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Finding, gaining and retaining talent is key for businesses to succeed, particularly in today’s world. We share our top HR advice and insight into why you might be losing yours.

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Does your organisation recognise that team productivity is a management responsibility, not an employee responsibility?

 

These top 5 tips from MAD-HR will help you introduce a culture of maximising productivity...

 

1. Training

A trained and developed team will take responsibility for their own actions and engage with the organisation’s strategic direction. As a result they require less supervision, freeing senior managers to spend more time on strategic issues, working on the business, rather than in the business. A double win as not only does the team’s productivity increase, but so does that of the senior management...Read the rest of your tips here...

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Hammond delivered what may be considered a fairly lively Autumn Statement, displaying humour and banter with back-benchers, even fitting in a reference to Ed Balls’ (outstanding) Strictly performances; noting how complicated some fiscal announcements are. His performance certainly made it entertaining viewing and perhaps will stand well as his audition for a future reality show himself. But amongst the humour, wry smiles and strategic pauses, there were some significant announcements. Here are the key messages for employers and what you need to know about the Autumn Statement.

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For many, plans are being made to celebrate the festive season with their family and friends and for business owners they see this as a great opportunity to bring their team together – for bonding, boosting morale and saying “Thank you”.
That said, it can be a risky time for employers – we’ve all heard the stories of “the office party” – filled with unwanted advances, inappropriate behaviour, horseplay and so on……
Rather than feel like the Grinch, just put in place a few things that will help protect your business, your company’s reputation and ensure that everyone has a great....read our tips and advice here


We hope that you and your team have a wonderful time celebrating the festive season and if you do have any issues then please do get in touch with us.

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We are often asked “how long do you have to keep employee records for?” If you are looking to save space, reduce cost, minimise the risk of losing or damaging vital information and are moving towards sustainable ‘green’ practices such as going paperless, the following information will help you get your house in order.
This information is to be used as a guideline for retention times....Read on...

 

 

 

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When we think about the importance of branding as a marketing tool, it is all about creating a connection with your customers on an emotional level so that they would not think of using any other company other than your own.
Given that many companies use the phrase “our people are our best asset”, it often leaves HR professionals confused as to why companies don’t want to focus on the importance of their brand as an employer. After all, your employees often have more contact with your clients / customers than you or any of your management team – they are your brand.
How can they convey your brand to customers if they don’t get it themselves? This is why it is so important for you to tell that story, so that they can make a strong connection to your business. They are after all emotionally driven just like your customers.
A strong employer brand can be a powerful business tool that can connect an organisation’s values, people strategy and HR policies to the corporate brand.
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, attracting and retaining the right kind of talent is central to a company’s ability to grow but building your employer brand is by no means an exact science:
• Get it right, and your company will reap the benefits in terms of recruitment, retention and employee satisfaction levels.
• Get it wrong, and you’ll not only be turning off potential employees, but also current staff and anyone they care to tell about their experience with your organisation.
• Crucially, you could also lose them as customers.
The best place to start...Read More here

 

Strategic HR consultancy can help you to build your reputation as a good employer that recognises effort and achievements and invests in training, so your business can grow and prosper with quality, motivated people.
GET IN TOUCH TODAY AND WE’LL HELP TO GET YOUR BUSINESS FIGHTING FIT. Carole Burman is currently offering free, one hour, face to face consultations here

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Companies with impressive employee retention rates and high employee satisfaction levels all have one thing in common – they understand the importance of a strong workplace culture. They also know that you must really invest in your people if you want to get the best out of them.
A poor workplace culture could actually end up costing an employer money, as it could result in absenteeism, employee stress, poor health and a high turnover of staff. So, working hard to achieve a good culture is not only beneficial for those you employ, it’s also good for the productivity of your business.
These things are easy to talk about, but often less easy to achieve. So, what does a good company culture actually look like?
Here are 7 things you need to do to create and maintain a great company culture

Responsive to employee needs

Aside from salary and pension schemes, increasingly employees are attracted by ‘lifestyle benefits’ that respond to their personal circumstances and aid a healthier work/life balance. These can include things like flexi-time working, work-from-home options and study days.
Ongoing development

Is there a culture of developing and growing talent internally in your organisation? It’s important for an employee to feel that their company is investing in their future and supporting their personal and professional growth. This could be through mentoring schemes or training days.
Social calendar

