful tool when managers take advantage of its usefulness.

There is no doubt about it – effective coaching can literally mean the difference between third class and world class. Look at the immediate impact a great coach can have on sports teams, and it’s no different at work! Just think Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.

So if you apply ‘sport’ thinking to your business and create a climate of learning and growth, it begs the question, just how far could your organisation go? Effective coaching benefits both the individual, the team and the larger organisation.

Benefits to your business

  • Overcome costly and time-consuming performance problems
  • Strengthen employees’ skills so you can delegate more tasks to them and focus on more important managerial responsibilities—such as planning
  • Boost productivity by helping your employees work smarter
  • Develop a deep bench of talent who can step into your shoes as you advance in the company
  • Improve retention; employees are more loyal and motivated when their bosses take time to help them improve their skills
  • Make more effective use of company resources; coaching costs less than formal training

Benefits to the individual

  • Build valuable skills and knowledge they can use to advance in their careers
  • Feel supported and encouraged by their manager and the company
  • Experience the pride and satisfaction that come with surmounting new challenges

In the words of Sir John Whitmore, the pre-eminent thinker in coaching, leadership development and change, ‘Coaching is unlocking a person’s potential to maximise their growth’. So I say, ‘Get your keys out and unlock that potential!!’

If you want to know more about how to successfully coach your teams, or whether you could benefit from executive leadership coaching yourself, why not book a call and we can have a chat about it?  Or why not come along to our next workshop for managers/Directors who want to become coaches; Coaching your teams to Success on Friday 24th April; Click to book on to Coaching your teams to Success Workshop

The Five things you should know about Employee Policies and Procedures

Firstly, these don’t need to be complicated and you won’t find yourself knee deep in piles of paperwork! With the right HR support and advice, we can help you to create Employee Policies and Procedures that make sure you are legally compliant, but that also work for your business and culture too!  Here’s our top tips to help you determine what employee policies and procedures you need:

It’s important to explain to employees whether they are employees who have been with you for a while, or are a new employee, what the rules of your business are. Alternatively, you can think of your Employee Policies and Procedures as “the way we do things around here.”

There are many benefits to having suitable employment policies in place. Setting standards is the key to healthy workplace relations. It can reduce the need for disciplinary and legal action. It may also increase productivity and morale, as well as help employee retention. Clear policy making can also be positive for your business’ reputation externally, e.g. among clients and the local community. It can also help in attracting new staff.

If a policy is well developed and clearly written, it helps communication with employees, clarifies expectations and makes sure that everyone is treated in a consistent and fair way.

The Policies and Procedures that you decide to put into place, will also set the tone for your business and will help you to create the working culture of your business, so it is really important to spend the time on getting them right.

There are certain legal requirements that must be met from a Policies and Procedures perspective. It is a legal requirement to set out your health and safety policy in writing if you have five or more employees. It is also a legal requirement to set out your disciplinary rules and discipline and grievance procedures in writing regardless of the number of employees’ that you have and you must have a GDPR policy including employee and candidate privacy notices.

The other policies that you have to have in place but not legally in writing are as stated below. However, I would suggest that it is best practice to also have these key policies set out in writing to avoid any confusion and to offer employees’ complete transparency.

  • Anti-Bullying and Anti-harassment
  • Flexible Working
  • Time off for Emergencies
  • Time off for Dependents
  • Parental Bereavement Leave
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Maternity / Paternity / Adoption/Parental/Shared Parental Leave
  • Pay, how and when you pay
  • Redundancy
  • Smoking, drugs and alcohol
  • Social Media/IT Policy
  • Whistleblowing / protected disclosure.
  • Working time and time off.

The other policies that you have will be determined by the nature of your business. For example, if your staff operate machinery, it may be a good idea to implement a specific policy on drugs and alcohol use. If most of your staff use computers and the internet for their work, you should have an email and internet usage policy as well as a Social Media Policy. It is advisable to discuss what policies and procedure you should put into place with an HR or legal professional.

