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HR U Can Trust Blog

A blog providing trustworthy Human Resources advice to business owners, managers and employees plus the occasional LOL true story from the workplace.

How To Manage Politics In The Workplace

Tiffany Boyes - Wednesday, June 21, 2017

How To Manage Politics In The Workplace

 

 

With the appointment of a new president, politics is something that is being discussed up and down the country. As a leader of a workforce, there are many potential problems that this could create. It can be a sensitive subject, fraught with emotion and strong opinions, so it makes sense to know exactly how you can and should deal with any issues that might arise.

 

First of all, you should be aware that you do have the right to ban political campaigning in the workplace. So, if someone is using work time to drum up interest for their party, or print off marketing collateral for an election, then you would have the right to deal with this using your disciplinary procedures.

Realistically though, it’s not possible to ban any talk of politics, and it wouldn’t be a wise move anyway. Having staff who are interested and engaged with current affairs can have many benefits.

 

When it comes to what your workers get up to outside of the office, it’s largely none of your business. Unless, of course, their behavior brings your company into disrepute.

 

It’s also worth noting here that you should be aware of the risk of politically motivated harassment. Take a no-nonsense approach on this if you’re serious about fulfilling your obligations as an employer, and making sure that you’re creating a positive and inclusive workplace.

If you’re worried about issues that might arise, then it may be worthwhile considering the creation of a policy that tackles political activity at work. The policy could potentially ban the expression of political views to clients, customers, and suppliers, as well as displaying political symbols.

To discuss your next steps, give us a call today. We can help you to understand your responsibilities as an employer, and how you should move forward.

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Could Your Business Make Better Use Of Freelancers?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Could Your Business Make Better Use Of Freelancers?

 
Independent professionals up and down the country can celebrate the fact that they boldly work for themselves. It’s estimated that there are around 54 million freelancers operating in the US.

In the U.S. in 2009, federal and state agencies began increasing their oversight of freelancers and other workers whom employers classify as independent contractors. With firms like Uber and Lyft coming under scrutiny for how they treat the people working for them, it’s clear that the world of work is changing fast, and the face of employment is looking very different to what it did just a couple of years ago.

But what does this mean for your business?

Is it possible to harness talent on a more flexible basis and keep your reputation as a fair and just employer?

And could you be missing out on some attractive business benefits if you’re sticking with what’s becoming a fairly outdated approach to talent, employment, and getting a good job done?

Let’s consider a few things that you should be aware of…

It goes without saying, we’re sure, but your relationship with freelancers should be very carefully managed. You might have fewer obligations from a legal perspective, but the reputation of your business could be on the line if you don’t get this right. There are unscrupulous business owners out there who have ruthlessly used the gig economy to drive forward questionable agendas, and it’s vital that you take steps to manage your employer brand and ensure that you’re considered to be among the cream of the crop when it comes to really getting this right.

You should also think about the potential pitfalls. The benefits can be fairly obvious, but the downsides also need to be considered. Have you thought about how you’ll find the people who you really need? Can you be certain that they’d be as committed to the cause as permanent employees would be? And how are your staff likely to deal with the transition towards working as part of a different kind of team? They’ll have their fears and concerns, and this needs to be managed.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that there’s a wealth of talent available quite literally at your fingertips. Need a new website and some regular maintenance carried out, but don’t have the resources to hire a permanent developer? A freelancer could help. Looking for an extra pair of hands on deck during a busier period? Maybe a freelancer could fit the bill. Or struggling to find the skills you need in your local workforce? Yep, it’s very possible that a freelancer on the other side of the world could step in and deliver what you’re looking for.

If you want to enjoy the benefits of creating a more flexible and agile workforce, then let’s talk. We can help you to create your plan of action, and put it into practice in the right way. Get in touch today to arrange an initial free consultation. If we are unable to fulfill your HR needs, we will be happy to get you in touch with someone who can.

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Should You Be Facebook Friends With Your Employees?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, June 06, 2017

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If Marketing And HR Had A Fist Fight…

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

If Marketing And HR Had A Fist Fight…

 Which function would be the winner? Who’d take the crown as the business owners’ can’t-live-without tool? And perhaps more interestingly, could one exist without the other?