A good balance of social interaction alongside business activity is good for morale. A healthy calendar of social events outside of the office can help instigate inter-team bonding as well as creating a buoyant atmosphere. It may also be helpful to consider involving their families to events to create an even stronger bond.
Open, honest feedback

Employers need to create an open culture that allows employees at every level to share their ideas, suggestions and concerns. With structured feedback strategies in place, employers can then monitor employee satisfaction levels and help alleviate issues as they arise.
A little extra

Alongside the more traditional benefits, employees usually respond well to other smaller, more personalised perks – such as free breakfast, early Friday finish or a charity partnership that’s chosen by employees.
Innovative approach

This applies to the innovative ways in which the company conducts business, but also the way it engages with its staff. Is your company striving to be a thought-leader in its sector? Do employees have the chance to attend industry events to keep up with the latest trends and advancements in their field? Do they feel able to incorporate new ideas and technology into their work?
Committed leadership

A great workplace needs buy-in from all team members – but particularly from those at management level. Clear, committed and inclusive leadership will be an essential component in maintaining a great company culture. Make sure the leaders in your organisation understand the culture and are able to effectively communicate and uphold it.
Get in touch today and we’ll help to get your business fighting fit, whether for now, for later or the long term. Make the most of a free one hour consultation with Carole Burman.

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Welcome to MAD-HR's FREE Email Course on "Annual Leave - An Employer’s Guide"

We have put together this easy to follow, legally accurate and employer relevant e-learning course to support you as an employer.

Gain access to the information you need to effectively manage your teams in bite sized chunks, at a manageable pace.

Simply, sign up below and you will receive an email a day for 5 days. Each email you receive will fulfil the key learning outcomes you require to manage Annual Leave.

There is no set up fee and no course fee.

Check out the course content and sign-up here.

