employees

Christmas Party – Remember It For The Right Reasons

30 Nov
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Christmas, Employees, Health and Safety   |  No Comments

It is the last day of November. For many, this is payday, for others it is invoicing day and for some…. It is the official start of the festive season.

Over the years we have seen some pretty fantastic Christmas parties. We have also seen some lovely intimate low key affairs where the team come together and celebrate the past year and its successes.

While you are not operating a school, all employers have a legal responsibility and duty of care towards their staff and that is not just Monday – Friday 9 – 5, but includes work functions such as the Christmas party. While you may not want to organise the ‘personal’ life of your employees and may believe that they are all grown up enough to look after themselves, if an accident or incident happens and the employer has not taken due care, the employer can become liable. Ensure that you have considered and talked about all of the relevant issues with your staff before the party and they know what they are responsible for and what failure to comply might mean.

Here are some top tips for making sure your work Christmas party is one to remember rather than one you wish to forget:

  1. Make sure everyone is invited and made to feel welcome
    • remember not everyone celebrates Christmas, so how can you make it more inclusive?
  2. Think carefully about whether partners are invited and if so, who pays for them?
  3. Be mindful about your venue
    • Is it easy to get to / return from on public transport?
    • Can people stay over if they chose to?
    • Is there ample parking for those who prefer to drive?
    • If your team is widely spread, is it accessible to everyone and will expenses be paid to those who don’t live locally who wish to attend?
  4. Menu planning – LONG gone are the days where everyone will sit down to eat a traditional Christmas Dinner
    • Make sure you understand what your staff can and can not eat, from both a dietary and religious perspective.
    • Is there a vegetarian/vegan option?
    • Is there a free from option?
    • Are the Canapes clearly marked
    • Are the caterers and their staff carefully briefed – nut allergies are life-threatening and the impact of a careless caterer is not to be underestimated.
  5. Alcohol planning – I am not going to try to tell you that your event needs to be alcohol-free as that would just be Humbug at this time of year! However, there are some considerations
    • What is a reasonable amount of alcohol per person?
    • Who is paying for it?
    • Are people allowed to buy more for themselves once the ‘paid for’ bar has been used
    • Is anyone going to stop people drinking if and when they think they have had too much
  6. How are people getting home?
    • Are cabs booked in advance to take people home or is a local cab company on standby with sufficient cars?
    • Is a coach being arranged to drop people at a central point and if so, what happens from there?
    • Will someone be responsible for ensuring that no one is driving either their own or a company vehicle while under the influence of alcohol
  7. Are staff (and management) expected at work the next day – not every party can be on a Friday night and not every business is shut at the weekend
    • This is a case of one rule for all. No discrimination based on length of service or seniority in the business. If your business is open the next day, your staff need to be there in a fit state to work just like on any other day
      • If staff do not turn up – what is the impact?
      • If staff turn up too tired or unwell – what is the impact?
    • Will you allow people to book the ‘day after the night before’ off as a holiday and what is the impact on your business?
      • Will normal holiday booking procedures apply?
    • Managing the fallout – while we sincerely hope there is no fall out from your work Christmas party, many years of experience tells us otherwise. So what do you need to consider in managing the fallout?
      • Treating everyone equally and fairly
      • Following and complying with your own policies and procedures
      • Health and safety implications for employees, clients and other third parties
      • Financial damage
      • Reputational damage

I don’t mean to scare you, and many employers believe it will never happen to them, but it

can and it does. With over 25 years in HR and Management and as head of an HR practice for over 11 years, I never cease to be amazed by what I see and hear, especially around Christmas. I think I have seen it all and then something else happens and as HR, we often end up trying to pick up the pieces and keep our clients (the Businesses) out of trouble, helping them to make their workplace a better place to be.

As with all aspects of business life, Proper Planning Prevents P*** Poor Performance. Plan your Christmas party, get advice if you need it but have an amazing festive celebration that ALL your staff remember for the RIGHT reasons which keeps them engaged in 2019.

Discrimination

05 Mar
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Discrimination, employee rights, Employees, employent law, Employment, gender, HR, Maternity, Part-time Workers Act, Policies and Procedures, Race Discrimination, Recruitment, RIsk, Sexual Orientation, Video, Vlog   |  No Comments

 

Well written policies and procedures which are communicated and applied consistently are the key to ensuring that the risk  of discrimination is reduced as much as possible.

