Do you suspect that your staff might be ‘pulling a sick day’ today? Here’s what to do:

It’s inevitable that from time to time, your members of staff will get sick. It’s to be expected, and it’s something that you can’t really avoid as you grow your business and your workforce.

As an employer though, you need to be sure that you’re managing your sickness policies and procedures in the right way. Without a robust approach, you could quickly find that sick leave or absence due to sickness is seriously damaging productivity, and in turn, your profits.

So what’s the solution? Check out these four tips for ensuring that you’re covered.

Create a clear policy so staff know what it expected of them

Your sickness and absence policy should cover how and when staff should notify the business that they need to take time off, details around provisions for return to work interviews, and any links to other relevant policies such as disciplinary procedures.

A policy isn’t worth anything if it isn’t clearly communicated and implemented. Be sure that your line managers are onboard, and have any necessary training that they might need.

Understand the role of your employee’s GP

The ‘sick note’ is now a thing of the past. Instead, GPs provide a ‘Statement of Fitness for Work’, otherwise known as a ‘fit note’. Instead of focusing on what the individual can’t do, it’s centered around the tasks that they are able to carry out, which can be really helpful to you as an employer.

Be as supportive as you can, and remember that there will often be low-cost solutions that can help your member of staff to get back to work.

Consider how you’ll support staff when they return to work

If an employee has been off for a lengthy amount of time, or they’re still not quite feeling 100%, you need to give some careful thought to how you can ensure that they have the right support when they return. Otherwise, it can be exceptionally daunting for them, and you could run into some serious problems.

In practical terms, there are quite a few possible solutions here. Treat each case individually, and always liaise with the employee to discuss their needs and preferences. You might offer a phased return, reduced working hours for a set period of time, or extra assistance with carrying out tasks.

Be proactive rather than reactive

Dealing with sickness issues is much harder than preventing them in the first place. There are positive changes you can make to how you promote physical and emotional well-being in the workplace, and these are far more effective than efforts to problem solve once the damage has already been done.

Could you change working patterns so workers get enough sleep and aren’t left feeling tired and stressed out? Could you bring in a package of more flexible benefits that include things like health care or gym memberships? How about up-skilling your management team so they can spot problems like stress and take action to rectify them? A creative and proactive approach could do wonders for your business.

If you’re experiencing problems with sick leave, sick pay, paid sick days or absences, we can help!

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Think you need to recruit to grow your business? Make sure you’ve assessed ALL your options!

There comes a time in the working lives of many business owners when they think that recruitment is their only option. Orders are increasing, profit is looking extremely healthy, and they’re keen to expand and take things to the next level. Sound familiar?

At this stage, it’s likely that your nearest and dearest are urging you to take the plunge and bring on your first member of staff.

Of course, it should go without saying that you should rarely turn to friends and family for business advice. They might have the best intentions in the world, but they’ll very rarely understand the real challenges that you’re facing. If you want real, insightful guidance that can be used strategically to grow your business, you’re probably going to have to invest in professional consultancy services.

Generally speaking though, there are some important indications that you’re ready to recruit. It’s a big decision and it isn’t one you should enter into lightly. Pull up a chair and take a browse through these real reasons why it could be time to become the big boss.

Building and managing a team is in line with your overall business objectives

Think about what you really wanted to achieve from your business when you first started, and the type of company that you wanted to develop. Maybe you envisaged managing a team of hundreds of people, and playing an active role in strategic growth and development. Or perhaps what you really cared about was fulfilling your passions, and doing work that made a difference to the lives of your customers and clients.

There are no right or wrong answers here, but the truth of the matter is that people management isn’t for everyone. If you don’t have the desire to recruit, there are other options. You could outsource administrative and financial functions. You could bring in a contractor for certain months of the year. You could redesign your processes so many of them are automated, letting you deal with the work that you really care about and excel in.

Don’t be forced into feeling that the traditional recruitment route is the only avenue you can take. Explore the possibilities, and always return to your overall objectives and preferences before you back yourself into a corner that you don’t want to be in.

