"YOU HAVE TO GET LOST BEFORE YOU CAN BE FOUND."
Pay & Grading Structure, Benefits & Reward System
Even before you start recruiting you do need to answer the important question of: What shall I pay this person? As well as answering the obvious question of affordability for the business, you should also ask: ‘Is the benefits package I’m offering going to attract the calibre of candidate I need?’; this is especially the case during periods of relatively full employment when many companies can be competing for the same scarce resource and varies according to sector, job role and level. It's also important to fit this new benefits package into your existing framework or risk having to do more time-consuming recruitment to replace existing disgruntled staff once they discover the disparity!
You should also ensure that there is no gender or other bias built into what you choose to pay your staff, in addition to checking that you are paying above the National Minimum Wage (or Living Wage if preferred). If you choose, a full job evaluation provides an objective assessment of the intrinsic value of each job within the business that can then be matched to a salary. We can help you develop a fair and robust structure for the way you wish to pay your staff as well as cost of living or performance-based increases in future years.
Apart from basic pay there are lots of cost-effective benefits that can be offered to help attract new employees but also, just as importantly, help retain experienced staff ensuring that they feel valued and well-motivated. Some benefits are governed (according to the size of the business) by statutory minimums such as holiday-entitlement (Working Time Regulations) and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) and Pensions (Auto-enrolment) but you may choose to pay above these minimums and we can help advise on this. We can also help you respond to a request for flexible working or paternity leave and make sure your auto-enrolment processes are set up correctly. We can also explore with you cost effective added extras such as Cycle to Work Schemes, Health Plans, Bonus schemes and other benefits platforms. Even simple Suggestion Schemes, Referrals or Employee of the Month Schemes can help build employee loyalty towards the Company with very little monetary outlay.
Contracts, Handbooks, Policies & Procedures
Some documents are compulsory, such as the need to provide a Written Statement of Terms & Conditions within 2 months of an employee commencing employment. Other documents such as Disciplinary and Grievance procedure, Whistleblowing policies, Family Friendly policy documents should be produced (and made available to staff) and followed to ensure that employees have been dealt with in a fair and consistent manner and thereby reducing the risk of future unfair dismissal or other potentially financially expensive claims against the company. Provision of such documents should not be thought of as just a tick-box exercise, but more about supplying the new starter with information about the culture, the history and the rules that operate within the business (often in the form of a Company Handbook) so that the new employee quickly starts to feel comfortable and able to contribute and avoids the proverbial banana skins that can cause them to fall and possibly exit the business prematurely.
Where an employee does start to fall below a standard of performance, conduct or attendance, a well written procedure provides the means for addressing the issue and either assisting the employee back to the required level of conduct or performance or, if not possible, legally moving the employee out of the business, once all suitable alternatives have been exhausted.
Recruitment & Selection
Your staff are your company’s most valuable asset (especially in a small businesses) so when taking the plunge to increase headcount (in an expanding business) or replacing a key staff member who has left, it is vital to select the right person for each job. Recruitment can easily consume time and money, but getting the wrong person or failing to follow the correct procedure can be even more costly.
We can help with as much (or as little) of the following activities:
Writing job descriptions, person specifications and adverts
Designing hard copy or on-line Application Forms for applicants to use
Advertising roles using the most effective media or using preferred agencies
Screening CV’s for short listing
Designing and operating appropriate selection criteria and processes including:
Initial screening by phone or skype
competency based questions for face-to-face interviews
psychometric and ability tests
assessment tasks including in-tray tasks, presentations, team exercises
Eligibility Checks - qualifications, DBS, references, rights to work in UK etc
Offer letter and regret notifications to unsuccessful candidates
Induction/On-boarding and the Probationary Period
The quicker the new starter learns the ropes (whether through a formal or informal induction process) and starts to feel settled, the faster that employee is then able to contribute on a day-to-day basis. Getting to know the people, processes, rules and culture of the business can be daunting for some new employees and it’s also important for the employee to understand how the job they perform fits in and contributes to the success of the business. Some larger companies use a ‘buddy’ system where the new starter is put with an experienced, role model employee that they can learn both the job tasks and formal and informal rules from on a 1:1 basis.
