Coronavirus in the Workplace

As Coronavirus is now increasing globally and the spread of the virus is growing daily there are increasing concerns for employers and employees alike.

Whereas we cannot foresee just how severely this outbreak will impact on individual businesses we can mitigate some of the fears surrounding work expectations. Employers have a duty of care under the ‘Health and Safety at Work Act 1974’ and therefore should take steps to protect their workforce.

Communication to your staff plays a vital role into keeping the workforce up to date and will help allay any immediate fears. Regular updates will ensure that all your workforce is fully aware of expectations and processes to follow over the forthcoming months.

Precautions recommended:-
Hygiene – Encourage your staff to wash their hands regularly and ensure supplies of soap and disposal hand towels are made available. Outline the symptoms to be aware of and process to follow if they feel they may be infected or have come into contact with someone who is infected.
Risk Assessments – should be carried out within businesses to ensure that they have the right policies and procedures in place to deal with absence.
Absence – Re-confirm the procedure steps to your managers so that absence can be reported and managed i.e. sickness, self-isolation, bereavement, caring for an independent, travel etc.
Absence reporting – re-iterate the guidelines to staff for awareness
Sick Pay – the Government have announced emergency legislation plans to be passed imminently entitling those eligible to SSP from day one. Statutory sick pay is currently set at £94.25 per week.
Confidentiality – under GDPR employers must ensure that employee data remains confidential. Grievances may be lodged if situations are not handled delicately so ensure your process takes care of this.

The risks will inevitably continue to change as we face new phases of the virus spread so be sure to continue to update your staff.

If you would like any assistance implementing any of the above or have a question that isn’t covered please contact me at nicky.njmhrconsulting.com

Communication

Employment Law – April 2020

The following is a snapshot of upcoming changes with effect from April 2020:-employment-law-1024x683

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018

This will give employed parents the right to 2 weeks’ leave following the death of a child under the age of 18, or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks’ pregnancy, subject to meeting the eligibility criteria.

Changes to written statements of Employment

With effect from 6th April 2020:-
• All workers will have a right to a written statement of employment
• A statement of employment must be provided on or before the first date of employment
• Additional information to be disclosed:-
a, hours and days of the week the employee/worker is required to work
b, entitlement to any paid leave
c, any other benefits
d, details of probationary period
e, details of training to be provided

Changes to holiday pay calculations

From the 6th April 2020, the reference period to calculate a ‘weeks pay’ for holiday pay purposes will be extended to 12 weeks of work to the previous 52 weeks.

Please note that changes are also being made to ‘agency workers’ rights and to the ‘Information and Consultations of Employees’ regulations. For full details please either contact me or refer to the ACAS guidelines.

Dealing with Coronavirius – Covid 19
As we face an uncertain period of time with the outbreak of Coronavirus please visit the ACAS website for some useful and practical information on how to deal with this within your business.

Time to Talk

I am writing this blog on ‘Time to Talk’ day 2020

3d people partner.
Some of us find talking about our personal life and troubles difficult and many of us still believe that your personal issues should not enter the workplace. However, no matter how hard we try to carry on as normal our feelings do impact on our work which can result in poor concentration and in some cases absence issues.
Our colleagues around us are equally impacted by our mood within the workplace. If we are feeling low we may appear very negative to new ideas and unwilling to help others, which in turn can drag a team down.
Time to talk day is trying to encourage us to change our mindset and help us to understand that by taking the time to talk to others in an understanding manner can not only help that individual feel supported but reflect on the mood within the workplace in a more positive way. This in turn creates greater productivity.
We are not expected to solve any personal issues and we must be aware that we are not all experts in dealing with mental health issues but by opening up some communication in a supportive manner can make a real difference.
Make sure you raise awareness in the workplace and consider upskilling your teams to support one another, the results will be rewarding. If you would like some further advice or help on this issue please contact me when I will be happy to help.

Embracing Change

changeFor many of us after the Christmas festivities its back to day to day life as we know it, setting new goals for the year ahead and looking forward to new challenges.

However, spare a thought for those that are now facing a more uncertain year ahead. With businesses under increased pressure within our local communities the security of our jobs is uncertain.

Many local high street shops will be forced to close after the years trading as lack of support from shoppers sees online trading remaining a real threat to retailers. Businesses are looking to consolidate their asset’s by merging with like organisations leading to closure of offices and creating further unemployment.

This is not only an economically difficult time for business but the effects on family life can prove very challenging.

If you find yourself in caught up in this situation NJM HR Consulting will be happy to provide you with sound advice to help you back on your feet whether you’re are a business or an individual. It is important to stay positive and ride through the storm with positivity, you are not alone!

Please contact me for a chat to see how I can help you move forward positively into the New Year.

How to avoid the office party drama’s!

christmas-party

As December fast approaches and the countdown to Christmas begins, we start to plan the festivities for over the holiday period.

The office Christmas party seems first to appear in the social calendar offering a way to bring teams together to show your appreciation for all their hard work over the year.

However, the office party can be a risky event for an employer, as the drink flows often work-related frustrations come to the surface.

So, as employers, how can you help to ensure that all your staff have a good time without the dramas?

  • A gentle reminder to all employees in advance of the event explaining that despite this being an out of hours event the employee policies for misconduct still apply – its wise to re-distribute this to all beforehand
  • Encourage staff to look out for colleagues that may be drinking in excess to manage their behaviour
  • Consider how much free alcohol is supplied at the event
  • Where possible supply transport
  • Ensure your social media policy is up to date, you don’t really want to see any compromising pictures appearing

Just by following the above steps can help avoid any headaches after the event. If you do find yourself in need of a little advice though please do contact me when I’d be happy to help.

