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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.

Is Your Customer Service Slipping?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Is Your Customer Service Slipping?

 

 

 

If your customer service isn’t up to par, your profits are seriously going to suffer. Most leaders would probably be quick to say that it isn’t a problem in their operations, but can you honestly say that you couldn’t make some improvements? Working on upping your game in this area is the type of activity that could have a quick and tangible impact on your bottom line. So it’s worth taking some time to pinpoint potential issues and get a handle on them.

 

Not sure where to start? We’re here to help. Let’s look at the issues that could be at play in your business and how to fix them.

 

Make sure your staff knows what good service looks like

 

 

 

First of all, ask yourself whether your staff even know what’s expected from them. In your mind, you no doubt have a clear vision of how you want your workforce to handle queries and sales. But have you communicated this to the right people and have you created accountability? It’s vital that your teams fully understand what outstanding service looks like and when they’re hitting the mark. You might be amazed by how easily problems can be avoided when you take the time to share your expectations.

 

Have you invested in training

 

 

 

Training isn’t about talking your staff through some PowerPoint slides or sharing some broad theory about how things should be done. It’s about giving your team the practical skills they need to deliver results. If it’s been a while since you offered customer service training to your workers, then you could have identified your main problem.

 

Make sure your staff cares about your overall aims and objectives

 

 

 

Let’s take a step back for a second. Perhaps you feel confident that your staff understand what good service looks like and you know that you’ve offered quality training, So, if problems still exist, then you need to consider the possibility that you have some deeper cultural issues that need to be addressed. Having your staff on-board with what you’re trying to achieve in the broader sense is essential if you want to continue to grow.

 

When you know that changes need to be made, the road ahead can seem daunting. You don’t have to do it on your own though. It makes sense to work with a professional with a proven track record. After all, don’t you want results as quickly as possible?

 

So when it comes to fixing the problems that are holding back your workforce, get in touch with us about how we might be able to work together. You’ll walk away from your consultation with a clear idea about what you need to do next

 

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All The Answers You Need To Your Christmas HR Questions

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, November 20, 2018

All The Answers You Need To Your Christmas HR Questions

While most people begin to look forward to a little rest and recuperation over the Christmas period, it’s around this time that managers and business owners start to think about the nitty gritty, practical issues that they’ll have to contend with to keep their workforce engaged, motivated, and problem-free. It’s likely that you’ve got some questions about how you should handle things. You’re in luck, because we’ve got the answers! Read on to get the lowdown on what you really need to know. We’ve cut away all the jargon and fluff, so you can work out the best course of action for your business.

Q. Do I have to organize a Christmas party or function for my staff?

A. Obviously, there’s no legal requirement for you to host a party for your workers. There are some wider issues to consider here though. Just because you’re not obliged to do something, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you shouldn’t. Organizing a get-together could be a great way to thank everyone for their contribution.

If you’ve agreed to a Christmas party in your employment contracts though, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. As well, if you’ve offered this perk for many years, it could be argued that it’s an unwritten agreement.

One of the key worries among leaders is always cost. You don’t have to dole out a fortune though. Think outside the box, work with what you have, and don’t be scared to try something a little out of the ordinary.

Q. Everyone wants to take time off. How can I manage this?

A. Getting this right all comes down to the finer details of your employment contracts. You must take the time to assess the precise terms and conditions that you’ve laid out regarding how holiday can be taken. Generally speaking, staff should know how to request time off, and how decisions will be made by the management team.

If you have certain busy periods, you may decide that you’ll only accept requests for time off between certain dates in exceptional circumstances. If you had a staff member who was getting married, for example, then you may reconsider your stance.

This issue comes down to making sure that your HR policies and procedures are fit for purpose, and very clearly communicated to your staff. If you think that you might be missing the mark here, it could be time to work with an expert who’ll be able to get you on the right track.

Q. Not all of my staff are Christian. What are the implications here?

Having a diverse workforce has a multitude of benefits. You do need to make sure though that you’re conscious of differing beliefs, and the issues that could be at play. Remember that Christmas is a national holiday within the US, and it’s recognized among many religious groups (including the non-religious) as having a special status. If you have many employees from different religions, it may be worthwhile considering making arrangements to recognize other holidays that your staff may wish to celebrate.

This can seem like a minefield, but it’s very possible to devise an approach that will suit all needs. You may need some help though when it comes to understanding the relevance and important of various different holidays. As such, you might decide to hold a consultation exercise with your employees. Getting everyone involved in decisions that will have an impact on the workforce will ensure that they’re accepted.

Q. Should I give my staff a gift?

A. It’s the season to spread a little cheer, and you might decide to reward your staff with a gift. This could be a great idea. There are a few things to consider though to ensure that your gesture doesn’t end up backfiring on you.

First of all, make sure that everyone receives their gift. This includes anyone who may be away on maternity, paternity, or sick leave. You might decide to have the gifts delivered, if it seems appropriate.

As well, think carefully about the nature of the gift. A bottle of wine may seem like a good idea, though not so much if you have members of staff who abstain from alcohol. Use your common sense, and get a professional’s opinion if you’re struggling to find a way forward.

If you take the time to get things right, you don’t have to turn yourself into a Scrooge this Christmas with the worry of what to do for the best for your workforce.

To have an informal chat about your obligations and your opportunities, get in touch today.

 

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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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