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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.

How to win new accounts – a presentation on the sales process by Neil Grant of SMP Ltd

Another great presentation at Business Village this week, this time from the founder and MD of South Marston-based SMP Ltd, Neil Grant. Neil set up Strategic Maintenance Planning Ltd 20 years ago which, in its first year of trading, turned over £67K, and in its second year of trading, £1m.  The company provides maintenance planning software solutions. […]

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Employment tribunal judgments are now published online

 


Employment tribunal decisions are now available online and can be accessed by anyone free of charge. The intention is that all future decisions will be published on the website.

What impact will the publication of decisions have for businesses and employees?

Some employers already screen job applicants by viewing their social media, so using the new online tool to check if applicants have brought claims against previous employers would be a simple extension of the vetting process. Some job searchers will fear that businesses will “blacklist” anyone who has taken a previous employer to a tribunal.

 

The fact that tribunal decisions are accessible online also has implications for many employers.

 

The fear of an employee’s tribunal claim finding its way into the press has always had an influence on an employer’s attitude to tribunal proceedings and some employers have preferred to settle claims rather than incur any adverse publicity or reputational harm arising from tribunal proceedings.

 

Although the majority of tribunal hearings have always been in public, the risk of adverse publicity previously has been relatively small. However, the risk for businesses is now much greater under the new system of online publication of decisions. As a result, some employers may be more inclined towards a quick settlement when threatened with tribunal proceedings, a fact that may not escape many employees who have a grievance.

 If a settlement can be reached before a hearing, there will be little information that can go on to the website, and virtually none about the dispute itself.  However, tribunal decisions made after a hearing contain a lot of factual detail about an employer’s decisions and procedures, and significantly can contain critical assessments of the conduct of the employer’s witnesses.

It is not just employers’ names that will go into the database; individual managers in the business who are also named as respondents to a discrimination claim will have their names published as part of the record. Even if they are not listed as parties to the claim, they are likely to be identified in the judgment and may be the subject of adverse criticism, particularly if there are allegations of bullying or harassment.

Another possible implication of the new system is that employees who bring a claim are likely to come to the hearing with copies of previous decisions made against the employer and will encourage the tribunal to draw adverse inferences about the employer from findings made against it in previous decisions, particularly those relating to discrimination claims.

The online database is likely to be here to stay.  It remains to be seen what impact it will have on the tactics employed by those involved in disputes. However, it is fair to say that the increased accessibility of tribunal decisions is likely to have consequences for many businesses that should not be overlooked when an employment dispute arises.

 

This is a Guest Blog by Tony Brown.  His law firm, Bath Employment Law, specializes in helping employers meet their employment law obligations in a way that supports their business objectives, protects their reputation and minimises operational disruption. He has advised employer clients on employment law for more than 25 years.

 


 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Why You Should Never Download Your People Policies Online

 

 

If you’re like most employers, then the very first time that you realised that you were going to need some people policies to make sure that you’re compliant with the law and doing everything you can to drive performance and engagement, you probably carried out a quick Google search to grab what you needed. 

 

It seems like the obvious place to start. You’ve no doubt picked up a ton of valuable business advice online during your time as an entrepreneur, so search engines often become your trusty advisor when it comes to the things that you just don’t know. 

 

Of course though, it pays to exercise more than just a little bit of caution. You’d know better than to search for medical advice online, or just hope for the best when it comes to what you’ve heard about managing your finances… So should you really trust Google to give you the policies and templates that have the power to make or destroy your business? 

 

Here’s why you might want to have a rethink…

You have no real idea where your advice is coming from

You don’t have to be an expert legal advisor, or even an HR consultant, to knock up a website and share your views and opinions online. Pretty much anyone with a laptop and the patience to watch a few YouTube videos can do it. You might say that it would be pretty pointless for someone to intentionally give you the wrong advice, and that’s probably true. But it’s not worth leaving anything to chance.

Working with a skilled HR professional will make sure that your documentation is informed by legal requirements and cutting-edge best practice.

The law changes regularly

What applies right now in terms of good HR advice isn’t necessarily going to be good advice in 6 months from now. New legislation is released on a regular basis, and it’s your job to make sure that you are compliant.

When you access information and templates online, you can never be certain when they were last updated. Of course, we always keep you up to date with what you really need to know, so it pays to sign up for our free updates.