When entrepreneurs are looking to increase their bottom line, or attract more of the best customers and clients, then they often look for outside solutions. They look towards social media platforms, or advanced sales tactics, or an external provider to solve their problems and create processes that bring in leads on autopilot. Of course, bringing in a regular stream of new business is absolutely essential, and it’s never going to be too far from your mind if you’re looking to step up to the next level.

But what about HR?

It might have a reputation for being the fluffy tea-and-sympathy function, but the leaders who are truly breaking new ground and smashing their revenue targets fully understand that this is a vital part of the puzzle.

After all…

If you aren’t training your staff to be their very best, then things will quickly start to fall apart.

If there are problems bubbling away beneath the surface, then it’s unlikely that strategic objectives are going to be met.

If there’s a culture of apathy and discontent, then your growth is going to be stalled. You’ll quickly end up with a workforce that just treads water, and is satisfied with achieving the bare minimum.

Ultimately, in the vast majority of circumstances, it’s going to be your staff that play the most important role in bringing in the business that you need. They’re the ones running your social media accounts, sending out your emails, and jumping on the phones.  
Of course, the reality is that when you’re looking to grow, there’s never one magic strategy. It has to be a holistic approach that you take. Missing any one thing could have a massive impact on your overall results.

It always comes back to your people. They’re at the heart of everything, whether it be marketing or selling or anything else.

So, if you’re investing time and money into growing your market share, and becoming known as the go-to provider for what it is that you do, then you will expect to see results. But what if you’re not seeing the results that you need?

It might be time to think about where your key players fit into all of this, and how you can make sure that you’re giving them what they need in order to thrive.

Let us help you reach your goals. Contact us today.

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How To Deal With The Influx Of Bank Holiday Weekends

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How To Deal With The Influx Of Bank Holiday Weekends

Everyone loves a good old bank holiday weekend. More time with the family, an opportunity to unwind, and weather permitting, maybe even a barbecue or two. As a business owner though, long weekends bring some key challenges. With several bank holidays appearing in the springtime calendar, it makes sense to be prepared, so you can prevent the common issues from knocking your business off track.

Here are a few things that you should consider, sooner rather than later…

Make sure you have a policy that’s clearly communicated to all staff

Many problems can be avoided by simply making sure that your staff know what’s expected from them. Dropping the bombshell that you’re cancelling the long weekend at the last minute isn’t likely to do you any favors when it comes to getting your workforce onside.

Sometimes, depending on the nature of your business, it’s just not possible to allow everyone to take the day off. If that’s the case, make your stance clear in advance, and ensure that everyone knows what you’re working towards.

Carefully plan out operational requirements in advance

 

Your business no doubt has deadlines and priorities that need to be handled. If your staff will be out of the office, then you need to understand how this might effect productivity, and how you’ll manage that.

Some forward planning here can go a long way. Make sure that you get your team involved, and everyone understands how their workload for the week will be managed.

 

Know the relevant legislation

 Your employees don’t have a legal right to receive extra pay for working bank holidays, unless this is something that you have promised in the contract of employment – or if it is implied because of historical practices within your business.

In terms of asking your staff to take annual leave to cover the holiday, this is an option, providing that you give notice that’s twice the length of the holiday period that you are asking them to take.

Remember that it's a good idea for your staff to receive a written statement within 2 months of starting their employment that covers their entitlement to vacations, including provisions for public holidays, and pay. If you know that your policies and procedures could do with a refresh, then let’s talk. Give us a call today to arrange your no-obligation consultation.

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Three Reasons Why HR Is Boring

Tiffany Boyes - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Three Reasons Why HR Is Boring

 

Let’s be honest here… HR has something of a reputation for being a little bit boring. It’s a burden that we’ve carried for years, and it’s one that refuses to budge in a lot of circles.

But is there any substance behind it? Are we actually just a group of thundering bores who can bring nothing more to your business than bureaucracy and forms to fill in and pointless policies that never see the light of day?

We’re willing to look at the arguments, for sure. Here are three reasons why the naysayers might just be right…

We can keep you out of the court room

Because the court room is really exciting, right? It’s definitely where most business owners want to end up when they’re in the middle of balancing everyday concerns, and striving towards growth. Though of course, it’s not. It’s your worst nightmare, and it can be costly and stressful. Good HR practices ensure that you’re not accidentally breaking the law.

