Let’s talk – discussing mental health at work

David Ralph   
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Feb 20
Mental health is a hot topic right now, especially when it comes to talking about it. People are now far more aware that the way to start combating poor mental health is to talk, as that will often be the catalyst for seeking help.   Ideally, employers should be able to have an open discussion with their employees about mental health. Considering it causes over 70 million working days to be lost each year, it should be treated in the same way as any other illness.   The difficulty of discussing mental health Mental health problems can come in manyRead More

Building resilience at work

David Ralph   
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Feb 19
The need for resilience in the workplace has become far more recognised in recent years. In the past, employees could realistically expect a job for life in industries that seemed like they’d always stand the test of time.   However, employees will now have to be able to deal with the pressures of modern working life. Being resilient will involve being able to handle increased workloads, changing priorities, organisational change, and even redundancy.   What is resilience? Resilience can be defined as being able to ‘bounce back’ from adversity. A more formal definition is ‘the successful adaptation to life tasksRead More

Are you being SMART? How to set and communicate objectives

David Ralph   
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Feb 14
If you’re an employer, you’ll always be aiming to get the best from your employees. This will involve making sure they can do their job to the best of their ability, and by ensuring they have the skills and tools to do so.   In order to do this, employees need to know what is required from them and know exactly what their performance will be measured against. This is why managers need to set their employees realistic and attainable objectives.   Objectives should be communicated to employees clearly, through regular performance meetings where they can be agreed by bothRead More

Are annual performance reviews still relevant?

David Ralph   
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Feb 13
Traditionally, managers would sit down with their employees every twelve months and conduct an annual performance review. However, in recent years the practise of evaluating employees yearly is falling out of favour.   It could be argued that taking such an infrequent approach leads to evaluation over development, with businesses simply holding people to account for their past behaviour rather than trying to improve current performance.   One of the more well-known examples was General Electric, who’s appraisal involved ranking employees based on a numeric representation of their performance over the past year. The bottom 10% were then fired, inRead More

How well-designed work can improve performance

David Ralph   
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Feb 12
Workplace productivity can be improved by allowing employees to exercise some control over the way in which their jobs will be carried out. Giving employees some autonomy over what their role involves will lead to greater employee engagement and commitment, and encourage better use of skills and knowledge.   Well-designed jobs often include the following:   The chance to use existing skills and develop new ones The right tools to do the job A variety of work A degree of interdependence with other roles and other people Flexibility over hours worked and working patterns Good use of physical space  Read More

Handling difficult grievance and disciplinary conversations

David Ralph   
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Feb 08
Difficult conversations are a fact of life in any workplace. They can involve delivering difficult feedback or discussing behavioural issues, so are often important to an organisation’s overall performance. As a result, managers have to accept responsibility and develop the skills necessary to deal with difficult workplace conversations.   Meetings regarding grievances and disciplinary cases are two of the more common difficult conversations managers may have to have with employees. The best way for managers to deal with these types of conversations is to plan, familiarise themselves with relevant policy and have confidence in their own skills.   Acknowledge problemsRead More

Employment Law Update – February 2018

David Ralph   
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Feb 07
Here’s Deminos litigator Ed McFarlane with his insight on the latest Employment Law updates, including the big equal pay story that could have far reaching consequences for Tesco, plus the Taylor Report on Modern Working Practices, which could signify big changes yet to come.   1. Equal Pay at Tesco? – Media reports indicate that Tesco may be facing a claim for equal pay, valued by some at up to £4bn, from women employed in customer-facing jobs who are claiming equal pay with male warehouse staff.   The argument would be that the women are doing work ‘of equal value’ to the men,Read More

Discrimination at work and how to prevent it

David Ralph   
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Feb 06
It’s not only the law to promote equality, fairness and diversity in the workplace – there are many business benefits too. The Equality Act 2010 states that employers cannot discriminate against anyone based on the nine ‘protected characteristics’, which include age, sex, race and disability.   Having a workplace free from discrimination will lead to a more productive team. It will also improve the image of an organisation, and help attract, retain and motivate talented employees. Costs will be reduced due to having to recruit fewer new members of staff, and by avoiding potentially expensive employment tribunal cases.   RecruitmentRead More