One size doesn’t necessarily fit all

It’s true that the law applies across the board, regardless of what kind of business you run. You’re not exempt from following the rules just because you have just a few employees, for example. Still though, there are certain things that only apply to businesses of a certain size, and what works for a large multinational corporation isn’t necessarily going to work for a small family business.

When you work with a professional to get what you need, you can ensure that your practices are fit for purpose. Your HR consultant can get to know your individual needs, and craft a strategy accordingly.

There are times in your business when doing a few online searches is going to give you exactly what you need. But when it comes to managing your most valuable asset – your people – it’s never worth cutting corners.

If you’re concerned about whether your practices are hitting the mark, get in touch today with The Human Resource on enquiries@thehr.co.uk  and we can have a no-obligation chat about where you stand, and what your options are.

 

 

 

 

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U-turn on National Insurance increase brings relief to the self-employed

Last week, Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled his first – and last – spring Budget. It was notable in many ways for what it didn’t mention, particularly the elephant in the room – Brexit – although the tone was intended to calm pre-Brexit instability. But what will probably make it most memorable was that the controversial …

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What To Do When An Employee Unexpectedly Resigns

 

So things are ticking along nicely in your business… Your people are engaged, productive, and they’re doing brilliantly. Sales are on the rise, and you’re feeling quietly pleased that you’ve managed to grow and nurture such an awesome bunch of employees.

But suddenly, there’s a spanner in the works.

Completely out of the blue, a key member of staff tells you that they’re moving on to pastures new. In a small business, this can be a serious blow, and it can have a real impact on your bottom line if it’s not managed effectively.

So let’s take a look at what you need to do, in practical terms…

Establish exactly when the person will leave

Any employee with over a month’s service has to give a week’s notice, and the individual’s Terms of Employment will often specify longer than this.  Check on the notice period that applies to the person resigning, and agree the leave date.

This way, you can sort out the outstanding admin arrangements, including payroll, and start to work out your next steps so there’s minimum impact on your business.

Where there’s a long notice period, employees sometimes ask if they can leave before the end.  While you don’t have to agree to this, there won’t be much point keeping a disengaged team member around once they’ve completed their handover, especially in a customer facing role.  Consider a compromise so that outstanding holidays are taken at the end of the notice period: you’ll have to pay them anyway.

Carry out an exit interview

You can’t retain everyone you recruit, but it makes sense to keep an eye on the reasons why people move on to different things. An exit interview, informal and in private, will allow you to pull together some valuable feedback about why your member of staff decided to leave. It may uncover common factors in the workplace that, if improved, would help to retain other team members, such as lack of career prospects or problems with colleagues.

You can’t make any assumptions unless you ask the person! There are often immediately apparent reasons and then underlying reasons.

A good structure is to explore the pull and then the push factors: start with the new role and why it attracted them, and move on to the reasons for leaving – especially what might have encouraged the person to stay.  Finish on a positive note and ask what they’ve enjoyed about working for the company.

Remember that because you’re the boss, you’re not always going to get the full and complete truth. It might be worth outsourcing this part of the process, so you can be sure that you’re getting more reliable and meaningful information to work with. The Human Resource can do this for you as retained HR consultants.

Craft your continuity plan

We appreciate that it’s not easy in a small business to plan for key people leaving but once you have the resignation, you’ll need to move quickly to work out how you’ll make sure productivity remains high, and your business doesn’t suffer.

Part of this is likely to involve looking for a new member of staff.  Factor in at least a month to recruit a replacement, often several months.  If you really need to move quickly, consider an agency temp or fixed term contactor.

For now, consider how you can bridge any gaps by using your existing workforce, without making unreasonable demands. It may not be ideal, but there’s often a silver lining: you could be giving an ambitious employee an opportunity to step up and broaden their experience.  

Make sure the person leaving gives a proper handover so that work continuity doesn’t suffer in the short term.  Most people take pride in making sure their job is done properly and would hate to think of everything they’ve done being wasted when they leave.  You can use this potential co-operation to make sure they pass on the detail and know-how.  This could be to others in the team, to you, or just handover notes.

 

Thank your employee for their contribution

Keep the future in mind: the person leaving could go on to refer business your way, or they may even become a customer or a client in the future.

 

And of course, you definitely don’t want to face the fallout that could come with your employee ending their time with you on a sour note. A little bit of consideration can go a long way.

