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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.

New year, old goals?

A new year presents the tantalising possibility of a fresh start but as a quarter of resolutions fizzle out almost as fast as the new year fireworks, here are the Change Agent’s Top 10 tips for making goals stick.1. Make sure that the goal is YOUR goalA motivating goal is one that you own and is important to you.  It is a “want to do” not a “should do” and certainly not what you think someone else wants for you. “When I want to, I perform better than when I have toI want to for me, I have to for

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How To Avoid Workplace Christmas Party Nightmares

It’s fair to say that the workplace Christmas party gets its fair share of bad press. From punch-ups and offensively drunk staff, through to extra-marital activities and unwanted advances, we’ve all heard the horror stories. Depending on just how cautious you like to be, you might think that you’d be better off cancelling the whole thing and saving yourself the headache.



But before you rush into anything, remember that your staff have worked hard, and they deserve an opportunity to let their hair down. A festive get-together could prove to be just what you need to show your appreciation of their efforts and boost morale. What’s important here is that you’re suitably prepared. Here’s what you need to consider…



Remind your staff of your standards


At the end of the day, your staff are adults and should know how to conduct themselves at work and in related social situations, but there’s no harm in reminding them. This is about ensuring that everyone understands what’s acceptable, and what will happen if behaviour falls below the required standards. Now could be a good time to remind your employees about what’s expected from them.



Get yourself organised

Planning is extremely important, so be sure to consider absolutely everything. From where you’ll hold the event, through to how people will get home safely at the end of the evening, through to the arrangements for being in work the next day, problems can often be avoided if you’ve considered your approach in advance.

It makes sense to get your staff involved in the planning process, to ensure that their views are taken into account and they have the option to contribute ideas.


Consider differing preferences

A night of drinking isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time, so do think about how you can make the event appeal to your diverse workforce. If you’re providing catering, consider any dietary requirements. You’re never going to be able to please everyone, especially if you have a large team, but it makes sense to consider tastes and preferences.


Finally, on this point, attendance at a Christmas party should never be mandatory, so don’t make your staff feel like they’re obliged to make an appearance.


Relax a little!

At the end of the day, your Christmas party should be fun and enjoyable, and you should be able to let your hair down and celebrate alongside your team. If you’ve covered the points that we’ve discussed here, then it’s unlikely that you’ll experience any significant problems. Your staff are probably just looking forward to having a good time, and aren’t secretly plotting to cause riots or bring your business into disrepute!

More top tips for a happy work Christmas party here.  If you’ve got concerns about this year’s Christmas party, and you’d like to take the opportunity to chat with an HR expert, pick up the phone and give us a call at The Human Resource on 07884 475303.

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Getting laid: is wooden flooring a good return on investment?

Getting laid: is wooden flooring a good return on investment? The Beatles once sang: “I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me / She showed me her room, isn’t it good, Norwegian wood? /…” And… Continue reading

The post Getting laid: is wooden flooring a good return on investment? appeared first on AA Editorial Services.

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The Criminal Finances Bill

On 13 October 2016 The Criminal Finances Bill was introduced to the House of Commons. The Bill signals significant changes to the way the government will now tackle money laundering and corruption, recover the proceeds of crime and counter terrorist financing. The latest RFS Financial Crime Briefing addresses this new legislation. Financial crime industry stalwart Sue Thornhill …

The post The Criminal Finances Bill appeared first on Regulatory Finance Solutions.

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What’s so wrong with zero hours contracts?


Zero hour contracts must have attracted more adverse publicity than any other way of organising work this century. 

So, what’s the problem?  And should you stay well away from them as a good employer?



A zero hours contract means that the employer does not guarantee a set number of working hours for the employee.  Depending on the needs of the business, the worker could be asked to work full time hours some weeks and zero hours other weeks.  



This means people’s income can fluctuate significantly and without a regular amount of pay they won’t be able to take out tenancies, loans, credit cards or a mortgage.  High stress level have been reported because of uncertainty about how much work there will be from one day to the next.



On the other hand, the flexibility of a zero hours contract can work well for people looking for casual part-time employment, such as students, home carers and the semi-retired.  A recent CIPD survey found that workers on zero hours contracts were as happy as permanent full-time employees: 65 % of the sample on zero hours contracts said they were either very satisfied or satisfied with their jobs, compared with 63 % for all employees.


The arrangement can help businesses cope with fluctuating demand, enable new businesses uncertain about workloads to get onto their feet, and also provide cover for unexpected sickness absence. They’re widely used by retailers, restaurants, leisure companies and hotels. The care industry is estimated to employ 160,000 workers on zero hours contracts and the NHS has increasingly adopted them.



The problem is that a few “workhouse not workplace” style large employers have exploited the vulnerability of their people on zero hours contracts, with bad practices such as giving unreasonably short notice whether or not they’re required at work, and, if the individual isn’t able to come in when “asked”, firing them without notice or punishing them via the disciplinary procedure. 



Some had even forbidden their zero hours contractors from working for anyone else, so that they were more likely to be available for work at short notice: that is now completely illegal.  Zero hours contracts can’t contain exclusivity clauses prohibiting staff from seeking or accepting work from another employer and people working them can seek additional employment and have other jobs.



Even the most notorious – but by no means only – exploiter of zero hours contracts, Britain’s largest sportswear retailer Sports Direct, has now decided to offer its shop staff the option of a minimum contract of 12 hours’ work per week, in line with other retailers such as Next.



Regardless of the debate surrounding their use, zero hours contracts are here to stay as a flexible alternative to full and part time employment, one that can be useful to both employer and employee in some circumstances.



If you opt to go ahead and hire staff on zero hours contracts, you must ensure that you provide the necessary legal rights. All zero hours workers are entitled to at least the National Minimum Wage and paid annual leave, rest breaks and protection from discrimination.  Calculating holiday entitlement has to be done in arrears for each individual based on the number of hours worked, taking additional admin time.  Guidelines on employment rights for zero hours workers from ACAS here.

To help staff plan ahead, it’s best practice to give as much notice as possible regarding possible working hours, ensuring the zero hours contractor understands that they can either accept or refuse the work.

If your business needs more certainty and less to-ing and fro-ing to organise enough workers, consider the alternatives such as:

  • Offer overtime to current permanent staff

  • If regular hours need to be worked, recruit a part time employee

  • Offer annualised hours and fixed term contracts to cope with seasonal demand

  • Bring in temp agency workers as a quicker and easier way to fill gaps.

Zero hours contracts are rarely appropriate to run the core business.  Most businesses are providing a regular service or product and have a broadly predictable timetable or output, and so permanent or fixed hour contracts are likely to be a better fit.  And there’s always the traditional British compromise of flexible hours contracts with a certain number of fixed hours plus the option to work additional time if required. 
 
 

If you currently operate zero hours contracts, or have considered them and would like assistance and guidance on how to use them properly, please get in touch with us at The Human Resource.

 

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Look out for persuasive email scam

Word Worker press release Businesses are being warned to be vigilant for an email fraud which is catching out unsuspecting managers and directors. Swindon IT support company Sensata says the email phishing scam – called CEO fraud, or president fraud – isn’t new, but is gaining in popularity among cyber criminals and has the potential […]

The post Look out for persuasive email scam appeared first on Word Worker – making words work for your business.

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