It is important to determine where you will keep these rules and procedures for employees to access, as well as determining who and how often they will be checked and updated.

Many people have a Company intranet, and like to keep their policies and procedures on the intranet site and can refer employees to the intranet site if they need them to. There is a danger with this approach, as people may not read them and can then use the argument that they “weren’t aware of a policy” if they haven’t seen it.

For this reason, the majority of employers prefer to issue employees with an Employee Handbook at the same time as issuing them with their Contract of Employment which contains all of the policies and procedures. You can also ask employees to sign a statement to say that they have read, understood and accept the terms of these policies and procedures.

If you want or need to develop your employee policies and procedures, it’s important that you get some advice as your policies and procedures not only state the rules and expectations of your business, they will also help you to create the culture of your business, and reduce the need for disciplinary and legal action. The right policies and procedures may also increase productivity and morale, as well as help employee retention, so it’s important that you don’t get this important task wrong!

If you want to understand whether what you have in place is legally compliant as well as understand what you could do to improve your HR policies and Procedures, then why not give me a call to book yourself an HR Health check? Click to book a call.  There is 15% off any HR Health Check booked in March/April this year. To book a call with me to discuss this or any other HR related matter, just click the link to book a date and time that suits you. Click to book a call

 

Round up of Employment Law Changes effective 6th April 2020

1. New employees’ right to a statement of particulars on their first day (Amendment to the Employment Rights Act 1996)

What is the law now?

At present, UK employment law states that an employer must give employees a written statement of employment particulars within the first two months of their employment (providing their employment lasts more than a month). This document, often contained within a contract of employment, outlines the basic terms and conditions of employment.

These can be delivered in instalments, as long as all particulars are delivered within two months of the start of employment.

At minimum, a principal statement of particulars must include:

  • the business’ name,
  • the employee’s name, job title or a description of work and start date,
  • if a previous job counts towards a period of continuous employment, the date the period started,
  • how much and how often an employee will get paid,
  • hours of work (and if employees will have to work Sundays, nights or overtime),
  • holiday entitlement (and if that includes public holidays),
  • where an employee will be working and whether they might have to relocate,
  • if an employee is expected to work in different places, where these will be and what the employer’s address is.

A further written statement must also contain information, where applicable, about:

  • how long a temporary job is expected to last,
  • the end date of a fixed-term contract,
  • notice periods,
  • collective agreements,
  • pensions,
  • who to go to with a grievance,
  • how to complain about how a grievance is handled,
  • how to complain about a disciplinary or dismissal decision.

So, what will change on 6th April 2020?

Amendments to UK employment law that come into force in April state that employees have “the right to a written statement of particulars of employment when an individual begins employment (a day one right)” (Legislation.gov.uk, 2018). Employers will also have to include further information on the statement of particulars when an employee joins a business which include:

  • Terms and conditions relating to hours of work including normal working hours, the days of the week the worker is required to work and whether or not working hours/days may be variable (and if so, how they may vary or how the variation will be determined),
  • any other paid leave,
  • any other benefits (childcare vouchers, health insurance, health cash plans, food, accommodation etc where applicable),
  • details of any probationary period (including its conditions and duration),
  • any training entitlement provided by the employer, any training that the employee is required to complete, and any mandatory training costs not covered by the employer.

Furthermore, existing employees can, on or after 6th April 2020, request an updated statement of particulars from their employer. This must be delivered to the employee no later than one month after the request has been made.

This amendment to the Employment Rights Act states that a statement of particulars can no longer be delivered in instalments but must be provided to all employees from day one of starting work and as one single document.

Meraki HR’s view on this  – at Meraki HR, we have always advised our clients that when making an offer of employment to a prospective employee that the contract of employment is issued at the same time to ensure there is a full understanding of the Terms and Conditions of their Employment (their contract with you) this avoids any issues further down the line.

What does it mean for your business?

In short, you need to be better prepared when welcoming new employees to your business. Review your existing contracts and make any necessary changes.

Make sure your contract of employment covers off all the required information for a statement of particulars and update it as necessary for any new employees.