You’re willing to put time into developing yourself as a team manager

Whether or not you have a naturally ability to lead, recruiting staff for the first time is a steep learning curve. You suddenly have to get to grips with what makes people tick, how you can get the most out of them, how to handle bumps along the road, and ultimately, how to improve your leadership skills on a daily basis.

You need to be willing to invest time into this, and get the right type of support to help you along the way. From one-off courses to continuous mentorship, there are options that ensure you have what you need and can pinpoint your areas for improvement. There’s the option to outsource necessary tasks such as the creation of your company handbook and associated people policies, but it’s as much about developing the right kind of culture as it is about meeting your legal responsibilities as an employer.

You’ve examined the figures, and you know that recruitment would build your business

Some business owners are naturally very data orientated, and have no problems telling you their exact figures and projected big numbers. If this isn’t your strong point though, you need to do some careful calculations before you make any decisions around recruitment. Think about what it would cost to grow your team. As well as the salary, consider the investment that would be required in finding and selecting the right people, onboarding them, and then ensuring they have the right ongoing training and development.

Next, think about what you’d reap from that investment. Would your business produce more? Would you offer a higher level of customer service? Would it give you the capacity to move into new markets or areas? Only when you really understand the financial implications are you ready to make your decision.

The bottom line is that recruitment is certainly an option, and it’s right for some businesses. For others though, there needs to be some careful brainstorming and analysis before any big decisions are made. If you want to talk through your choices, get in touch today.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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Think HR is all about fighting problems as they arise? Here’s why you’re wrong!

Think that HR is just about making sure that you don’t break the law, and having all the right paperwork in order?

You wouldn’t be alone in thinking that. It’s an approach that many business owners take, even in huge organizations that have the time and the resources readily available to do things differently.

Here’s the thing though.

If your HR practices are limited to firefighting problems – like dealing with disciplinary issues, or handling poor performing members of staff – then you’re missing out on one of the biggest opportunities that you have as a business leader.

Your people are your lifeline. They can make or break your business, and they can be the difference between just-getting-by, and creating an organization that’s the leader in its industry, and the one that’s known for being the very best.

Too many companies are selling themselves short, and ultimately, these will be the ones that struggle in the ever-changing landscape of modern business.

Being mediocre with your people policies isn’t saving you money, or freeing you up to deal with more important matters – it’s actively holding you back.

Take a second to think about the role of HR in your own business, and what you should be aspiring too.

How could the right leadership allow you to…

  • Double your productivity levels, which in turn could maximize your profits?
  • Attract the very top talent in your industry, allowing you to bring the best innovative solutions to market?
  • Increase the morale and motivation of your workforce, creating an environment that’s a pleasure to be part of?
  • Earn recognition as an exemplary employer, winning you prestige and national press coverage?

Once you step outside the constraints of thinking that HR is just about ticking boxes and fulfilling your obligations, you open up a whole new world of possibility.

Now’s the time to up your game. Will you rise to the challenge?

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkforceconsultants

What is the ‘Year Of The Candidate’? Find out what this means for business owners:

The year 2015 has been billed ‘The Year Of The Candidate’ due to skills shortages in the marketplace. Ever since the term was first coined in a Wall Street Journal article at the very beginning of last January, the concept quickly gained momentum amongst HR circles and those who are passionate about matching the best people with the right roles.

But as a business owner, how will this have an impact on the work you do? Basically, there aren’t enough white-collar professionals to go round. If you want to fill your higher-level positions, you’re likely to face a struggle. It’ll take more time, and you’ll have to be much more thorough in your search.

Here, we’ll take a look at what you can do to ensure you can still find the right people when you need them.

It all starts with your recruitment processes. Instead of waiting for the right candidates to come and knock on your door, you might well have to go out there and find them. Are you building your contacts? Do you know where you can access the best people? Are you keeping in touch with them regularly, to strengthen the relationship and build trust?