We can save you a load of money

Is making money more tempting than saving money? It could be argued that it is. If you’re particularly daring, then you might decide to just focus on bringing more in, while ignoring the fact that your spending is spiraling out of control and you’re wasting cash all over the place. But good leaders know that it’s a mix of both… And that’s precisely why they use HR professionals to make sure that their staffing budget is invested in all the right places.

We can make your workplace a peaceful and productive place

Some people thrive on drama and arguments and scandal. They might say that without these things, life is pretty dull. If that sounds like you, then HR might not be your cup of joe. Most managers, however, just want everyone to be able to get along and form positive working relationships, so they can enjoy their time at work and make a contribution.

If you think these things are boring? Then HR is guilty as charged.

But if you recognize that these things are in fact prerequisites for running a profitable and sustainable business? Then we should talk. We can bring the right brand of ‘boring’ to your business, and steer you clear of the unnecessary headaches and dramas.

Give us a call today to arrange your no-obligation consultation. We might just surprise you.

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How Can You Better Support Moms In Your Workplace?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 02, 2017

How Can You Better Support Moms In Your Workplace?

 

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, a ton of people will be showing their appreciation for the women in their lives with flowers, chocolates, and cards. As an employer though, the gift that you can give working moms goes a little bit deeper… Really, it’s your duty to make sure that they’re treated equally in the workplace, and that a woman’s decision to start a family doesn’t have to mean game over for their career.

 

It’s 2017, so you might think that we’re past the stage where these kinds of things are still burning issues. The statistics speak for themselves though. According to AAUW’s The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap, women will not reach pay equity with men until 2152. And of course, the fact that women are more likely to take on childcare responsibilities can play a big role in how they’re able to pursue opportunities.

 

Look for solutions and opportunities instead of problems

If you run a small business and an employee announces that they’ll be taking maternity leave soon, you might feel slightly panicked. Regardless of how much you want to support your staff, the reality of having to navigate through the changes can be overwhelming.

Instead of just looking at the potential problems though, examine the opportunities that exist. Is there another member of staff who can step up and cover the role? Could this be an indicator that it’s time for you to start to look towards more flexible working practices? How can this situation be turned on its head to make your workplace

Speak to your staff

Hopefully you already speak to your staff all the time, so this might seem a little bit obvious. But are you actually having meaningful, honest, and open conversations about your role as an employer, and how you can support your workforce as they navigate their way through key life stages?

Rather than just assuming that you know what your working mothers want and need, ask them. It may be the case that small changes to your policies and practices could make a big difference to your workforce.

If you know that you need to make changes to give various segments of your employees a better chance to thrive and succeed, then there’s no time like the present. If issues are bubbling away under the surface, or you suspect that problems could arise if you don’t take action, get in touch today. We can arrange to have a no-obligation discussion about your options, and how we might be able to work together. Of course, if we are unable to fulfill your HR needs, we will direct you to an HR professional who can.

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A Quick Drink After Work, Or A Serious Problem For Your Business?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Quick Drink After Work, Or A Serious Problem For Your Business?

 

Many of us are no strangers to a little tipple after work.

A glass of wine with colleagues to put the world to rights.

An informal brainstorming session over a few beers.

Some all-important bonding and team building away from the constraints and routine of being tied to a desk.

But as a leader, you no doubt fully recognize that alcohol can turn into a serious problem in your workplace if it’s not carefully managed.

What would you do if an employee turned up for their shift looking worse for wear?

What if rowdy behavior in the bar brought your business into disrepute?

And what exactly is the difference between your staff enjoying a couple of drinks, and your business being faced with a deeper and more serious problem?

You must have policies that ensure that issues are handled fairly and consistently. And your managers should have sufficient training and capability to deal with workers who need help.

It should be noted here that taking a hard-line approach rarely serves anyone well. You probably don’t need us to tell you that dragging an employee with a serious problem into your office and giving them a telling off isn’t going to fix anything.

As a responsible employer, you’ve got a duty of care to make sure that you support your staff through difficult times… Which is a solid reason why many employers now view alcohol and drug problems as illnesses that need to be treated through rehabilitation practices.

Of course, drugs can be a different kettle of fish entirely. They’re less socially acceptable, and can have a much more damaging impact on a person’s life than enjoying a few drinks with workmates now and again.

Remember too that if you have a team of managers, their role is important in all of this. Can they spot potential problems? Do they have the confidence and ability to tackle them? Do they know where to turn to for expert help if things start to escalate?