This should ensure clearer lines of communication between HR in preparing a contract and/or statement of particulars and the manager conducting interviews and negotiations with candidates. The job being offered should be documented in its entirety and all the necessary information required for a statement of particulars should be clear and agreed between HR, the hiring manager/head of department and the new starter ahead of their first day.

While the changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 don’t state that you have to provide all existing employees with an updated statement of particulars – be prepared for an existing employee to request one on or after 6th April 2020 (and at any time up to three months after the end of their employment).

2. Calculation of holiday pay for variable workers (Amendments to regulation 16 of the Working Time Regulations 1998)

What is the law now?

As it stands, all employees are entitled to paid annual leave and they must be paid the same amount when on holiday as they would receive when they’re at work – regardless of their working pattern. Holiday pay can be calculated based on the days or hours worked per week, annual hours, compressed hours or shifts.

If an employee’s working hours don’t vary (i.e. they work 9am – 5:30pm, 5 days per week), their holiday pay should be calculated using their usual pay rate. For example, Jack works from 9am to 5:30pm every day, Monday to Friday. If he takes seven days of annual leave in January, he will be paid the same amount as if he has worked a typical week.

However (and this is where it gets a little complicated), if an employee doesn’t have fixed or regular hours or their pay isn’t always the same, their holiday pay is calculated based on the average number of hours worked, at their average pay in the previous 12 weeks. 12 weeks being the current holiday reference period under the current iteration of the Working Time Regulations.

For example, Jill has worked an average of 23 hours per week over the last 12 weeks and has been paid an average of £10.50 per hour for her work. As such, she would be entitled to £241.50 per week as holiday pay (£10.50 per hour x 23 hours).

So, what will change on 6th April 2020?

The amendments being made to the Working Time Regulations 1998 that come into force in April will make changes to the holiday reference period which is currently 12 weeks. The holiday reference period used to calculate holiday pay for variable workers is being increased to 52 weeks (for employees that have been in your employment for more than 52 weeks).

Thus, to calculate the holiday pay for an employee on variable hours or pay, you will need to work out the average hours worked and average pay from the previous 52 weeks. If you have employees on variable hours or pay that have been in your employment for less than 52 weeks, the holiday reference period will be the number of weeks for which they have been employed.

Again, you would need to calculate the average number of hours worked and that average pay for the period of time they have been employed. As with current employment law, any weeks an employee hasn’t worked or received pay for should be excluded from your calculations.

What does it mean for your business?

These changes to the methods in which holiday pay is calculated should greatly benefit employees on variable hours or variable pay rates. The change in reference period should help even out any peaks and troughs in pay for employees, particularly those in seasonal roles or where lots of overtime is worked at specific times of year.

As a business, you must ensure that your records of the hours worked and pay received by these employees are correct as any incorrect records will directly impact an employee’s pay. Online clocking in systems or time sheets can be helpful to track the exact hours worked by each employee, where details of hours worked, and any variable pay entitlement can be logged. This information is then securely stored online and is easily accessible whenever employees make annual leave requests.

Meraki HR’s view – the calculation of holiday pay over 12 weeks is something we often find business owners are not doing correctly when we conduct our HR Health Check. If not done correctly, and an employee raises it as an issue it could mean you may owe them money and that you must re-pay them any holiday pay owing for the last two years that has been calculated incorrectly.  Therefore, as these changes mean that the average pay reference period is now increased to 52 weeks, we are sure that there will be many businesses who continue to calculate this incorrectly. BEWARE!

3. Parental bereavement leave (Addition to the Employment Rights Act 1996)

What is the law now?

While there is no current law relating to parental bereavement, under current UK employment law, most employees have a statutory right to a ‘reasonable’ period of unpaid time off to deal with unforeseen matters or emergency situations that involve a dependent. This includes time off to arrange or attend a funeral. A dependent can be a spouse or civil partner, child, parent or someone who depends on you for care or help during an emergency.

