A resignation – like being dumped – can often feel very personal. Particularly if the person in question has been with you for some time. Particularly if you think they are critical to your business. And particularly if you let it.
I mean, it’s sod’s law isn’t it? Just when you think everything is teed up to have a great 2018: Goals in place? Tick. Marketing lined up? Tick. Sales Pipeline trending the right way? Tick. – when someone pops their head around the door clutching an envelope and utters a few words in ‘that’ tone …”er, can we have a quick chat?’. And it’s the ones who are the most valuable to you which always hit you hardest.
Of course, not every resignation is bad news. If you are planning on going through a restructure or making redundancies and the person in question was going to be affected, then you may have just saved yourself a bit of heartache ( not to mention a few quid). But most are not wanted, downright annoying and expensive too.
With an average employee in the professional sector costing up to £30k to replace , the best way to ensure that you handle this well, is to prioritise keeping your team as you would your clients. And plan for it by doing some of the following:
- At budgeting time, include staff turnover in your forecasting figures and set targets for turnover. The UK average is approximately 15% but this rises to closer to 20% in the digital sectors. You do need to keep new ideas flowing within the business and adapt to your changing model, so not all turnover is bad and it’s likely that you will want to see some movement to avoid becoming complacent, but set targets for this which you can check progress against. It’ll be less of a surprise.
- Identify your ‘keepers’. The people which, if you lost, you would be stuffed. And then plan how you are going to to show them the love. To support them in what they want out of the business. Too many business leaders don’t take the time to speak to their teams on a 1-2-1 regular basis to uncover what it is that their people want and show support by their actions. Oh, for the times when I’ve seen an account manager hauled over the coals after a devastating client loss. “When did you last meet with them?” is often one of the first things their manager will ask after the bombshell has been dropped.” How did they seem? Were they unhappy? Did they say anything which gave you a clue?….”
- Take the time to get to know your team. To know what they want out of life on a wider level than just what they are doing at work. I know it’ll come as a shock to many, but most people don’t simply dream of doing better at work! So find out what possibilities lie for people within the confines of the business and how they can help them get to where they want to be.
And I’m not saying it’s easy by any stretch. It’s a hell of a commitment to meet with your team each week/ fortnight/ build a relationship/ keep it going through the good and the tough times. But people are less likely to leave a place where they feel valued and listened to than anywhere else. And even if you can’t keep them, the chances are that they will feel more comfortable giving you a heads up that they may be off, allowing you a bit more time to plan and handover.
But back to that resignation. In practical and immediate terms, you have a few options:
- You can take it very personally, considering it a personal slight that someone would not want to work from you and act out in that manner. One boss I know didn’t speak to their team member for their ENTIRE notice period, leaving him to work in an isolated office away from the rest of the business such was the disgust they felt at their team member leaving them. Their maturity wasn’t lost on the entire company…
- Or ( a popular option) you can launch into telling them all the reasons why this is all wrong for them and that if they stayed for another £5/ £15k/ £25k then you will be able to fix whatever it is they are concerned about. One business I know spent more money on retention bonuses for those who had resigned in a particular year than they did on the entire bonus pot for existing employees who had delivered for them that year. The‘retained’ employees in this instance lasted on average another 3-6 months before bailing out for real, leaving a red faced boss and disgruntled colleagues who had found out all about the separate arrangement…
- Or you can listen to what they are saying. And then really listen. And learn from it. On the odd occasion I have seen someone ‘bought back’ by their business when they’ve resigned, it’s been because the relationship and loyalty was there already, they’d just let things get stale. The drama of resigning was enough to wake both parties up to see that there were other ways for the team member to grow and they’re very happy.
Option 3 doesn’t always mean they stay and you may well still have to say goodbye to someone you would rather not. But at least by taking the time out to find out what is really going on, you will truly understand why your business is not right for the person standing in front of you. But why it may be for another time. Ah yes, Boomerang employees. Now there’s another post….
As your business grows, you might decide that the time is right to start working with HR. It’s certainly true that having a people professional on hand and on your side can bring huge benefits, and it could be exactly what you need to create steady and manageable growth you’re after. But before setting the wheels in motion, it might be useful to take a step back and think about what you can do to ensure that any relationship reaches its full potential. Let’s explore the practical steps you can take.
