INSIGHTS

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Scrapbooks and Stats

Scrapbooks and Stats

Sorting out some boxes in our attic the other day, I came across a couple of scrapbooks I’d been encouraged to fill when on Summer holidays as a child. Amazed that these were still intact, I browsed through the first one and was transported back to ’84 immediately via fuzzy photos of the Epcot Centre, tickets to attractions that are faded beyond recognition, a Mickey Mouse sticker and many (many,…too many!) different-yet-all-slightly-out-of-focus shots of my family on a miscellaneous beach in Florida. It was clear this was my first Summer let loose with film….

I didn’t capture all that we did that Summer in the book of course, but the essence of what a fabulous time we’d had was unlocked as soon as I looked through it (together memories of some epic fights I’d also had with my siblings over Pacman scores too) and it reminded me how lovely it can be to have such a chaotic way to capture a period of time. Sadly, I didn’t keep it up for much more than a couple of Summers, however it certainly brought on a flurry of  hastily downloading and creating photobooks (so much more reliable than an old pritt stick!) from my phone to keep more recent memories alive.

“Some” might say that a post like this belongs in the ‘back to school’ category of early August (and it may be that I’ve broken some unspoken Marketing Calendar rulebook – whoops!) however in the HR Hub world ‘Summer’ breaks are never just confined to July and August and the rolling nature of them are an essential part of what energises us throughout the year. Cue my first attempt above to capture some of what we as a team have been up to!

This Summer our relay of HR Hub team breaks (so far – still a few to go) has taken us to Athens, Italy, Croatia, Spain, Athens again , the Canary Islands and then most recently, mainland Spain again. Oh, and let’s not forget Suffolk & the South Downs too: bathed in glorious sunshine, the likes of which England hasn’t seen in years.  In short, we do holidays as well as we do HR!

During these times, we’ve been swimming, cooking, done some epic walks, paddle-boarding, sailing, not to mention indulging in food, friendship and family along the way. And of course, let’s not forget the spot or two of reflection that comes with the territory of such downtime ….

I know that I’m not alone in the fact that a change of environment and a break from a ‘typical working’ day is always a trigger to start thinking about what I’ve done or not done in the last few months or year. And whilst I’d be lying if I said that there was no negative self talk at all (beating myself up about not doing everything on my ‘list’ is a ritual and activity which has always featured….) , over the years I’ve taught myself to minimise the ruminations and instead think about the steps forward we’ve taken, the impact we’ve had and what myriad of fun plans may take shape in the future. It’a a great way to recognise progress and spur yourself on.

This year I reached the positive stage pretty quickly however, because despite needing a new code for the team in our time tracking to show ‘getting your passport stamped’, during this same time period we’ve delivered some fabulous programmes for our clients, making it one of our busiest (and most enjoyable) Summers ever at HR Hub towers.

I often describe HR as a ‘bit like being a GP’, however the following categories describe just how varied some of the help we’ve provided to our clients:

  • Supported our client’s expand by hiring numerous roles end to end across functions as broad as Finance, Development, SEO, Account Management, Sales, Data and People functions
  • Upgrading the onboarding experience for new hires 
  • Increasing personal and management skills through, training and coaching to multiple clients reaching hundreds of teams across subjects as diverse as new manager ‘bootcamp’ training,  courageous conversations, setting direction, creating a culture of inclusion, financial wellbeing and general mental health to name a few 
  • Undertaking successful due diligence & compliance work for those clients acquiring funding (yep – there’s still a lot of it about despite what you might read this week!) 
  • Resolving multiple concerns team members and managers have had about their work environment, roles and relationships and setting them on a path which is much more constructive
  • And last but by no means least….building confidence in leaders to create their own version of magic in their teams through 1-2-1 support, advice and discussions.

Reflecting on all our delivery these last few months,  we’ve definitely managed to pack in a lot! And whether it’s training or trekking, the stats we’ve collected over the last few months are incredibly motivating in terms of recognising progress. I’m immensely proud of our team for supporting each other and our clients to find the right balance for them. 

If you want to create great memories with your team and could do with a little help and support as you grow and thrive, drop us a line  hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary time here.

Auto Draft

Sweet Caroline (Ella, Chloe & Sarina too…)

Or as Franki Valli may put it … ” Oh what a night!”.

