HUMAN

RESOURCES

WORKING FOR YOU

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.

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.

 

  …read more


 

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.

 

  …read more


 

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.

 

  …read more


 

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.

 

  …read more


 

Baggage In The Workplace

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Baggage In The Workplace   …read more


 

Are Your Employees Coming To Work Ill?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Are Your Employees Coming To Work Ill?

 

 

A survey by NSF International stated that at least 26 percent of American workers admit to going to work when they are sick, with men being twice as likely to show up at the office while ill than women. 42 percent say it’s because they fear missing deadlines or having to make up too much work, 25 percent say their boss expects them to go to work no matter what.

 

On the surface, statistics like these can seem to demonstrate that employees are loyal. They don’t want to let their colleagues down. They don’t want to make a fuss. They want to ensure that they get their work done and make their contribution to the bottom line.

 

It’s true that the root cause can be positive feelings, but in reality, it can be a serious problem. Their productivity is likely to suffer, their morale can go through the floor, and there’s quite often the risk of illnesses being passed to other workers, which amplifies the problem.

 

And of course, we need to remember that as an employer, you’ve got a duty of care. If you have a workplace culture that frowns upon taking time off – even when it’s for genuine reasons – then you’ve got a problem on your hands. Ultimately, it can lead to lower retention rates, higher costs and a damaged employer brand.

 

So what can you do about it? Here are some areas that you might want to consider…

 

  • Create a medical leave policy
  •  

Do your staff know what they should do if they need to attend a medical or dental appointment during working hours? Managing things on a case-by-case basis can cause problems. It’s also important that all members of staff know what the provisions are.

 

  • Ensure that you hold back-to-work meetings
  •  

Some members of staff may feel anxious or worried about the prospect of returning to work after a period of illness, even if it’s only a few days. Make sure that you’re carrying out back-to-work meetings so you can bring your employee up to speed, and they know that they’ll be supported.

 

  • Don’t neglect the problems that can’t be seen
  •  

If someone is suffering from the flu, that’s often pretty obvious. Many other issues though, such as stress and depression, can sometimes be hidden. Make sure that your agenda and policies are inclusive and also tackle the areas which are less black and white.

 

  • Lead by example
  •  

Listen, we completely understand that you’re a busy leader with work to do. But if you’re seen showing up at the office when you’re quite clearly unwell, it’s sending the wrong message about what’s expected. Learn to recognize when taking a break is the best option.

Battling presenteeism isn’t an overnight thing, and there are rarely quick fixes. It requires a shift in culture and good practice being encouraged and supported over a longer period of time. However, it is an important issue, and it deserves a place on your agenda.

 

For help with your HR needs, get in touch with us today. If we are not able to support all of your HR needs, we will be happy to direct you to a HR professional who can.

 

  …read more


 

Should Employees Get Time Off For Tying The Knot?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Should Employees Get Time Off For Tying The Knot?   …read more


 

Your guide to minimizing conflict in a family business

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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.

  …read more


 

Are your employees allowed to use work provided devices for personal use?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Are your employees using their work provided devices for personal use and are they allowed too?   …read more


 

How To Handle Office Romances

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, February 13, 2018

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.

  …read more


 

HR U CAN TRUST

OUR PLEDGE

NEWSLETTER

SIGN-UP

Submitting Form...

The server encountered an error.

Form received.

Captcha Image