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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 Nail Your 2019 HR Planning

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, November 13, 2018

How To Nail Your 2019 HR Planning

Any business owner who has been around the block a few times knows the importance of using the end of the year as a chance to return to their people policies, consider the achievements and challenges of the past 12 months, and do some careful planning for the future. Keeping on top of your human resources can be tricky, but it’s also essential if you want to run a successful company. Before getting stuck into any finer details, it’s wise to take a step back and think about the big issues that need your attention. Here, we’re going to provide you with the inspiration you need to make your planning as effective as possible.

Anticipate any key legislative changes

Not a year goes by without a new piece of legislation coming in that will have an impact on your business. Of course, these are often for the greater good, and will help you to build a stronger workforce. But if you’re not prepared, they can catch you off-guard and cause you significant problems.

Make sure this doesn’t happen by taking the time to anticipate any legislation that will be coming into force, and working out what you need to do to ensure that you’re compliant. In 2019, necessary considerations are likely to include the introduction of the new minimum wage, the new overtime regulation, and the rise of the new discrimination and sexual harassment notice.

Consider external forces that are out of your control

Often, a lot of thought is given to planning for internal factors, such as sales that you might be running, employee holidays and so on. You need to make sure though that you’re also thinking about external forces that may have a significant impact on your business. Are there any big events coming up in your area, and what will they mean for your operations? Are there any other businesses that are likely to be setting up shop, and what are the implications? Could your top talent be tempted to look elsewhere? You can rarely stop these things from happening, but you can make sure that you’re as prepared as possible.

Ask yourself whether you’re really considering strategic goals

 

We’re past the days of HR being all about listening and sympathy. Savvy business owners know that the function needs a seat at the table, and that it can play a significant role in meeting strategic goals. Despite this however, many leaders still aren’t using policies and practices to truly drive their organization forward. To say that this is a wasted opportunity would be a huge understatement.

How are you nurturing your teams so they can fulfill their potential? How are your performance management processes encouraging individuals to excel? Is everyone up to date and onboard with the future direction of your business, and do they understand the part that they will play? It’s easy to get caught up with all the everyday, operational concerns. These are of course important, but if you want to move forward, you need to ensure that you’re taking the time to think strategically.

Finding enough hours in the day to plan your next year can be a challenge in itself. It’s a non-negotiable though if you’re serious about smashing your goals. The good news is that you don’t have to do all of this on your own. We have many years of experience, and we can help. Get in touch today for an initial chat about how we may be able to work together.

 

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Help! All My Staff Want Time Off Over Christmas!

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Help! All My Staff Want Time Off Over Christmas!

So we’re quickly approaching the festive season, and everything’s going well in your business. You’ve got robust plans in place so you’re in the best possible position for maximizing your profits, and you’re feeling pretty organized and in control. All of a sudden though, you’ve got a big issue on your hands. Your staff want time off. Understandably, they want to enjoy the festivities. You hadn’t planned for this though, and you’re now in a bit of a pickle.

What should you do, and how should you approach this challenge without landing yourself in a nightmare situation?

Before we get into anything else, let’s consider where you stand in the eyes of the law. Thankfully, this is pretty clear-cut. As an employer, you have the right to determine when your staff take their leave. You can decide that you won’t accept leave requests during busier periods, including Christmas, so you aren’t obliged to give your workers the time off that they want.

However, this doesn’t mean that you should announce that everyone’s presence is required, and accept no more comments or questions on the matter. This approach will no doubt cause a great deal of unrest, and do you no favors. The best course of action here is to ensure that you’re being fair and consistent. If everyone is being treated the same, then it’s more likely that they’ll accept that you can’t necessarily accommodate all requests.

You may decide to let your staff decide between taking holiday over Christmas or New Year, but not both. If you can’t grant leave for everyone, then you might give those who missed out priority when it comes to booking in their dates for 2019. Be firm, but reasonable, and never forget that your staff are simply human beings who probably want to enjoy some time putting their feet up with their families.

And on a final note, you may want to consider offering your staff the option to work from home. If you can still meet your operational requirements, then this could prove to be a good compromise.