Whilst newer, online tactics are definitely on trend right now, and it’s true that they can bring a massive amount of value to the table, don’t forget the more traditional approaches. Real world connections can make all the difference in this type of climate. The best recruitment strategies will usually merge the two, though will be tailored according to your own business’s culture and priorities.

Next up, make sure you’re showing your candidates that you value them, even before they step foot in your office. They’re pressed for time, and they’re assessing you as much as you’re assessing them. They have other options, so they aren’t going to stand for anything less than sparkling treatment. Hone your communications, make sure they’re timely, and invite feedback at all stages of the process.

These trends may well last longer than just 12 months, so if you’re keen to win the war for talent, you need to make sure that you’re fit for battle.

Struggling to find the right people to help you to drive your business forward?

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkforceconsultants

Thinking about offering a retention bonus to encourage your staff to stay? You might want to reconsider. Find out why:

Do you ever stop to consider the consequences of your staff deciding to leave your business?

You’ve no doubt put plenty of time, effort, and money into finding and recruiting the very best people, so it makes good business sense to think about how you can continue to make a return on your investment by nurturing your employees, and doing all you can to hold on to them.

Sure, sometimes people decide to move on, and it’s often just an inevitable part of running your own team. There’s a balance to strike though, and it’s essential that you create and implement some robust people policies to ensure you aren’t just hoping for the best and leaving everything to chance.

It’s worth noting though that there are desirable and undesirable ways to improve your retention rates. In some cases, certain popular practices could do more damage to your business than good.

Here, we’ll examine some shady ways of holding on to your staff that you should definitely seek to avoid.

Making big promises that you know you can’t keep

Perhaps you know for sure that your staff want more learning and development opportunities. You know that they’re itching to take on more responsibility, and that they have the drive and ambition to succeed.

It can be oh-so-tempting to promise them what they’re looking for, but this should be avoided at all costs unless you know that you can deliver.

You need to effectively manage expectations, and you need to run your business with integrity. Be honest, but look for other solutions. In the end, your staff will thank you for it, and value the approach you take to running your business.

Offering retention bonuses

Retention bonuses have been the subject of many discussions in the world of human resources and people management, and there are people on both sides of the fence. What you really need to know here is that there is very little evidence that suggests that giving your employees a bonus for staying with your company is actually all that effective.

Some argue that paying people for their loyalty rather than earning it is never a long-term solution. The buzz created by the cash incentive will wear off pretty quickly. As well, if you’re dealing with top performers, they may well receive a sign-on bonus when they join a new business. In short, the cash won’t make that much difference to them. In many cases, people leave not because they simply weren’t getting paid enough, but for a deeper range of factors.

And finally, there are so many better options to pursue if you have a budget to help you to improve your retention rates. Think about how you could improve working practices for all, and make changes that really impact on motivation and engagement. You might have to get a bit more creative and think outside the box, but it can be very much worth it.

Taking the one-size-fits-all approach

Perhaps you’ve read a best-practice guide to retention, and you’ve gone right ahead and implemented some overarching changes to your policies and procedures. Though you do need to take a proactive approach to every facet of your people management, a textbook overhaul isn’t likely to really fulfill your needs.

Why? Because every business is different. What makes your business unique is its culture, and this is created as a result of a wide variety of factors. You often need to dive deeper into the real issues that are at play, and craft a strategy that delivers real results.

Similarly, it may be necessary to have differing approaches throughout the same business. What keeps top performers in their executive roles isn’t always what motivates staff on the operational front line, and you need to tailor your practices to take this into account.

Would you like to have a no-obligation discussion with a seasoned HR professional about what you can do to improve retention? Do you want the chance to work with someone who can get to know your business, and make recommendations that will have a real impact? If so, we’d be delighted to help.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkforceconsultants

Why Everything You Think You Know About Teambuilding is Wrong

We’re all pretty clued up these days when it comes to the importance of building teams that work together to drive a business forward. No one is questioning the benefits of having great work teams, but there is a great deal of confusion around what it actually means to develop a team that operates at its full potential.