Happy Workers are more Productive in the Workplace

A recent survey carried out by the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, in collaboration with British Telecoms (over a six-month period) found that happy workers were 13% more productive overall. The survey used emojis to understand how staff felt.

emoji

Factors that impacted on the workforce happiness were:-

• The Weather
• Good Pay
• Security of role
• Engagement with the business
• Enjoying a work-life balance
• Good working relationship with colleagues and management

We can’t make the sunshine, or all be fortunate enough to be in a position to ensure regular wage rises are available to staff. However, we can ensure that we establish a good working relationship with our workforce and engage them in the business.
Communication plays a key part to engaging with your workforce and building good relationships but the way we communicate is equally crucial.

So what does good communication look like:-

• Being able to listen to others is imperative in the communication process.
• Having empathy with others
• Encouragement will improve morale and appreciation in the workplace.
• Being aware of others and their emotions means being sympathetic to misfortunes…
• Body language can also impact – so think how we deliver our message

If you would like some helping to improve the happiness and wellbeing of your staff through good communication, please do not hesitate to contact me for further advice

Brexit and Financial Wellbeing

With Brexit being a hot topic this month with a ‘no deal’ looming closer there seems little let up in the news, social media, workplace and even homelife on the subject.

As a business Brexit means for many, uncertainties, which requires careful planning to be put in place to mitigate any changes arising as a result of this. But have you stopped to consider how this may be impacting on your workforce?

Your workforce is likely to be feeling equally uncertain about how the next 12 months will look for them. A rise to everyday living costs are speculated putting pressure on the household. Availability of goods and pharmaceutical supplies may be compromised for a period of time.

So, what can you do as an employer to reduce some of your workforces’ concerns: –

  • Communicate – ensure you are keeping your employees up to date with your strategy for the future. This can be done in several ways e.g. company announcements or team meetings
  • Training – identify any training gaps you may currently have to fulfil the company strategy and implementation of changes moving forward
  • Financial Planning – many businesses implement financial planning for staff already in the form of pensions, income protection and life insurance

post-financial-wellbeing

However, not all the above is affordable to businesses already under financial pressure. Training can be carried out in-house or online but expert advice on planning is required for the financial wellbeing of your staff. You may therefore look to take an alternative approach to financial planning using external advisors. Advisors will welcome the opportunity to visit a business to discuss with your staff either in groups or on an individual basis how they can plan for their future without adding cost to the business.

If you would like to understand more about some of the above please do not hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to discuss with you how together we can add value to your business.

The HR Function

HR stands for human resources and can be seen by some as a luxury that can be dispensed with in business. However, can you really afford not to pay attention to your company’s greatest asset ‘your employees’.

If you found a better deal through a supplier e.g. printing, paper etc you would readily change over but why do we ignore absenteeism or poor performance so many times, do we understand the true cost of this to a business.

Performance management

Many business’s leave the role of the manager to deal with employee related issues, but who supports the manager? who helps them prepare for those difficult conversations they may face from time to time?

At NJM HR Consulting we care about the ‘wellbeing’ of all employees including the management team. Support can be provided for in many different forms: –

• Recruitment and Onboarding – right people, right roles
• Training and Development – enhancing expertise
• Contracts of Employment, policies and procedures
• Employee Benefits
• Employment Law advice
• Communication – building good relationships
• Job analysis – identifying gaps, planning ahead

Not only should we consider if our employees have the correct tools to do their job and work in a suitable environment but have we provided a solid basis to form a good working relationship with them. Contracts of employment, policies and procedures form a working foundation for a business to grow with, offering guidance to both our management and employees to work to. If we build on this foundation, we can improve the wellbeing of a company and in turn increase productivity.

If you would like some further advice on any of the above, please do not hesitate to contact me when I will be happy to help

Updating Contracts, Policies and Procedures

It’s easy to take new staff on and dust off a copy of an existing contract of employment and office policies, but have you stopped to think when you last checked these were up to date!

Employment law is constantly evolving and regular health-checks for these documents will ensure you can rest easy and stay in line with current legislation.

Our policies should give clear information that can reduce conflict among employees by setting out guidelines to be followed within an organisation. This information provides a uniform approach to be recognised by both staff and management over a wide range of topics from discipline to maternity and should be your go to place for any questions raised.

Policies.jpg

The procedures we write will provide guidance on how to implement our company policies. For example, how to make and deal with a request for ‘flexible working’.

If you would like any advise or would like to carry out a review on any of the above please get in contact with me when I will be pleased to help.

 

Employees Recording Difficult Conversations

Our mobile phones are never far away from us these days and this powerful technology is at our fingertips just waiting to be used.

There are times during our working careers that occasionally we might need to have an awkward conversation with an employee and discuss their performance. These meetings can be very unnerving for the employee and sometimes you may find that they wish to record the meeting for legal evidence or simply for a memory aid.

Recording a conversation for personal use is not technically against the law and the expectation is that the employee should disclose their intentions to do so to you beforehand. However, there has been a case where a recording did become admissible where the employee was present.

As an employer to protect yourself when having difficult conversation it is advisable to take the following precautions: –

• Have an independent witness with you
• Take notes following the meeting and get these signed off by all parties
• Follow up on progress

More importantly though if you do not want to be put in this position ensure your policies in place reflect your wishes clearly.

For further help and advice on this topic please do not hesitate to contact meMobile