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HR Horrors: Steering Clear Of Social Media Meltdowns In The Workplace

HR Horrors: Steering Clear Of Social Media Meltdowns In The Workplace

There are definitely nights we all come home from work wanting to have a bit of a rant about the latest office politics. But in the digital age, where a single tweet can spiral into a storm and a Facebook post can ferment into a fiasco, the line between professional restraint and personal ranting has never been thinner.

For the vast majority of people, they recognise that this kind of chat is best reserved for their partner or BFF’s to discuss face to face rather than taking to the masses via Facebook/ Twitter/ Tik Tok as a necessary release valve (not least because if you’ve ever done this and paid attention to those around you, you might have just noticed some eyes glazing over….).

However, when these vents turn digital and public, the consequences can reverberate far beyond our immediate circle, especially if you’re connected with your team on social media ( read our post ‘Is it ever a good idea to be Facebook Friends with your Employees‘ for our take on this particular minefield…).

When you spot a post which is less-than-complimentary about your own workplace/ management style or one of your other colleagues , as a leader, aside from the sharp intake of breath you’ll likely have, your reaction could go any number of ways.

The obvious thing to say to avoid something like this happening of course, is to make it clear to everyone joining the business that it’s not acceptable (in any instance) to slag off the company and specify that action will be taken should they do so.

But what if you’re too late?

These circumstances present a unique set of challenges. And if you find yourself in this situation, it’s really important that you know exactly what to do to address the problems and get things back on the right track.

Speed is everything 

Act quickly (but calmly). First, capture the moment: take screenshots of the problematic post. Then, reach out to request its removal. While you might want to launch straight into damage control, arrange a face-to-face meeting or, if that’s not possible, a phone call. This isn’t the time for digital diplomacy; misunderstandings are less likely when you can hear the tone and see the face behind the words.

Listen before you leap

Don’t jump to any assumptions before you’ve got all the information, listen to what they have to say before taking any action on the situation. Consider the nature of the comments made and their likely impact on your organisation. It would help if you can give examples of the gravitas that their words could have on your business, staff, customers and clients and what information is regarded as confidential in the business, before discussing what (if any)  penalties that may need to be considered in this situation.

It’s easy for any of us to jump to Defcon Level 5 when we spot something that’s close to our heart, however when considering your response and any actions, try not to let emotions overcome common sense and keep everything in perspective. It helps at this stage to involve someone else in your business or HR team member to offer some objectivity.  If the remarks have caused offence to other employees within your organisation, treat them with respect and take the appropriate action to record their views, as any disciplinary measures will need to take this into account and be documented.

Nobody wants to have difficult conversations, as a leader though, it’s your duty. Addressing these issues head-on not only resolves current conflicts but also sets a precedent and tone for company culture and expectations.

A gentle reminder goes a long way 

You want to get a grip on the situation quickly, treat it with severity but equally keep your cool and don’t blow things out of proportion. Just by being proactive and nipping it in the bud can help you get things back on the right track without any hassle or fuss and sometimes examples need to be made but no one wants to lose a good employee if it can be avoided. A simple guideline should be enough to avoid further scenarios cropping up.  For example, a company wide note to say what company issues you regard as private (e.g disputes, working conditions, complaints about management etc) should be addressed to you, their manager or HR and not discussed on social media;

Social networking can be an excuse for avoiding face-to-face conversations by many.

Often a quiet word by a manager can avoid issues that lead to disciplinary and grievance problems. Emails, texts and messaging systems can leave managers reliant on communicating electronically, so lead by example, enjoy more face to face conversations or calls, where the correct tone of voice can be heard and miscommunication can be instantly corrected.

If you have concerns about how equipped you are to manage HR policies and procedures, then we can help. We’ll pinpoint any potential issues that are at play in your workplace, and give you practical advice around what you need to do next.

theHRhub is the ultimate online HR support service for Startups and SMEs – providing software, templates, expert advice and up to date news and views, straight to your mobile or tablet. It’s like having an HR director in your pocket but without the price tag!