I certainly cannot pretend to be a lifelong football fan ( I am one of those ones who watches any big game from behind my fingers for fear that I might accidentally ‘jinx’ them!), however I too was swept up in a swell of pride for our women’s football team last night and am envious of those friends of mine who watched the game live from Wembley in what has become such a historic event. What a well deserved victory. 

Hearing the players interviewed ( and I use the term loosely as such was the excitement that one ran off with the microphone, another was hijacked by the goalkeeper seeking a ‘backie’ and then in what is normally a reasonably-happy-but-sedate affair the whole team interrupted the managers’ press interview to do a spontaneous rendition of ‘it’s coming home’) after their win was like a lesson in the ‘keeping it real’ category: no ‘Oscar’ speeches, no technical breakdown, no explanation of the strategy to us awestruck viewers. Just unbridled joy and delirious excitement from every single person. #nofilter

There is no doubt of the hard work and resources that has gone into this win and every single one of the team has a shining future. But none surely more so than their manager, Sarina Wiegman* who was the mastermind behind their strategy. Whilst football (or any?) managers are often viewed as the grey suited folks behind the sidelines, the whisperer of decisions which can make or break someone’s career, the ones not out there in the field getting ‘stuck in the action’. But Sarina has given a masterclass in what great managers are capable of.

Every move that she made with the team appeared as well calculated as any chess game: no panic, fear of change (the two substitutes she brought on were both the goal scorers), just well deployed use of all the skills her team had in their arsenal that created such magic. This seemingly humble individual has brought with her methods and interactions, such strong loyalty, kinship and motivation that inspired the team to glory.

And let’s not forget the fun they had! Even before the final whistle had blown the team were whipping up the crowd to shout louder for them and show their appreciation and backing against such a strong side. Whilst not in any way sure of victory at that point, once again it showed recognition of using everything at their disposal to achieve their goal. And in doing so, inspired millions of girls at home watching what can be achieved. #lightthespark

With post match parties looked set to continue into the night as the impact of the win was absorbed, who can blame them if there’s a hangover or two in sight tomorrow.

Well done England! (And no pressure chaps as we head to the World Cup later this year… )

Whilst your ‘field’ of expertise and goals may be markedly different to that of a football team, if you want help strengthening your own management skills & finding the MAGIC in your team, drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary time here.

** Definitely one for another day, but if you want an instant lesson in how people view women’s vs men’s football, simply type in ‘manager of the England football team’ and count how many times Gareth Southgate’s name appears vs Sarina Wiegmans. It’s like an instant representation of diversity in football

The Heat is On: How to Keep Things Moving This Summer

The Heat is On: How to Keep Things Moving This Summer

With barely a headline in sight these days that doesn’t mention the words ‘soaring’ or ‘crisis’ **, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Summer was going to collapse all around us**. Be it inflation, tempers, temperatures or the planes and trains of our fair isle, there always seems to be something catastrophic happening ( and that’s before we’ve even reached the finals of Love Island…).

And whilst I’d personally love to take a time machine back to the Summer of 2012 in all it’s positive glory  (in no particular order my highlights were the Olympics, Bradley Wiggins winning the Tour de France and Carly Rae Jepsom releasing ‘Call me Maybe’…) , keeping your team motivated through all this negativity may take a little more than popping up a Union Jack and crossing your fingers that the Lionnesses finally bring it ‘home’.

The good news is that being forewarned is forearmed, so knowing all that’s going around us, there’s plenty we can do to keep things on track and your team supported. So take a deep breath and a glass of (iced? G& ?) tea & let us guide you through the most likely ‘heat’ your team may be feeling this Summer and what you can to help:

  • ✈️✈️ Holidays (disruption) When people finally do get that overseas break they’ve been dreaming about for the last two years, there’s a strong chance at the moment that either flights might be cancelled (in the UK or abroad) or subject to severe delays. And whilst most delays/ cancellations don’t result in an epic stay in an airport, you might want to be a bit flexible on leave dates. In advance of holidays, chat to them and make sure all your team keep in contact & are aware that they can extend their leave in an emergency such as this. Leave for reasons relating to travel plans are not covered anywhere in our legals, so would be down to extending annual leave or  (if you’re out of annual leave) unpaid leave.

