INSIGHTS

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What New Starters Want From Onboarding

You’ve probably got a good idea of what you need cover off in a new start’s on boarding programme – the company info, core training and key people they need to meet etc. But what new employees themselves want from onboarding is slightly different. And it’s an important to bear this in mind given the recent reports that a third of new employees start looking for a new job within the first 3 months….

Here we’ve put our heads together to provide the top 5 things new starters want from onboarding:

1. Time With Their Manager

In our experience the number one thing fresh faces want from their on boarding programme is time time with the boss. The line manager should always be the one spearheading their induction and the main one immersing them into the business. Tempting as it is to delegate this elsewhere, given that the boss is the single most important person in an employee’s work life, passing the buck would be a mistake.

2. On The Job Training

Making a good impression as quickly as possible is always high on the agenda for new employees. They want to show you what they can do so will want to get an idea of how to do the job as quickly as possible. Again, some of this training should definitely be done by the boss, with practical skills being covered of by peers or a mentor.

3. To Know The Rules

New starters don’t want to make mistakes. They will be keen to understand the nuances of your company policies so they know the rules of the game and can avoid putting a foot wrong. Important as this is – a lengthy review of company policies on day one might be a bit much. Circulate this information before their first day, perhaps supported by a quick online quiz for them to complete once they start.

4. Opportunities To Bond With Colleagues

Having friendships at work is an important contributor to employee engagement and retention levels. Whilst it’s definitely something that might be more of an issue for some than others, it’s definitely worth bearing in mind in the first few weeks and months. So allocate some time away from the office where newbies can start to nurture friendships with their peers.

5. An Understanding Of Company Culture

This one can’t be covered off with a powerpoint presentation or flip chart. You and the team need to actively demonstrate your cultural norms to new employees. So whether its clocking off on time and taking regular breaks to combat work stress or promoting wellbeing by cycling to work or always taking the stairs – culture is a living breathing thing and is set from the top….

For help and advice on any HR issue contact us today for a no-strings consultation about your HR needs and how we can help. Call us on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk.

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Top Tips For Recruiting In 2017

Brexit might have created uncertainty for business owners, but the latest research shows that 2017 could be a wonderful year for jobseekers. According to research by Manpower, the UK has returned to business as usual, and the net employment outlook has risen to 7%.

So if you’re planning to recruit to grow your business, what do you need to be aware of? And how can you make sure that you capture the top talent? Here, we tell you what you really need to know.

An Ad In Your Local Paper Won’t Cut It

Traditionally, this is what recruitment often looked like… You drafted a basic overview of what you were looking for. You placed your advert in the local press. You sat back and waited for the applications to roll in, as they inevitably did. These days, you can’t afford to assume that this will work.

Think about who your ideal candidates are and where they’re looking for opportunities. The answer is probably online. Sure, you’ll need to brush up on your skills and bring your practices bang up to date, but if it ensures you get the best candidates it’s definitely worth the effort. 

Your New Recruits Want To Know What You Offer

Even in times of economic uncertainty, skilled and talented jobseekers always have options. If you go into the process thinking that you always have the upper hand, purely because you’re the one with the job, then you’re going to make expensive mistakes and miss out on some golden opportunities.

You need to consider WHY people would want to work for your business. Your first answer here is probably going to be about the salary, and it’s true that’s a factor. Today though, people want more. They want better experiences. They want flexibility. These are the things that will not only attract then, but retain them for the longer term.

Recruiting And Selecting The Best Talent Is An Art Form

It’s easy to think that recruiting new staff is pretty straightforward. You advertise the position, you sift through the applications and you choose the best person for the job. In reality, things can be much more complicated. How do you know you’re speaking to the right people? Are you asking the right questions? They might seem switched on and motivated, but are they actually going to perform in the role?

Bringing In Expert Help Could Be Just What You Need 

Doing it on your own is often the roadmap towards making expensive mistakes. When you have expert help, you can ensure that you’re making the right decisions, complying with legislation, and driving your business forward.

Recruiting in 2017 is a whole different ballgame, and you need to be prepared. If you’d like some help to make sure that you’re not missing the mark get in touch today. Give us a call on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at hello@thehrhub.co.uk and we can arrange a no-strings chat….

Recruiting For The Less Desirable Roles? Here’s What You Need To Know…

Picture the scene… Your business is growing, and it’s time to bring in an extra pair of hands to manage all the various different tasks that are clogging up your desk. Excellent! It’s a sign of growth, and it could mark the start of an exciting new chapter for your business. But you sit down, and you start to put your job description together. All of a sudden, you’re worried.

You know that you need to recruit a cold-caller, but you also know that finding someone who loves getting on the phone to complete strangers and attempting to sell them something is going to be a bit of a challenge. So what do you do?