Call us on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk for a no-strings chat about your HR needs.

Pitch Perfect: Aligning Your Team for Funding Success

Pitch Perfect: Aligning Your Team for Funding Success

There comes a time in many business owners’ lives when they start to think about what options they have for growing faster than their current rate. Maybe you’ve had more success than you first thought and want to capitalize on a period of growth. Maybe it’s always been your plan to provide your product and then accelerate once you’ve shown your model works.

Whatever the reason, if you’re thinking of going for any external investment to accelerate your success, then aside from keeping your levels of resilience high during scores of presentations and beauty parades you will likely attend, you’ll be required to answer several tricky questions which will arise.

The obvious ones might come about your finances – cash flow, profit margins, customer retention etc. – however you will also get asked (in some level of detail), about the team you have in place to support the business growth. Not just who they are and what they have done in the past, but what provisions do you have in place for ensuring that once the money comes in, the team doesn’t say goodbye and take your ideas with them.…

They say that most ideas are replicable, but individuals are not, so if you want to showcase the robustness of your team and safeguard your most valuable assets, a good start is to make sure you are covering yourself by following these tips:

  1. Set the Stage with Clear Expectations: Transparency is key. Clarify roles, responsibilities, and rewards across your organization. This goes beyond the camaraderie of knowing your team well and into demonstrable expectations and how they’ve been set for people, especially concerning equity or shareholding promises. Cement these understandings in writing to avert any ambiguity down the line.
  2. The Cornerstone: Crafting Solid Contracts: Contracts are more than formalities; they’re mutual agreements that safeguard both you and your team. They comprise various documents outlining employment terms, duties, and rights. While a verbal agreement at a pub might feel binding because you’ve known someone ‘like a brother/ sister’, a structured, written contract ensures clarity and legality. This contract should explicitly address critical aspects like confidentiality and intellectual property rights, protecting your business’s core interests.
  3. Document Security and Accessibility: In today’s digital age, safeguarding and accessing your vital documents has never been easier—or more necessary. Utilize digital storage solutions to keep your contracts safe and retrievable from anywhere. Leveraging tools available through your HRhub membership can streamline this process, ensuring that your documentation is both secure and easily accessible.
  4. Succession is not just for Billionaires: Investors are keen on understanding not just the current team structure, but also your succession plans for critical role replacements and business continuity in case you or any of the key team ‘go under a bus’. Outline how leadership and key responsibilities will be managed in the event of major changes, showcasing your preparedness for long-term success.
  5. Highlight Personal Development and Retention Strategies: Demonstrate your commitment to team development by discussing your strategies for personal growth, training, and career advancement within the company. This not only reassures investors about the stability of your team but also shows your dedication to nurturing and retaining top talent.
  6. Emphasise Culture and Values Alignment: Investors are increasingly looking at the cultural fit and the alignment of values within the team. Describe the steps you’ve taken to build a cohesive culture that supports your business objectives and how you ensure new hires are aligned with these values. This helps in building a team that is not just skilled but also committed to the company’s vision.
  7. Introduce Performance and Reward Systems: Detail your mechanisms for tracking performance and rewarding contributions that align with company goals. Whether it’s through equity, bonuses, recognition programs, or professional development opportunities, showing that you have a system in place to reward and motivate your team can be a strong selling point.
  8. Plan for Equity and Ownership Structure: Go beyond the initial mention of equity and shareholding promises by elaborating on how equity is structured and distributed among team members. Discuss any vesting schedules, buy-back clauses, or other conditions that protect the business and its investors while fairly compensating your team for their contributions.
  9. Conduct Regular Team Assessments: Anyone would be reassured to know that you regularly assess team performance and know where your strengths and gaps are. Outline how these assessments inform your strategic planning and team development efforts, ensuring that your team’s composition and capabilities evolve with your business.
  10. Make sure the team is engaged and onboard: The journey towards securing funding is not a solo mission. The first place you will look is to secure your senior team to make sure they are secure and onboard with the plans, however engaging your team in this process helps create a sense of inclusion and commitment too. People love to feel ‘part of something’ and never is this more so than when you are growing. So share updates on your funding endeavours, the potential investors you’re meeting, and the hurdles you’re navigating and you never know, it may also unlock other doors through your team’s networks.