By now, you probably recognize that your staffing problems over the Christmas period could have largely been avoided if you’d only done a little more planning, and anticipated these issues in advance. What’s done is done, but take this as a wake-up call to get your ducks in a row for the year ahead. If you want to speak with an expert about how to manage your HR planning, get in touch today. We’ll have an initial no-obligation chat about your circumstances, and we’ll establish if we’re a good fit to work together.

 

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How To Reward Your Staff This Christmas On a Budget

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How To Reward Your Staff This Christmas On a Budget

 

With Christmas creeping up on us, employees all over the country are pulling out the stops to ensure that they’re playing their part in driving sales and keeping happy customers coming back for more. In short, your staff are working hard to help you to get your business to where you want it to be. So shouldn’t you be rewarding them accordingly?

Of course, this is where the age-old issue of managing a budget rears its head. In an ideal world, you could give your workers a generous cash bonus to say thank you. Sometimes though, this just isn’t possible. It’s time to consider your other options. Let’s take a look at how to reward your staff this festive season while keeping a close eye on your expenditure.

 

Consider your total reward package

 

It’s long since been recognized that pay and financial incentives make up just one facet of what’s considered in the HR world to be a ‘total reward package’. Put simply, there are so many tools that you can use to motivate and compensate your staff.

If you haven’t yet started to think about the bigger picture, now’s the time. Could you offer flexible working arrangements, either right now or after the busy Christmas period? Could you offer learning and development opportunities to those who are eager to progress? Have you thought about things like pensions, healthcare, and social initiatives? When you really get to grips with total reward, you’re likely to find that you’re offering plenty that you aren’t really showcasing.

 

Team up with local businesses

 

You probably already have contacts within your local business community. You might have been introduced to other entrepreneurs at networking events, or just in the course of your day-to-day operations. Have you ever thought about teaming up with them to offer something a little out of the ordinary for your staff?

A gym might consider offering some cut-price sessions. A gift store may offer a discount. The list of possibilities is endless. This approach could also open doors in the future when it comes to collaborative working opportunities.

 

Never underestimate the power of ‘thank you’

 

When’s the last time that you stopped to say a genuine thank you to your staff? It might seem obvious, but when you’re busy, it can be really easy to forget to do this. Staff don’t always want something concrete that you can hand over to them.

Many people take an immense amount of satisfaction away from simply being told that they’re doing a good job, and that their efforts are appreciated. Why not make it your mission today to ensure that you say thanks when it’s due?

 

Though our focus is on Christmas right now, it’s important to note that regardless of the time of year, rewarding your staff for their hard work doesn’t always have to be purely about financial incentives. It could be time to review your systems, so you know that you’re harnessing all opportunities.

Do you need a little help when it comes to fine-tuning your reward strategy? If so, give us a call. We’ll be happy to discuss how we might be able to work together.

 

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Four strategies for reducing absenteeism

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Four strategies for reducing absenteeism
 

A few years ago Forbes reported that U.S. workforce illness from sick days to worker's compensation is costing the economy $576B annually. Simply put, your staff are calling in sick and it’s having a severe impact on your bottom line. If you want to mitigate the impact, it’s time to think about how you can nip the problem in the bud.

Now of course, it’s important to note that managing absenteeism isn’t about trying to ensure that every single employee is always present and correct. Even with the best people management policies and procedures, it’s highly likely that you’ll still have to pick up the phone now and again and be told that an important member of your team can’t make it into the office today.

However, there are certain things that you can do to make sure that the occasional absence doesn’t spiral out of control and become a real problem for your business. Here, we’re going to outline some proven strategies that you can put into action.
Clearly outline your expectations
If you don’t already have an absence policy, then this needs to be a key priority. You can’t expect staff to follow your guidelines, if they don’t even exist! A good policy will outline arrangements for calling in sick, identify trigger points that indicate that absence has reached an unacceptable level, and will be clearly communicated to all staff.

Of course, your policy won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if it doesn’t become part of the way you do business on a daily basis. Line managers need to be confident with putting it into action. It’s vital that the rules are applied to everyone. If you have staff members with a disability, then there will be extra considerations that need to be made. For help with complex issues, speak with an HR consultant about your circumstances.
Always hold return-to-work discussions
After any period of absence, whether it’s three days or three months, there should be a return-to-work discussion between the individual and the line manager. It’s important that you establish the reason for the absence, assess what you might be able to do to support that person back into work, and follow the procedures outlined in your policy.