Don’t Be Tempted To Lie/Exaggerate About What The Role Involves 

If you do that, then sure, you might get more applications. But once they’re working in the role? They’re quickly going to realise that you deceived them. There’ll be unrest, disappointment and it’s highly likely that they’ll move on to pastures new… Meaning that you’ve pretty much just wasted your recruitment and training budget.

Giving your applicants a realistic job preview at every stage of the recruitment process is essential. They should know exactly what they’re applying for, and understand what their role is likely to involve on a day-to-day basis.

Craft An Honest But Compelling Job Ad And Description And Get It In Front Of The RIGHT People

And this is all about knowing your audience, knowing how to draw out the key points of a role, and speaking the language of the kind of applicants who can take your business to the next level.

Just because YOU hate the idea of cold-calling, it doesn’t mean that everyone else does. Some people will love the challenge of jumping on the phone and forming profitable relationships with influencers and buyers and they’ll be dying to get stuck in. Bringing those kinds of people through your doors is a challenge, but when you have the right tools in your kit, it’s definitely very achievable.

The Perfect Candidate Might Be Closer Than You Think

As well as advertising the role in hand on relevant job sites, remember to communicate all job vacancies internally (even the less desirable ones). Whilst the job in hand may not be appropriate for the skill-set of your current employee they may well have a friend, former colleague or family neighbour whose perfect for it – and a ringing endorsement from someone your already trust is a great start when bringing someone new into the business. 

If you’re struggling to find the right talent for your roles or you’re unsure how to craft your job descriptions and advertisements, then let’s talk. Working with a professional to get this right first time could save you a lot of time, money, and hassle in the longer term.

Give us a call today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk to arrange a no-obligation consultation.

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HR Surgery: What’s The Ideal Notice Period?

A client asked me recently what the ideal notice period is. In truth, that is a question to which there is no one ‘right’ answer. Most businesses have varying notice periods based on the job role, industry type and level within the organisation.

Finding the right notice period for your business needs to be a considered choice which you should review as your business grows:

Your Legal Requirement

If an employee has been with you continuously from one month up to 2 years – the minimum statutory notice period is one week. This goes up to two weeks’ notice if the employee has been employed continuously for two years. After that, with every additional year of continuous employment they are entitled to an additional week’s notice up to a maximum of 12 weeks. In return, employees must give you a minimum of one week’s notice once they have worked for one month and this minimum notice is unaffected by length of service.

However You Can Enhance The Statutory Minimum In Your Contracts Of Employment

When you have a specific notice in place, above the statutory minimum, it’s typical to expect employees who have resigned to work their full notice period, otherwise why would you enhance it?! But getting the balance right when it comes to notice periods is not always straight forward.

My advice? Start at the top – and go from there: 

Consider Your More Senior/‘Specialist’ Roles First

In these cases you need to balance what is right for the employee and what is reasonable for your business when considering how long it will take you to find somebody else, for them to join the business and complete a thorough handover. In these situations, you would typically have an enhanced notice period of 1-3 months.  Potential employees looking for a senior role may expect to see a lengthier notice period as part of their terms and conditions but don’t be tempted to negotiate.  Putting a longer notice period in place when you know you will need an individual to leave swiftly if things go awry (for example if they have a client facing role) could see you having to continue to pay an employee who is on Garden Leave and potentially delivering you nothing. That said, more senior individuals or those where there is a limited number of roles in their given area of expertise may look for longer notice periods as part of their job security.

For other roles that are ‘easier’ to source or where there isn’t a skills shortage you are likely to still want to enhance notice period from the statutory minimum to 1 month (or 4 weeks) to allow you enough time to source a replacement.

But What Happens If You Are Faced With The Dreaded Scenario Of Parting Company With An Employee On Less Than Good Terms?

There are definitely steps you can take in situations when there is animosity and/or you need an employee to exit the business sooner rather than later. 

1. Payment In Lieu

As an alternative to an employee working their notice you can pay them in lieu of notice but, you should include a clause in your employment contracts to state that you retain the right to do this.  It’s important to remember that payment in lieu of notice (or PILON as it’s more typically known) is different to putting an employee on garden leave, in this situation you continue to pay the employee up until the end of their notice period but you don’t require them to be on site, with PILON you pay them their notice in advance and cease their employment prior to the end of their contractual notice period. 

2. Including Holiday Entitlement In Their Notice Period

Another way to reduce an employee’s notice period if you would like them to exit early (they will have to be in agreement) is to offset it against any outstanding leave. For example, if they have 2 weeks’ holiday outstanding and they have a 4 week notice period they can work for 2 weeks and then be holiday of the remaining 2 days.