Securing investment creates a lot of different challenges that extend beyond financial readiness. It involves a deliberate plan to manage and protect your team —the core engine of your business – and make sure your HR house is in order. By setting clear expectations, formalising agreements, safeguarding documents, and creating an inclusive, engaged team environment, you’re not just preparing for investment, you’re building a resilient, forward-looking enterprise poised for growth.

Ready to transform your team into your strongest asset for investment success? Give us a call today if you need a helping hand making sure you have the best foundations for growth by contacting us at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or calling 0203 951 1208

Welcome Aboard! Your Checklist for Nailing New Starter Success 🤝

Welcome Aboard! Your Checklist for Nailing New Starter Success 🤝

For many this year, even though numbers might not have been as high as other years, January and February have seen an influx of new faces around the office.

The arrival of these newbies is an opportune moment to reflect on how you can not just welcome them, but truly integrate them into your teams. It’s hardly a secret that the way we bring people into our organisations can make or break their experience – and, by extension, their commitment and performance.

Research is loud and clear on this: a well-thought-out onboarding process is directly linked to happier, more productive employees who are not just likely to stick around but also to thrive. Despite this, the sad reality is that many companies still treat this process as an afterthought, leading to unnecessary stress and a disheartening start for many.

But fear not! I’ve put together a checklist that’s all about adding that personal touch and ensuring your newbies feel not just welcomed but valued from day one. Let’s dive in!

The HR Hub’s New Starter Success Checklist

  • First Impressions Matter: A Warm Welcome Goes a Long Way: Nothing says “we’re glad you’re here” like being greeted by friendly faces on your first day. Make sure someone’s there to welcome them, their workspace is all set, and they have the tools they need. It’s the little things that count.
  • Buddy Up: The Power of a Good Mentor: Pair your new starter with a seasoned pro who’s not just knowledgeable but also approachable. This mentor can help them navigate the new environment, introduce them to the team, and be a go-to for all those “how do we do things here?” questions. It’s about making connections and feeling supported.
  • The Big Picture: Sharing Your Story:Take the time to share the essence of your organisation – its history, values, and vision. Show them how they fit into this bigger picture. It’s an empowering reminder that they’ve made a fantastic choice in joining your team.
  • Setting the Stage: Clear Expectations Lead to Success: What does success look like in their role? Be clear about your expectations, both in terms of their contributions and the standards you uphold. Kick things off with some immediate tasks and outline broader goals. Transparency about performance reviews and any probation period is key to building trust.
  • Open Doors: Ensuring They’re Comfortable and Confident: Make sure they know it’s okay to ask questions and seek help. Schedule any necessary training and check in regularly to ensure they’re settling in just fine. It’s all about open communication and readiness to support.

A thoughtful onboarding experience isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must for encouraging motivation and performance. Done right, it sets the stage for a rewarding relationship with each new team member.

For those navigating the complex waters of HR, remember, support is always available. At theHRHub, we specialise in providing top-notch online assistance for startups and SMEs. Discover more by dropping us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 951 1208.

Feeling the pinch? Maximizing Team Potential During Economic Turbulence

Feeling the pinch? Maximizing Team Potential During Economic Turbulence

In the swirling mix of economic forecasts, 2024 presents a peculiar paradox. We’re technically in a recession, yet it doesn’t quite fit the mold of the gloom-and-doom scenarios we’re accustomed to. “Not a ‘real’ recession,” some might say, as they try to pin down the elusive nature of our current financial climate. Yet, the business leaders I’ve chatted with echo a singular sentiment: the road ahead is peppered with challenges.

