Welcome to the unique
Business Village Networking experience

  • Opportunities to meet like-minded professionals
  • Give & receive referrals and business advice
  • No costly membership or subscription fees
  • Relaxed informal atmosphere
  • For established businesses and start-ups
  • Informative presentations
  • Breakfast - choice of cooked or continental
  • ...all for only £10 per week
This is what makes Business Village
. . . a meeting of minds - not just businesses
Business Village Meets
Every Thursday from 7.30 until 9 @ Campanile Hotel, Delta Business Park, Swindon
Register here for the next Business Village event

Members' Blog Feed

These blog posts are written by our members and syndicated from their own websites. Clicking a link will take you to their website.

Perfect press releases

Press releases are the ideal way of getting your news in front of your audience. We write excellent press releases, which include all the information a journalist will need to publish the story. And we write them to fit perfectly with each publication’s style, so they can be posted and printed with little or no […]

The post Perfect press releases appeared first on Word Worker – making words work for your business.

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Gaining coverage in the trade press

  Trade press is often forgotten by businesses, whose first thought, when it comes to PR, is “get me in the papers”. And, of course, gaining coverage in the papers or media outlets which are read by potential customers is a priority. But there is a point to publicity in the trade press too. Coverage […]

The post Gaining coverage in the trade press appeared first on Word Worker – making words work for your business.

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Professional body membership for Wiltshire lettings agency

Word Worker press release An independent letting agency in Wiltshire, whose owner is calling for the rental sector to be regulated, has been awarded membership of its professional body. mlettings’ owner and managing director Martin West, a champion of regulation for the sector, believes mlettings is the largest independent letting agency in the area to […]

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Creating a successful job share

As working patterns become more flexible, job sharing is an arrangement that we’re hearing about more and more.  Britain even has its first ever political job share: Caroline Lucas and Jonathan Bartley were elected recently as co-leaders of the Green Party. They described it as a pioneering job-share arrangement that would help them both balance family and work commitments. 

So if your business has a role with responsibilities that need covering throughout the working day and a well-qualified employee who wants part-time hours, sharing the job between two part-time employees can be an ideal win-win arrangement. 

What’s in it for your business?

Two people sharing one role gives you the benefit of two people’s experience for the price of one – two brains instead of one, two sets of ideas and creativity, and a wider set of skills and approach.  Both job sharers will tend to push each other to focus on the most important priorities as their time at work is limited, giving you two peoples’ judgment call on what really needs to get done.

If the job sharers can be flexible, they can cover each other’s holiday and sickness absence so that there’s better continuity.

And job sharing could mean you keep valued employees who might otherwise leave because of issues with work-life balance.  For example, recent research on women working in senior roles has shown that the option to job share is a critical factor for them in deciding whether to stay in or leave an organisation. 

What makes a successful job share?

Two people doing one job can create complications.  Here are our tips, based on first-hand experience, on how to head off the potential difficulties and manage a successful job share:

1       Manage expectations and perceptions

The priority is that everyone in the team and anyone outside the business who comes into contact with the job sharers has a seamless experience.  Everyone who interacts with the job sharers should experience a unity of understanding and purpose. 

If the job sharers don’t share an email account and phone number, they must be able to pick up and respond to each other’s emails and calls.  They need easy access to each other’s work information so they can respond to queries in the same way, by sharing PC or paper files.

Any time you or the job sharers talk about the arrangement to co-workers and clients, focus on how it benefits the business especially the ‘two heads are better than one’ and continuity of cover advantages. People want to know how this set-up will be good for them, not for the job sharers.


2     Set up the communication framework

People certainly don’t want to go through their issue twice and will expect the job sharers to act as one brain!  Most likely, as conscientious employees who care about doing their job well, the job sharers will be only too aware of the importance of excellent communication with each other. 


Reinforce this whenever there is the opportunity: nothing must slip through the net because of communication failure! And if it does, what will they do differently to avoid it happening again?

A regular handover time between the two may help, so that they can fill each other in on what has been happening.  If this isn’t possible, encourage the job sharers to phone each other regularly to talk through the issues and agree priorities, and email to relay important information and pass on work. 

3     Empower job sharers to collaborate, don’t micro-manage

Trust the job holders to organise their work in the best way, to take accountability for their own workload and to manage their time to get things done.  Leave them to plan, set goals and share successes.  Encourage and empower them to work out their problems together, to have the difficult conversations about prioritizing work, communicating, office politics etc, and to work out the best ways to collaborate.

But monitor progress and performance, and be prepared to step in and take the lead when it starts to look like things aren’t working.  


4       Divide up the job in a way that works

There are a number of ways to slice any given job in two.  The simplest way is for both to do the same tasks and simply divide up the working days.  An alternative is to split the job content with each responsible for specific tasks or projects, depending on their specialist skills and knowledge. 

Most jobs adapt better to a more flexible – but pre-agreed – blend of the two.  This means carving out two buckets of work, one being requests from clients requiring a short-term response and the other, longer term projects. Immediate requests are resolved by whoever is working at the time. For the longer term projects, the job sharers decide together who will lead.

At the outset, sit down with the job sharers and jointly plan in principle how they will divide up the job. But don’t set the details in stone — it’s better to let them experiment and make adjustments as necessary.