Managing Conflict at Work

David Ralph   
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Feb 05
Managing conflict can be one of the hardest jobs a manager has to do. After all, conflict at work can occur for many reasons, and simply trying to ignore it can cause even greater problems.   Long-term conflict can lead to poor morale at work, low employee engagement, a loss in productivity, and severely affect teamwork. Even though it will involve having difficult conversations with employees, it is something that should be addressed as soon as it becomes apparent.   The signs of conflict Some signs of conflict might be quite obvious, such as members of staff having an argument.Read More

Succession planning – what to do if an employee leaves

David Ralph   
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Feb 01
  Succession planning is the process for identifying, training and developing members of staff who can replace a colleague in a vital role, should they choose to leave the company or retire.   The ideal situation for a business is to never have a key role open which another skilled employee cannot step into. This will require an organisation to retain employees and promote talent management; all the way from recruitment, through to when an employee announces their intention to retire.   Even smaller businesses can carry out succession planning through cross-training. If an employee is absent, then it makesRead More

Recruitment – how to integrate new employees

David Ralph   
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Jan 26
  All employers want their staff to work hard and be loyal to their organisation. This “psychological contract” will be enhanced if an employee’s introduction to the organisation is a positive experience.   Integrating new employees correctly has several benefits: Employees gain an understanding of the “big picture” and see how they fit in; They will become competent in their role more quickly, feeling secure and comfortable; It allows an organisation to promote its corporate image in a positive way; Employees are more likely to remain with the organisation in the long term.   Inductions An induction process will ensureRead More

Recruitment – how to attract the right candidates

David Ralph   
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Jan 26
  The implications of poor recruitment can be far reaching and costly for a business. When the wrong person is appointed to a role, it can affect colleagues’ morale and lead to a poor standard of work by the new starter. The cost of underperformance – and the time it takes to support and manage the new starter – can place additional demands on managers too.   The best course of action is to get it right first time, by introducing a well-structured recruitment process. By following recruitment and selection best practices, you’ll always employ the right person for theRead More

What to include in an employee engagement survey

David Ralph   
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Jan 24
  One of the key elements of employee engagement is to give employees a voice. Doing this is advantageous to businesses for many reasons, as it helps increase productivity, encourages innovation, and leads to greater staff retention. For employees, they will gain greater job satisfaction and have more influence over how they work. Giving employees a voice is the primary way in which managers can measure the level of employee engagement within their organisation. They can see what members of staff feel positively about, and more importantly, what can be changed for the better. One of the best ways ofRead More

The link between employee engagement and high productivity

David Ralph   
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Jan 22
  Research has shown that UK businesses have low levels of both employee engagement and productivity. It’s entirely possible that the two are linked.   In a report by Engage for Success, evidence shows that only 30% of UK employees are actively engaged, and the UK has 6% lower average engagement levels than other large economies. Concurrently, the UK’s productivity is 20% lower than that of other G7 nations.   Employee engagement can have a positive impact on a business in several ways:   Productivity – Engagement scores in the top quartile averaged 18% higher productivity. 71% of companies withRead More

How does employee engagement work?

David Ralph   
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Jan 22
  Employee engagement is often confused with job satisfaction or happiness. However, they are not the same. Whereas job satisfaction would be an employee being content in their role, for example liking their boss or not minding the commute, employee engagement goes deeper than that.   Employee engagement is defined as “the level of an employee’s psychological investment in their organisation.” It involves employees saying positive things about their organisation, intending to stay with the organisation on a long-term basis, and being motivated to do their best to help the organisation succeed.   But how do employers achieve this? Ultimately,Read More

The ‘epidemic of stress’ – how employers can help

David Ralph   
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Jan 11
The recent news that 3,750 teachers are on long-term sick leave due to an ‘epidemic of stress’ is further evidence that mental health is a growing concern.   A freedom of information request revealed that one in 83 teachers spent more than a month off work in 2016-17 because of the pressure of work, anxiety and mental illness.   1.3 million days have been taken off by teachers for stress and mental health reasons over the last four years, with around 312,000 in 2016-17.   The research was carried out by the Liberal Democrats, who requested data from 152 EnglishRead More

The gender pay gap – what can be done?

David Ralph   
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Jan 10
More than 500 firms have now revealed their figures on the gender pay gap, with some major companies having a large pay gap in favour of men.   On average, women earn 15% less per hour than men at Ladbrokes, 33% less at Virgin Money, and a huge 52% less at EasyJet.   The BBC’s figures revealed in October showed that men earn an average of 10.7% more than women at the corporation. One of the most senior journalists at the BBC, Carrie Gracie, has resigned in protest, accusing it of a “secretive and illegal” pay culture.   The genderRead More

Perceived disability – Is it discrimination?