A common thread among these conversations is the wavering confidence levels. It’s not that customers and clients are vanishing into thin air; they’re just becoming more discerning with their wallets. This newfound pickiness casts a long shadow over budgeting and forecasting, making financial crystal balls fuzzier than ever.

Teams feel this uncertainty keenly.

Watching clients hesitate on the usual orders or campaigns sends ripples of insecurity through the ranks. No one I know has ever enthusiastically embraced downsizing or its myriad of euphemisms (“trimming the fat,” “getting a haircut,” “a close shave”). Yet, when profits shrink, the spotlight invariably falls on the largest expense for most businesses: their people. And believe me, everyone senses when that spotlight turns their way.

Amidst this backdrop, some may adopt a ‘survive until 2025’ mantra, tightening the proverbial belt a notch and looking to make cuts wherever possible. But whilst reviewing all costs is the sensible thing to do when the pressure is on and you enter what is colloquially known as ‘squeeky-bum-territory’, there is another path to consider as well: optimising team potential and steering through the fog, not just waiting for it to lift.

Open, transparent communication with your team can help.

Being candid about the company’s financial health doesn’t mean laying all your cards on the table, but sharing enough to maintain trust. It’s about giving your team a glimpse into the decision-making process, the challenges faced, and the strategies employed to navigate through them.

You can’t forecast the future with absolute certainty, but communicating regularly and openly with your team can dispel as much fear as possible. In times of uncertainty, bold ideas often take a backseat, but it’s precisely these ideas that can pave the way forward.

Acknowledging the economic elephant in the room while encouraging your team to brainstorm ideas and innovative solutions can replace a culture of internal competition with one of collaboration.

Upskilling is also a beacon of hope here too. Whether through internal training, shadowing, or leveraging the plethora of free resources online, equipping your team with new skills can turn the tide and help people see problems with fresh eyes and skills, offering flexibility and resilience in spades.

Positivity will thrive where you and your team have strong wellbeing and resilience.

The cornerstone of navigating these turbulent times is the well-being of your team. And whilst it’s not just all-on-you to ensure that support and positivity thrive, your influence will be considerably stronger than others in the team in this regard.

Paying attention to your own resilience quotient therefore in each of the four key areas – physical, mental, spiritual and social – can help boost your own wellbeing before turning to see how it can help others. From get togethers (social) to regular walk-and-talk meetings ( physical and social) right through to positive self talk and encouragement of feedback (mental), all of these small steps build to create a team with healthy habits and get you all in the right place. External help can also support, including providing tools and resources that bolster efficiency and effectiveness and Employee Assistance Programmes which allow for expert support in areas that you or your managers may not be equipped ( or be appropriate) to discuss.

Explore all avenues (but don’t forget to take your team on the journey too).

Adjustments may be inevitable, including the difficult decision to resize the team. Yet, there are many avenues to explore before reaching that point. I’ve seen businesses pivot to part-time arrangements or explore voluntary redundancies as a first step before making anything more permanent. But even if that is the end result, transparency and openness early on in these discussions can significantly impact how fair and respected team members feel and what this does for your businesses’ long term health.

In the heart of economic downturns lies an opportunity—not just for survival but for growth and innovation. It’s a chance to reframe challenges as catalysts for change, encouraging leaders and teams alike to adopt a proactive stance. Together, there’s immense potential to not only weather the storm but to emerge stronger, more cohesive, and innovative on the other side.

If you want to chat through options to steer your way to success, drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 951 1208.

Beyond Mind Reading: Uncovering the Real Reasons Behind Team Underperformance

Beyond Mind Reading: Uncovering the Real Reasons Behind Team Underperformance

Among the top complaints I’ve heard from various clients is a familiar refrain about some of their team members: ‘They’re just not delivering as expected.’

And it comes in many guises:

The ‘Promising Interviewee, Disappointing Employee’ one;

The ‘Missed Deadline for Important Meetings’ scenario;

The ‘They Should Know Where to Find Information’ assumption;

And the classic …… ‘They Should Just Know’ expectation.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the harsh truth often points in a different direction: it’s not solely on them; it’s also about you, the leader.