Be Open And Honest About Absolutely Everything
When you first start to work with any kind of professional services, there’s always a period during which you’re still getting to know each other. You’ll be asked questions about business, and it can be tempting to try to gloss over the less attractive parts, and not be completely honest about your situation and how you’re feeling about it. Here at theHRhub we’ve seen (most of) it all before, and aren’t here to judge. We just need all the information you can give us – the good, the bad, and the ugly – so we can work out an action plan to get you to where you want to be.
Remember To Use Their Services Strategically
Many people first start working with an HR service because they have a particular problem that they need expert assistance with right away. It could be an issue with a new recruit, or it would be a routine disciplinary matter that’s gone horribly wrong. It’s safe to say though that most business owners’ first contact with their HR service is the result of an operational matter. And that’s fine, of course. Sometimes, there are things that you can’t cope with yourself, that need to be tackled ASAP. If you really want to get the most out of your working relationship though, recognise the strategic value that is there for the taking. Engage in conversations about the future of your business, the big challenges you face, and how HR can help you to get you to where you want to be with less hassle and less fuss.
Speak Up When You Need Help
The world of HR, just like any industry out there, is full of jargon and terminology that you might not be familiar with. The good news here though is that we at theHRhub will break down everything you need to know, so it’s easy to understand and digest and so that you get to know your TUPE from your EAP. If there’s anything at all that you feel unsure about, don’t be afraid to speak up. As skilled as we are, we can’t read your mind! And we’re always more than happy to go that extra mile so you’re really reaping the benefits of having your own on-demand HR point of contact.
It’s normal to feel slightly overwhelmed at the thought of working with an HR service or consultant. You probably felt the same when you first called upon the services of your accountant. If you follow these steps though, teething problems can be avoided, and you’re likely to quickly discover that taking the plunge was the best decision that you’ve ever made.
Want to have a discussion about how all of this could work for you, in really practical terms? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a free consultation.
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Photocredit: Kenny Louie Ahhhhhhhh
Everyone loves a good old bank holiday weekend. More time with the family, an opportunity to unwind, and weather permitting, maybe even a barbecue or two. As a business owner though, long weekends bring some key challenges. With four bank holidays appearing in the springtime calendar in the UK, it makes sense to be prepared, so you can prevent the common issues from knocking your business off track.
Here are a few things that you should consider, sooner rather than later…
Make sure you have a policy that’s clearly communicated to all staff
Many problems can be avoided by simply making sure that your staff know what’s expected from them. Dropping the bombshell that you’re cancelling the long weekend at the last minute isn’t likely to do you any favours when it comes to getting your workforce onside.
Sometimes, depending on the nature of your business, it’s just not possible to allow everyone to take the day off. If that’s the case, make your stance clear in advance, and ensure that everyone knows what you’re working towards.
Carefully plan out operational requirements in advance
Your business no doubt has deadlines and priorities that need to be handled. If your staff will be out of the office, then you need to understand how this might have a knock-on effect, and how you’ll manage that.
Some forward planning here can go a long way. Make sure that you get your team involved, and everyone understands how their workload for the week will be managed.
Know the relevant legislation
Your employees don’t have a legal right to receive extra pay for working bank holidays, unless this is something that you have promised in the contract of employment – or if it is implied because of historical practices within your business.
In terms of asking your staff to take annual leave to cover the holiday, this is an option, providing that you give notice that’s twice the length of the holiday period that you are asking them to take.
Remember that your staff should receive a written statement within 2 months of starting their employment that covers their entitlement to holiday, including provisions for public holidays, and pay.
If you know that your policies and procedures could do with a refresh, then let’s talk. Give us a call today to arrange your no-obligation consultation. Call us now on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at email@example.com
January can be a thoroughly dull and dismal month, and if you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps, then you’re definitely not alone. The festivities are over, the weather is miserable, and there’s pretty much a full six months to wait before your summer holidays will come round.
Right about now, you’re probably considering your strategy for relighting a little spark in the workplace, and ensuring that your employees have some solid goals to work towards. You don’t want the January blues to take over.
This time of the year presents a great opportunity for assessing priorities, setting goals, and ensuring that all the right boxes are being ticked in terms of your HR practices.
We don’t have to remind you about the importance of those performance discussions again, do we?
Today though, let’s shift the focus away from your staff for just a second or two, and think about YOU, and how you’re getting on with your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.
You might be crying ‘But I thought you were an HR consultant! Shouldn’t we talking about my workforce?’
And yes, we should, and we do, and we can support you when you have problems to fix, initiatives to roll out, or big goals to smash.
But the reality here is that running a business can be really hard work. There are a ton of plates to spin. Your to-do list can seem never-ending. You’re the leader of your business and you’re expected to perform at a high level and demonstrate outstanding leadership.
