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.

Three Signs That You Do NOT Need To Work With An HR Consultant

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Three Signs That You Do NOT Need To Work With An HR Consultant


You might think that because we run an HR consultancy, we have a list a mile long of all the reasons why you should definitely work with an HR professional to help you to hit your business goals. It’s true that there are many ways in which we can help you to hit those targets and create a positive, productive workplace. But it’s also true that we know that we can’t help everyone. There are some people who just aren’t in the right position to use our services, and if you’re on the fence right now about what your next moves should be, then we want to make sure that you’ve got all the information you need.


Let’s explore three of the biggest reasons why now might not be the right time to look at outsourcing your HR practices…



You’re at the stage where it’s necessary to employ a permanent HR member of staff



HR consultancy can be a great option for small and emerging businesses that could benefit from knowledge and expertise on matters relating to personnel management, but are not yet ready or able to bring on a permanent employee. There often comes a point though when it just makes better sense all round to build your own HR team.

There are obvious benefits of having a dedicated HR member of staff who knows your business inside out, and is out there operating on the front line each and every day. Most of our clients aren’t quite yet at that stage, though many do plan to get there in the not too distant future. Your HR function should grow with your business, and it’s important to carefully assess your needs.


You’ve got a wealth of knowledge on the nuances of employment law and its application


Employment law can be complex, to say the least. Keeping on top of changes and ensuring that your business is fully compliant can almost be a full-time job in its own right. Depending on your background though, you might feel like your knowledge is up to date and will keep you on the right side of compliance for a long time to come.

It’s true that many of our clients are business owners whose skills and talents are very much in a different area, and so they choose to outsource the tasks where there are gaps in their knowledge. We’re their eyes and ears when it comes to searching out new developments, and seamlessly bringing their practices up to date. If you have a deep understanding of employment law, you might be able to do this for yourself.


You’re not willing to have open and frank conversations with your consultant



So many businesses have problems of varying sizes bubbling away beneath the surface. Leading human beings can be a complicated and messy business. It’s inevitable that mistakes will sometimes be made. When you’re outsourcing, you’re only going to take value away from your relationship with your consultant if you’re willing to have honest conversations. This includes giving them access to everything they need… The good, the bad, and the ugly.

It can be overwhelming and daunting, but a good HR consultant is not there to judge, or to point the finger of blame. Of course, your confidentiality will always be a key priority.

If you would like to discuss whether working with an HR consultant is right for you, get in touch today for an initial no-obligation consultation. We can discuss your current challenges, and the options that are available to you.

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Are You Taking Sexual Harassment Claims Seriously?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Are You Taking Sexual Harassment Claims Seriously?



The Harvey Weinstein scandal has once again shone a light on the very serious issue of sexual harassment in the workplace. Though we’ve come a long way in recent years in terms of creating legislation to protect individuals against inappropriate behavior and gender related discrimination, it’s crystal clear that there’s still a great deal of work to be done.


As a business owner, you have a responsibility. To meet your legal obligations and your duty of care as an employer, you need to make sure that you’ve got provisions in place to deal with sexual harassment claims. In practical terms, what exactly does this look like? There are several things that you need to consider to ensure that you’re fulfilling your obligations. Let’s take a look at the questions that you need to be asking…


Are you merely being reactive?


Dealing with sexual harassment shouldn’t just be about handling issues once they arise. It’s about being proactive, and taking extra steps to create a positive working environment. Are your staff trained in what’s acceptable and what isn’t? And are your line managers and employees in a position whereby they feel comfortable in challenging unacceptable behavior from the offset? Your approach should be about creating a positive culture, rather than just firefighting.


Are you handling complaints swiftly and sensitively?


If a member of staff came into your office right now with a complaint of sexual harassment against another employee, what exactly would you do? You need to be certain that you’d be able to act quickly and professionally. Remember that a thorough investigation should be carried out, and you should never jump to assumptions about what may or may not have happened.


Do you have a policy in place, and is it being implemented?


The value of having a robust policy covering harassment in the workplace is often overlooked until it’s needed. Having a clear set of procedures that outline how a complaint should be made and how it will be dealt with is essential. A clear policy has many benefits for you as a leader, as well as for your employees. However, you need to remember that this isn’t about ticking boxes. Your policy is only going to work for your business if it’s clearly communicated and implemented by your management team. This also underpins a wider organizational culture that refuses to tolerate bullying or harassment.


The headlines in the news at the moment may be dire, and indeed deeply distressing. Sexual harassment is very clearly still rampant in many industries and workplaces. The conversation though does present an opportunity to talk about these serious issues, and consider how positive change can be made. How can your business play a role in stamping out unacceptable behavior? Contact us today to discuss your HR needs

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Five critical actions for managing an employee grievance

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Five critical actions for managing an employee grievance   …read more


What If You Refuse Vacation Time, And The Employee Takes Time Off Anyway?