There are some common misconceptions that are still holding leaders back, and it could be the case that the information that you believe to be correct is stopping you from making progress.

Let’s take a look at why everything you think you know about teambuilding may  be very wrong.

You don’t have to fork out a fortune on events

Sure, there are many, many companies out there who will organize an elaborate and carefully executed event for your employees. From outdoor pursuits to cocktail making classes, there’s an option for pretty much everyone. And often, these solutions are very good. They’re planned and managed by seasoned professionals, and plenty of businesses have used such options with great results.

Of course though, the price tag can be extremely high. Before writing off your teambuilding goals as an expense you can’t afford though, take the time to look at the bigger picture and what you actually want to achieve. A different approach could save you a huge chunk of cash, and could lead to much better results. Real teambuilding often happens in the office – not off-site.

It’s not about making everyone like each other

Too many leaders think that teambuilding is all about promoting friendships in the workplace. When you employ a diverse workforce, not everyone is going to feel compelled to share their weekends together, or meet for dinner and drinks on an evening. But that’s not what you should be aiming for.

It’s about encouraging people to develop the skills required to work together towards a common goal. It’s about creating focus on the benefits of working alongside each other. These things should always be the aim of any exercises and techniques that are put into practice.

Leaders don’t hold all the responsibility

Yes, you and your senior leadership team must lead by example and demonstrate the benefits of working together. But if your efforts are all about encouraging managers to take all of the responsibility and have everyone else fall into whatever they’re told, you’re going to miss the mark.

The best work is achieved when individual team members take responsibility themselves. Do they have the skills to have the necessary conversations? Can they step up when the manager is out of the office? If not, what can you do to help them to get to this stage?

Hopefully, reading through this article has challenged what you think you know about teambuilding and has given you plenty of inspiration surrounding where you might be missing the mark, and where you can make improvements.

If you want to improve the way your staff work together and you want some help from someone who has been there before and developed proven solutions that can be tailored for any business, get in touch. We’d love to discuss how we could help you to overcome your challenges and move forward.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkforceconsultants

 

Why Don’t You Have Your Secret Human Resources Weapon?

Growing a business without Human Resources (HR) expertise is challenging at best, and a constant uphill struggle at worst. If you’ve ever had to tackle a people issue on your own, you’ll know just how stressful it can be.

Between trying to manage your legal obligations, and meeting your operational requirements, firefighting can become part of your everyday routine if you aren’t careful.

Of course, there’s the option to call upon help on a project-by-project basis, and there can be real value in that approach. But if you’re ready to raise the bar (and give yourself the valuable gift of peace of mind along the way), then it might be time for you to start a retainer relationship with your HR consultant.

This could be the secret human resources weapon that you need. Here’s why:

You get to know and trust your dedicated advisor so you can get straight to the heart of any issue.

If you’ve ever outsourced work to a consultant in the past, you’ll know that there’s often a steep learning curve called ‘getting to know each other’. Before you can really get down to business, the right foundations have to be laid. You have to gain an understanding of how they operate, and they need to find out what your business is really all about.

So if you have a pressing HR issue and you’re working with someone who you’ve never worked with before, it’s inevitable that you aren’t going to immediately hit the ground running. When you’re using retainer services though, this isn’t a problem. You know your consultant, you know how they do things, and you trust in their decisions and advice. It’s not difficult to see the massive difference this will make.

You don’t have to face the prospect of hunting down a skilled professional when something goes wrong.

Leaders often don’t expect to go into work on any given morning and find themselves faced with handling the fall-out of an HR issue. These things happen though, and it’s vital that you’re ready to respond ASAP. Many issues can spiral out of control if you don’t formulate a fit-for-purpose solution fairly quickly.

By the time you’ve contacted your business peers, asked for recommendations, and managed to get hold of someone who has a solution, serious damage might have already been done. When you have an HR expert who you can get in touch with at any time, there’s no panicking and no fuss. You’ve already got your plan in place, and you know that your advisor has already got you covered.