Even when schedules are busy, make sure that these conversations are always marked into the diary. When they’re carried out correctly, they can help you prevent a whole load of potential issues.

Think about how you can make reasonable adjustments to get staff back into their roles

Coming back to work after a period of absence can be daunting. What can you do to make the process more manageable? It might be that you can slightly alter roles and responsibilities so that you can encourage long-term absentees to come back to their jobs and ease themselves back into routine.

In practical terms, you could agree to shorter working hours for the first couple of weeks, or you could ensure that the staff member has a reduced workload. If you’re unsure about what you could do, talk to the individual in question to establish a way forward that will help them.
Take a flexible approach to managing the rota

It’s important to recognize that staff have a life outside of your business. They may want to attend a parents’ evening, go see their favorite band, or have to take care of serious matters such as an ill family member. If they’re forced to choose between missing out and calling in sick, then you aren’t always going to win.

Ask yourself whether it would be feasible, from an operational point of view, to add some flexibility into how working schedules are managed. From time to time, could you allow staff to swap shifts or catch up with their work later in the week? As long as you have firm boundaries in place, this kind of approach could help you to minimize problems.

If absence is an issue in your business, then the bad news is that you probably can’t make improvements overnight. You need a considered and careful approach, and it’ll certainly be a learning curve. But when you get it right, the benefits will be huge.

Do you want to discuss your challenges with a professional, and walk away with a manageable action plan so you know exactly what you need to do? Contact us today.

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How to avoid costly legal action against your business

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, October 16, 2018

How to avoid costly legal action against your business   …read more


 

Use Your Greatest Asset To Maximize Profits in The Final Quarter

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, October 09, 2018

 Use Your Greatest Asset To Maximize Profits in The Final Quarter   …read more


 

Halloween Tips for Business Owners

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, October 02, 2018

Halloween Tips for Business Owners

 

 

 

 

 

It’s quickly approaching that time of year when we start to get questions coming in about Halloween office parties. What are appropriate costume choices and how to inject a little fun and joviality into the workplace without letting things get out of hand.

 

We used to make do with bobbing for apples and perhaps a poorly made costume crafted out of a discarded bed sheet. Today however, it’s big business. And whether you think of it as a trick to force us to part with our hard-earned cash, or a little treat to lessen the blow of the darker nights and colder days, there are certain things that you need to consider as an employer.

 

First of all, don’t blow things out of proportion. If you’re the boss, then you probably shouldn’t be spending your time worrying about who’s going to bring the caramel apples to the lunchtime party, or whether you’ve got the right equipment to organize a pumpkin carving competition. By all means, it’s fine to allow your staff to enjoy some lighthearted fun, but delegate the smaller details so you can focus on more strategic matters.

 

However, it’s sensible to think about the stance you’ll take if things take a sour turn. Your staff are adults and they should be well aware that offensive costumes aren’t appropriate. Tackle issues head-on – just because it’s Halloween, it doesn’t mean that you should let standards slide. You definitely shouldn’t dismiss inappropriate behavior as ‘just a bit of fun’.

 

Use your common sense and enter into the spirit of the season if you wish to do so. And once things are done and dusted, remember that it’s only a few months until you face a whole new set of challenges in the shape of Christmas!!

 

Need help exploring the issues surrounding the festivities and your responsibilities as an employer, we would love to help. Contact us today.

 

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My Boss Lies....

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

My Boss Lies…..

Most people have probably experienced a situation where their boss or their boss’s boss has lied, or said an untruth, or inferred an untruth.Lying is more common than I want to believe it is.Whether it is a “big” lie or a “little” lie, it’s still a lie.And that affects your credibility.If you lie, even by making a covert only partially true inference, your credibility is shot – people will not trust you completely.

I have had a boss who lied.I have also been in the same room with HR professionals who have lied to the employee standing right in front of them.Ten minutes later, they are saying something different to that employee’s manager.