  • 🥵 Heatwave:  Feeling hot yet? Yep, then join the 17,000 people who went out and bought a fan last week ( delighting some retailer who saw a 1,300% increase in sales!). Most people can’t get enough sunshine, but temperatures in the 30’s are highly uncomfortable and an office without air con in those temperatures is downright miserable. So we recommend that when it strikes again, that you are as flexible as possible with working from home if you can. After all, we have had two years practice in doing so ?? 

  • 🤹🚸 Juggling Childcare: Summer for working parents requires project management skills that rival any needed for a 5 year IT programme. But even with the best planning in the world, there are still going to be occasions timings don’t quite work. Parental leave is an option ( and a right) but as this is unpaid, encouraging people to either book annual leave or allow short term flexibility will be a gesture they are thankful for.

  • 💷 Costs: utilities + food bills + summer childcare =  🤬 Pay rises are full of contention (and perhaps not an option) but salary sacrifice schemes such as the workplace nursery scheme can help save people hundreds of pounds and don’t cost your business any more than admin. 
    😢FOMO . Not a traditional one for an employer to be concerned of, it’s nevertheless a very real one. There may be many of your team who (due to all or some of the above) aren’t thinking of taking a long holiday this Summer and instead are just taking the odd day off. If the budget will stretch to it, why not organise your own event at the end of August to give people something to look forward to? Some of our clients have also experimented even with compressed ‘Summer’ hours to give people each Friday afternoon off across this period, giving people a chance to scoot off early for any plans they have. It’s not too late to try that for August if you want to give it a go?

  • 🌴🌞Holidays (making sure they’re taken). We’re over half way through the year and therefore it’s a good point to remind people to plan in their time off to spread across the year. Using (extremely) unscientific data from my memory, there is always a proportion of your team who won’t have booked any and may need that extra nudge to give themselves a break – even reminding them that everyone needs a rest. Plus this also ensures you don’t have a holiday buildup headache come the end of the year.

We can’t get the transport system working seamlessly or influence your tax bill, but we can help implement an engagement plan to support your team and get them firing on all cylinders. To do so, drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk, give us a call on 0203 6277048 or pop in a diary time here.

**If, like me, you something get deflated by the relentless noise of the newspapers you see, take a break and have a look at The Happy Newspaper – it celebrates all that’s good in the world and really does lighten the soul when you read it!

HR Surgery: How To Manage A Grievance When One Comes Your Way

HR Surgery: How To Manage A Grievance When One Comes Your Way

“I’m sorry to send this email to you at the weekend, but I feel I need to raise something with you….”

In an ideal world everyone in your business would get on with each other, everyone would be in agreement on all things work related and no one would have conflict.  And then there’s reality….

In 2021, ACAS (the independent public body which offers free advice to employees on employment matters) received more than 650,000 calls from people, raising concerns or asking for help in how to resolve issues at work. And these are the ones which are either escalated or which weren’t brought before an HR team or manager. Whilst disciplinaries and grievances might seem like the ‘bread and butter’ of HR teams & what we are ‘known for’ ( cringe…), we’ve seen more of the latter appear in the last couple of years. It would appear that – in part at least – some of this is due not having the face to face contact to vent their frustrations which people typically have done, leaving them to instead move to more formal channels.

Typically if someone in your team has a concern at work they would either raise it with you or one of your senior team. Sometimes these are relatively small and easy to manage (“I don’t like where I’m sitting” – you’d be amazed at how many of these there are…) and other times they’re more complex & require more sensitivity  (“I’ve been treated unfairly and it’s impacted my mental health”). 

Many concerns we see relate to situations where someone in the team has been impacted by the behaviours of another in the team – colleague or their own manager – as well as about their role and what autonomy they have (or haven’t) got. But whatever the complaint and however it arises, when it does, it’s important to be prepared and know how to handle it to minimise the chances of the situation escalating in order to find a suitable outcome.

If you do receive an email like this (or even if someone comes to speak to you face to face), it can be tempting to groan inwards and hope you can ignore the issue and it will improve. But no good will come of burying your head in the sand and just like problems with your customers, you’ll need to work through it carefully to avoid escalation: if it’s important enough to someone to raise, then it’s important enough to be addressed.