You’re probably going to save yourself a chunk of cash.

Contrary to popular (though very much dated) belief, HR isn’t all about soft tactics that can’t be measured in terms of true business success. The best HR professionals understand their role in contributing to the bottom line of your business, and play a role in helping you to smash your strategic objectives.

And we know that you have a keen eye on your costs. Yet another benefit of working on a retainer basis is that you can take advantage of some extremely savvy savings. You’ll know what you’re paying each month, so you’ll never face any nasty surprises.

Leaders who are mindful of the importance of their people practices might have an HR professional in mind who can help them when things go wrong. But leaders who have really stepped up and are ready for whatever their business throws at them are already working on a retainer engagement.

Are you ready to make the change? Talk to us for an initial chat about how we might be able to work with you.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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No-Brainer Ways To Improve Your HR Practices

As we quickly roll further into 2016, most business owners will be focusing on a couple of things. If you still have some big goals that you haven’t quite smashed, now’s the time to pull your socks up and make that final push. There should also be plenty of time for reflection though, so you can work out your wins, your losses, and what you need to do differently this year.

Make sure that you don’t neglect to think about your people practices and how you’ve performed over the course of the last year. It’s true that many HR changes can’t be achieved overnight, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take action. In fact, there are certain things that you can do over the next several weeks that will help you to make positive and tangible changes.

Are you ready to take on the challenge? This is what we suggest:

Assess how compliant you are with recent legislative changes

There have been several changes to employment law this year, including the new shared parental leave provisions, and many business owners would like to say that they know they’re fully compliant. When it comes down to it though, are you absolutely positive that you’re doing everything you should be?

We understand that the day-to-day complexities of running your business can sometimes get in the way, but if you haven’t done everything that’s required of you, you could be leaving yourself very vulnerable to future problems.

Start planning

At the moment, you might be caught up with the practicalities of recruiting or ensuring that your existing employees are ready to deliver exceptional service.

That’s great, but make sure that you’re looking a little further ahead. What key challenges will you face this year? What opportunities could you harness to help you to meet your wider strategic goals? A plan will put your mind at ease, and ensure that you don’t find yourself faced with any nasty surprises.

Take advantage of an HR audit

As a business grows, there will be a wider range of HR tasks and responsibilities that need to be taken care of. Keeping on top everything can be a massive job, and savvy leaders realize that they can’t do everything themselves.

It’s very likely that your business could take many benefits away from an HR audit. Having an experienced HR professional come into your company and assess what’s working, and what needs to be improved, could be just what you need to make sure that you end the year on a high note and put practical steps in place to raise your game. Interested to find out more about this?

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkforceconsultants

You have a few choices right now. You can carry on doing what you’re doing, and seeing the same results. Or you can recognize that there’s room for improvement, and actually do something about it.

Which route will you take?

How To Welcome New Staff Into Existing Teams

Recruiting a new member of staff for your growing business can be a really exciting time, but it’s something that you should definitely consider carefully before you rush into taking action.

One of the key challenges that you’re going to face is ensuring that your new recruit is welcomed into your existing team without any significant issues.

Now of course, some of the basics can be covered by exercising a little common sense and forward planning. You probably don’t need us to tell you that your new member of staff will need to be able to log in to the computers, access your policies, understand their terms of employment, and know where they need to go if they want to grab a sandwich or use the bathroom.

There are wider considerations that need to be made though, and while they’re often pretty simple, they’re easy to overlook. Here, we’ll explain more:

Be sure to brief your staff on the changes

Before your new member of staff starts work, hold a briefing with the existing team so they know what’s happening. Explain a little about the role that your new recruit will be carrying out and how that fits into the bigger picture. Too many problems occur simply because there has been a lack of communication, so make sure that you keep everyone updated and involved.