If you’re just reading this guide out of interest, and you don’t have an issue like this in your workplace at the moment then that’s great. However, you must understand that you need to be prepared. Firefighting problems like this is always going to be seriously difficult for everyone involved. But if you’re dipping into this advice because you’re worried about a current situation regarding alcohol or drugs in your business, then getting some tailored advice from a professional is highly advisable. This is complex stuff, and you don’t have to manage it on your own.

Get in touch today to arrange a no-obligation and confidential discussion around how we might be able to work together to deal with alcohol and drug problems at work. If we are unable to fulfill your HR needs, then we will direct you to an HR professional who can.

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How Much Bereavement Leave Should You Give To Your Staff?

Tiffany Boyes - Wednesday, April 19, 2017

How Much Bereavement Leave Should You Give To Your Staff?

 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently announced that the company would double its standard bereavement leave allowance, giving employees a total of 20 days off work to grieve for immediate family members.

 

Sandberg herself has spoken publicly about the death of her husband back in 2015, and in a statement issued via the social media network, she said: ‘We need public policies that make it easier for people to care for their children and aging parents and for families to mourn and heal after loss’.

 

Though many issues in the workplace are sensitive and difficult to handle, it could be said that this one 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. It wouldn’t serve anyone at all for you to not have robust policies that you can implement in such situations.

 

Let’s consider the legislation when it comes to bereavement leave. Here in the US, there is no statutory right to receive paid leave after the death of a loved one or a family member. Bereavement leave benefits are a matter of agreement between employers and employees. In other words, there are no Federal employment or labor laws that require U.S. employers to provide bereavement leave, whether with or without pay.

 

Small businesses often have cohesive employer-employee relationships that resemble a family work environment. In a 2009 survey, the Society for Human Resource Management conducted on paid leave options, it found that 90 percent of employers provide bereavement leave and the average number of days granted was approximately three days. Small businesses may grant longer periods of leave because they can afford to have more flexible policies. However, all employers should have policies for workplace structure. Despite that it's not required by Federal law, many employers still provide bereavement leave benefits, just as they provide other voluntary benefits to attract and retain employees.

 

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.

 

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 in the kind of situation when you need to ensure that you know exactly what your approach is going to be.

 

The bottom line here? No one likes to think about the practicalities of creating a bereavement policy. Taking action now though is likely to save you – and more pertinently – your staff a great deal of heartache in the longer term. Please contact us today. If we are unable to fulfill your HR needs, we will direct you to an HR professional who can.

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Is Work-Life Balance Ever Really Achievable For Business Owners?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Is Work-Life Balance Ever Really Achievable For Business Owners?

 

 

When you dip into an article from an HR consultant about work-life balance, you probably have a few preconceptions about what we’re going to say to you.

You might imagine that we’re going tell you that time off is vital, and that no one can fire on all cylinders without getting some well-deserved time away from the office.

 

Maybe you think that we’re going to drive home the importance of adhering to the legislation around working hours, and ensuring that you aren’t breaking the law when it comes to how you require your staff to turn up and get stuff done.

And of course, all of these things are important and most definitely have their place.

 

Here’s the thing though…

 

We’re business owners too.

 

We understand that it can feel like your work is never going to be done.

 

We know the pressures of running the show, managing a team, and trying to hold it all together.

 

So how about today, we have a frank and honest conversation about YOUR work-life balance, as the head honcho in your business?

 

Sure, sometimes the long hours are inevitable if you want to reach your goals, make more sales, and put food on the table.

But the reality is that you can’t serve anyone – including yourself – if you’re constantly tired, burnt out, and spinning way too many plates at the same time.

No one said that running a business was going to be easy, but it can certainly be a lot simpler when you recognize that you aren’t a machine.

 

What is one of the best things that you can do right now, if you know that it’s only a matter of time before things start to spiral out of control?

 

Delegate, and outsource the things that you’re just no good at.

 

If you’re spending half your days firefighting people management issues, or focusing on anything at all that isn’t your zone of genius, then you’re definitely limiting your earning potential.

Want to chat about how we could potentially work together to get you some breathing space, a bit more time outside of the office, and a more cohesive plan to allow you to reach your goals?

Give us a call today, and we can arrange to have a no-obligation discussion about your next steps.

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