Providing a great place to work is important for employee welfare and retention
It has been a very busy week for me, as you may be aware Peninsula Business Services, the organisation of which I am a group director, was listed as the third best company to work for in the UK. I picked up the award in London last week and it was a great occasion. Obviously we are very proud of this achievement and the success lies to both employees and management. I’m especially proud of the fact that as an organisation we look after not just the welfare but also believe passionately that we should offer a great place to work for our employees.
You will have read previously of the benefits we offer our employees, from providing a breakfast on a Monday morning to introducing keep fit classes for our staff to participate in. It’s no use just expecting your employees to turn up to work, put in the hours and then go home, you have to offer them more, an incentive for them to enjoy their job. The days of 9 to 5 working hours are well and truly over especially in the society that we live in today Here at Peninsula for example, we have employees who work tirelessly around the clock to ensure we offer the best service to our clients, so it’s important that we offer workers not just a working environment they can feel proud of but an environment that they feel comfortable.
The last thing I want is an employee to wake up in the morning and dread coming into work. I believe that if this is how you feel then it’s time to look for a new job, life is too short to do something you really do not enjoy. That is why at Peninsula we are determined to provide a fantastic work environment that is both modern, central enough to be classed as city centre Manchester and has facilities that rival any modern office in the world. Yet any organisation can provide benefits such as free breakfasts subsidised gym, keep fit classes and such incentives do not need to cost the earth. However it’s all about looking after your employees, it can also help staff retention whilst ensuring that your employees are happy at work.
Power down mobile devices to ensure a good nights sleep.
A quick tip, get a good nights sleep to ensure you are at your best the next day. This may seem obvious however I find that I sleep better if I turn off my iPhone a couple of hours prior to going to bed. Scientific research shows that people who constantly email, browse the internet or indeed watch video and movie content on their mobile device prior to getting sleep are more likely to experience a disturbed sleeping pattern. My personal advice is to power down the iPhone, I tend to send my last email an hour or so before I retire to bed, this gives the brain time to switch off and I find myself being able to fall asleep much easier. I admit there are exceptions especially when an urgent issue arises however I try not to make a habit of it.
Since introducing the new regime I find my sleep pattern is less interrupted and I am more energised the next day. So do yourself a favour power down the mobile devices, hopefully you will feel refreshed and energised, ready to tackle the challenges of a new working day.
Writing on small business growth
I am now writing a regular column for smallbusiness.co.uk on entrepreneurial issues and workplace productivity. If you are not aware of the excellent website it’s a great portal in providing business advice on how to grow your business which is something that I am very passionate about. My first editorial is now live and you can read it here.
How to deal with negative workers
Do you ever have an employee who is negative? Their attitude often affects morale and despite you going out of your way to help them they are no different. It certainly can be frustrating but there are a number of things you can do to get to the core of the problem and hopefully turn the situation around. First of all you need to remember that you have a duty of call to all your employees and a negative worker has a detrimental impact on your existing staff, a feeling of discontent can quickly spread and this is something you do not want. If you notice this happening you need to get to the bottom of it early on, especially if other employees complain to you feeling uncomfortable. You need to have a policy and process that deals with employee relations and behaviour, this is essential when it comes to best practice and also pivotal to the success of your business.
Invite the employee in for an informal chat to discuss issues. Most of the time such occurrences are misunderstandings and to be fair can be easily resolved. A lot of the time negativity stems from a lack of communication between management and employee or in the case of a small business the employer and the employee. If your employees do not feel that their opinions count or if their views are not being expressed then they will vent frustration, this can in turn be communicated to colleagues and fellow staff. By allowing the employee to vent frustration and to have a frank conversation with you then the individual is more likely to feel that they are being listened to, involved and their opinions taken into consideration, this will also likely resolve any issues.
As I mentioned in the first instance there will be no need to take any formal action, any initial conversations should resolve the issue and your meeting should not take the form of a disciplinary hearing.
Also remember the employee may have good cause to moan, they may raise valid points that you need to take into account, so listen carefully to whatever it is that the individual has to say, especially if the individual believes they have been mistreated. If this is the case then you will need to look into the problem.
After speaking to the employee, decide if there is anything you need to do to resolve especially if issues have been raised. If valid points have been made, you should look to resolve these straightaway. If you don’t feel that there is any substance to the employee’s concerns then you should make it clear that their behaviour is affecting the other members of staff and that you are not prepared to accept further instances.
However as I mentioned it is very likely that miscommunication is the issue and a frank conversation between both you and the employee should resolve any complaint, rebuild trust between both parties whilst helping morale and ultimately keeping the workplace positive.
