training

Probation Reviews

09 Apr
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Employees, Probation, training, Video, Vlog   |  No Comments

The Employee should recieve regular feedback during their probation period. This can be done informally, but if there are any concerns, these should be documented with an action plan.

At a minimum, the employee should recieve a formal written review after 3 months and again at about 5 1/2 months.

Failing someone in their final probation review should not be a surprise. As a result of feedback provided, they should know if their employment is going to be confirmed.

Why Corporate Jargon And Nonsense Stops Businesses Taking HR Seriously

10 Jan
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Compensation, Contract of employment, Employees, Employment, Human Resources, people manaagment, Policies and Procedures, Recruitment, training   |  No Comments

(And The Four Processes That Most Business Owners  Need To Go Through When Dealing With Staff)

I’ve been studying and practicing HR for over 25 years. 

Which means that I ‘get it’.  I ‘understand’ it.  However ludicrously worded something is, or however jargonny a contract sounds, I can usually root out the genuine meaning, and what it means in the real world.

However, use the term HR or Human Resources in front of your common or garden business owner and you’ll often get a blank look, especially if they have never worked in large organisations or corporations that have had a whole HR department dedicated to looking after the staff, employees, and contractors.

But here’s the thing, whether you’re Mickey the Butcher or Microsoft, you still need to be able to practice HR correctly – failure to do so puts your business under significant risk from an employment tribunal.

With that in mind, this article is designed to help you to do exactly that, by cutting through the jargon and breaking down the four processes that you’ll need to go through, whether you’ve got two employees or 20,000.

So the first area is recruitment: the hiring of the right staff. 

Make sure that you know the skills that you need and that the people that you are hiring have the ability to do the job, but don’t forget that attitude and aptitude are also really, really important. 

Making sure that somebody has the right attitude, is going to fit in with your business and your culture will engage with your goals and has the ability to learn the rest of the skills that you need to give them is absolutely vital. 

Why?  Nobody is going to come fully formed, so you need employees who can be moulded, and moulding is all about attitude. 

And, as a plus point, when employees are not fully formed, they are generally easier to work with – they don’t have the same fixed ideas about things that someone who has ‘been there and done it’ has.

In addition, it is also really good idea to hire people who are better than you at key elements of the business. You shouldn’t be sweating over the books when someone else will be able to do them quicker, easier and more effectively than you.

Similarly, you may be good and able to type your letters up yourself, but actually having a VA or an in-house PA is going to drive your business forward much quicker for you as they are freeing up your time. 

 

The second element is Employee Relations

Now, this is a big area for HR!

At the most basic level, it means giving all of the staff that you hire a contract of employment. 

It means making sure that you have made decisions about:

  • How much holiday they are going to have
  • What you are going to do in the event of sick pay
  • What dress code you want within your business
  • What time you want people at work
  • What time they work till
  • How long their breaks are

Sound extreme?  Perhaps.  But by documenting all of these from day one, there is absolute clarity for you and for your staff, and no one can pretend that they didn’t know what was expected of them.

 

The third element is training, development and learning. 

Now, all three of these take time and happen in multiple phases, but all business owners need to be mindful of them; otherwise, they generally don’t happen.

Generally, the first phase is known as “induction” and when you first bring somebody into the business, the best way to get them to hit the ground running is to induct them properly. 

Once they know what they should be doing, it is all about monitoring and managing their performance so they are performing at the best possible level that they can.

And again it takes practice and they will improve over time, which is why regular documented progress meetings are a really, really useful tool.  No matter what size your business, whether you have one employee, five employees, or 25 employees, sitting down with your staff on a regular basis, sharing your vision, sharing the goals and asking them to deliver key elements of those goals is essential to moving the business forward. 

 

And then there is reward. 

Reward can come in multiple formats. 

Pay is the most obvious but there is also commission, bonus and other incentives which you give to your staff to encourage them to reach the targets that you set or to reward them for achieving certain outcomes. 

However, reward is also about the environment in which people work. 

It’s about the way in which you treat them, the pizza in the office on a Friday or giving people a day off to go and deal with an emergency because you know that they have been in the office late working on projects for the last three or four weeks.  

Reward is also about the culture and the corporate social responsibility that the business shows. 

Many youngsters nowadays are choosing to work or not work for companies based on the ethos of those companies. 

People are becoming more picky and people want to work for great bosses and brands that they believe in. 

Consequently, positioning your business (no matter how big or small) as an employer of choice will really help you to recruit and to retain the right staff for your business. 

So, as a business owner, the next time you think about your role within the business, you are not only the finance person, the marketing person and the salesperson – you are also the HR person. 

You are responsible for the recruitment and retention, the training and development, the reward and the frameworks within which your staff work and operate. You are also responsible for the way in which your staff are going to help you to achieve business success, by making sure that you are an effective manager.  That takes practice, but as they say, practice makes perfect.

Try Before You Buy?

24 Apr
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in 121's, Blog, Employees, Employers, Induction, Probation, training   |  No Comments

When taking on new staff, employers have a choice as to whether to give a probation period or not. And if they do put a probation period into the contract of employment, they can (within reason) choose how long to make the probation period.