Communication Is Everything When It Comes To Performance Expectations

In my experience, upon probing how expectations were set, it becomes clear that 9 times out of 10, clear direction from them on what is actually required has been lacking, if not entirely absent.

I recall a manager who bluntly stated, ‘I pay them to know what to do!’. And whilst it’ might seem frustrating, this mindset overlooks a crucial aspect: payment doesn’t guarantee understanding or alignment of expectations.

The Disconnect Between Said and Understood

Fair enough you might say. You pay a wage and you expect certain standards to be delivered. But what you believe you’ve communicated, clearly might not be how your team perceives it. Effective communication involves not just stating expectations but also ensuring they are understood

You might think that what you said had been understood by all, but how did you summarise and play it back? Did you involve them in how they might deliver what was being asked? Did you check to see that they understood what you had asked? And, crucially, did you do this in the way in which your team work best? Because each team member is likely to hear different things. What is understood by one team member, may not be understood in the same way as another as we all learn differently. Which is why you should also write things down and follow up wherever possible. Your role here is as a coach, helping them to see how they can achieve the goal in hand, providing the support (and environment) so that they can deliver with aplomb and inspiring them to want to do it.

Leaders often fall into the trap of assuming that their team members will connect the dots on their own. This gap between assumption and reality is where underperformance begins. To bridge this gap, leaders need to practice active listening, understanding the unique perspectives and challenges faced by each team member

So the person you hired that isn’t working out – could a more thorough assessment have predicted the challenges? Reflect on your briefing methods. Were there gaps in how you communicated timelines or deliverables? Self-reflection on your communication style can unveil improvements for both your team’s performance and your leadership.

There’s No One Single Way To Get Great Performance Every Time

…But there are some simple steps you can take to get your message across and make the dark art of getting people to perform and behind you a darn sight clearer:

  • Set Expectations From The Outset: From up to date job descriptions to quality time during the interview process and discussing what success in the role looks like. This stage is critical.
  • Support Them When They Do Join: Don’t just leave it to chance that they will ‘pick it up’. Spend time with your new recruit on a regular basis outlining what you expect from them and when. Like to be updated on a weekly basis on how the product is progressing? Tell them. Show them. Share with them how you do it. Try it all.
  • Focus On WIIFT (What’s In It For Them): For you it’s probably very clear what you get out of their high performance, but What’s In It For Them? Learn what motivates them and push those buttons to get the most out of your team.
  • Return The Favour: Give them feedback on how they are doing. Do it immediately and make it real. A well-timed comment along the lines of “That campaign you ran totally hit the mark in terms of coverage but the signups we were after didn’t materialise. Let’s analyse it together and see how we can do it differently next time” is far more supportive and constructive than leaving it a few months to the end of the probation to tell them they didn’t get the results you were after. You’ll have missed valuable time for them to improve and will look as though you were too incompetent to raise it beforehand.
  • Keep Talking: Few people like to work in a vacuum, so keep the conversation flowing. It builds relationships. Makes giving feedback (good and bad) much easier. And makes people feel involved.

Despite spending much of my adult life coaching on the subject, I’m not immune from it either. 

There’s been many times over the years when I found myself ‘tutting’ in my head when a piece of work failed to materialise or arrived half finished. At that point I have to check myself and think about what exactly I said/ did/ wrote when I communicated what I wanted. Almost every single time I realised that I hadn’t been clear about the importance of what I’ve asked for, why I’ve asked for something and what exactly I’ve needed.

For HR help, advice and all the tools you need to manage and develop your team & help you take your People & HR plans to the next level, contact us via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call on 020 3951 120

Why your Faithfuls May be Key for Success in a Turbulent Year🔪🏆

Why your Faithfuls May be Key for Success in a Turbulent Year🔪🏆

Established as a firm favourite in our household last year (& possibly one of the only shows the multi generations will watch together these days…) Traitors is back this month to help plug the hole where were it not for Dry January or the precedence of a month of excess, we’d be out on the town.

