Experience over qualifications? What do you choose?
Experience over qualifications? What do you choose? Personally I think it depends on the job role in question. Those without qualifications may have the experience you need, what is their job history like? Alarm bells always ring when I see the individual has had several jobs over recent years, it leads me to believe they either cannot settle, they disliked the job or they were dismissed. Even someone with qualifications can cause me suspicion. However someone with life skills and experience should be treated equally, they may not have the qualifications however their common sense may shine through, someone with a little maturity and has experienced the job in question. So I try and keep a positive outlook, I look at the candidates fairly and I try and base my decision on how well they perform in the interview. Naturally I ask questions about previous experience, qualifications etc but I try and look for a happy balance. I’d also like to stress that it is very important to obtain references, I have heard horror stories of employers who fail to obtain references, they employ the individual and they fail to perform. Always check references, it can save you from a major headache in the future. So let me know what you think, experience over qualifications. What do you think?
The importance of good quality PR
Some time ago I spoke about the importance of putting together press releases and using PR as an opportunity to market your business. How are you doing with this?
It’s coming up to the Summer and for many journalists this becomes a quiet time for good quality stories. The year end is out of the way, the road to recovery looks like it is back on track and people start to head off on vacation. This being the case journalists need content, they are always looking for new material. This is a great opportunity to look at business achievements, it can be either a job promotion, something you or your team have achieved, or indeed a major order. Local papers are crying out for success stories, so sit down with your management and make a list of what has been achieved. Start with job creation, this is a hot topic at the moment and it doesn’t matter what the numbers are journalists can certainly use ‘good news’ stories.
Just a reminder, make sure your grammar is good, and try not to oversell your product, remember journalists are only interested in news stories, and they have the right to remove marketing mentions, so remember this once you have submitted your story. Always use quotes, it is important to be able to back up your story, and ensure the spokesperson is available for further clarification or comment. So remember use this opportunity to PR your business and let me know how you get on.
Keep an overview of your employee holidays
Make sure that you document holidays effectively - I say this because I have been speaking to a number of Peninsula Business Services clients lately who fail to monitor the number of holidays their employees take. If you a small business then I think it is important, it allows you to plan and distribute the workflow ensuring productivity is in no way impacted. Here at Peninsula Business Services we have a cloud based solution called hronline which allows you to log staff holidays so that you can check them anytime, anywhere, especially good for those of you with small businesses who need to forward plan. It’s also very good for companies of all sizes, keeping on top of holidays can be tricky, so it’s great to have a resource that allows you to see an overview of your employee holidays, think of it as a planner. You will be able to determine which departments need extra resources or quite the opposite, you can move staff based on the data from hronline. If you require any further information on hronline and how it can help your business then get in contact with me - 0800 328 9348 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you have a contingency plan in place in times of emergencies?
Do you have a contingency plan in place in times of emergencies, take the destructive tornado in Oklahoma, our thoughts are with the people but it got me thinking. Whilst such acts of nature are not common in the UK we may be unfortunate to experience other incidents, what happens if you have a data loss or experience a power issue with your office? Where do employees report? Are they supposed to go to the same place of work or do you have an emergency plan? For many employers having a contingency plan should be essential, it should also be communicated to your staff what they need to do and the action they need to take in such instances. If you haven’t already drawn a plan then meet with your senior staff and plan something, you just never know when you will need it, so start preparing.
Try not to let red tape get in the way of running your business
It’s great to hear entrepreneurial stories like Aaron Levie who set up the cloud based company Boxx, it is great to read, inspirational and makes us believe that if we put our minds to do something we can achieve our goals and ambitions. Yet how many of us are willing to take that step, how many of us will go above and beyond and set up our own business. Is there something stopping us? Well chances are, if you are reading this, then you are an entrepreneur, you have started out on the path and hopefully you are successful, however do you face barriers on a daily basis?
Something which I know holds the growth of many businesses is employment red tape, we know this because we have spoken to so many employers over the years and asked them what frustrates them the most. The answer is mostly always red tape related. Whilst we cannot prevent this, there are a couple of things we can, as entrepreneurs do. Make sure we get the best advice on HR issues. Using someone such as Peninsula Business Services will help take away the pressure and allow you to get on with the running of your business. Delegate HR issues to a particular member of staff, preferably someone who is HR trained, this again diverts the pressure, yet remember it is your responsibility that you adhere to employment legislation, issue HR documentation and make sure your policies and procedures are watertight. My point is that whilst red tape can be an obstacle if you get help you can minimise the impact on the running of your business and you will be left to get on with what it is you love doing - that is managing and growing your business.
Show some flexibility
Last week we spoke about employees who turn into work late and I mentioned that you should not put up with it. However how about the genuine employee who does turn into work late, it may may be that they are trying to drop their children off at school, their husband may be ill and so are left with the responsibility. It does happen, events out of our control can have a detrimental impact on our lives and as employers we need to be aware and be prepared for such eventualities. You need to be flexible and at times compassionate, not that we need to be told this but there occasions when we can have our head buried deep into our work that we do not realise what goes on around us and from time ti time it can be difficult to determine what is genuine lateness and what is fraudulent. So take a moment to look out for your employees and if they need support from you, their employer then be prepared. Maybe they can start an hour later and finish work at a later time. Showing elements of flexible can help boost morale and may in term increase productivity, the employee is likely to remember your gratitude and is likely to be reflected in their performance. Let’s face it, events out of control can happen to anyone, including us, so lets show some flexibility.