Employees (as well as workers and job applicants) could bring claims for discrimination on the basis of Age, Gender, Race, Beliefs, Marital Status, Disability and Sexual Orientation.

Care must be taken not to over generalise i.e. “everyone must wear trousers” or “everyone must work on a specific day of the week” as this could have a disproportionate negative impact on a sub sect of your workforce. Therefore you end up discriminating against some, as a result of trying to treat everyone the same.

Mediocre Managers

08 Apr
by Brenda, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Mediocre Managers – how much damage could they do?

If a Manager is mediocre, surely that’s better than completely useless? Let’s think about that……

What skills and attributes does a Manager need?

Looking at this from four points of view:
The Business
An Employee
The HR Department or Senior Management
The Customer

Google ‘Manager’ and the definitions and descriptions are endless, but some key ones include:

  • A leader first and foremost, someone people feel happy to follow
  • Ability to manage a team on a day to day basis
  • Excellent coaching and training skills
  • Knowledge of the business, products & systems
  • Good time management, ability to prioritise
  • Problem solver / decision maker
  • Approachability – door always open
  • Good communicator and listener
  • Empathetic – able to put themselves in the person’s shoes
  • Well presented, with good verbal and written skills

Quite a long list and by no means exhaustive, so what would happen if the person managing your team, speaking to your customers or managing you just doesn’t measure up?

This could lead to all sorts of problems. Employees may leave because they have been poorly treated or do not feel they have enough support. Backlogs may occur as work is not dealt with in a timely fashion, and wrong decisions may be made affecting your business. Customers may not get the first class service they pay for and buy less from you, or worse still stop using your company completely. Remember, bad news travels a whole lot faster than good!

And finally, your HR department or Senior Management may have a whole raft of problems to deal with including performance management,disciplinaries, grievances and dismissals. Prevention is better than cure!

Thinking about each key area in turn

The Business

Recruitment is key when looking for the right person. Really think about what you want the person to achieve in your business. Get your job description and advert right. When recruiting, plan out what you want to ask, key questions that are relevant to your business and take time to make a decision.

Once you have the person on board, draw up a performance plan, training plan and an agreed schedule of 121’s.  By catching a problem early, such as a poorly performing Manger, you can use timely and specific interventions and prevent long term damage to your business. Your training plan can address areas of weakness and development. Training can come in lots of different formats, from attending external courses, mentoring / shadowing, reading manuals and online information etc. Take advantage of whatever is out there to turn your Manager into the person who is going to shine!

Having a performance management plan in place will allow you to assess performance regularly and if there is an issue and the person just isn’t measuring up, will give you the evidence to take further action in the form of a disciplinary and even dismissal.

The Employee

What do you do if your own line Manager is mediocre and not supporting you? Well, jumping ship may seem like a good idea if things have got really bad, but the only person who that will affect is you. So take action first.  If speaking to them is getting you no-where, then ask to speak to their line Manager, plan very carefully what you want to say, as you do not want to come across as whinging. Hopefully, that will instigate some changes.

The Customer

As a customer, what would you do if you were getting less than fantastic service from a person within a supplier? Well the obvious action is to complain, put your thoughts in writing, and be constructive about what has happened and why you are unhappy. Give the company the opportunity to respond and resolve. Ultimately, if you do not get a response you are happy with, vote with your feet.

HR or Senior Management

Finally, mediocrity can cause problems for HR and Senior Management of the Company too. If a Manager is not managing effectively, HR or a Senior Manager often has to pick up the pieces. Even something such as managing performance is time consuming, with more regular 121’s, Performance Improvement Plans and regular monitoring needed and if the situation is not resolved and a disciplinary or dismissal is needed, this will  be time consuming and sometimes  costly.

So a mediocre Manager really isn’t acceptable and can affect so many different areas of a business. Taking action quickly whatever your interaction can prevent / resolve things getting out of hand.

For more information on managing staff effectively and
putting policy into place please contact DOHR on 01923 504 100 or email
enquiries@dohr.co.uk.

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