Also known as compassionate or bereavement leave, some employers may have policies in place that offer a defined number of days that will be paid during such difficult times, but this is entirely at the employer’s discretion.

So, what will change on 6th April 2020?

Monday 6th April 2020 will see an addition to the Employment Rights Act 1996 called Parental Bereavement Leave come into force. This additional legislation entitles parents up to two weeks’ paid leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy as a day one right of their employment with you.

Bereaved parents must take their bereavement leave before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death. Parents can choose to take this as one block of two weeks’ paid leave or two blocks of one week, if the leave is taken with 56 days of the loss of their child.

In the case of losing multiple children, parents will be entitled to paid bereavement leave for each child.

So, what does it mean for your business?

While changes to the law surrounding parental bereavement are imminent, making sure you have the right support in place in your business should not be an afterthought. Both managers and colleagues should be able to support an employee going through a bereavement of any kind.

While it is not mandatory to have a compassionate or bereavement leave policy nor do you have to pay employees during a period of time off for any situation or emergency involving a dependent; most employers do pay for a certain number of days off for dependents each year.

However, the Parental Bereavement Leave Act will make paid leave for parents that experience the loss of a child or a stillbirth a legal right.

While the new legislation will provide a solid foundation for businesses in devising a policy that supports bereaved parents, it is still the bare, legal minimum that must be provided. Be sure that your bereavement policies support employee wellbeing. Remember, it’s not a ‘one size fits all process’, as we all deal with grief differently and you need to make sure your employees are reassured and supported in both the immediate aftermath and after they have returned to work to help bring them back to work and be able to cope with their loss and return to their full potential.

Meraki HR’s view – Hear, Hear! If any of our clients sought advice from us on this matter, even before the legislation was in place, we would always encourage you as business owner do whatever you can to support your employee through this difficult period, and that’s not just paid time off. Do you have a wellbeing policy? Can you offer a counselling support service that could help, or do you have an Employee Assistance Program in place that could support them at this time?  Or could you find them a specialist coach that could work with the person to help them to deal with their loss? How can you create a back to work plan for them that eases them back into work? These are all things to consider when dealing with such a sensitive situation and we can help you to design the right parental bereavement leave policy of you don’t already have suitable alternative policies in place.

4. Changes to off payroll working (IR35) rules effective from 6th April 2020.

This will affect any contractors working through a Personal Service Company.

Essentially IR35 (also known as ‘off-payroll working’ or ‘IR35’). is a piece of legislation that was designed to ensure that employers are not “hiding” people working for them as contractors who are in essence an employee and thus the employer avoiding paying Employers NI and Employers Pension costs.

On 7th January 2020 the government announced a review into the implementation of the IR35 changes. They said the review would be completed by February 2020.  This doesn’t mean the IR35 changes will be watered down or delayed – but rather that the government wants to ensure that these changes are implemented “as smoothly as possible”.

On 7th February 2020 HMRC published a minor change to the implementation of the IR35 rules which means they will only apply to payments made for services provided by Personal Service Company on or after 6th April 2020. The outcome of the implementation review should be known by the end of February 2020.

So, what will change on 6th April 2020?

Previously, it was the contractor’s responsibility to ensure that their contract with any business they worked with met the rules of IR35, and they wouldn’t be seen as an employee. Now it will become the businesses responsibility to ensure that anyone/business they contract with to provide them with a service/services will need to meet the rules of IR 35. You can use the HMRC calculator to determine whether someone falls within the rules of IR35 or not; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax

So, what does it mean for your business?

With less than 2 months to the implementation date, it’s vital that businesses understand how these changes will affect them and whether their contracts with service providers would fall inside or outside of IR35.

Meraki HR’s view – This is a huge change, but we’ve known this was coming for a long time!  Any clients where we are aware of them using and working with contractors, we have been discussing this with them and whether these workers are in essence “employees.”  We have been working with our clients to ensure they are not falling foul of these changes. In some cases that has meant them moving contractors to employee status or ending their arrangements with certain contractors. Meraki HR are worried that there will be many clients with the odd 1 or 2 workers who will not meet the rules of IR25, and who could therefore be at risk of failing in their duty to establish whether the service provider falls in or out of IR35 rules. This could mean huge financial penalties on both the business and the contractor. As with any changes of this kind in legislation, it will take some time for there to be precedents set and you don’t want to be the case that helps the government determine how to deal with a business who is not taking IR35 seriously!