5       Keep it legal

As part-timers, job sharers have the legal right not to suffer a detriment in comparison with full-time employees.  This means they must have the same employment benefits as full-timers, with holidays pro-rated.  They must also have the same access to training opportunities as full-timers.

If an existing employee requests a job share arrangement, this falls within the statutory right of all employees with 26 weeks’ service to request flexible working.  The request needs to be considered in a structured way and responded to within specific timeframes. 

Are you ready to think outside the box and consider alternatives to the standard 9 to 5 arrangements? We can help you at The Human Resource with alternatives that will benefit your business and other ways of retaining your best employees, as well as keeping things legal.  Contact us today on enquiries@thehr.co.uk for a no-obligation consultation. 



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RSM expands in the south west with acquisition of Banks BHG

Audit, tax and consulting firm RSM has acquired Swindon-based chartered accountants Banks BHG in a deal which will see the firm expand its presence in the south west market. Banks BHG is a long-established firm of chartered accountants, auditors and tax advisers, providing specialist accountancy and taxation services to small and medium-sized businesses as well[…] Read more »

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Low cost digital advertising on Twitter – can it work on a budget?

Many business owners spend money on printed-media ads and advertorials, but we think that digital advertising on Twitter and other Social Media platforms is worth considering.

Here’s our guide on Twitter Ads.

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Low cost digital advertising on Twitter – can it work on a budget? is another great post from: DMJ Computer Services

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Employing students? Top tips for the new term

In university towns and cities around the country, students are settling in for the start of the academic year. As Freshers week comes to an end, many students are starting to look for part-time work to fund living costs for the year ahead. Over three-quarters of UK students work during their time at university, a large labour force.  So if your business is on the lookout for bright part-time temporary workers, this is the best time to find them.

What do you need to watch out for? Here are our top tips when you’re employing students:

1. Go easy but set firm boundaries

Using students for straightforward jobs while they study gives them a taster of your sort of business, one that might sow a seed of interest that develops over time into a lifelong passion. There are many stories of Chief Executives and senior directors who joined their company as a student working part-time and progressed to greater things. 

To start with though, newby students will most likely be facing new challenges and learning experiences just by starting work: a full working day, staying off social media for long periods of time, being punctual and turning up reliably even with a hangover.  If they also need to be on their feet all day, work out change and be courteous to a wide variety of adults, they will probably be shattered initially, so cut them some slack.  

Of course some won’t pick up the norms in the workplace very well and you will need to spell out the boundaries more explicitly.

2.   Decide on contractual terms beforehand

Terms of employment are quite straightforward if your business requires the student to work the same hours each week.  Employers must be sure that they do not treat any part-time staff less favourably than those working full-time and they must not be disadvantaged in relation to employment benefits, such as paid bank holiday entitlement.

If yours is the sort of business where demand fluctuates very significantly and is hard to predict, a zero hours contract may work better.  Despite the negative press coverage, the flexibility that can come with a zero hours contract may be very welcome to students. 

You will need to decide whether or not the zero hours contract will have a mutual obligation for you to offer hours to the worker and for the worker to accept the hours offered.  The employer can require zero hours workers to accept the hours they are offered.  However this may be unattractive to students if they have assignment deadlines or mandatory laboratory time as part of their course.

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts, which prohibit people from working for another employer, are unlawful.

3. Check for restrictions on working hours when employing foreign students

If you are employing students from outside the European Economic Area, you must check for limitations on their right to work in the UK.  For example, there may be a restriction on the number of hours that they can work while studying.

As well as the usual document checks to establish that they have the right to work in the UK, under Immigration rules you will need evidence from the institution where they’re studying, showing the term dates covering the period of employment.

4. Ensure your payroll system flags up the right time to increase pay

If you are paying any employees at or near the national minimum wage rate, ensure that your system will pick up on birthdays and alert you, so that you can increase pay at the right time:
  • 25 and over, £7.20 an hour;
  • 21 to 24 inclusive, £6.95 an hour;
  • 18 to 20 inclusive, £5.55; and
  • 16 and 17 year olds, £4 an hour.

5. Don’t restrict recruitment to students only

You might be recruiting for a role that you think would be perfect for a student.

However, focusing your recruitment only on students might put you at risk of an age discrimination claim from an older applicant who would have been just as suitable for the job.

So don’t use phrases like “student wanted” in your job adverts.

6. Assess student workers for pension auto-enrolment

If your company has passed its staging date and is now auto-enrolling workers into a workplace pension scheme, keep an eye on your obligations to part-time workers.

Someone working a few hours a week during term time would probably not  earn enough to be auto-enrolled, but if they then work full-time for a period, for example over the summer holidays, depending on their age (22 upwards) and earnings there may be a legal obligation to auto-enrol them.

Even if you don’t have to auto-enrol your student employee, they may have the right to opt in to your pension scheme.  If you do receive such a request, you can congratulate yourself on hiring the most financially responsible student in the country.  And yes, you will need to enrol the student into the scheme.
For practical advice on setting clear boundaries in the workplace, terms for zero hours contracts, equal employment right for part-timers, assessing for pension auto enrolment and all the other issues around employing people, contact us at The Human Resource on enquiries@thehr.co.uk.

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