Informal steps are a good way to try and resolve some grievances but there are some fairly serious areas where an informal approach isn’t suitable and you should always check with your team member if they are happy to try and resolve it this way anyhow, rather than assuming.

All businesses should have a grievance policy (it’s one of the three compulsory policies you must legally have)  so it’s worth brushing up on your own before you take any next steps. Also, it’s worth noting, that in technical terms, a formal grievance is submitted when it’s in writing , so Slack and Teams can still count….

Below are some suggested next steps to take if one does land in your lap & when following an informal process (which would always typically ‘shadow’ a formal one anyhow): 

1. Make sure that you are aware of all of the relevant information in relation to the complaint. This means speaking to the person who made the complaint and not only hearing their side of the story but checking out any facts to support it: what their concerns are and what (if any) resolution they are looking for. Whatever you do – avoid making assumptions: about their intent, the situation. Anything.

2. Next up: get your Poirot act on as it’s time for a bit of detective work (or ‘fact finding’ as we say in the trade). Typically this is something which is easy enough to do if it’s a simple complaint and involves speaking to those referred to in it and separating out what supports it, what doesn’t and what can’t be found. Try and do this in a sensitive way however to minimise the number of people involved and maintain the confidentiality of the individual.

3. Once you have all the facts, you can start to look into resolving the grievance. Sometimes this will involve looking at any company policies or procedures which may be relevant, as well as taking into account any legal guidance or recommendations. Other times it might be that you find that there has been some wrongdoing and need to escalate it and take potential disciplinary action against another team member. At this stage, we would definitely advise talking it through with your HR guru to see what options you may have and how to mitigate any further risk.

4. If you haven’t already at this stage, we would recommend meeting with the person who made the initial grievance and discuss what you’ve found, what actions will be taken to resolve and why. It’s also a good opportunity to explain how the grievance procedure works and what the next steps will be if they are not happy with the outcome in this case.

If you’ve come to a resolution, happy days ( and this is the case in most situations), but it’s still important to follow up in writing so that there is a record of what was discussed and agreed upon. This can help to avoid future concerns and shows how seriously you’ve taken the complaint.

The steps above are just a guide: every grievance is different and so the process may vary slightly depending on the situation.

If you need a hand working your way through a concern someone has in your business or want to get up to speed on how different processes work,  drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048. 

Pride (and Prejudice)

Pride (and Prejudice)

“’It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. Oh Jane, we’ve come a long way….

June – the official month in the calendar to celebrate Pride and all things LGBT+ – came to an end yesterday. The global month long celebration, whose origins lie in honouring the 1969 Stonewall riots, aims to raise awareness of and campaigns to achieve, equal justice and equal opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) communities, is having a an even bigger celebration in the UK this year to mark the first celebration of Pride march 50 years ago.

And they have much to celebrate: in the first Pride event in 1972, it is estimated that between 200 and 500 people took part, however fast forward to this coming Saturday 2 July, when this year’s Pride takes place in London, it’s estimated that there will be approximately 1.5 million people in attendance.

For many this means an opportunity to learn and show understanding and solidarity and promote education on issues which affect the LGBT community. For some, just a party. For others however, it’s an opportunity to celebrate their own life in a totally safe environment. 

So what’s it all about therefore. Let’s have some facts:

  • Just under 1.4 million people in the UK identify as LGBT+ (ONS) – 2.7% of the general population (although unofficial figures put it % anywhere between 2 and 5% of the population)

  • The number of those identifying as LGBT+ in the last few years have been on the increase

  • In 2019 the UK received the highest score in Europe for LGBT+ rights (seeing progress on same sex marriage, civil partnerships, adoptions rights etc)

But whilst progress has been seen and attitudes have shifted in the last 50 years in a more positive way for the LGBT+ community, lest you think that it’s just rainbows and unicorns and there’s nothing to campaign for/ be aware about in 2022, here comes the Prejudice part.…

  • 35% of LGBT staff have hidden their LGBT status for fear of discrimination at work (Stonewall)

  • Over 20% of LGBT+ workers experience discrimination during recruitment and promotion, and over a third worry about possible bias

  • Seven in ten LGBT+ workers have been sexually harassed or assaulted at work (TUC) – that is nearly twice the number for those not identifying

Even if you’re thinking right now  “hang on a minute, that sort of stuff doesn’t go in my business”, take a moment to consider the first bullet point in the list as well and consider what else you could proactively do to make sure that everyone in your team feels supported and safe when they come to work.