 

If you’re currently dealing with a surprise resignation, or you’re worried that it might happen in the not too distant future, then get in touch with us at The Human Resource on 07884 475303 or enquiries@thehr.co.uk. We can have a chat about your options, and help you navigate your way through the potential pitfalls.

 

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Want to get in the news? Carry out a survey

Have you noticed how many surveys there are, reported in the newspapers these days? The Daily Telegraph, on one day alone, carried stories about three – one about women saying they are “still happy to let men bring in the cash”, another claiming people blamed the weather for being unfit, and a third that people […]

The post Want to get in the news? Carry out a survey appeared first on Word Worker – making words work for your business.

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Budget 2017: what it means for you and your business

Yesterday’s Budget was notable almost as much for what it didn’t say, as what it did. No mention was made of Brexit, and at 64 pages (as opposed to 145 last year) it was quite thin. Nonetheless, there were announcements which will directly impact on individuals and businesses. The Chancellor made changes to National Insurance …

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How long is enough time off work when a family member dies?

 
You may have heard that Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently announced that the company’s employees can now take 20 days of paid leave if an immediate family member dies.  

 

The widespread publicity around this generous bereavement leave has raised questions about how long off work is really enough when a family member dies.  How far can you set a policy in stone that will be right for everyone?  And does your approach at these extremes ripple out to demonstrate what sort of employer you truly are? 

 

Sheryl Sandberg herself has spoken publicly about the impact of the unexpected death of her husband back in 2015 and the time she needed away from work to grieve and support their young children. 
In a statement issued via Facebook to announce the policy change, she said: Companies that stand by the people who work for them do the right thing and the smart thing – it helps them serve their mission, live their values, and improve their bottom line by increasing the loyalty and performance of their workforce.”  Certainly there’s evidence that supporting employees through personal issues can increase their loyalty and performance in the long term.

Though many issues in the workplace are sensitive and difficult to handle, it could be said that this is one of the very hardest to navigate.

As a leader, this kind of situation can leave you wondering what to do for the best. Of course you’re conscious of the needs of your staff, and you want to make sure that they’re supported during what is one of the most stressful and upsetting times in their lives…

But you also have a business to think about. And it wouldn’t serve anyone at all for you to not have robust and consistent policies that you can implement in such situations. 

 

Let’s consider the legislation when it comes to bereavement leave. Here in the UK, there is no statutory right to receive paid leave after the death of a loved one or a family member. Workers are however entitled to take a ‘reasonable amount’ of unpaid time off when they have experienced the death of a dependent.

Ultimately, this means that it’s down to you to decide what’s fair, and how you want to make sure that you strike an effective balance between being a sympathetic and reasonable employer, and ensuring that day-to-day operational requirements are being met.

For many, returning to work can be a positive distraction and a chance to regain routine. But if pressured back into work before they are ready, there is a chance that the employee won’t be very productive and it may even cause a delay in the grieving process. 
The issue of bereavement leave is something that you might not even think about until you find yourself trying to navigate your way through a particularly sensitive set of circumstances. But it’s the kind of situation when you need to know exactly what your approach is going to be – because there will be plenty else to work through. 
The bottom line here? No one likes to think about the practicalities of creating a bereavement policy. Making decisions now though is likely to save you – and more pertinently – your staff a great deal of heartache in the longer term. 

 

 

If you’d like to talk through your employment policy in this sensitive area or any other, or a particular situation that’s arisen for an employee, we will advise you on the options and most pragmatic approach for your business.  Contact The Human Resource on 07884 475303 or enquiries@thehr.co.uk.  Our approach: a head for business, a heart for people.

 

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Is a final PPI storm coming? – Part 2

Last year, in our article Is a final PPI storm coming?, we considered whether firms could anticipate a final bluster of PPI related complaints. Now that a time-bar has been announced, and guidance on Plevin has been published, that potential storm is now closer to being a reality. One of the biggest regulatory announcements last …

The post Is a final PPI storm coming? – Part 2 appeared first on Regulatory Finance Solutions.

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Getting all decked out: the return of investment on decking

Is outdoor decking a good home investment? The Return of Investment on Decking Homeowners thinking of doing any kind of upgrade/update to their homes are often faced with the dilemma of the potential return of investment (ROI) on a proposed home update against… Continue reading

The post Getting all decked out: the return of investment on decking appeared first on AA Editorial Services.

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