David Ralph   
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Jan 09
  Is it discrimination if a non-disabled job applicant is rejected because of a perception that a condition could become a disability in future? Our litigator Ed McFarlane looks at a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case that answers that question.   Yes, held the EAT in Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey, upholding a finding of disability discrimination by perception.   The Claimant was a serving police officer in Wiltshire Police who applied for a transfer to the Norfolk force. She had a degree of hearing loss, which would usually have disqualified her from recruitment when she joined the WiltshireRead More

Could poor management cost you your best employees?

David Ralph   
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Jan 08
Almost half of the UK workforce (47%) expect to be looking for a new job this year, according to research from Investors in People (IIP).   The Job Exodus Survey 2018 poll of 2,000 people revealed that the biggest reason for wanting to change job was poor management (49%). This was followed by 43% feeling they could earn more elsewhere, and 29% feeling undervalued by their current employers.   There has been a small improvement in job satisfaction from last year, when 59% said they were seeking a new job. However, one in four are still unhappy in their currentRead More

Virgin Trains Twitter storm – how to avoid online controversy

David Ralph   
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Jan 04
Virgin Trains recently “apologised unreservedly” for a tweet which some social media users described as sexist.   When responding to a complaint from passenger Emily Lucinda Cole about being referred to as ‘honey’ by a member of staff, the official Virgin Trains East Coast Twitter account asked if she would “prefer ‘pet’ or ‘love’ next time”.   Ms Cole was travelling on a busy train from Edinburgh, where she had been visiting friends and family for Hogmanay, to her home in London. Following some confusion about seating arrangements, she wished to complain.   Speaking to the BBC, Ms Cole said:Read More

Top HR priorities for employers in 2018

David Ralph   
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Jan 03
Happy New Year from Deminos! We hope you had a fun and festive Christmas break, and are back at work feeling refreshed and ready for 2018.   With the new year now underway, we’re looking at the top HR and employment law priorities that we believe employers should be looking at over the coming twelve months.   1. GDPR On the 25th May 2018, the Data Protection Act will be replaced by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The new legislation tightens up the rules on how businesses can use and store personal data, and failure to comply will leadRead More

The top 10 benefits of flexible working

David Ralph   
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Nov 21
Employees have the right to request flexible working, with employers having a legal obligation to consider granting it. However, actively encouraging flexible working can bring many benefits to a business. Here, we look at the top ten reasons for creating a flexible culture in your workplace.   Reduced absenteeism If an employee has a personal commitment that their employer cannot accommodate, there’s always the chance that they’ll “pull a sickie” so they don’t have to go into work. These are hours lost for the employer, and repeated incidents will harm productivity and staff morale. Letting employees alter their hours soRead More

Family-Friendly Policies Week at Deminos

David Ralph   
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Nov 20
Introducing family-friendly policies can benefit both employers and employees. Employers should always be looking to recruit from the widest possible cross-section of people, so provisions should be made to accommodate parents and people with other responsibilities outside of work.   This week, we’ll be looking at the benefits of embracing family-friendly policies and how to implement them into your business.   Questions of the day Deminos director Sam Corcoran will be answering the following common questions that often surround family-friendly policies: Does an employee need to provide a reason when making a flexible working request? Can an employer withdraw fromRead More

Anti-Bullying Week round-up

David Ralph   
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Nov 17
It’s been a busy week at Deminos, but the weekend is nearly upon us once again. Over the last few days on social media we’ve been sharing advice on how to prevent bullying and harassment in the workplace, tying-in with the Anti-Bullying Alliance’s Anti-Bullying Week.   Questions of the day These articles should help you put an anti-bullying policy in place for your employees. How do you spot the signs of workplace bullying? Are bullying and harassment punishable by law? Are employers liable for cases of bullying and harassment outside of work or on social media? How can employers tackleRead More

How can employers tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace?

David Ralph   
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Nov 16
How can employers tackle bullying and harassment in the workplace? Bullying at work is a problem for many employers, so shouldn’t be ignored. The way to prevent it is to make it clear that bullying and harassment will not be tolerated both inside and outside of the workplace, and any such incidents will be dealt with fully.   The first thing to do is create an anti-bullying policy that’s integrated with your disciplinary guidelines. It will have to be communicated to staff through the employee handbook or contract, and can be made clearer still through training.   According to Acas,Read More