For you to be able to do all of this to the best of your ability?
You need support.
You need time out.
You need to protect your mental wellbeing.
Sure, you no doubt have big things that you want to achieve this year. But you need to make sure that you’re creating a plan that is sustainable, that won’t run you into the ground, and will enable you to hit your business goals without making unnecessary sacrifices.
At the moment, you might be feeling energised and ready to take on a new year. Or you might be feeling overwhelmed and a little stressed out.
What’s really vital is that you know where you’re going, and you have a way to get there.
Right now, we have a few spaces left for consultancy work in the early part of 2017. If you would like to have a chat about how we might be able to work together to drive your business forward, ensure you’re compliant with upcoming legislative changes, and get your business fighting fit for the challenges ahead, then get in touch today via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0203 627 7048 to chat about your HR needs.
TheHRhub: on demand and online HR support for startups and SMEs
This time of year presents a fantastic opportunity to ensure that your staff are fully onboard with your big strategic goals. By now, you’ve no doubt considered what you need to do to tap into the general feeling of renewed motivation. But are there things going on beneath the surface that you need to consider? And are there potential threats that could harm your business as we kick off a new year?
A real worry that many business owners will have right now is losing their top talent. People often reassess their goals in January, and if your business isn’t staying ahead of the game, then you may well find that your best members of staff are looking for new roles. You might think that this isn’t happening, but the reality is that it can be hard to gauge what’s going on beneath the surface.
So what should you do about it?
Well, it goes without saying that you can hardly tie your staff to their desks. Even the best businesses lose valued employees from time to time, and though it’s costly to replace them, it’s something that you’ll no doubt have to deal with from time to time.
Now’s a great time to do an audit, and establish the current climate in your workforce, and how you would cope if your staff did decide to move on to pastures new. It’s always sensible to have a succession plan in place, so you don’t find yourself with an operational disaster on your hands.
You should also consider what you can do to improve your retention rates. It’s easy to jump to the assumption that it always comes down to cash, and that keeping your best people involves regular pay rises and bonuses. This isn’t the case though. Retention levels are impacted by a wide variety of factors, and you may need to take a closer look at how you can get creative without blowing your budget.
If you need some help with ensuring that your business is fighting fit for the year ahead, then get in touch via email@example.com or call 0203 627 7048 to chat about your HR needs.
TheHRhub: on demand and online HR support for startups and SMEs
Flickr: Nottingham Trent University
Days off for legitimate sickness are likely to have increased a little in the past few weeks as you might expect – it’s pretty cold out and people are getting burnt out by now. On the other hand, staff are likely to have a lot of other ‘commitments’ outside of work to juggle at this time of year too. So not all pleas for a ‘sick day’ may be quite what they seem…
What do you do when you suspect one of your team might be pulling a fast one and you don’t know how to call them on it?
Keep A Cool Head – This Is What Policies Are For
You might be tempted to leap into a stern word on the phone or get on their case when they return. But tread carefully. If you suspect that an employee of yours is guilty of lying about their sickness, it falls under misconduct and therefore should be dealt with under your written disciplinary policy in a formal way. Hopefully this has been already communicated to your team members when they joined the business, but if not, you need to clearly outline it to them.
The first part of a disciplinary process will normally be to undertake an investigation to see what evidence you can find to corroborate your suspicions and therefore even whether a disciplinary is actually necessary. Having a ‘feeling’ therefore is not exactly firm evidence. Nor is someone just being active on social media (if you’re connected on any medium you may be able to see their activity) necessarily evidence of lying, as we all know that updates can be made within seconds. Updates which include selfies of them sipping mulled wine at a christmas market may prove more interesting (!), but still need to be investigated (take screenshots) and the employee given a chance to explain before any action is taken.
Hold A Return To Work Interview
Even if you have none of these, what I would recommend, is to speak to your team members on their return, and hold what we in HR call a ‘return to work interview’ and explain your concerns about their sickness, find out and what you can do to support them. You might not be able to prove that they were off for the reason they gave, however you may just shower them with so much care, that they will be the ones buying you the mulled wine tomorrow!
Want to chat about this or any other issue you may be facing? Book here to get in touch today or call us on 0203 627 7048.
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p.s – To get ahead of your game when it comes to another area important to your employees: Reward and Recognition, download our FREE eBook: Show Me The Money! The Ultimate Guide To Reward And Recognition In An SME.