It might be the case that you’re asked questions about how the changes could impact on existing roles. Staff may be concerned that they’ll no longer be able to work overtime, for example. Be prepared for questions of this nature, and try to provide detailed and honest answers wherever possible.

Know who has responsibility for the induction/new employee orientation

If it’s one of your line managers who will have overall responsibility for your new employee, you need to make sure that they’re capable and willing to step into that role and really own it. Having someone who will oversee the induction process, ensure that any necessary boxes are ticked, and solve any problems that might occur is the only way to stay organized.

In practical terms, the induction or orientation is of course likely to involve a varied cross-section of the team. There may be some job shadowing carried out, for example, or you might decide that it’s a good idea to ‘buddy up’ new employees with more experienced members of staff.

Carry out regular check-ins with your new employee

Getting to grips with a new role can be a big challenge. It’s likely that your new employee will have a lot to learn over the coming weeks and months. You might traditionally carry out formal performance discussions once every 6 or 12 months, but you really shouldn’t wait this long. Make sure that conversations are taking place regularly.

Bear in mind that appraisals, formal or otherwise, aren’t just about telling someone where they need to make improvements. They’re about supporting the individual so they can reach their full potential, listening to their thoughts and concerns, and developing an action plan to get them to where they need to be.

Recruiting staff, and everything that goes with it, can be extremely daunting. As with all things though, you become much more confident with a little experience and a good plan to stick to.

If you’re looking to build your workforce and you feel like you’d benefit from working with a professional to ensure that you get things right, feel free to connect with us.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theworkforceconsultants

Top Tips For Encouraging Your Line Managers To Improve Performance

It doesn’t take a business guru to tell you that if you want your company to thrive, you need to make sure that your staff are firing on all cylinders. Of course though, as is often the case when it comes to the tricky business of managing people, this can be much easier said than done.

If you want to achieve big things, you need clear and effective processes in place to help you to get there. Your line managers play a huge role in creating a productive and high-performing culture, and you need to ensure that you’re driving them in the right direction.

Here, we share some of our tips for encouraging your line managers to step into their roles and play an active part in improving performance.

Create procedures that underpin your objectives

Your line managers can often only operate within the constraints that you provide them with. If you want them to excel in particular areas, you need to create a framework that allows them to do so. For this reason, it’s important that you consider what you already have in place that helps staff to reach their full potential.

Do you have a policy that outlines how often and in what format performance discussion should happen? Is there something in place that ensures the work is being carried out? Who ultimately chases things up to ensure that procedures are being followed? It’s not necessarily about ticking boxes, but you do need to create systems that encourage the day-to-day tasks to be carried out.

Give your managers the confidence and skills they need to have meaningful discussions

Unfortunately, making sure that performance discussions are taking place is only the first hurdle. It’s not so much about frequency, as it is about the quality of the conversations that are happening.

At the end of the day, talking about performance and addressing areas of concern can be daunting, even for the most experienced line managers. It’s important that you give them the opportunity to hone their skills, and to keep developing them on a regular basis. Consider how you can do this within your business. It may be the case that you need to roll out some training sessions, or perhaps you need to have your own one-on-one discussions with your management team so you can better understand how you can support them.

Encourage your managers to facilitate career development in their teams

Performance management isn’t just about fixing problems and making sure that the work gets done within a specified frame of time. It’s about looking ahead towards the future and ensuring that your business has the right kind of talent to drive operations forward and achieve growth.

The key takeaway here is that if your employees aren’t being given a chance to flourish, they’re likely to start looking elsewhere. Do you really want to lose your talented members of staff to your competitors? Be sure that your line managers are having open and honest conversations with their direct reports about where they see themselves in the next five years, and that information is taken seriously and considered when it comes to planning the direction of the business as a whole.

If line management capability is something that you want to improve, we can help. We believe that successful businesses are created when leadership teams are given the tools they need to excel. Contact us for an initial discussion about how we could bring our practical approach to your business.

Give us a call today!

Website: www.TheWorkforceConsultants.com

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