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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.

What You Need To Know About Offering Work Experience

Tiffany Boyes - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What You Really Need To Know About Offering Work Experience

 

The idea of giving local young people the opportunity to get a taste of the world of employment can be an appealing one, for many reasons. Offering work experience roles can strengthen your reputation, give you an immense amount of satisfaction and ensure that you’re playing your part in creating a skilled workforce for the future.

When you get down to the nitty gritty though, it can become tempting to ditch the idea completely. The process traditionally involves a ton of red tape and jumping through hoops, so however good your intentions, it can sometimes just seem like too much hassle.

Things are changing though, and many business leaders can see the value of creating opportunities for young people. Here we explain what you need to know to move forward.

 

Step outside the notion of a one-week placement

 

Back in the day, work experience would involve young people taking a week out of formal education to work a 9-5 role with a local employer. Nowadays, things are much more flexible.

Could you offer site visits to schools? Could you, or a member of your staff, offer mentoring? Could you offer evening or weekend opportunities? Thinking outside of the box could prove to be better for your business and for the young people who you’ll be working with.

 

Think beyond making the coffee and collecting the mail

 

 

No one’s expecting you to hand over the running of your company, and throwing your placement right in at the deep end could prove to be overwhelming. Ease them in gently, but be sure to give them real opportunities and challenges to get their teeth sunk into during their time in your business.

 

Keep in mind that a young person can bring a fresh perspective to the table, as well as energy and enthusiasm. You might just stumble upon your next big business idea.

 

Draw up a plan

 

 

It makes sense to think about how your young person will spend their time when they’re at your business. Of course, they’ll need to know what hours they’re working and where they need to show up on the first day, but thinking a little wider than this can set you up for success.

How will their time be filled? Can they shadow various members of staff? Can they get involved in different projects? Is it possible to offer them an element of choice, so they can learn more about the areas they’re interested in? Be flexible, but be sure to have at least the bare bones of a plan.

 

Communication, communication, communication

 

 

Communication is always important in the workplace. If you want to offer a successful placement, then it’s absolutely essential. Start by having an initial conversation with the school so you understand what they’re expecting.

On the very first day of the placement, arrange an informal chat with the young person so you can understand what they want to take away from the process. On the final day, provide them with feedback. And of course, invite them to share their own feedback about the experience. You could take away some really valuable insights into how your business is operating.

 

At this stage, you may well have questions about how all of this could work for you. Perhaps you’ve got unique challenges that you need to overcome, or you’d just like to chat with an experienced professional about getting your work placements right the first time. Get in touch today for a no-obligation chat.

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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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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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Discover Four Practical Strategies for Managing Absence in Your Workplace:

Tiffany Boyes - Thursday, March 17, 2016

Four strategies for reducing absenteeism

A few years ago Forbes reported that U.S. workforce illness from sick days to worker's compensation is costing the economy $576B annually.  Simply put, your staff are calling in sick and it’s having a severe impact on your bottom line. If you want to mitigate the impact, it’s time to think about how you can nip the problem in the bud.

Now of course, it’s important to note that managing absenteeism isn’t about trying to ensure that every single employee is always present and correct. Even with the best people management policies and procedures, it’s highly likely that you’ll still have to pick up the phone now and again and be told that an important member of your team can’t make it into the office today.

However, there are certain things that you can do to make sure that the occasional absence doesn’t spiral out of control and become a real problem for your business. Here, we’re going to outline some proven strategies that you can put into action.

Clearly outline your expectations

If you don’t already have an absence policy, then this needs to be a key priority. You can’t expect staff to follow your guidelines, if they don’t even exist! A good policy will outline arrangements for calling in sick, identify trigger points that indicate that absence has reached an unacceptable level, and will be clearly communicated to all staff.

Of course, your policy won’t be worth the paper it’s written on if it doesn’t become part of the way you do business on a daily basis. Line managers need to be confident with putting it into action. It’s vital that the rules are applied to everyone. If you have staff members with a disability, then there will be extra considerations that need to be made. For help with complex issues, speak with an HR consultant about your circumstances.

Always hold return-to-work discussions

After any period of absence, whether it’s three days or three months, there should be a return-to-work discussion between the individual and the line manager. It’s important that you establish the reason for the absence, assess what you might be able to do to support that person back into work, and follow the procedures outlined in your policy.

Even when schedules are busy, make sure that these conversations are always marked into the diary. When they’re carried out correctly, they can help you prevent a whole load of potential issues.

Think about how you can make reasonable adjustments to get staff back into their roles

Coming back to work after a period of absence can be daunting. What can you do to make the process more manageable? It might be that you can slightly alter roles and responsibilities so that you can encourage long-term absentees to come back to their jobs and ease themselves back into routine.

In practical terms, you could agree to shorter working hours for the first couple of weeks, or you could ensure that the staff member has a reduced workload. If you’re unsure about what you could do, talk to the individual in question to establish a way forward that will help them.

Take a flexible approach to managing the rota

It’s important to recognize that staff have a life outside of your business. They may want to attend a parents’ evening, go see their favorite band, or have to take care of serious matters such as an ill family member. If they’re forced to choose between missing out and calling in sick, then you aren’t always going to win.

Ask yourself whether it would be feasible, from an operational point of view, to add some flexibility into how working schedules are managed. From time to time, could you allow staff to swap shifts or catch up with their work later in the week? As long as you have firm boundaries in place, this kind of approach could help you to minimize problems.

If absence is an issue in your business, then the bad news is that you probably can’t make improvements overnight. You need a considered and careful approach, and it’ll certainly be a learning curve. But when you get it right, the benefits will be huge.

Do you want to discuss your challenges with a professional, and walk away with a manageable action plan so you know exactly what you need to do? Contact us today. 

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Three Ways to Rocket Your Team’s Performance in 2016

Carolyn Boyes - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

So when you take a look back at how your business performed in 2015, are you satisfied with what was achieved? A little reflection is always useful, but now’s the time to start thinking about the future. You no doubt have big plans for the next 12 months. You’ve got targets to meet and goals to smash, and if you want to ensure that your plans become a reality, then you’re going to have to give some serious consideration to how you’ll make sure that you get the most out of your staff.  …read more


 

How to Reward Your Staff This Christmas on a Budget

Carolyn Boyes - Monday, December 14, 2015

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.   …read more


 

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