Please note: Meraki HR are qualified HR professionals, but we are not employment lawyers. This article is a high-level summary of employment law changes coming into force in April this year based on the advice we have received from the employment lawyers we work with.

We will advise you of any employment law changes specific to your business if you get in touch with us directly. For more complicated employee matters, we will always seek advice from our employment lawyers with your agreement.

 

 

The 7 things you need to know about managing employees

Have you built or are you building a successful business?  It’s stressful isn’t it?  Especially when you have to deal with tricky day to day employee matters. I’ve managed my own teams for over twenty years, and HR teams can be some of the hardest people to manage – I can’t imagine why! So I thought I would share my 7 tips on how to effectively manage your employees.

What you should know about managing employees …

So, you decided to start your own business because you’re creative, or you’re a genius at what you do, and thought, why should I do this for someone else, when I could do this for myself? Plus, I think I would be pretty good at it too? So, you start your own business and things have gone well for you, in fact, things are going brilliantly, and you now have 10 people working for you. All is good right? But hang on, if you are really honest, there are a few cracks starting to appear. Some of your employees are taking a few too many days off for your liking, and some appear to be demotivated or don’t have any interest in what they are doing or how the company is doing any more, and you just don’t understand why this is happening. Sound familiar?

I subscribe to a number of newsletters and articles that are relevant to my role in HR, and the Tiny Pulse Employee Engagement and Organisational Culture Report had some really interesting and very relevant findings recently.

The biggest issue and concern from 78% of the 400,000 leaders who participated was employee engagement and retention. So how can you improve employee engagement and retention levels?

  1. Never underestimate culture – your culture drives happiness, and some of the strongest factors that correlated to employee happiness include work environment and organisational culture.
  2. Peers and Colleagues rule – this is the number 1 thing that employees love about their work place – their peers and colleagues, so make sure you recruit well!
  3. Keep an eye on market rates of pay and benefits – believe it or not nearly one in four employees would leave their employer if they were offered a 10% or more raise, so whilst this isn’t the be all and end all, you need to know what your competitors are paying in terms of basic salary and benefits and ensure that you pay what you can afford.
  4. Professional Growth – only 25% of the employees surveyed felt they were being given opportunities to develop and grow. Millennials crave these opportunities so if you employ millennials, and don’t invest in learning and development opportunities, you could see a rise in people leaving you!
  5. Make sure people feel valued and appreciated – not even 1 in 3 people felt that they were thanked or appreciated, with most employees feeling their managers were constantly pointing out faults!
  6. Ensure employees are meeting their full potential – over 70% of the people surveyed felt they were not meeting their full potential and were constantly fire-fighting and dealing with issues rather than focussing on their priorities and objectives which would allow them to reach their full potential.
  7. Ensure colleagues are pulling their weight – 35% of people surveyed said that there was someone in the team not pulling their weight which was demotivating and killed their level of productivity and engagement with the business. So, make sure you deal with the poor performers!

If any of these statements resonate with you, then why not have a look at our High Performing Business Program? (HPBP) Click here for the brochure This is our proven methodology of HR working in partnership with you. We work with you to design and implement a people strategy that’s right for your business, which will help you create an engaging, great place to work, with highly motivated teams, that just so happen to help you deliver great business results!

If you’d like to talk about this program or any other people related matters, book one of my informal 15-minute chats about how we can help you achieve the best people results. Book a call with Emma Browning

Valentine’s Offer

 

 

Sssssshh … its a secret! Ready to raise the bar on HR?  Then you could save yourself 15% off our HR Oxygen Service

Growing a business without HR expertise is challenging at best, and a constant uphill struggle at worst. If you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue on your own, you’ll know just how stressful it can be. Between trying to manage your legal obligations, and meeting your operational requirements, firefighting can become part of your everyday routine if you’re not careful.