You will of course always come across those individuals who resign, agree to work their notice and then go AWOL – yes it does happen and I have seen it countless times – unfortunately in these circumstances there isn’t a lot that you can do (unless you want to endure a lengthy and costly legal fight)

Whatever you decide to do make sure you put it in writing (especially if you reach a mutual agreement with an employee where they want to leave before the end of their contractual notice period, for example to start a new job, and you agree to this) whatever the situation.

Lastly, Can You Ever Reject A Resignation?!

Just to clarify to those managers who really don’t want to lose an employee……. no – you can’t refuse to accept a resignation if its given! An employee can choose to resign at any time and you should have a process in place which allows you to have open dialogue to allow you to understand what has brought them to this point. Knowledge is power after all and if there are any underlying reasons why an employee is exiting they are normally only too happy to voice this to you before they exit the business. That said, don’t take everything to heart, employees tend to leave businesses either feeling nostalgic about their time and taking a glass half full approach or taking a glass half empty approach…..take feedback seriously but be pragmatic about what you can change and what you can’t.

Get in touch via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call 0203 627 7048 for more support and advice on contractual notice periods.

TheHRhub: on demand and online HR support for startups and SMEs

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I Quit! Different Ways Your Employees Will Say Goodbye (And What They Each Mean)

You simply can’t avoid it, employees often quit their job, it’s simply the circle of life. Resignations can range from euphoric to being full of anguish and there’s no real way to prepare for how an employee – or you – will feel when they take that first step of handing in their resignation.

Evidently, however, there is an underlying classification system to the way employees resign from their jobs and it’s a system that has remained in the fog until relatively recently.

Researchers, Anthony Klotz and Mark Bolino, set out to map the way in which employees resign from their jobs by interviewing several hundred individuals. In their report the authors found that employees typically use 1 of 7 different styles when resigning and it found that the 2 most common resignation styles were what they refer to as ‘by the book’ and ‘perfunctory’ resignations.

If you’ve been employing people for a while now, you may recognise some of these types below. But if you’ve yet to be on the receiving end, then here are the 7 ways found by Kiotz and Bolino, to help prepare you you for what you might be on the receiving end of….. 

  1. By the book
    By the book resignations involve a face-to-face meeting with one’s manager to announce the resignation, a standard notice period, and an explanation of the reason for quitting. Other names
  2. Grateful
    A discussion which focuses on the employee’s gratitude towards you, their employer (imagine a euphoric resignation where an employee is happily reflective of their employment with you). Sometimes you have to leave a job that you like to progress- or at least a team or boss that you’ve enjoyed working with – and in these cases, people want to make the process as painless as possible. This is what the researchers are calling the “Grateful Goodbyes” method, which 9% of job quitters use when leaving their position. It’s a positive and grateful way of bowing out, helping your old team deal with the loss and maintaining good relations in the future.
  3. In the loop
    The employee has already told you that they were thinking of leaving. Similar to Grateful Goodbyes, those “In the Loop,” are where you are aware that an employee will soon be leaving as they’ve shared the information first hand out of respect to you. Perhaps the employee is looking to switch career tracks, or is going on to further training — either way, you know that the individual isn’t going to stick around, and are therefore are prepared for the resignation. This occurs in 8% of cases.
  4. Perfunctory
    Similar to ‘by the book’, but the discussion is shorter and no explanation is given. You know the ones: you walk in and find a letter on your desk and despite asking, as an employer you never get a true sense of why the person is resigning. This means employees follow the basic framework of the “By the Book” method, but do so very carefully with an almost surgical precision, and do not elaborate as to why they made the decision to quit. I also call it the “It’s-not-you, it’s-me” way of quitting a job. And we all know what that really means….
  5. Avoidant
    The employee resigns in writing, tells your HR Manager and allows the words to filter back to you. The “Avoidant” method is the most passive-aggressive way of resigning and is essentially like breaking up with your partner over text message. Employees send in their notice or resignation through HR or a third party, maybe even over the weekend, and then avoid seeing you and/or the wider team. Nobody likes an awkward breakup, and avoiding the other party can make it easier — though it’s a bit of a cop out.
  6. Impulsive
    In this situation, the employee walks out without notice, forethought or explanation. Have you ever been pushed too far and just snapped? In 4% of cases surveyed, the researchers found people have simply had enough, blow their fuse and walk out. Typically, it’s the result of some long-simmering frustrations or underlying tension that finally reached a boiling point. There’s no notice, simply a few choice words from the employee (normally at a high volume), shortly followed by them storming out of the office! Having seen several people ‘quit’ in this fashion, only to them return sheepishly (or in some cases, still indignantly!) the following morning – be cautious about accepting whether this is genuinely a ‘resignation’, which normally needs to be in writing ( emails are fine).
  7. Bridge burning
    This is the worst-case scenario. In these situations, the employee attempts to harm your, the staff or the company’s reputation as they exit the business. Though similar to impulsive quitting, “Bridge Burning” is less explosive, but every bit as dangerous. Be very cautious when you have an employee who exits the business in this manner, with tools such as Glassdoor at the tip of their fingertips your reputation can be tainted within a matter of minutes of an employee leaving.