For those who haven’t got involved with the Dutch originated show, it’s reality TV at its best. The plot is pretty simple: 22 contestants gather together in a Scottish Castle to play a game that’s classic murder mystery meets strategic play with the goal of walking off with a truck load of money at the end of the day. On arrival they’re split into different roles with the majority being ‘Faithfuls’ and a few who are assigned as ‘Traitors’. The Traitors know each other’s identity, but the Faithfuls do not. And it’s their job to expel the Traitors before the game is up. The Traitors’ opposing mission of course, is to eliminate the Faithfuls at regular intervals throughout the game, either by targeted ‘kill’ or by engineering one of them to be voted off by their peers at the regular ‘Round table’ meetings, the latter being much more brutal than any of the ‘murders’ seen to date…..

The success of the programme stems from a number of sources: the way the programme flips the tradition of goodies vs baddies on its head ( who else has found themselves rooting for the Traitors as the comedy ‘dress up’ and meet-cutes held in the bell tower??); the breathtaking scenery of the highlands; not to mention Claudia Winkelman’s cracking wardrobe (think rustic-glam-core).

We need all of this in our life in January.

It’s also in part however due to the inherent interest we have in watching psychology of people play out in front of us. Much like the dynamics in any business environment I’ve seen, how people adapt their own behaviour on an instinctive level to changing situations which threaten their own goals can be fascinating to see on screen. For the majority of people in any workplace, they all want a thriving work environment filled with collegiate atmosphere and team spirit. But for some… not so much. And whilst we’ve yet to see a variety of ‘Traitors-meets-The-Office’ committed to film, you only need to have experienced the underhand tactics of a tactical bcc and ‘whoops I’m sorry I forgot you on the invite’ to see how much corrosive damage can be done when someone doesn’t want to play by the rules and start to target someone who’s just going about their business….

In the show, much of the potential success hinges on the role and influence of the ‘Faithfuls’ who are  the majority, the ones who keep the game going and whose diligent observation and teamwork gradually (they hope…) reveals those working against them before their time is up. And in the office, much of your own potential success hinges on the work and commitment of your very own ‘Faithfuls’: the ones who are the backbone of your business, who show up when you need them, who aren’t just present but actively engaged and who don’t always bolt for the door mid-presentation if the clock turns past 5.30.

So far this year I’ve heard from friends, clients and family alike that there’s a bit of caution in the forecasting of this year. Nothing like the utter gloom that overshadowed the beginning of 2023 thank god, but certainly it’s one where confidence is not overblown. And so in a year forecasted to be full of turbulence the role of the ‘Faithfuls’ around you cannot be overstated ,as they offer the discretionary effort that can be a game-changer for you.

Discretionary effort is the extra mile that employees willingly go, not because they have to, but because they want to. They put in the kind of effort that fuels innovation, drives performance, and boosts customer satisfaction. Anf in times of turbulence, this discretionary effort becomes even more valuable as it’s the difference between a team that merely survives and one that thrives.

Engaged employees, much like the ‘Faithfuls’ in “Traitors,” are deeply invested in the outcome of the game: in this case, the success of your business.

As a business leader, creating a culture where this kind of commitment flourishes should therefore be top of the list for your people priorities this year and can be encouraged by understanding the motivations of your team, providing them with the resources they need to succeed, and recognising their efforts. It’s about creating an environment where every person feels valued, heard, and empowered to contribute.

It’s 50/50 still whether Harry will take the lot in this particular series (remember how close the a traitors got to winning the loot last time before they self destructed?), but as you complete your planning for 2024 and take a deep breathe for what comes next, the lessons you can take from “Traitors” are there. Your ‘Faithfuls’, your engaged employees, are not just a part of your team; they could very well be the key to navigating through the turbulence and pressing forward.  Just as the game in the Scottish Castle can be won by strategy, observation, and teamwork, so too is the game of business.

Interested in finding new ways to encourage the Faithfuls in your own business?  Contact us via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or call on 020 3951 1208