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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.
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Is Your Workplace Ready For The Summer?
The days are getting longer and the temperature is finally on the rise. Talk around the office has turned to bikini diets and discount airlines. The parks are packed full with joggers and cyclists. There’s no denying that summer is very firmly on the horizon. But is your business ready?
As always, a little preparation can go a long way. Here, we’re going to talk you through the considerations that you need to make to ensure that your business is fighting fit to contend with its upcoming challenges.
Are you keeping spirits high?
The summer can be a bit of an unsettling time for employees. There are often many factors at play that can present unique issues. Team members are taking time off, sunny gardens seem much more appealing than the office and sporting events are scheduled for right in the middle of the working day. The list goes on and on.
So it’s easy to see why motivation and engagement can sometimes be sorely lacking during the warmer months. Instead of trying to firefight problems once they arise, be proactive and consider what you can do to raise spirits. Organize an outdoor picnic during the lunch hour, treat your staff to an ice cream, or organize to have the biggest sporting events streamed into the workplace. Small gestures can often go a long way.
How will you handle a heat wave?
Okay, so this might be wishful thinking. But every now and again, the weather throws a pleasant surprise our way. Do you know what you should do when it comes to managing the working environment when the temperatures soar? There’s no guideline, which is partly because some industries require extreme hot or cold conditions just to get the job done.
When there’s no legislation to refer to, use a bit of simple common sense. Is the office getting hot and stuffy? Is it uncomfortable for your staff? If so, think about making some adjustments. Fans can make a good quick fix, and you should always ensure that fresh cold water is available for drinking.
Have you mapped out staffing requirements?
More often than not, the summer months pose challenges in terms of making sure that you effectively manage the annual leave rota so work still gets done. The starting point here must involve working out what you need. How will you ensure the phones are answered, and questions are dealt with in a timely manner? How many team members need to be present at any given time? Go back to basics.
Don’t forget to think about how you can use this period to create opportunities. Members of staff who are eager to progress may be keen to step up and contribute to ongoing projects while their colleagues are away, or take on a more diverse range of responsibilities to assist with their professional development.
Perhaps you’ve got your plan of action mapped out and you’re confident that you’re ready for the summer. Or maybe you’re feeling unorganized and worried about the issues you know you’ll have to handle in the very near future. Need some help? That’s exactly why we’re here. Give us a call today for an initial chat about your circumstances.
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Your guide to minimizing conflict in a family business
Being part of a family business can seem like a dream come true for many people. The opportunity to work alongside your nearest and dearest to pursue your goals and create financial independence is something that can have huge appeal. So, it’s no surprise that Harvard Business School has reported that family firms account for two thirds of businesses across the globe.
Regardless of how close your family unit may be, there are unique challenges that come hand-in-hand with working alongside your relatives. It might sound good on paper, but when you have to line manage your brother and answer to your sister-in-law, all before 9am, cracks can very easily start to appear.
It’s vital that you lay the right foundations for avoiding unnecessary conflict. Here, we share some of our top tips.
Utilize official channels of communication
It’s natural to occasionally want to discuss work outside of the office, especially if you’re socializing with people who play an active role in the projects that you’re working on. However, it’s important to think about the potential consequences. Imagine that you tell your family members about some big upcoming changes within the business over Sunday dinner. By the time they get to work the next day, they’ve already digested the information, and they’re eager to discuss the details with their colleagues. Your other members of staff are going to feel out of the loop. This can only lead to despondency. Schedule meetings where all stakeholders can be present, and stick to other topics of conversation when socializing with family.
Create a succession plan
You might plan on handing your business over to your children when the time comes for you to enjoy your retirement, but making assumptions is never wise. They might have other plans, or they could quite simply be lacking the skills required to take over.
No one wants to think about what will happen when they’re no longer around, but if you want your business to survive and provide opportunities for your family for years to come, then it’s essential that you carefully consider what the management structure will look like in the future.
Ensure everyone knows who they should answer to
Think about the structure of traditional businesses. Employees have line managers, they know who’s in charge and where they should turn to for guidance and management. Just because the majority of your staff happen to be relatives, doesn’t mean that you should neglect the creation of an organizational hierarchy.
Of course, this also applies for non-family employees. They need to know who they can go to when they have questions, who they should be taking direction from on a daily basis, and who will be carrying out their important HR-related discussions, such as performance reviews.
Seek out external HR assistance
It can be hard to make impartial, strategic decisions when you’re dealing with family members. As your business grows, it makes sense to bring in some external HR help. This will give you a sounding board for your worries and concerns. You’ll be able to ensure that you’re acting in accordance with the law, and you’ll get guidance on how to handle difficult situations.
Our retainer clients love having the peace of mind that comes with knowing they can just pick up the phone and talk to us about their latest challenges, whether it be a small issue that they want to nip in the bud, or something more complex that they need to get right.
Want to discuss how we could work together, to make sure that you get timely and confidential HR advice? Give us a call today and we can talk you through your options, without any kind of obligation.
MARCH MADNESS – A Guide For Employers
Whether you love it or hate it, there’s no escaping from basketball at the moment. We’re about to enter March Madness. Business owner’s will likely have to handle some issues that go a little deeper than arguing with your partner over the remote control.
Between March 13 and April 2, when the tournament draws to a close, there will be some key considerations that you’ll have to make to ensure that it’s business as usual in your workplace, as much as possible.Here, we tell you what you need to know.
Be flexible wherever possible
Trying to bury your head in the sand is very rarely a good idea. Acknowledge that basketball is a top issue at the moment. You may well have members of staff who want to tune into the games. Consider reworking your timetables to accommodate any requested time off, or make provisions for watching big matches in the break room.
Operational requirements should always be at the top of your agenda, but if you’re organized, it’s very possible to offer a degree of flexibility without it having an impact on productivity and output. In fact, you’re likely to find that it will boost morale and motivation, which is always a positive thing.
Always apply your existing people policies
You don’t have to start from scratch and create a policy that handles the implications of sporting events. It’s very likely that everything you need will already be covered in your current policies and practices, including provisions around annual leave, sickness absence, and alcohol in the workplace.
If you suspect that your documentation is no longer fit for purpose, or that changes need to be made to ensure that you’re compliant with relevant laws and better practice, then take this as you cue for getting things sorted. We can carry out a review of where you currently are and make recommendations for moving forward.
Consider your stance on social media usage
Social media usage is another consideration that you may well already have covered within your existing policies. It’s a relatively new issue though. It’s important to consider the fact that your staff may be turning to social platforms and online news sources to stay up to date with the latest scores and commentary.
A web use policy should encompass what’s acceptable and what isn’t. It should be very clearly communicated to all employees. Remember to keep things fair. It wouldn’t be a good idea, for example, to allow basketball fans to use social media during March Madness, and apply a blanket ban on usage for other reasons. Remember that not everyone is interested in the game!
In just a couple of weeks, basketball will become a distant memory for many people. In the here and now however, it’s important that you consider your role as a leader and ensure that problems and issues are sidestepped wherever possible.
If you’re concerned about the implications of big sporting events, and you’d like to take the opportunity to chat with an expert HR consultant about your responsibilities as an employer, then get in touch for a no-obligation chat about how we might be able to help.…read more
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