There is always the option to call upon help on an ad-hoc basis, and there can be real value in that approach. But if you’re ready to raise the bar on HR, and give yourself the valuable gift of peace of mind along the way, then it might be time for you to start a retainer relationship with us at Meraki HR. This could be the HR secret weapon that you need. Here’s what our clients tell us about why they love HR Oxygen;

You get to know and trust your dedicated advisor so you can get straight to the heart of any issues

If you’ve ever outsourced work to a consultant in the past, you’ll know that there’s often a steep learning curve called ‘getting to know each other’ before you can really get down to business, the right foundations have to be laid. The consultant has to gain an understanding of how your business operates, and they need to find out what your business is really all about, warts and all.

So if you have a pressing HR issue and you’re working with someone who you’ve never worked with before each time something happens, it’s inevitable that you aren’t going to immediately hit the ground running. When you’re using retainer services though, this isn’t a problem. You get to know us, and we get to know you and what’s right for your business. you know how they do things, you trust us to make the right decisions with you, and you know that our advice is keeping you legal. It’s not difficult to see the massive difference this will make.

You don’t have to face the prospect of hunting down a skilled professional when something goes wrong

Leaders often don’t expect to go into work on any given morning and find themselves faced with handling the fall-out of an HR issue. These things happen though, and it’s vital that you’re ready to respond ASAP. Many issues can spiral out of control if you don’t formulate a fit-for-purpose solution within a quick timescale.

By the time you’ve contacted your business peers, asked for recommendations, and managed to get hold of someone who has a solution, serious damage might have already been done. When you have an HR expert on speed dial who you can get in touch with easily, there’s no panicking and there’s no fuss. You’ve already got your plan in place, and you know that your consultant will know just what to do and how to do it.

You’re probably going to save yourself a chunk of cash

Contrary to popular (though very much dated) belief, HR isn’t all about soft tactics that can’t be measured in terms of true business success. The best HR professionals understand their role in contributing to the bottom line of your business and play a role in helping you to smash your strategic objectives.

And we know that you have a keen eye on your costs. Yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you can take advantage of some extremely savvy cost savings. You’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never face any nasty surprises.

Leaders who are mindful of the importance of their people practices might have an HR professional in mind who can help them when things go wrong. But leaders who have really stepped up their game and are ready for whatever their business throws at them, are already working with us on a retainer basis.

Are you ready to make the change? Then why not take advantage of this one time offer this year. So, no padded card or Tacky Valentines Teddy from us this year – instead we are giving the gift of HR Oxygen – which helps you breathe! We are offering 15% off our HR Oxygen service if you sign up for 12 months in February.  But SSSSSSSSHH, it’s a bit of a secret as there are limited retainer places available to ensure we can deliver exceptional service to all of our clients.

Now THAT’s love ?

To take advantage of this offer, click on the link below, and we’ll give you a call to discuss how this works.

info@merakihr.com

6 Common Myths about Equality & Diversity that could be putting your business at risk

Are you doing all you can to ensure that you promote diversity and equality in your workplace? Most employers are keen to play their part in ensuring that everyone has a fair and equal chance, and can recognise the benefits of ensuring that their business really delivers when it comes to such provisions and initiatives.

The problem is though, there is a lot of information out there that you might have come across that isn’t entirely accurate. As is the case when you’re dealing with the complexities of human behaviour, as well as the intricacies of the law, things can become a little complicated, and it can be hard to work out exactly what your responsibilities are.

All too often, there are some common myths and misconceptions that can actually hold you back from creating exemplary practices. We want to ensure that you don’t fall into this trap.

Before we get into anything else, it’s worthwhile to consider what we’re actually dealing with here.

Though ‘equality’ and ‘diversity’ are often used interchangeably, they don’t actually have the same meaning.

Equality is about ‘creating a fairer society, where everyone can participate and has the opportunity to fulfil their potential’ (Department of Health, 2004).