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An employee may wish to make a recording of a work meeting, such as a disciplinary or grievance hearing or a meeting with his or her line manager, for a number of reasons.
Generally, this will be in circumstances where the employee feels that he or she has been treated unfairly and wants either to prevent such treatment or to obtain evidence of it. The employee may think that a recording will provide evidence of unfairness, for example to demonstrate that a grievance meeting was not a genuine attempt to deal with issues that he or she had raised. Alternatively, the employee may wish to have a full transcript of the meeting for use at the next stage of an internal process or in future litigation.
Do they have the right?
Employees do not have the legal right to record an internal meeting. Therefore, if an employee asks to record a meeting, as the employer, you must decide whether or not to permit the request.
If the employer’s policy is that recordings are not permitted, the person chairing the meeting should remind the employee of this at the beginning of the meeting. The chairperson should also make it clear that recording the meeting in breach of the policy would be grounds for disciplinary action. However they do have a right to a copy of the notes taken at a formal meeting.
If the employee refuses to confirm that he or she is not recording the meeting – or confirms that he or she is recording the meeting – it may be appropriate for the employer to adjourn the meeting to decide how it should be conducted.
You may be reluctant to allow recordings. However, rather than automatically refusing all requests, it is advisable for the Chair to ask for the employee’s reasons for wishing to do so.
The employee may have a disability that would make it difficult for him or her to take a written note of the meeting. In such circumstances, you would need to consider if allowing the employee to record the meeting would be a reasonable adjustment.
Employers should be aware of the potential for employees to record meetings without their knowledge and should consider how to address this risk.
Refusing a request from an employee to record a meeting
An employer is entitled to refuse a request from an employee to record a meeting. You may be concerned that it will be difficult to run an effective meeting if participants know that it is being recorded. It is possible that participants will feel uncomfortable and be reluctant to contribute fully to the meeting if they know that their comments may be used against them later. Knowledge that a meeting is being recorded could also lead to a more formal and adversarial approach than would be appropriate.
If your Company policy is not to allow recording of meetings, it should clearly document this in writing, for example in the staff handbook and Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. As this is a personal choice for employers we have not included this within the documents on our online HR Toolkit. However if you wish to include a section on the refusal of recordings, the relevant documents should also expressly state that making recordings in breach of the policy will be grounds for disciplinary action.
There is an alternative, as employers should supply the employee with a copy of its notes from any formal meeting. Employees are also entitled to be accompanied at formal meetings and both can take notes at the meeting.
Permitting a request from an employee to record a meeting
Most employers are unlikely to take an organisation-wide stance that all requests to record meetings will be permitted.
However, you may decide to permit recordings on a case-by-case basis, provided that the person chairing the meeting and other participants agree to the request. In this case you should consider requiring written notice in advance of a request to record a meeting.
If you agree to allow an employee to record a meeting, you should establish some ground rules in relation to how the employee can make, store and use the recording. You should make it clear that the employee is entirely responsible for making the recording and that the meeting will not be delayed or adjourned if there are technical difficulties. You should require the employee to provide you with a copy of the recording. It would also be prudent to ask the employee to confirm in writing that he or she will not broadcast the recording, post it on the internet, or use it for any purpose other than keeping a record of the meeting for his or her own personal use.
Recordings made by the employer
If an employer receives a request from an employee to record a meeting, it could decide to record the meeting itself and provide a copy of the recording to the employee, to maintain control over the process. This may also reduce the chance of the employee recording the meeting covertly. The agreement of the employee will be required for the employer to make its own recording. This approach may not be practicable for all meetings because of the additional administration involved, but for matters that are likely to be particularly contentious or difficult, it may be something to consider.
When making a recording, you should test the equipment and obtain technical assistance if required to ensure that an accurate record is made and all participants in the meeting can be heard. You should also still arrange for notes to be taken.
The employer should consider whether to provide the employee with a copy of the recording (if it does, this needs to be in a format that the employee can use) or a transcript. Making transcripts of recordings can be a time-consuming task and a long meeting often takes many hours to transcribe.
Reasonable Adjustments
If an employee has a medical condition that makes it difficult for him or her to take a written record of the meeting or to recall the detail of what was said, it may be advisable for the employer to permit the employee to make a recording of the meeting. This may be a matter of procedural fairness. Where the employee is disabled, it may also be required as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act 2010.
Where an employer is aware that an employee has a medical condition that may impact on his or her ability to take notes or recall the detail of a meeting, the employer should discuss potential adjustments with the employee. For informal meetings it may be that other steps can be put in place to help the employee, such as offering the support of a note-taker or allowing additional time for note-taking during the meeting. In formal meetings you should have already arranged for a note take to be present.
Covert Recordings
An employee may decide to make a covert recording of a meeting instead of seeking permission to make a recording, or after such a request has been turned down. The prevalence of smartphones and other portable recording devices means that this has become easier for employees to do.
Circumstances in which employees may decide to make covert recordings of meetings include:
to gather evidence of bullying or harassment;
to gather evidence for a claim against the employer, such as evidence of a predetermined decision to dismiss made outside the context of a disciplinary hearing; and
where the employee is the subject of allegations, to obtain evidence to defend him- or herself by providing an accurate record of how a particular meeting or interaction was undertaken.
Where a covert recording produces evidence of serious wrongdoing, for example harassment or bullying, the employer will need to consider the contents of the recording and address the issue that it uncovers, even where the evidence was obtained in breach of its policy or without permission. The employer should recognise that such evidence would be difficult to establish through written documentation or public interaction witnessed by others, and that the employee may have felt that a covert recording was his or her only option.
The potential for covert recordings should be a reminder to employers to ensure that managers follow good practice in every meeting, in particular avoiding “letting off steam” or making inappropriate comments if the employee leaves the meeting for an adjournment.
An employer may want to take disciplinary action against an employee who has made a covert recording. The employer must establish the facts of the case, following a proper investigation, and decide whether or not it is appropriate to commence the disciplinary procedure. The employer should consider, for example, the employee’s reason for making the recording, whether or not he or she had been told that recording was not permitted and any mitigating circumstances. An employer will be in a stronger position to take disciplinary action, potentially including dismissal, if there is a clear policy that prohibits recordings and indicates that dismissal is a possible disciplinary sanction.
Employers should be aware that taking disciplinary action because an employee has made a covert recording could amount to victimisation under the Equality Act 2010, if the employee made the recording to provide evidence of unlawful discrimination.
The admissibility of covert recording in employment tribunal proceedings
The use of covert recordings by employees as evidence in employment tribunal proceedings has been considered in a number of cases. Tribunals have a wide discretion to admit covert recordings as evidence and will generally hear them if they are relevant to the case.
Although the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has commented that the practice of making covert recordings is distasteful, that is a separate consideration to their admissibility as evidence. While employers have sought to allege human rights violations to prevent the submission of covert recordings as evidence, it would be unusual for human rights issues to be engaged because the employer would have to show that the relevant manager or HR professional’s right to a private or family life was being interfered with, and this would rarely be the case in a workplace meeting.
Tribunals have drawn a distinction between the open part of a disciplinary or grievance meeting in which the employee is present, and the part where the disciplinary or grievance panel withdraws to consider its decision in private. Tribunals are generally more willing to permit the submission of recordings of meetings where the employee was present.
It is accepted that members of a panel should be able to conduct a full and frank exchange of views on the basis that those discussions will remain private. If the ground rules of a hearing are that such deliberations will remain private, the parties should observe those rules. Nevertheless, where private deliberations contain evidence of discrimination or other unlawful conduct, an employment tribunal might still permit a covert recording of them to be used as evidence.