However, sometimes, despite the best endeavours of a robust recruitment and induction process, either the employer or employee (or both) decides that the new employee is not able to meet the standards of performance, conduct or attendance required by the business. We can help you design a probationary period assessment system that can check that the new starter is meeting the milestones that you would expect during the first couple of months and if they aren’t, can quickly step in to provide additional training or guidance to get them back on track. Where, even despite intervention, the employee is still not up to the standard required, the assessment process will ensure that the parting is agreed and conducted in a professional manner.
Internal Communication Systems
As you start to employ more staff, more formal systems of communication may be required. We can help you set up internal communication/consultation mechanisms such as Employee Forums/Councils so that there are established channels supporting two-way communication, allowing all staff a say in the business and ensuring that minor concerns can be tackled before they escalate further. Sometimes that process will involve established unions on-site or the formal recognition of a new union for consultation purposes and we can help with this process, if required.
You may also want to set up regular group briefing sessions or internal newsletters or employee surveys to help keep your staff both informed, energised and contributing to the on-going continuous development of the business.
Training and Development
Performance Management systems such as Appraisals (180° or 360°) can be used to identify any areas of development that an employee may have, either to do the current job or a future job or to identify additional skills/experience or knowledge that needs to be acquired to perform a new task or project or meet a specific business objective. By mutually agreeing the best method of acquiring this new information/skill, specific to the employee, both employee and line manager develop a commitment to making the training work for the benefit of both the business and the individual concerned. We can help design an appraisal system that works for your particular organisation.
We can also help you identify specific reputable training providers for everything from First Aid training, Microsoft packages through to role specific day-release courses for AAT etc. We can offer advice on the Apprenticeship Levy process and help you find suppliers of quality approved local Apprenticeship schemes. We can help you to tap into internal experiential training such as shadowing, coaching and experiences such as carrying out presentations in ‘safe’ internal environments as well as running courses on management and HR skills/knowledge.
Disciplinary, Grievance, Absence Management Capability
Sometimes it becomes apparent, either through the performance management assessment process detailed above, or as a result of a one-off incident or gradual decline in performance, that an employee is unable to, or doesn’t want to, work to the standards of performance or conduct laid out in documents such as the Company Handbook, Disciplinary Procedure or localised Works Instructions. In such cases, the visibility of a clear, unambiguous system of operation provides a framework in which to deal with these situations, in a professional but compassionate way. We can help you design and implement the systems initially and then help you operate the procedures fairly and consistently. This could mean helping with a misconduct investigation as an independent statement collector or advising on the use of the procedure by line managers at every step of the way in a gross misconduct case. We can also help you deal with claims from employees such as bullying/harassment, ensuring that there are clear policies in place to be followed from the outset.
Where absence is the issue, we can advise on obtaining GP reports and getting independent occupational health input so that any decision on whether the employee is able to return to work or not, is made fairly, taking into account all available information.
Where necessary, we can help you bring to an end the employment contract through procedural route or settlement always ensuring the risk to the business is kept to a minimum.
Re-organisation, Redundancy, Transfers
We know that a business has to change to grow or sometimes to simply survive and we can help you with this, potentially difficult, change process. Change of any type can be very unsettling, and can be made worse by poor communication channels. We can help you get in place the correct legal communication systems and processes to help you deal with everything from downsizing (in a redundancy situation) to movement of staff in or out of the business (in a TUPE transfer scenario), ensuring that the people you value stay motivated and engaged and that you meet all legislative requirements in such situations.
Counselling & Well Being Services (New)
To operate effectively individuals need to be fit both physically and mentally, with mental health issues, in the form of lost working days, often impacting on the bottom line. Under Health & Safety legislation employers need to ensure the safety of employees at work, with workplace stress often raised by employees as a major threat to health. Having a stress policy and access to good counselling services ensures that you are both meeting your responsibilities as an employer but more importantly helping your employees return to full health.
As a member of both the National Hypnotherapy Society and the National Counselling Society we can operate as your outsourced counselling service or you can merely sign-post to us and we can offer the service privately, providing assistance more quickly and for a longer period than currently offered through NHS GP services. We offer hypnotherapy and therapeutic counselling for a number of common mental health issues such as stress, anxiety, phobias as well as for substance addiction (eg smoking etc).
NB This is just a sample of the types of scenarios we can help you with, but please do enquire about other situations that you may need assistance with