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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.

Five Mistakes That Business Owners Make With Employee Handbooks

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Five Mistakes That Business Owners Make With Employee Handbooks

 

According to a recent study by XpertHR, 92% of companies have created employee handbooks to share with their staff. But the finished document is about so much more than just listing your policies and sharing some mission statements that you’ve cobbled together over a cup of coffee with your managers.

Based on the statistics, you’ve probably made a token attempt at creating an employee handbook for your business – but are you missing the mark? Here, we uncover the mistakes that too many leaders are making and explain how you can turn things around.

 

Taking a cookie-cutter approach

 

Sure, there are certain things that all employee handbooks should include. But this certainly doesn’t mean that you should just download a free template from Google, fill in the blanks and hope for the best. Your business is unique. Its culture and practices make it individual and your handbook needs to reflect this. After all, first impressions count. So, you need to make sure that you’re giving your new recruits a quality document that reflects what you’re really all about.

Don’t be scared to showcase your business’s personality and create something that demonstrates what it’s like to work for your company. Your latest recruits should feel inspired, motivated and ready to face their new challenges.

 

Speaking in legal lingo

 

Your HR practices need to be created in accordance with relevant legislation. Staying on the right side of the law will save you a whole load of time and hassle. Before stuffing your handbook with jargon though, take a step back and think about how you can make the important information as easy as possible to digest. A better understanding of what’s expected will ultimately lead to higher rates of compliance.

Consider your audience and keep things as straightforward as possible. At the end of the day, your handbook should be there to help people – not overwhelm them.

 

Letting the document gather dust

 

The world of business changes and adapts every single day. New legislation is rolled out, light is cast on exciting and innovative ways to get the most out of a workforce, and advances in technology present new challenges. What works right now isn’t necessarily going to be fit for purpose in the near future.

Before signing off on your document as completed, set a date for review. Keeping on top of changes can be a manageable job only if you make sure that you don’t let the grass grow under your feet. Shockingly, 2.8% of employers don’t know when they last carried out any reviews or changes – don’t fall into this camp!

 

Neglecting to seek out a professional opinion

 

You wouldn’t finalize your end-of-year accounts without speaking to an accountant, so why should your employment documentation be any different? An HR professional will be able to advise you on anything that you might have missed, unearth any points that could potentially get you into hot water and give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that everything’s in order.

Ready to seek out some advice that you know you can trust? Whether you’re starting from scratch with your handbook and you’re not sure where to begin, or you’ve done the work yourself and just want a second opinion, we can help. Give us a call right away for a no-obligation chat about working together.

 

Forgetting to make sure that every employee has their copy

 

Creating a document to be proud of is only the first part of the story. It isn’t going to make any difference unless you ensure that all employees get their copy, and that they’re given time to digest the information. These days, this is easier than ever before. Many companies decide to distribute their handbooks via email or an intranet system.

 

And finally, be sure to lead by example. When’s the last time that you familiarized yourself with the content? Do you have a copy on your desk? Are you confident that you could answer questions about the points that are covered? If not, consider this your wake-up call!

 

So what changes will you be making?

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Bad HR Habits That Could End Your Business

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bad HR Habits That Could End Your Business

 

 

We all know that bad habits in our personal lives can lead to serious problems. From trying to adopt a healthier diet all the way through to kicking cigarettes, most of us have experienced a time when we recognized that changes had to be made.

But have you ever stopped to think about the HR habits that could be having a seriously negative impact on your business? Like many less than favorable behaviors, we sometimes don’t realize that they’re a problem until they’ve spiraled out of control. Here, we identify some bad HR habits that you might be committing.

 

Carrying out annual reviews

Wait a minute – why exactly is this a bad habit? Shouldn’t you be making sure that performance discussions are taking place? Of course you should. But if they’re only happening once a year, then you’re missing a trick. Managing and improving performance needs to be built into your everyday working practices. If it’s not, then you can’t realistically expect to improve productivity.

 

Being stuck in the past

 

You don’t need us to tell you that the world of business is moving faster than ever before. You’re probably utilizing modern tactics when it comes to your marketing, for example, but what about your HR? It could be time to ditch the notion that HR lives in the filing cabinet and bring your business up to speed. A few savvy investments in technology and software could yield a huge return.

 

Thinking that training and learning are one and the same

 

There’s no denying that training can be expensive. Send a few employees to a conference, book in some places on an external course, or bring in a professional trainer for a couple of days and your bill will be hefty. Sometimes, formal training is essential. But what’s arguably much more important is ongoing learning within the workplace. Nurturing your talent isn’t a one-time event – it’s about what happens in your business on a day-to-day basis.

Bad habits are often deeply engraved into a business’s culture, but that doesn’t mean that you should just ignore them and hope for the best. Tackling these issues head-on is the only option. Need a little help for working out your next steps? Get in touch today.

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Why Is Your Customer Service Slipping?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why 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.

 

Your staff doesn’t know 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.

 

You haven’t 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.

