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

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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Is Your Next Business Disaster Looming On The Horizon?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Is Your Next Business Disaster Looming On The Horizon?

You might not be surprised to hear that a high percentage of the inquiries that we get are from business owners who are experiencing what they consider to be ‘a bit of a disaster’, to say the least.

 

Sometimes, it’s that productivity levels have slumped to the extent that they can’t fulfill their agreements with customers and clients.

 

Occasionally, it’s because they’re facing a lawsuit.

And often, relations with staff have spiraled out of control and they’re not quite sure what to do for the best.

 

They recognize that they can’t fix these problems on their own, and they call in expert help. Of course, this is a pretty sensible thing to do.

But as good as we are at helping you to sort your people issues, we don’t have a magic wand.

 

Sure, we can help you to create a plan that’s going to give you the best chances of navigating your way out of a tricky situation. We can make sure that you’re acting on the right side of the law, and that your next steps minimize the potential of any long-lasting damage to your business.

But prevention is always better than cure.

 

 

Consider this…

 

Right now, are there issues that are bubbling away beneath the surface of your business?

 

Do you worry that you’re only one mismanaged situation away from landing yourself in hot water?

 

In so many businesses, the answer here is a very firm YES… Regardless of whether or not you’re willing to admit it.

 

If so, then don’t wait until the proverbial hits the wall before you do something about it.

 

Fixing issues before they spiral out of control is going to save you a whole load of time, money, and hassle in the longer term.

 

Give us a call today, and we can arrange to carry out a no-obligation review of where you could be putting your business under unnecessary risk.

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What To Do When An Employee Unexpectedly Resigns

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What To Do When An Employee Unexpectedly Resigns

 

So, things are ticking along nicely in your business… Your staff are engaged, productive, and they’re smashing their goals. Sales are on the rise, and you’re feeling pretty pleased with the fact that you’ve managed to grow and nurture such as awesome team of employees.

 

But suddenly, there’s a wrench 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 they’ll leave

 

You might already have a policy in place surrounding the necessary notice period. Of course, things don’t always go according to plan, so don’t make any assumptions. Make sure that you know the precise date that your employee will leave. This way, you can sort out any outstanding admin arrangements, including payroll, and you can also start to work out your next steps so there’s minimum impact on your business.

 

Carry out an exit interview

 

An exit interview will allow you to get some valuable feedback about why your member of staff decided to leave. 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.

 

Do 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.

 

Craft your continuity plan

 

Right now, it’s no help whatsoever for us to mention that you should have already planned for these kinds of circumstances. You already know this, and you’re probably kicking yourself. However, there’s work to be done. You need to establish how you’ll make sure that productivity remains high, and that your business doesn’t suffer.

 

Part of this is likely to involve looking for a new member of staff. For now, consider how you can bridge any gaps by utilizing 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.

 

Don’t forget to thank your employee for their contribution

 

We know that you don’t need us to tell you that this is a good idea, but when you’re stressed out about the future, it’s easy to overlook the most obvious things. Your member of staff 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 the potential nightmare of having a member of staff hand in their notice, or you’re worried that you might be in the not too distant future, then get in touch. We can have a chat about your options, and how you can navigate your way through the potential pitfalls.

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Why You Should Never Download Your People Policies Online

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why You Should Never Download Your People Policies Online

 

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

 

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, naturally, search engines often become your trusty advisor when it comes to the things that you just don’t know.

 

However, 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 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 create 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?

 

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 and we will have a no-obligation chat about where you stand and what your options are.

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Will Facebook’s New Jobs Feature Make LinkedIn Obsolete?

Tiffany Boyes - Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Will Facebook’s New Jobs Feature Make LinkedIn Obsolete?

 

For the past couple of years, LinkedIn has well and truly had a monopoly when it comes to being the social network of choice for recruiters and small business owners on the lookout for top new talent. With the new changes recently announced from Facebook though, the more ‘professional network’ might have a fight on its hands.

 

Of course, many business owners have been using Facebook for recruitment more informally for quite some time now. We’ve all seen the posts from companies letting their followers know that they’re hiring. The new feature simply makes the process a little more intuitive.

 

As soon as the job listing is posted to Facebook, anyone who visits the page will be able to make an application. There’s even the option for candidates to auto-fill their information based on the details that Facebook holds on them, such as name and location, to make the process a little speedier.

Similarly, Facebook will allow page owners to pay to ‘boost’ their job ads to reach more people, based on their demographics and interests.

 

The feature’s brand right now, so it’ll be interesting to see how it works out over the coming weeks and months, and how businesses manage to leverage the power of Facebook to find their top talent. Still though, the move demonstrates that online recruitment is very much a growing phenomenon, and it’s something that businesses absolutely can’t afford to ignore. Putting an ad in your local paper is not likely to cut it anymore, and you need to make sure that your recruiting toolkit is up to date.

 

With Facebook more traditionally being the less formal social network, favored by those looking to connect with their friends rather than seek out professional opportunities, the new developments also raise some compelling points about how the world of business is changing. The lines between work and play are becoming more and more blurred, and this is a challenge and an opportunity in its own right for small business owners.

 

What do you think about the recent announcement from Facebook? Will you update your recruitment practices accordingly? Get in touch today for a free no-obligation consultation. If we are unable to meet your HR needs, we will put you in touch with an HR professional who can.

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