A minute late is like an hour late
One of my biggest gripes is lateness, I have a saying, a minute late is like an hour late. It’s a discipline that I feel strongly about, if you pay someone to come to work then they should be there on time, they should be ready to commence work from the moment you pay them. Repeat offenders should be reprimanded, make sure you are fair but firm, this will help deter the individual and fellow colleagues. Remember to be fair, if there is a reason why someone is late then you do need to take the excuse into consideration, it may be a late bus, or the train broke down, you do have to consider the reason, and you may need to give the benefit of the doubt. However look at attendance patterns to ensure that the employee is not a repeat offender. If they are you will need to implement your disciplinary procedures. So remember, be firm but fair when it comes to lateness and remember, a minute late is like an hour late.
Ten top tips to deal with the new Employment Tribunal reforms
July 2013 brings about the biggest reforms to employment law tribunals for over 25 years. It is essential that businesses both understand the reforms and know how to combat against them. Here are top ten tips in order to help you deal with the employment tribunal reforms.
July 2013 brings about the biggest reforms to employment law tribunals for over 25 years. It is essential that businesses both understand the reforms and know how to combat against them. Here are top ten tips in order to help you deal with the employment tribunal reforms:
• Ensure your HR policies are more stringent as there is the threat of paying £10,000 upon losing multiple claims
• Ensure that you make yourself aware of the guidance from the Employment Tribunal Presidents as they improve the consistency of employment tribunals thus telling you what to expect
• Take time to understand the recent changes as they have been brought about in order for businesses to navigate the processes easier
• There is the potential that weak cases are halted at the preliminary phase which could save a business time and money
• Seek advice and guidance on employment law issues as when they are dealt with incorrectly tribunals can occur. These could include repayment of claimant fees on top of up to £1,200
• The latest employment law reforms are regarded as the biggest reforms for over 25 years and you should therefore ensure that you understand them to avoid costly mistakes
• Some compensation rules and fee charges can be complicated. It is therefore essential that advice is taken on these areas and that they are fully understood otherwise you could be paying fees that you do not need to
• By understanding the new reforms clearly, as a business you will be able combat against any issues and therefore ensure a tribunal is halted at the earliest “sift” stage
• Although the new reforms can stop weaker cases getting to the hearing stage you mustn’t become complacent as a company or more costly mistakes are likely to be made.
• Ensure that you are able to deal with the new “pre-hearing reviews” and “case management” procedures as they could be essential to winning your employment tribunal and lead you to avoiding extra fees
As discussed these reforms are considered the biggest reforms in employment law tribunals for 25 years with some people suggesting longer. It therefore becomes essential that these changes are understood as what may have been the correct process before may not be any longer.
Saying thank you can go a long way
Every now and again treat your employees, show them gratitude for all the hard work they put in, believe me it goes a long way. They work hard, they sometimes may not see you in a while so it is nice if they know you are there and that you appreciate their efforts. It can be anything from a meal to giving them a gift voucher, it only needs to be a small token of appreciation but believe me it will be noticed. It shows that you appreciate your workforce and it may help to go a long way to boost morale and in turn increase productivity.
Do you take the wellbeing of your workers seriously?
Do you take the wellbeing of your workers seriously? Let me remind you of the advantage of having an employee assistance programme in place. You may or may not have heard of employee wellbeing but it is definitely in the limelight. The economic climate is forcing businesses to operate on tighter budgets and a leaner workforce, meaning a greater emphasis is put on employee performance and output. The Health and Safety Executive reports that 1.8 million people suffered ill health in the last 12 months due to work with 80% of new cases reported to be caused by stress, depression, anxiety or musculoskeletal disorders. Many businesses are not doing enough to support the health and wellbeing of their employees. The question is; do you take employee wellbeing seriously?
Employees are integral to the success of a business and their wellbeing has to be taken seriously. Of course there are certain external factors out of a business’s control that will affect an employee’s wellbeing but it is business that can influence wellbeing and good health in the workplace. This is not to say a business should ignore an employee’s issues outside of work because these will also affect their work performance. But where do you start?
An effective workplace solution to support employees is to implement an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). They are designed to help employees deal with personal problems that might impact upon their work performance. The notable benefits of an EAP include:
- Instant access to telephone based and face to face counselling services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
- General information regarding emotional, debt and financial support
- Allows employees and their immediate family a forum to seek information and support when required
- Improves performance, productivity and boosts morale
- Reduces absence and improves employee wellbeing
- Shows a duty of care and improves employee engagement
- Employee benefit that helps attract and retain your best staff
Having a well promoted and utilised EAP as part of a business will help support employees when they need it most. Simple changes can also be made to help promote a healthier and energised workforce. These can include healthy strategies, such as providing health and nutrition information coupled with physical activity programmes to help improve overall fitness and health. Regular health screenings can also be a useful way of detecting medical conditions early. They allow a business to manage these conditions and help maintain good employee health. DSE Assessments will help reduce the risk of employees developing ill-health and musculoskeletal conditions associated with computer usage at work.
Taking employees seriously and investing in their wellbeing will undoubtedly create a happier more productive workforce. Successful businesses identify the link between the bottom line and their workforce. Employee wellbeing is not a concept or luxury benefit; it is essential. For more information regarding employee wellbeing and Employee Assistance Programmes, call Health Assured on 0844 8922 493 to see how we can best suit your business.
Health Assured are sister company to Peninsula and specialising in Employee Assistance Programmes and Occupational Health services. Call me on 0844 892 2772 if you would like further assistance or advice on implementing an EAP programme into your business.