Tiffany Boyes - Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What If You Refuse Vacation Time, And The Employee Takes Time Off Anyway?   …read more


Why You Should Never Download Your People Policies Online

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why You Should Never Download Your People Policies Online


What did you do the very first time that you realized that you were going to need some people policies? If you’re like most employers, then you probably carried out a quick Google search to grab what you needed to make sure that you’re compliant with the law and doing everything you can to drive performance and engagement.


It seems like the obvious place to start. You’ve no doubt picked up a ton of valuable business advice online during your time as an entrepreneur. So, naturally, search engines often become your trusty advisor when it comes to the things that you just don’t know.


However, it pays to exercise more than just a little bit of caution. You’d know better than to search for medical advice online, or just hope for the best when it comes to what you’ve heard about managing your finances… So should you really trust Google to give you the policies and templates that have the power to make or destroy your business?


Here’s why you might want to rethink…


You have no real idea where your advice is coming from


You don’t have to be an expert legal advisor, or even an HR consultant, to create a website and share your views and opinions online. Pretty much anyone with a laptop and the patience to watch a few YouTube videos can do it. You might say that it would be pretty pointless for someone to intentionally give you the wrong advice, and that’s probably true. But it’s not worth leaving anything to chance.


Working with a skilled HR professional will make sure that your documentation is informed by legal requirements and cutting-edge best practice.


The law changes regularly




There are times in your business when doing a few online searches is going to give you exactly what you need. But when it comes to managing your most valuable asset – your people – it’s never worth cutting corners.


If you’re concerned about whether your practices are hitting the mark, get in touch today and we will have a no-obligation chat about where you stand and what your options are.

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Can You Really Make Your Staff Sign A Love Contract?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Can You Really Make Your Staff Sign A Love Contract?

 Love contracts have been commonplace in the US for quite some time. You’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s all about dedicating your life to your partner, but it’s actually something quite different. And it’s very much a workplace issue…

A love contract is a document that two employees sign to confirm that they have not been coerced into a relationship. Worryingly, it’s used as a way to prevent sexual harassment claims being made further down the line.

Generally speaking, it’s a policy that would appear in the staff handbook, and it would encourage workers to be discrete about their relationship. In many cases, it would also rule against a manager dating someone in their direct reporting line.

But is all of this actually any of your business?

And is a love contract something that you should think about bringing into force in your organization?

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s something that’s worth considering.

First of all, it’s clear that you can’t make rules about falling in love. Your staff no doubt spend a big chunk of their time in the workplace, so it’s natural that strong bonds will be formed, and these can sometimes turn into something more. It’s totally acceptable to expect your staff to be discrete when this happens. After all, no one wants to see their colleagues kissing over the copy machine.

Taking away people’s right to work in an environment that’s free from harassment though is dangerous ground. It’s legally questionable, and it’s also a serious ethical issue.

The bottom line here is that you should be alert, and mindful of the issues that can arise. If workplace romances are going on, then it makes sense that you carefully manage the situation and ensure that it doesn’t turn into an HR disaster.

You may even want to include a marriage and dating policy in your staff handbook, so you’re prepared should the situation arise.

A love contract though is quite possibly a step too far…


Please contact us today. If we’re not able to fulfill all your HR needs, we’ll direct you to HR professionals who can.

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Expensive HR Mistakes

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Expensive HR Mistakes That Too Many Small Business Owners Are Making



Would you call yourself a ‘reluctant leader’? It’s a title that many small business owners, if they’re being completely honest, might identify with.

You started your company because you had an exciting product or service to share, and you believed in the impact that it could have on the world. As you grow there are a ton of extra responsibilities that end up on your agenda.


One of these is building and managing a team of productive and motivated individuals who can help you to reach those big goals. It’s a whole lot easier said than done!


There are some all-too-common mistakes that tons of small business owners are making. They often don’t even realize it. Let’s take a look at what they are, and what you should do about them…



Acting with the best intentions, but without understanding the law



You value your staff. You want to do your best by them. And you have absolutely no intention of doing anything that could potentially harm your business or bring it into disrepute. The reality here though is that simply trying to do what feels right and fair often just doesn’t cut it.


Employment law can be complex, and it’s your responsibility to make sure that you’re compliant. Do you understand, for example, the legislation around acceptable working hours? Or how you should support disabled members of staff? Or what to do if a worker is expecting a baby? If not, then you need to either improve your knowledge, or take advice from an expert.


Developing policies and procedures as the need arises


Perhaps you’ve never really considered how you would handle the situation if a member of staff started to under-perform, or if their behavior became unacceptable. Surely, you can address issues like this as and when they arise? Well, this approach certainly isn’t ideal, and it can result in all kinds of problems.


If you don’t have robust policies and procedures in place, then consider this your wake-up call. Not only will making changes reduce your risk of running into difficulties, but it can also help you to drive your business forward.