Keeping up to speed with holiday requests
One of the great features of hronline is that my employees can easily utilise it, I wanted something that my workers could easily use, without having to approach me all the time to ask for holidays, they seem happy using hronline. They can request holidays by simply logging into hronline themselves and submitting a request. It is very easy to use, the interface is relatively simple and once they have submitted their request I then receive an email notification. This informs me that my employee[s] have submitted a holiday request and it is awaiting my approval, I can then log into hronline and approve or decline accordingly. Once the request has been accepted the date is automatically uploaded to my employee holiday planner, this allows me to know when my workers are on vacation. In addition hronline will keep employees notified of their holiday entitlement, how many days they have taken and what days they have left. It couldn’t be clearer, both employer and employee are in total control of their allocation with the employer being able to authorise holidays wherever and on whatever computer. Best of all I have an overview of what holidays my employees will be taking thus allowing me to plan my resources accordingly. It certainly beats the old process of manually keeping track of holidays in a diary. If you wish to know more information about hronline then give us a call on 0844 892 2492
The benefits of outsourcing your HR
When you are running a business your time is already precious. You have important demands such as making money, meeting the requirements of your clients, and ensuring productivity. So the last thing you wish to worry about is HR red tape. That is why it is beneficial to outsource your HR. There are a number of benefits, firstly it’s frees up your time to concentrate on core commitments. Looking after your staff should be a priority however when it comes to documentation, policies and procedures it becomes a logistical issue. Someone like Peninsula will take take this off your hands and we will arrange for the right documentation to be produced for your business.
How many solicitors or other legal organisations can provide you with this service? If they do it will be costly. In addition if you employ a HR person they will still not have time to meet all of your HR requirements. In addition outsourcing to someone like Peninsula can also offer peace of mind through our indemnity scheme.This means advice obtained by Peninsula, providing it is followed and adhered to, will ensure that if you are taken to Employment Tribunal then you will be indemnified against any costs and awards should you lose, in other words we payout. All of this is peace of mind for you and can only be offered when outsourcing your HR to someone like Peninsula.
Be prepared for the extreme weather
The extreme bad weather over the last couple of days has really brought to attention the importance of having watertight HR policies and procedures in place. The Peninsula advice service has this week experienced a surge in calls from employers who wanted to know what the best course of action is when extreme weather conditions hit, whether to send an employee home or to take action when an individual is unable to make it into the office.
As these natural occurrences are happening more frequently it may be a good idea to review your HR policies and take advice where appropriate. In the coming weeks the Met Office warn of further storms, so you need to look at what policies you have in place. You also need to ensure that any procedures are fair. For example an employee may not be able to travel to work because of the flooding situation. Does that mean you have to pay them? Well you will need to look and see if they have made every effort to get into the workplace.
Also can they work from home? Again the questions that you need to ask yourself will not only help the employee but may also ensure that your productivity is not affected. If you need clarification or help on this particular issue then call my advice service where the team of consultants will be happy to provide you with advice. But I urge you to look at your HR policies and procedures because if the experts are correct extreme weather conditions are set to get worse.
Did you know that you have a pool of talent within your workplace?
Some of the best ideas come from your employees. Did you know that you have a pool of talent within your workplace? How many employers tap into this potential? There may be many employees who have been with your business for many years they have been party of the journey, they have seen the business grow. So involve them within the business growth, now this is much easier when the business is small and more personal. However as your business grows personal communication may not be easy. Here at Peninsula we hold quarterly meetings with the aim to update staff on business developments. This offers a great platform to listen to ideas from your workforce. I also offer a open door policy I invite my staff to come in for a chat, discuss what is on their mind and I obviously welcome business ideas and suggestions. It actually works really well for us, we get some awesome ideas they have helped our business grow.
We call our scheme ‘Bright Ideas’, by encouraging employees to come with ideas it makes them feel part of the business, and indeed that is what they are. Ideas implemented are rewarded either with a gift voucher or a commemoratives mug, but more importantly employees feel valued and very much part of the business. So try it, see how you get on with implementing within your business, you never know the next big business idea may well originate from one of your staff.
The importance of seeking advice early when entering disciplinary proceedings
Sadly when employers call Peninsula asking for advice on disciplinary issues most of the time it is too late, in other words they have taken action and fallen foul of the law. Obviously we can and will still help however we will have had a better chance of the problem escalating if we had intervened early. It is extremely important that you obtain advice first, follow fair policies and procedures because in the long term it can create major headaches for employers. So my advice is as follows, before taking any action call my team on 0844 892 2772. They will no doubt ask you to look at previous behaviour whilst taking into account the circumstances surrounding the individual. If work performance is in question you will need to identify whether further training is necessary and whether you have taken all reasonable steps to provide assistance that will help aid improvement. If all reasonable action has been exhausted then you may be able to follow disciplinary proceedings but you will need to ensure that you have a fair policy in place, you will also need to give the employee time to provide reasoning to his actions. So if a disciplinary meeting is to go ahead then you will need to outline a date and include the reasons to why the individual is being asked to attend a disciplinary meeting.
It does pay to look after your staff
It does pay to look after your staff, Peninsula founder and managing director Peter Done strongly believes that the most important asset for any business is your employees. That being said here at Peninsula we are proud of the way we look after our people and this has been reflected in the fact that we have just been named a Sunday Times Top 100 Company To Work For. To say we are proud is an understatement, as I have mentioned on my blog previously you do not need to spend huge amounts of money on incentives, it’s the small initiatives that can make a big difference. We buy our staff breakfast, organise social events and even stage keep fit classes for our employees, these incentives do not cost much however the return can be substantial. So I am very pleased and proud that Peninsula has been named a top UK company to work for. Implement such incentives into your business and hopefully you will be rewarded, however if you need any tips and advice then by all means feel free to drop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to answer any questions that you may have or provide advice on making your business a great place to work.