Diversity means difference. In this context, it’s about recognising individual and group differences within the workplace, and ensuring that everyone’s needs and requirements are understood and met.

If you’re passionate about getting things right, then first of all you need to recognise the mistakes that you might be making. The most common cause for this is having the wrong information. Read on to find out more about the myths and misconceptions about diversity and equality at work.

Myth 1 – You have to treat everyone the same

It’s a very common misconception that to promote diversity and equality in your workplace, you simply have to treat everyone the same. After all, this seems like a common sense approach. Every employee, regardless of their age, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, race, and so on, simply gets the same treatment, and that makes everything fair and equal.

It doesn’t quite work this way though.  Sometimes, by treating everyone equally, you’re actually accidentally discriminating against certain groups. Let’s consider an example to demonstrate the point.

Suppose that your business has created shift patterns that require workers to start at 7am. You may have an employee with a certain disability that is worse first thing on a morning, and they may require a little extra time to get ready. They may have to take medications, for example, before they’re able to face the day.

In this situation, it would be reasonable to give them a slightly later starting time. In fact, if you want to ensure that they’re treated equally, it would be essential.

This doesn’t mean that they have ‘extra privileges’. You’re simply giving them the opportunity they need to perform and excel in their role.

It’s not about compromising business needs. It’s simply about taking a flexible approach, and recognising that a one-size-fits-all approach often isn’t fit for purpose.

To treat individuals as equals, you will sometimes have to accommodate their differences. Rather than processes, it’s about outcomes.

Myth 2 – There’s never any return on this kind of investment

It’s true that if you want to get things right when it comes to your diversity and equality practices, it’s likely that you’ll have to invest time and money. The exact amounts will depend on a wide variety of factors, including the size of your business, your existing provisions and how fit-for-purpose they really are, the culture within your organisation, and so on.

This isn’t time and money wasted though. There is the potential for a huge return on your investment, and there are many ways in which this can be realised.

In the most basic terms, you can protect your business against being taken to court to contend with a legal battle around discrimination. You might be surprised to discover just how expensive this can be.

Let’s take a look at disability discrimination, as an example. The maximum award from a tribunal is £236,962. The average award in 2013-2014 was £14,502.

The financial impact can be very real, and for small businesses, devastating. Don’t forget that you should also take into the account the damage that such circumstances would do to your reputation. Customers and clients are likely to hear about the case, you may find it difficult to recruit top talent, and you could find that it ends up having a very real impact on your bottom line.

It’s also important to look at things from another angle. Imagine what it could do for your business if you made sure that you got everything right, and went above and beyond the call of duty.

It could lead to a solid reputation as a fantastic employer. To your business being able to take its pick from the cream of the crop when it comes to the very best people for your roles. To winning awards and the associated press that comes with this. But most importantly, solid diversity and equality practices will make your workplace a much happier, motivated, and productive place to be.

The bottom line here is that there is a real business case for getting it right.

Myth 3 – It’s a box-ticking exercise

There are certain responsibilities that you need to make sure you meet. You need to be compliant with the relevant legislation, and you should be able to prove that you’ve taken the necessary steps to promote equality and diversity in your workplace.

It runs much deeper than this though.

Best practice should be ingrained into working arrangements, and sometimes, cultural shifts will have to be managed to get your business to where it needs to be.

You may collect information about the characteristics of your workforce, for example. On the surface, this could be seen as a box-ticking exercise. Collecting data is only the very first part of the story though.

There are many ways in which you could translate this data into something much more meaningful. You could pinpoint any problems that might be at play in terms of representation of certain groups at management level. You could create initiatives that seek to tackle underlying issues. You could benchmark against other businesses and organisations.

Recognise that boxes do sometimes have to be ticked, but that the real value comes from what you do after this stage.

Myth 4 – We’ve got a policy – we’ve done our bit!

A policy is of course essential when it comes to diversity and equality. You need to ensure that your staff are aware of their rights and responsibilities, that they know what to do when they feel that something has gone wrong, that they understand the provisions in terms of wider business goals and objectives, and so on.