Believing that investing in help is just for the big fish



When many business owners think about working with an HR consultant, they imagine that it might be something that they’ll do years in the future, once they’ve built a huge team. However, we would like to provide affordable solutions to businesses with just a few employees, and really help them to nip problems in the bud, and create a clear growth plan for the future.


Seeking out help earlier can ensure that any issues don’t become deeply en-grained in your workplace culture. It can also give you a massive amount of peace of mind in your role as an employer.


If you’re reading this and you know that you’re guilty of making these mistakes, then get in touch. We can arrange to have a no-obligation consultation, and make a plan for getting you firmly on the right track!

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The Problem With Presenteeism

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, December 06, 2016

The Problem With Presenteeism



A 2011 survey from Career Builder found that 72 percent of people go to work sick. This year, a survey from Staples found that number may be even closer to 80 percent. Showing up when you’re feeling lousy, a phenomenon known as presenteeism, can actually hurt your employer. Lower-than-normal, cold-medicine-fueled productivity levels can actually cost employers more than it would if you just took a sick day, Web MD reported. Though some might say that their dedication to the job is admirable, it’s something that can cause serious problems for employers.


It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why. Coughs, sniffles and general sickness can easily be spread among staff. Before you know it, you could have a situation on your hands that is starting to look distinctly like an epidemic. Productivity falls, and this can result in serious problems in terms of managing the day-to-day workload.


These issues could perhaps be linked to a feeling of being indispensable at work or really not being able to afford the time off. However, there are certain things that you can do as an employer to make sure that presenteeism doesn’t knock you off course.


The simplest solution here is to ensure that you have a sickness and absence policy that’s fit for purpose and focuses on supporting your staff as well as the achievement of your goals and objectives.


However, the problems often go much deeper than this. Lots of employees, I’m sure, feel that their workload is too great to call in sick. It may be time for you to take a look at your wider practices, and assess where problems might exist that need to be addressed.


There’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of supporting staff with mental health issues, and tackling the stigma that often exists around non-physical health and well-being. When creating your sickness and absence policies, it’s vital that you consider how you’ll be playing your part in creating positive change.


If you have issues in your workplace surrounding sickness absence, then it may be time to call in the professionals. We can assess the effectiveness of your existing policies and procedures, ensure that you’re compliant with relevant legislation, and help you to move forward towards exemplary leadership. Give us a call today to arrange your initial no-obligation consultation.

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What Business Owners Need To Know About Ramadan

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, July 12, 2016

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Calling Last Orders On The Post-Work Drink?

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Calling Last Orders On The Post-Work Drink?


The tradition of enjoying a cold beer after a hard day at work is one that’s been carried down through generations. Plenty of us are familiar with the comforting feeling of putting the world to rights over a few drinks with colleagues.


The world’s changing though and the law has caught up.


Every state in the U.S. and the District of Columbia now have per se drunk driving laws, which means that if a driver is found to have a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 or greater, that driver is guilty of driving under the influence based on that evidence alone. However, there is an effort by advocates to further lower that limit to 0.05 or lower, as it is in most European countries. Many states, if not all, have laws that increase the penalties for drivers whose blood-alcohol content levels are recorded at a certain level over the legal limit. Usually if someone has a BAC of 0.15 or 0.20 the penalties for DUI are enhanced.


So what does this mean for business owners?


Should you develop a policy on driving? What are your responsibilities? Could your staff bring your business into disrepute after a few too many? How exactly are you supposed to navigate the minefield of everyone getting home safely after an organized work get-together?

Spend a few minutes thinking about it, and it’s easy to see how a friendly tradition can become an HR nightmare.

You could of course argue that your staff are adults and that making sensible choices ultimately comes down to them. And that’s true. After all, you’re not a schoolteacher or a caregiver.

A good leader is one who encourages autonomy and empowers their workers to make their own decisions. At the end of the day, you can only have a certain level of impact on your employees once they clock out. It may be sensible to make timely reminders about the drink driving laws, especially during times of celebration, but in reality, there’s little that you can do when staff are on their own time.

If hangovers are getting in the way of getting the job done, then obviously that’s an issue that needs to be addressed immediately, and drinking during working hours should never be accepted.

But let’s put savvy business decisions and simple common sense aside here for a second. Let’s suppose that you’re organizing a social event after work and you know that drinks are likely to be flowing.

The right thing to do is always the right thing to do. Sometimes, it’s less about considering your budget and the finer details of whether you can afford to pay for transportation home after your get-together. It’s more about being a responsible employer and realizing that in the grand scheme of things, a few taxis aren’t going to break the bank.


Know the law. Take action on what simply isn’t acceptable. Take responsibility, but accept that there are limitations to just how much you can do.

And if alcohol is causing problems that are starting to escalate out of control, get in touch. A confidential chat with us could help you to get things back on the right track without any hassle or fuss. There’s no reason why your HR practices should leave you feeling like you need a stiff drink.

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