 

So, take the opportunity to ask yourself is your house in order. Updating and implementing new policies and procedures around disciplinary and grievance, for example, doesn’t have to be cumbersome. The MAD-HR online Toolkit holds 1000+ documents, templates and policies. All kept up to date and all accessible via an online portal when you subscribe. It takes just 30 minutes to have a tour and see how this could set you up to protect your business, save time and money.

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On 01 October 2016, the Statutory Payment rates for 2016/17 were updated. Here, we share them with you in a handy table.

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Top 5 Tips to Limit the Risk of Being an Employer

 

Employment law is notoriously complex and uncertain with huge risks of tribunal action when things go wrong. Here are my top 5 tips to manage the risk of being an employer to allow you to move your business in the direction you want:

 

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How many times have you thought “I wish I could clone myself, then I could get <some task you don’t want to do> done at the same time as <this business critical task>”?

 

A common growing pain with small businesses is not having the resources or inclination to do certain tasks that are required of you because you’re too busy ‘in the business’.  Often this is a point where outsourcing is considered, and it can be incredibly helpful - or an absolute disaster.  Choosing to outsource should not be done through a fear of missing out because everybody else seems to be doing it - outsourcing should be driven by a clear business need.

 

Here are my top three tips if you are considering outsourcing as a way to enable you to grow your business.

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Adding a little movement to your emails will draw your reader's attention

There are two main objectives to an email campaign:

 

1. Get your email opened

2. Get your recipient to click a link

 

A well placed, tasteful animated gif in your email marketing encourages a second look and increases your chances of your recipient clicking through to your website.

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Marketing is vital to any business and can be the difference between succeeding, surviving or failing.  Getting it right can make a huge difference to your profits but it can be a daunting area to many small businesses.

There are lots of definitions of marketing out there but in essence it is simply the process of understanding customer requirements and addressing them in order to satisfy your customers and make a profit.

Getting Started

If you are running any business, you should have a business plan – if not, that is the best place to start.  During the business planning process you will look in detail at your market place, products/services, customers etc. as well as future plans.  By this point you should have a full understanding of who your company is, what you do, who your target market is and why they will buy your product or service from you.

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As many will now be aware, Google advised that they would be adding a new ranking signal to their algorithms - they would begin to favour (if only a small amount) encrypted sites using https over those which weren't using encryption - creating a lot of phone calls to web developers around the world I have no doubt!  But how do you implemented the forcing of SSL on your site, and what should you be aware of if you do?  

This article explains how to properly redirect your site to the encrypted version - assuming you have an SSL certificate set up and correctly configured - using an .htaccess rewrite.  It assumes you are running an Apache server with mod_rewrite enabled - if you're not sure about any of this, just send the link to your web developer and let them implement it!

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I'm off to Rachel Sloane's workshop on Writing for Business. I know I have loads to say most of the time, however, I feel I should say it better, so looking forward to learning something.

Even if you employ copy writers or a PR company, quite right to, I feel it's good to know a bit on the subject.

Book your place from the ISSBA web site for the event at Shelley's at Suffolk College on 17th September.

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People often ask me as soon as I mention that we employ apprentices how I found the right person, and how we balance the time needed to train up a school-leaver with the benefits they bring to our business.  

I came to apprenticeships much by accident during the process of growing my business, but have learned some valuable lessons along the way.  Here are some of the points which I've found useful to bear in mind - both through my own experience and having learned from other businesses who employ apprentices.

 

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