Why do people lie?In the situation above, I believe the HR professional was trying to put a positive spin on the situation.The problem was, it wasn’t true.The result of which is that employees see through the untruth and the HR professional loses their credibility.In the case of my boss who lied, I believe that deep down they were incredibly insecure and simply trying to make them self look better than they were.Unfortunately it backfired.I believe that type of behavior will always backfire.Maybe not right away, but eventually it will catch up with you.The sad part is that my boss was incredibly talented and their insecurity was misguided.

Others may lie because they grew up in a family where their lying was never called to the carpet, it was accepted.So they continued to lie because at the time, it was helping their situation. So they kept on lying throughout life. As an adult, well, that was probably the person who was my boss.

Do you have a tendency to lie?Resist the temptation.Don’t do it.The good news is that credibility can be regained – but it takes time.If you’ve lied your whole life, change won’t happen overnight; but you can change.You can learn to tell the truth if you commit to always being truthful.If you catch yourself having lied and have the opportunity to go back to the person and correct your statement, then do so.There is nothing that will build trust with others more than always telling the truth.You’ll gain respect and credibility.

How do you deal with others who lie?Always treat them with respect.Kindly call them out on their untruths – but only if you are 100% certain.The last thing you want to do is accuse someone of lying, when in fact, they did not.And be prepared when you call them out, they may not acknowledge it even then.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word trustworthy as “worthy of confidence; dependable”. In life, as well as in business, we should practice the art of being trustworthy and living up to our commitments. It is important to those you work with to be dependable and consistent. This shows that you can be counted on to provide excellent work on a daily basis.

As you relate to the good and the destructive people as a trustworthy person, one can only hope that they will see the error of their ways and work toward change and become trustworthy themselves.

Need help with your HR practices? Contact us today for your HR needs.

 

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Baggage In The Workplace

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Baggage In The Workplace   …read more


 

Three Difficult Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before 2019

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Three Difficult Questions You Need To Ask Yourself Before 2019

By now, it’s highly likely that you’ll have asked yourself the big, important and very obvious questions about how your business measured up during the past year. You’ll know how much you increased your turnover. How many new staff you recruited. And what your goals are moving forward.

Planning and reflection sessions can be hugely useful, but sometimes, it can be easy to miss the less obvious measures of what you are and aren’t achieving. If you’re serious about making this next year a success, you need to delve a little deeper and consider the questions that probably haven’t even crossed your mind.

Let’s get started right away.

Are your line managers really capable?

 

It’s safe to say that your line managers are, in so many respects, the backbone of your business. They deal with day-to-day issues. They handle unexpected events. They make sure your policies are implemented and adhered to, and they keep things moving along when you can’t be there. So it’s crucially important that they can perform to the absolute best of their ability.

It’s important to note here that identifying problems when it comes to capability isn’t about pointing the finger. You need to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Carefully consider where there’s room for improvement, then create a plan that will help you to get to where you want to be. This might involve training, coaching or something completely different.

What HR mistakes have you made in the past twelve months?

No one is perfect. Running a business is a steep learning curve, whether you’re completely new to entrepreneurship, or you’ve been in the game for decades. The world is constantly changing and adapting, and you need to make sure that you’re keeping up. What worked just a few years ago won’t necessarily bring about desirable results right now.

So what mistakes did you make when it comes to your human resources during the past year? Think about operational issues, as well as the bigger strategic picture. Are your employees onboard with organizational goals? Does everyone understand and embrace their role in achieving growth? Only when you get really honest with yourself, can you start to work out how you won’t fall into the same trap twice.

 

What do you need to do to grow as a leader?

 

It’s easy to overlook your own personal development when you’re trying to grow a team. It’s crucially important though. How can you be expected to get the most out of everyone else, if you aren’t constantly improving and growing yourself? This should be a consideration throughout the year, but it’s easy to drop the ball. Now is a good time to reflect.

Of course, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution here. You can’t just book yourself on a training course and assume you’ve ticked the box, or download a generic management book and promise yourself that you’ll get stuck into it. Your approach needs to be tailored to your needs, and it must be an ongoing process rather than a one-off task.

Asking the right questions can be a huge source of growth in your business. Obviously though, you need to get really honest with yourself when it comes to working out the answers. Jot down your initial thoughts. Then scrap them and work on being really truthful. It’s not necessarily easy, but the powerful tactics rarely are.

Contact us today for your HR needs.

 

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