As advisors we generally recommend a 6 month probation period, but why do we do this?

Taking on a new member of staff involves finding the right person, offering them the right package and training them up as quickly as possible so that they are adding value to your business. All this takes time and money, so is giving them a probation period a sign of lack of trust, or a sensible precaution?

A probation period is designed to be a period of training, immersion in the company and it’s culture and an opportunity for a new employee to find their feet, learn their role and thrive. Most people pass through their probation period with no problems at all. Employers sometimes don’t even remember to confirm employment at the end of the probation period. But what happens when things don’t go to plan? How should employers deal with a failing employee within their probation period? And is it always the fault of the employee?

Induction

When an employee joins the company, they should be given an induction programme aimed at giving them all the information they need as quickly as possible. Examples of things which are commonly included are a health and safety briefing, meetings with key people within the business, organisational charts, copies of company policies and procedures and attendance at company, service or product specific training courses.

An intensive induction programme could take anything from one day to three months, depending on the nature of the business and any specific cyclical activities.

Regular 121s

As the line manager of a new employee, it is important to have regular 121s with your new team member. This may be work related, but should also include time to talk about them, their experiences within the business, their progress and any concerns they might have. This is an opportunity to identify any additional training or support needs or to amend workload and expectations (upwards as well as downwards).

Mid Probation Review

Regardless of how long the probation period, half way through you should have a more formal review which is properly documented. This is an opportunity to measure performance against objectives, to set objectives for the rest of the probation period and to ensure that progress is being made.

End of Probation Review

This should be a formal meeting along the lines of an appraisal. The meeting should take place 2 weeks before the end of the probation period. There are three possible outcomes:

  • The Employee Passes their probation period and is confirmed in role
  • The Employee Fails their probation period and a termination process starts
  • The Probation Period is extended in line with the contractual terms

Over to You

What is your experience of probation periods? You may be a line manager or an employee? Have they worked? Do they support the employee? Do they offer the business an opportunity to try before you buy?

Back to Us

When taking on staff, it is essential that the employment contract is robust and that there are adequate provisions for a probation period. If you do need to terminate employment, it is essential that you do it legally or you could end up with a discrimination claim.

For help and support with all contract and probation issues, contact us on enquiries@dohr.co.uk or call 01923 504100

Bribery – Have you protected your business?

27 Jan
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Bribery, Compliance, employent law, Employment Legislation, Hertfordshire, Policies and Procedures, training   |  No Comments

I was in a room with 20 different employers this week and asked a simple question….

How many of you have a policy on bribery and have trained your staff in the application of that policy?

Despite the Bribery Act 2010 having come into force in July 2011, 90% of the businesses represented did not have a policy and had not trained their staff in relation to their duties under the Bribery Act. The first case has now been brought under this legislation and a court official was found guilty of being bribed to make a speeding offence disappear.

The previous bribery legislation was mixed and confusing, some of it being over 100 years old.

For those of you who are not clear, bribery is defined as ‘the giving or taking of a reward in return for acting dishonestly and/or in breach of the law’. There are four offences under the Act:

  1. Bribing another person
  2. Being bribed
  3. Bribing a foreign public official
  4. Failure to prevent bribery

It is the last of these which employers need to be especially wary of. There is an absolute obligation for employers, even those with one employee, to have a policy which ensures that employees know that bribery is not acceptable. There is also an absolute obligation for employers to brief / train their staff in relation to the law, their policy and its application to their business environment.

So what counts as bribery? Is it…..

  1. Tipping your postman for Christmas deliveries
  2. Taking clients out for dinner
  3. Taking potential clients our for an afternoon at Wimbledon
  4. Sending clothing samples to a fashion reviewer for their children
  5. Giving a FIFA official an amount of money to secure their vote in deciding the location of the 2022 World Cup? – This news broke the week the legislation came into force!!!

To find out more about The Bribery Act 2010, it’s implications for your business and how to protect your business from prosecution,  join us at the Business Essentials Conference on 29th February 2012 where you will be able to discuss the Act in the context of your business and walk away with a policy, training guidelines and some standard forms and letters. This would normally cost approximately £500 + VAT but the one day conference will cost you just £120. For more information and to book visit www.businessessentialsconference.co.uk or call us on 01923 504100.

Can you afford to give employees time off to train?

14 Apr
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in employent law, Employers, Human Resources, training   |  No Comments

On 6th April 2010, the law changed to allow all employees to request time of to train.

Here are some of the issues which need to be considered:

  • Will the training benefit the employer as well as the employee?

If it won’t benefit the employer, you can turn down the request.

  • Will you give the time paid or unpaid?

There is no requirement to pay salary while an employee is taking time off for training, even if it will benefit the employer.

  • Will you pay for the training?

Again, there is no need to pay for the training, even if it will benefit the employer.

  • By saying yes to some employees and no to others, you may open yourselves up to discrimination claims.

Have a clear policy and procedure and communicate the criteria you will judge all applications by.

To find out more about the new legal entitlement to request time off for training or for assistance with your policy development, please contact us.

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