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.

Five critical actions for managing an employee grievance

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Five critical actions for managing an employee grievance   …read more


Questions To Ask Your Employees

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Five Questions To Ask Your Employees This Week



If you speak to most employers, they’ll probably tell you that they have a pretty good grasp on what’s going on in their workplace. There’s small talk over sandwiches in the cafeteria, and important discussions in the conference rooms. You probably feel like you have your finger on the pulse, and know exactly what’s going on beneath the surface.


Here’s the thing though. If you want to excel, you need to go a little deeper. Want to have some more meaningful conversations this week?


Ask the following questions.



How do you think we could improve the business?




Sometimes, you’re so involved in your own business that it’s hard to see the forest for the trees. Your staff are working with your clients and customers each and every day. They’ll often have an advanced understanding of what’s really happening. So find out how they think you could move forward. You could pick up some amazing ideas and it could do wonders for engagement and morale.



What can we do to make your job easier?




Improving productivity could have a real impact on your profits. Your staff know what’s expected from them, but are you giving them the support they need? Maybe you could roll out a system that automates a trickier part of their daily activities. Perhaps you could invest in new equipment to cut down on the time that’s spent on certain tasks. It’s about supporting your staff to be the very best they can be.



What are we doing within the business that is no longer necessary?




Outdated systems and procedures could be costing you a fortune and ensuring that you play small. It could be time to ditch the things that aren’t working, and start moving towards the future. Your staff keep things running on an operational basis, so it’s likely that they’ve got plenty of thoughts to share.



Where do you want to be in the next 2/3/5 years?




If you’re not nurturing your team and doing your part to keep them motivated and on track, then a time will come when they start to look elsewhere. When you know their ambitions and aspirations, you can consider how you can align these with your succession planning.



How’s your work-life balance at the moment?




Have you stopped to consider what your employees get up to outside of work? It’s important that they have time to relax and unwind. Ask about your employees’ families, children, pets, interests, and hobbies. How could you support them in striking an effective balance? Showing an interest is often greatly appreciated, and it could help you to get a better understanding of wider issues that are having an impact on your workforce.


If you ask these questions this week, it’s guaranteed that you’ll unearth some extremely valuable gems when it comes to working out what makes your staff tick.


Perhaps you already know that your people practices need some work, but you’re not quite sure where to start. If this is the case, then we want to help. Our HR health check could get you on the right track to making some serious improvements. Interested? Contact us today.


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Could Pawternity Leave Be The Next Big Thing?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, August 01, 2017

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What If You Refuse Vacation Time, And The Employee Takes Time Off Anyway?

Tiffany Boyes - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What If You Refuse Vacation Time, And The Employee Takes Time Off Anyway?   …read more


What Every Business Owner Needs To Know For The Third Quarter

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, July 18, 2017

What Every Business Owner Needs To Know For The Third Quarter


We’re almost exactly smack dab in the middle of the year, and now’s a great time to take a step back from the day-to-day running of your business and consider the bigger picture. It’s easy to get caught up with the issues going on right now on your shop floor, but good leaders know that regular strategic planning is essential.


Here, we’re going to tell you exactly what you need to know from an HR and people management perspective, so you can thrive and hit your annual goals.

You can still recommit to your objectives


When we’re several months into a year, it can feel like the writing is already on the wall. In fact, the goals that you set back in January can seem like a distant memory. Are they still driving your activities, or have they almost been forgotten about? Assess your progress so far, and rethink what needs to be done to make the year a huge success.


Your HR boxes need to be checked


We don’t like to talk about HR in terms of box checking. It’s deeper than that. When you get it right, it’s about driving your strategic objectives. It’s about nurturing the most valuable resource that you can ever have in business. It’s about adding real, tangible value to your bottom line. But we’re also realistic, and it’s true that there are boxes that have to be checked so you’re compliant with legislation and your duties as an employer. Consider whether all of your policies and procedures are up to date in light of legislative changes and schedule performance reviews. Also, arrange discussions with your managers to ensure they’re getting the support they need.


Now’s the time to start planning for Christmas


When the weather’s warm and summer holidays are the current topic of discussion, talking about Christmas almost seems unnatural. However, some forward planning can help to avoid a whole world of problems. If your business experiences a rush around the fourth quarter, then consider exactly how that will map out. Also, consider your practical people issues. You might experience an influx of leave requests, for example, and you need to be prepared for keeping up and keeping track.


If you’ve taken your eye off the ball and you feel like the year is just happening to you, rather than you taking control of what’s possible and what’s necessary, then we can help. We offer an array of HR services, and we can make sure that you’re in a position to make this year a resounding success for your business. Give us a call today to arrange your initial no-obligation consultation.

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Should You Send Your Staff Home If It's Too Hot?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Should You Send Your Staff Home If It’s Too Hot?   …read more


Should You Have A Summer Dress Code For Your Employees?

Tiffany Boyes - Monday, July 03, 2017

Should You Have A Summer Dress Code For Your Employees?


The temperatures have been hitting some pretty lofty heights recently, so there is a pressing issue on a lot of people’s minds…

Like what exactly you’re supposed to wear for work when the mercury is hitting 80 degrees.


Do you impose a dress code on your employees? Then it’s worth considering whether it needs to be revised over the summer months. It’s the kind of thing that you won’t regularly give much thought to, but when the baking heat hits us, it’s the only thing that your staff can talk about.


You might decide that it’s the reasonable thing to do to allow your staff to relax their uniform a little bit. Whether or not this is really appropriate though will come down to the role that they have in your business, the nature of the service you offer, and how much contact they have with your customers and clients.


Health and safety is a key issue here, and sometimes hard hats and steeled toed boots might just be 100% necessary. Comfort is important, but keeping your staff away from danger should always be your number one priority. If they’re struggling to carry out their roles because of soaring temperatures, then you need to reconsider how their days are mapped out and what you can do to support them.


Presentation is another concern, but it’s fair to say that plenty of businesses are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to this. It’s worthwhile to think about the individual circumstances of your organization.


Do you run a law firm, and are your staff meeting corporate clients? Then smart dress is obviously appropriate.


But if you’re a small clothing retailer with a hip clientele who come through your doors to access the latest fashions, it’s a different story.


What if you’re an up and coming tech firm serving creative industries, and you’re eager to make your mark? Somewhere in the middle is likely to be the order of the day.


Back in 2014, Starbucks did a complete turn around on its anti-tattoo policy, and finally accepted that no one really cared if their barista was adorned with body art – and that actually, many of their customers would prefer it.


There’s an interesting conversation to be had here about your employees serving as a mirror to your customers, and how similar styles can foster better rapport and more trust.


The key takeaway? Dress codes are sometimes important. But the safety and comfort of your staff are paramount. Don’t get stuck in old ways of working that might not be serving your business.


Need help navigating the issue of dress code? Contact us today. If we can’t fulfill all of your HR needs, we will direct you to an HR professional who can.

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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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