Setting an intention to have an inclusive team (rather than just assuming you have one) which is psychologically safe will have more chance of creating one where people can bring their whole selves to work without fear (and certainly without hiding their own status). And being known for this kind of culture is not just good for your attraction rates, but leads to greater innovation, retention and ultimately success within teams. We’d always recommend discussing with your teams themselves and hearing their voices first and foremost on what you can do to promote safety in your teams & create a more inclusive culture, but to help  support your own inclusion of LGBT+ team members, try the following (recommended by Business In The Community): 

  • Explicitly recognise that you have LGBT+ staff in your workforce (and customer base)

  • Review your Policies to ensure that they are not just as generally inclusive as possible but that they are specifically so for the LGBT+ staff and that they are accessible

  • Don’t assume people’s gender, sexual orientation or pronouns

In short, Pride in your teams doesn’t stop in June. And nor does inclusivity. 

If you need a hand reviewing your own framework for diversity and inclusion in your business,  drop us a line via hello@thehrhub.co.uk or give us a call on 0203 6277048.

HR Hub People Ops Training: Back By Popular Demand

HR Hub People Ops Training: Back By Popular Demand

If you’re keen to up your game on the HR-front and are serious about creating a workplace where people can do their best & be successful, then it’s no secret that just issuing the right contract or handbook isn’t going to quite cut it!

The right information, skills and insights can…

  • Give you all the tricks you need to create employee MAGIC ™
  • Keep you ahead of the game when it comes to HR
  • Stay compliant with new laws which affect you (& brush up on existing ones)
  • Inspire your team & support their well being
  • Help you build better relationships with your employees
  • Increase your confidence in managing HR without strangulation

The trouble is though, all of this is a lot easier said than done. We know, because we’ve been there!

So if you’re feeling like you’re:

  • Keen to ‘up’ your skills but don’t know where to start?
  • Sinking under the weight of having to do HR without having had anything but on-the-job training?
  • Going to miss something that you should have known?
  • Worried you’re not up to date with employment laws?

Relax, because we’ve got you covered & this could be the training you’re waiting for.

The HR Hub People Ops Training was created for PA’s, EA’s and Office/ Ops Managers just like you: those who are keen to understand the core foundations of HR and People management, learn the tips and tricks used by some of the fastest growing businesses in the UK and discuss the practical ‘Hows’ of creating employee MAGIC ™.

Here at The HR Hub, we are experienced and qualified HR Directors and Business Partners who have worked with hundreds of employers and thousands of employees during our careers helping to do just this.

From hiring to firing and all that goes on in between, we’ve helped SME’s manage their employee’s potential. We’ve seen the good, the bad (and the ugly!) when it comes to managing teams and have learnt the key things which help a business grow.

We’ve been featured in Fresh Business Thinking, City Am and Business Insiders and our clients and former employers feature in both Best Companies to Work for and too many a ‘Fast-track’ list to count. We’ve also worked within multiple Operations roles before.

And now, we’re pulling all of this knowledge together to package it up in a box of learning just for you.

Book my place now!

What you’ll receive during the training

  • Insights, tips and tricks used by some of the fastest growing businesses in the UK
  • Interactive training on what you Must, Could and Should do in relation to the different parts of the employee experience
  • A chance to work through case studies which increase confidence in managing the People function within your business
  • Practical content – including details of our MAGIC ™ framework – which you can use straight away to boost your People function including checklists, resources etc and plan your next three months

What’s included in the Ticket Price

  • Pre-course assessment of your current level of employee MAGIC ™ GAP analysis
  • MAGIC ™ Assessment output
  • Interactive Zoom training session
  • All supporting materials for you to use on an ongoing basis
  • Followup Individual Coaching call with one of our People experts

We’re inviting you to grab a place on our next HR for People Ops Training on Wednesday 13 July,  so you can learn all you need to know about HR to give you peace of mind, hassle saved and time back. #everyonesawinner

Click here to book your place now!

If you want to chat through or have any other queries you’d like to discuss about your team, get in touch today at hello@thehrhub.co.uk or by calling 0203 627 7048.