H is for the HR Healthcheck

Our HR Health Check ensures your HR practice supports your business goals whilst complying with employment legislation and adhering to best practice.
Flexible enough to act as a standalone service or a catalyst for change, the HR Health Check covers:
•    Recruitment Procedures and Practice: including pre-employment checks and contracts of employment.
•    Sickness Absence: monitoring and managing poor attendance due to ill-health.
•    Grievance Management: approach to, and confidence in, disciplinary investigations and hearings.
•    Organisation Change: including downsizing and redundancies.
•    Staffing Policies: written documents governing disciplinary, grievance procedures etc.
•    Management & Storage of Documentation: including compliance with data protection.

If you’re interested in knowing more about our HR Healthcheck please visit our website.

G is for Grievances

All managers will encounter disciplinary and grievance issues in their day-to-day running of their organisation or enterprise.

Grievances can vary from staff requests to work flexibly around childcare needs to complaints about treatment and workplace behaviours. Disciplinary procedures need to reflect the gravity of the issue and to be underwritten by sound management practice.

We are experienced in undertaking complex disciplinary and grievance investigations – including those that involve medical staff. As external investigators, we can investigate issues objectively and quickly, sending a powerful message that management is taking the issue seriously.

If you’re interested to know how we can help you with your disciplinary and grievance issues please visit our website

F is for Flexible Working

Many business owners we work with contact us with questions about flexible working.    There is a lot of confusion around the rights of workers to request flexible working, which isn’t surprising as the legislation around flexible working has change a number of times over the last few years.

The kind of questions of questions managers have include:

  • Is flexible working just for women?
  • Is flexible working just for parents with children?  Or can it also apply for those who have elderly dependent parents?
  • How much time can staff take off paid or unpaid?
  • How much notice do they need to give when they make a flexible working request?

And the most frequently answered question is “Can I refuse my member of staff’s request to work flexibly”

We can answer all these questions and help you navigate around the different forms of flexible working that will help you maintain productivity and efficiency in your organisation as well as ensuring that you retain valued staff.     We can help you with:

  • Parental Leave
  • Adoption Leave
  • Maternity Leave
  • Paternity Leave
  • Term Time Working
  • Annualised Hours
  • Temporarily Reduced Working Hours
  • Job Share
  • Flexi-Time (staggered working hours)
  • Compressed Hours (working 5 days work over 4 days)
  • Special Leave (JP, Territorial Army etc)

If you’re interested to know how we can help you with your flexible working queries and requests, please visit our website.

E is for Essential Documents

Essential documents are an inescapable reality that every business and organisations must confront, and the most important being the Contract of Employment detailing an employee’s Terms and Conditions.

It is important that your employment contracts are up-to-date with employment legislation and are relevant to the needs of your business.  But there are a range of other documents, policies and procedures that are important for the smooth running of your business.

If you’re interested to know how we can help you with your employment contracts please visit our website

D is for Diversity

Diversity brings a rich source of knowledge and experience into the workplace, but it is important to recognise that the process benefits from good management. Acknowledging differences and recognising their value can be challenging and lead to tensions. Organisations need to embrace a positive model to embed and embrace diversity.

Diversity runs through all our work and we believe it should be embraced holistically. We can help you introduce a range of interventions that will help your organisations develop a positive and effective approach to this complex issue.

If you’re interested to know how we can help you in managing equality and diversity in the workplace please visit our website

C is for Conflict Resolution & Mediation

Mediation involves an independent, impartial third party helping two or more individuals or groups reach a mutually satisfactory solution to a dispute.

Voluntary and confidential, mediation is also non-judgemental. It can be used at any stage in a dispute but is most effective before positions become entrenched.

We are highly skilled in using mediation to resolve disputes where usual management cannot come up with the answers.

