PeopleTalk – May 2013


Welcome to May 2013 and our 6th Birthday celebrations. As we enter our 7th year, we have taken the opportunity to look back over our first 6 and reflect at how far we have come and how exciting the future is for DOHR.

Over the years we have supported approximately 140 different clients, from individuals and companies with only one employee to multi-nationals with over 30,000 staff. We continue to support a number of clients on an on-going basis with our retained HR support service, as well as providing a one stop shop HR consultancy service for clients requiring ad hoc advice and help with their employees.

The business has also grown from just our founder Donna, to a team of 3 now able to offer recruitment, training and reward as well as employee relations – we really are a one stop shop.  As well as our HR services, we regularly blog, write for business publications and you often can find Donna guest appearing on BBC 3 Counties Radio.

At DOHR we are increasing the number of clients we are supporting on a regular basis and increasing the services we offer. So, if you or people you know need help with any aspect of their Human Resources Management, do get in touch.

Annual Leave

We know …… spring is barely here and we are already talking about the summer holidays, but as the warmer months approach, it is essential that we turn our heads to summer and start thinking about the leave that our staff will inevitably want to take off at some point. Employees are always taking days off here and there, but it is the two or three week blocks that everyone wants, and often at the same time during the school holidays, that causes problems, especially for small businesses.Holiday

So, what can employers do to protect themselves, their sanity and their business during the holiday season?

The first thing is to plan. Make sure your staff know what entitlement they have and any rules around taking leave are clearly documented and communicated.  A holiday policy may include a cap on the number of days that can be taken in one go, a cap on the number of people allowed off at the same time, a minimum notice requirement i.e. at least a month if you want a week and two months for two weeks.

Secondly, ensure that any black out periods are clearly communicated well in advance. Examples of a black out period may be two weeks during an end of season sale or tax year end for an accountancy practice.

In addition, it is important to ensure that staff do get a proper break, not just a series of 1 and 2 days at a time. This is essential for motivation, recharging the batteries and the good health of the employee. Ideally, managers should try to ensure that holiday is spread evenly throughout the year and that an employee does not get to the end of the year with three weeks left to take.

Get planning now, the holiday season will be here before you know it.

Discrimination at work

It seems like discrimination cases are never far from the news whether it is older ladies not being allowed to read the news for the BBC, BA employees wearing a cross or Registrars being forced to marry gay couples.

As an employer, it is essential that you are continuously aware of the risks of discrimination, but don’t become obsessed by them. Recruitment, training, promotion, dress code and disciplinary are all areas which regularly come under the spotlight as they differentiate one person from another or seek to treat everyone the same, thereby ignoring individual differences.

The best ways to avoid the risks of discrimination are to have clear policies, properly communicated and easy to understand. Managers and staff should be trained properly (if appropriate) and policies and procedures should be followed at all times. Even for small companies, there is the risk of a claim as the law applies equally to everyone regardless of size. The difference is; if as a small employer you end up in a tribunal with a case against you, the fines and costs are likely to sink your business.

The key is to be aware, be cautious and be prepared, but don’t become paranoid. 

DOHR on tour

At DOHR, we recognise that small businesses don’t usually put their HR in place proactively – we would love you to, but we are also realistic! Many of our clients only come to us when they have a problem and sometimes this makes our job slightly harder and a little more protracted, but we always work with employers to resolve their HR issues.

So that our future clients can find us, we are very active on social media (and I urge you to connect with us online in the usual ways) and regularly exhibit at local business shows.

On 16th May, we will be exhibiting at the Best Business Expo at The Riverside Centre in Luton. We will also be offering mini consultations at the event and encourage you to book your slot now by emailing us on [email protected] As a special show offer, we are offering a 10% discount on an annual subscription to any new client signing up as a result of their consultation at the show.

June 6th and 7th sees us attending The Business Show at Excel. This is a massive show with some amazing business names. We will send out separate booking information for this show, so do keep an eye out for more details. Donna will be holding one of the business seminars at the show 3:30 on Friday afternoon, so do make sure you join us there.

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