 

Your staff doesn’t care 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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Six Ways To Raise Your Leadership Game

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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Do you know how to handle office romances? Find out more:

Tiffany Boyes - Thursday, May 05, 2016

How To Handle Office Romances

With many of us spending more and more time at the office, it’s no surprise that many working relationships blossom into something a little more intimate. In fact, research carried out by CareerBuilder.com found that 38% of workers have dated a colleague at some point in their working lives.

As an employer though, you’d be right to be a little cautious about what the implications could be for your business. If you suspect that there’s an office romance, you may be concerned about the impact that this could have on your team or what might happen if things turn sour.

Spring is in the air, so now is a great time to consider what some of the best practice is on this subject. Without any further ado, here’s what you need to know:

Accept that these things happen

It would be unreasonable to try to implement any kind of policy that banned romantic relationships between employees. Also, it probably wouldn’t act as a deterrent. If anything, you’d be simply creating a culture of secrecy and mistrust.

The bottom line here is that these things happen and, as a leader, you have to accept it.

Nip any problems in the bud ASAP

Public displays of affection aren’t appropriate in the workplace. No one wants to see PDA by the water cooler, or have to navigate their way through a kissing couple just to get to the break-room. Luckily, most couples will know this already, and will often do everything they can to make sure that there are no awkward moments for their colleagues.

If you do feel that boundaries are being crossed, you need to take action as soon as possible. Have a discreet word with both individuals, explain your worries, and remind them of what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

Consider the team as a whole


You’re probably not in the office all day long, every day of the week. So in many ways, you only get a very limited snapshot of what’s going on and how everyone’s interacting on a day-to-day basis. This means that you need to be extra vigilant when it comes to monitoring sentiment.

Of course, this is a larger issue surrounding workplace culture and it covers more than just office romances. Keeping your finger on the pulse and collecting meaningful, insightful feedback from your staff on a regular basis will ensure that you’re creating a productive, motivated, and happy workforce – if, of course, you’re taking action on your findings.

Don’t take sides if things go wrong

Many employers worry about the potential fallout of office relationships turning sour. It’s essential that you’re prepared for the worst-case scenario. Stay impartial, try to exercise a degree of understanding and sympathy, but make sure that you keep overall business objectives and priorities in sight.

Of course, it’s vital that you can recognize the difference between a break-up and something more sinister. Your policies and procedures on serious matters such as sexual harassment and bullying should be tough and always implemented.

If you’ve got these key areas covered, romance at work doesn’t have to leave you feeling stressed out and uncertain about what to do for the best. If you feel like you need to ensure that you’re prepared for anything that your business might throw at you this year, we can help to make sure that you’re ready. Give us a call to arrange a consultation.

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HR Tasks To Tick Off Your List This Month

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, May 03, 2016

HR Tasks To Tick Off Your List This Month

 

 

Managing your workforce isn’t always about big projects and rolling out transformational change. If you want to get the best out of your greatest asset, then you need to make sure that you’re doing the necessary work on a very regular basis.

Taking a little time each month to keep on top of things can end up saving you a whole load of hassle in the long term. So what should you be doing in May to keep your business on the right track? Read on for pointers.

 

 

Get the summer vacations/holidays sorted

 

At this time of year, your staff are starting to think about jetting off to sunnier climates. If you don’t get yourself prepared, then you may find yourself in a bit of a pickle. You need to allocate leave fairly and ensure that everyone knows about the arrangements. Now’s a good time to refer to any existing policies that you might have and update them if necessary. As a side note, it might be time for you to consider taking some time away from the office too. You’re no use to your team if you’re stressed and tired.

 

Consider your cold, hard figures

 

When some leaders think about HR, they think about fluff without any real substance. The function has completely transformed in recent years and the smartest business owners know that it isn’t just a ‘nice to have’ – it’s completely non-negotiable if you’re serious about sustainable growth. So with this in mind, and considering the fact that we’ve just come to the end of another financial year, it’s time to look at your numbers. How much are you spending on staffing? What activities are bringing the greatest return on investment? Only once you know where you are, can you create a map to where you want to be.

 

Book yourself in for an HR health-check

 

The vast majority of business owners do everything they can to comply with relevant employment legislation and create practices and policies that make their workplace a happy environment. Let’s be honest though – we all have constraints on our time, and it’s not always possible to go the extra mile. If you know that you’ve been putting HR on the back-burner, then there’s no time like the present to review how you’re really performing and what you could do to improve your business.

If you’d like a little special assistance without committing to a tying contract, then you’re in luck. Our HR health-check service is just the ticket if you feel like it could be time to step back and take stock, before creating your plans for the future. Give us a call today and we’ll explain more about how you can book your spot.

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Is Your Workplace Ready For The Summer?

Tiffany Boyes - Friday, April 29, 2016

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Are you asking your staff the right questions? Find out more here:

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

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How would your business cope with a huge HR issue? Here's your blueprint:

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

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Read this guide and you could save a huge chunk of money on your next recruitment drive:

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, April 05, 2016

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