Too often though, a policy is seen as an end in itself, and this is not the right approach to take.

Getting it right is more complex. Consider:

  • How will you ensure that you take into account the views and needs of a representative cross-section of your workforce?
  • How will you carry out consultations at various stages to ensure that you don’t miss anything important?
  • How will you communicate your changes to your staff?
  • When will you review and update your policy?
  • How will you assess its effectiveness?
  • Who will have ownership and responsibility for the policy?
  • Do you need to seek advice from a legal professional, an HR consultant, or other relevant bodies and organisations?
  • How will the policy link to other people practices within your business, such as disciplinary procedures?

A policy should never be simply a piece of paper, or a document on your computer system that is forgotten about.

It should form the basis of working practices, and steps should be taken to embed it within company culture and the accepted way of doing things.

Myth 5 – The solution is always an online training module for all staff

These days, many people are familiar with e-learning solutions. It’s likely that at some point or another, you’ve completed an online course about diversity and equality. Maybe it was during your time as an employee in another business, or maybe you’ve looked into this option as a way to bring your own staff up to date. There are a few things to consider here.

Firstly, don’t underestimate the power of e-learning. In many cases, it’s a cost effective solution that can help you to get to where you need to be. It requires less time away from the day job than many more traditional forms of training, and it can be highly effective.

The global e-learning market is expected to be worth $107 billion this year. This shows that more and more companies are making the investment, and they wouldn’t be doing so if there weren’t a solid business case.

Secondly though, take a look at the bigger picture. E-learning could indeed be a great solution for your staff, for all of the reasons that we’ve discussed above. But what’s important here is that you don’t see this solution as yet another box-ticking exercise.

If you want to create real change in your business – the type that gets you the results that you’re probably hoping for – then e-learning, or indeed any kind of learning solution – is only one small aspect of the story.

It’s important to take a step back and consider the needs of your staff and your business, and then create the solution from there. If you start out with a specific solution in mind and you haven’t taken the time to really assess whether it’s suitable, it’s very likely that you’ll waste time and money, and you won’t necessarily get the outcome that you’re aiming for.

Myth 6 – It’s just about your staff

At the moment, we’re talking about diversity and equality in the context of your HR practices. So naturally, we’ve discussed your people policies a fair bit. It’s worth recognising though that the issue is much wider.

The most successful businesses, and the ones that are paving their own way as up and coming forces to be reckoned with in their industries, are taking a more holistic approach. They’re ensuring that diversity and equality best practice is implemented across the board, in all areas of their operations.

If it’s not HR related, then why are we mentioning it here? It’s simple. Because if you want to maximise your business’s chance of success, you need to make sure that all sections work together towards a common goal.

Your HR staff (or contracted HR help, if you don’t have the resources or the requirement to have your own team at the moment), should play a role in wider business objectives.

Here are some examples of areas in which you need to consider diversity and equality:

  • Choosing suppliers that cater for a variety of needs
  • How you can play an active role in promoting relevant issues within the local community in which you operate
  • Working with clients and customers in a way that recognises their needs and their individuality

Get your management team together, and brainstorm your initial ideas. Once everyone’s priorities and challenges are on the table, you’ll find that you’re in a much better position for moving forward. 

Summary

As you made your way through this e-book, you might have spotted a few mistakes that you have been making in your business, or assumptions that have been holding back your practices. It’s worthwhile recognising that very few companies get everything right first time, and it often has to be viewed as a learning process.

If you can couple a desire for your business to be better with some specialist advice and expert help, you’re on to a winner. You don’t have to struggle on your own, but you do have to make a dedication to learning and progression as a leader.

Are there issues at play in terms of diversity and equality in your company that you know you need to tackle? Are you uncertain about how to manage the task, or where you should even begin?

If so, we’d be delighted to help. Get in touch today to arrange a free consultation: info@merakihr.com. We have a wealth of experience in diversity and equality matters.