If you’re interested to know more about coaching and mentoring please visit our website

B is for Bullying

Unfortunately there may be occasions when a manager or business owner discovers that a member of their staff is being bullied.   This could be through the spread of malicious rumours, the “silent” treatment, or making unjust criticism about their work – to cite just a few examples.

The impact of bullying can be devastating both to the individual and to the business, and it is important that managers take the appropriate steps to eliminate any inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.

If you’re interested to know how we can help you with any bullying or harassment issues in the workplace please visit our website

A is for Absence

Every business and organisation has to cope with staff absences. This can be planned, such as maternity/paternity leave or annual leave; or unplanned, such absences stemming from sickness or injury.

Whatever the cause of the absence, an understanding of management techniques and statutory legislation can greatly reduce inconvenience and losses to productivity. Well managed interventions, for example, can reduce sickness absence by up to one third.

If you’re interested to know how we can help you manage your absence more effectively please visit our website

Thinking about making New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s that time of year when we start to think about making New Year’s Resolutions. I can almost hear you groan….”What’s the point? New Year’s Resolutions are almost always broken before we reach the end of January.” But before we start, I just want to say that for the last five years, I have successfully kept my New Year’s Resolutions. I’ll share the secret of my success with you shortly.

Most of the articles you read about New Year’s Resolutions encourage the reader to make their resolutions as robust as a “SMART” objective. These articles encourage you to have a date by when you’ll have achieved your goal, be clear in what you want to achieve etc.

A few years ago the Efficiency Coach recently wrote the following:

“Did you know that only about 3% of adults have clear, written goals? 

These people accomplish five to ten times as much as people of equal ability and standing, but who, have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want to achieve…. ” 

So, we’re all encouraged to write SMART resolutions, but most of us, apparently, seem unable to do so.

And then, most articles fail to discuss or give us advice on how to overcome barriers and challenges. There’s nothing more depressing that failing to keep your New Year’s Resolution within the first few weeks of the New Year. As soon as you break it, or have a minor blip, your confidence drops; you doubt your ability to sustain the energy required to make your resolution successful. And so, most people give up.

Not me: I break all the rules when making my New Year’s Resolutions. My resolution for the last five years have been “To become a better cook”. There’s nothing specific about this resolution: cooking requires a massive range of skills from baking, to slow cooking. This resolution does not define or restrict me in any way. I don’t have to work at it every day – or even every week. Some weeks when work is really busy, I don’t have time to indulge myself in my hobby. There’s no timescale: so as long as I judge myself to be a better cook than 364 days ago, then my resolution has been successful.

So my advice is as follows:
1. Do something that will involve gradual improvement over the year.
2. Keep it vague.
3. Don’t commit yourself in terms of time.

Let me know what New Year’s Resolutions you’ve made this year.

ARE YOU PREPARED FOR THE SNOW?

For the last few years there’s been heavy snow during the winter months.  It’s likely that we’ll have snow this year too.  It’s best to prepare to both protect your business and to ensure that your staff what to do in adverse weather.  Below are a few tips to help you prepare.

  1. During “snow-days” staff are expected, wherever possible, to make all reasonable efforts to safely make their own way to work.  However, think about what impact the snow might have on your business.   Do you need your staff to come into work, or can they do some work from home?
  2. Let your staff know in advance whether or not they will be paid for that day’s work.  Most organisations state that “snow-days” can either be taken a holiday or are unpaid.  However, if you have arranged for the member of staff to work from home that day, then the day will be paid at the normal pay rate.
  3. Determine how you will communicate with your staff during adverse weather.  Set a time by which they will have to call into work to inform you whether or not they will be attending that day [and if so, what time]. Think about how this arrangement will impact your customers or clients.
  4. Most transport issues are generally confined to the “first 100 yards” of an employee’s journey into work. You should advise your employees to:
  • Not to park their cars on sloping driveways
  • Park on roads that are gritted and walking to and from their car
  • Make contact with colleagues who live nearby to arrange car shares
  • Check and use public transport services where possible