In my experience, a 8th one could also be added, which could be summarised as ‘Ghosting’: one day they’re there and the next they don’t turn up, don’t answer calls and you don’t see hide nor hair of them until you spot a Facebook post of them looking happy with their new team many months later….

If you’re need some help with ensuring that your business is fighting fit for the year ahead, then get in touch via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call 0203 627 7048 to chat about your HR needs.

TheHRhub: on demand and online HR support for startups and SMEs

Flickr: Woodleywonderworks, Final Day

HR Horrors: Negative Reviews On Glassdoor

For potential employees, Glassdoor seems a golden opportunity to get an insider view of what it’s really like to work at a particular organisation. But often it’s not the empowering ‘invisibility cloak’ it’s cracked to be. It can be a forum for disgruntled ex-employees with axes to grind to sound off about their previous employer, leaving the company’s hard earned reputation in tatters for the world to see. Or worse, it can be hijacked by employers posting false testimonies in order to rubbish the legitimate grievances of poorly-treated former colleagues.

It’s becoming increasingly important to know how to interact with the minefield that is Glassdoor , particularly when considering how or if to respond to negative reviews.

Here’s our advice:

1. Be transparent: If you do get challenged by a candidate about a negative comment that they’ve seen, simply explain why the comments are there. Perhaps there was a new management structure put in place which meant significant changes, for example. Be open and honest, being defensive will only look like you have something to hide.

2. Build on what you can control: Manage your business’ online presence. Asking for recommendations on your LinkedIn Company page is a good example. Determine the sites that are the most influential to your potential candidates and customers and focus on enhancing these sites by building on their content.

3. Respond to all reviews – positive or negative: Review sites give employers the opportunity to respond to reviews (on Glassdoor you can have an employer profile for free). The value of this opportunity shouldn’t be underestimated. If you receive a negative review, respond as quickly as you can. Job seekers will not only be reading the reviews, they’ll be looking to see how businesses respond to these reviews. Responding promptly and politely will show you care about the opinions of your employees; and this can go a long way to minimizing the impact of a negative review.

4. Don’t lash out: If you’re considering working for a company, and you see a negative review, which approach from the business would make you more confident? a) them getting defensive and listing all of the reasons why the ex-employee is wrong or b)  them being human, empathetic and apologetic. The answer might seem obvious when we look at it from that perspective, which is what makes it amazing to see how many companies will lash out as a first reaction.

5. Take the issue offline: As much as possible, try not to engage in discussions of details; the last thing you want is to air your dirty laundry online, or get into a “he said, she said” situation. Respond in a non-defensive way that shows you’re listening, and whenever possible, take the conversation offline as quickly as possible.  For instance, rather than specifically addressing negative remarks, you could say, “Thank you for your valuable feedback. I would love the opportunity to talk with you about your experience in detail. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

6. DO NOT try to prohibit bad reviews: As the importance of online reviews has risen in recent years, so too have reports of small business owners going to extreme measures to stop customers leaving negative reviews of their company online. Let’s be clear, it is a bad idea to try and influence what your employees post on these sites (other than by being a good employer!) and if there are issues that are leading to negative reviews you would be wiser to spend your time addressing these.  Glassdoor itself has a policy on these types of reviews and states that “you can always encourage employees to post feedback on Glassdoor, however if we suspect you are encouraging or incentivising specifically positive reviews, those reviews are subject to removal”.

7. Please don’t take it personally: Your business isn’t right for everyone.  And that’s a great thing, because you can’t be all things to all people.  And remember, some of the people who leave negative reviews – very, very few – are, quite frankly, just idiots.  These are the ex-employees who make personal attacks and aren’t constructive in their feedback. These are exactly the type of the individuals you don’t want in your business anyway.

The world of online reviews can be a blessing for small business if handled properly.  If not, they can become something of a marketing disaster. This is something many small business owners have discovered the hard way, with poorly judged responses to their company’s negative reviews going viral. So make sure you learn from their mistakes and handle negative reviews in a professional and courteous manner.

For help and advice on this or any other HR issue do please get in touch at hello@thehrhub or call us on 0203 627 7048.

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