People

Our employment section contains a comprehensive list of business advice articles to help you choose and manage the right staff for your small and medium enterprise. Read on to ensure you create a productive and positive working environment.

Apprenticeships: Why Should Small Businesses Consider Taking Them On?

Apprenticeships: Why Should Small Businesses Consider Taking Them On?

Amidst the ongoing Brexit discussions and a recent general election campaign, small business owners would be forgiven if they hadn’t noticed that a revolution of sorts has been taking place in the world of apprenticeships. Schemes enabling individuals to gain a route into the workplace through apprenticeships have been a part of the employment landscape for several decades. But during 2017, two significant changes are taking place aimed at making apprenticeships better quality and more valuable for the employee; as well as a more attractive proposition for the end employer. At the end of May, all UK businesses with paid a bill of more than £3m – having made their first payment towards the new apprenticeship levy. While these outgoings won’t affect the UK’s 5.5 million small businesses, the... »

Maternity Leave: What to Expect When They’re Expecting

Maternity Leave: What to Expect When They’re Expecting

Anne-Marie Slaughter, Hillary Clinton’s former adviser, hit the headlines in April 2017 by claiming a year’s maternity leave is too long for working mothers. Maternity leave is a controversial subject, but communication is vital – particularly for expectant mothers and their employers. Finding cover, training and changes to working hours upon return are just some of the worries employers may have at the back of their mind when a member of staff announces a pregnancy. Eligible women are entitled to up to 52 weeks of maternity leave by law, 39 of which can be paid. Whether you agree that an upper limit of a year is too long, there is little doubt that this period must be adequately planned for. Options The decision of whether to hire a new member of staff on a temporary basis, or cover the r... »

5 Common Mistakes When Networking

5 Common Mistakes When Networking

Believe it or not, the art of networking is a skill. A skill that needs to be honed and polished with time invested in order to get your desired results. That result could be an unpublished job that has your name on it or the deepening of business relationships for future business opportunities or simply you want to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who can help you move forward personally or professionally. Whatever your reason for networking it can certainly work for you. But there are five common mistakes we make when networking which reduces the power of in-person relationship building: 1. No clear focus of what you are trying to achieve Ultimately what is your end goal. What are you trying to achieve? You have to build this into a plan. A plan you can commit to which outl... »

A Guide to Disciplinary Action For Small Businesses

A Guide to Disciplinary Action For Small Businesses

Disciplinarily situations can arise in employment for variety of reasons which vary from business to business but usually relate to misconduct and/or poor performance. This can include: Behaviour/attitude at work Poor timekeeping Unexplained or unauthorised absence Health and safety breaches Inappropriate use of telephones, email and internet If there is an issue it’s important not to ignore it or do anything rash in the heat of the moment. If you are unsure about the best course of action then speak to a solicitor as if the disciplinary procedure is not handled correctly it may result in an employment tribunal claim. Informal action Informal action is often a very useful tool and may save time and resources depending on the severity of the conduct. The employee however should be aware tha... »

Returning to Work After A Brain Injury: How to Support Your Employee

Returning to Work After A Brain Injury: How to Support Your Employee

If your employee is returning to work after a brain injury, it can be hard knowing what level of support you should be providing them with. All sorts of issues around accessibility, adapting their work environment and managing their workload may be on your mind. So how can you ensure their transition back into the workplace works for you and them? For employers, it’s not always clear what difficulties your staff member will have when returning to work. The type and severity of a brain injury can vary greatly and impact different areas of their working life: from social skills to their behaviour and relationships with other colleagues. Or it could affect how your employee concentrates, learns and processes or remembers things. Either way, it’s important to take the time to understand their ... »

How To Spot The Signs Of Poor Employee Mental Health At Work

How To Spot The Signs Of Poor Employee Mental Health At Work

Employees feel as though they cannot talk about mental health problems in the workplace, a new poll suggests conducted by mental health charity mind. Three-quarters of people said they would not be likely to seek support from their manager if they were experiencing a mental health problem. With a certain degree of stigma still existing surrounding the disclosure and discussion of mental health, the cycle of poor mental health may well be perpetuated if employers and their management teams don’t learn to spot the early signs of mental health issues in the workplace. Levels of sickness are high Absences from work due to health issues can be the first sign of possible mental health issues. Whilst many employees may not feel comfortable in stating stress, anxiety or depression as their reason ... »

5 Steps to Hiring New Employees

5 Steps to Hiring New Employees

One of the greatest challenges facing every expanding business is securing the right staff. Competent, professional and committed recruits are highly sort after and a crucial ingredient to business success. However, building a team can be a complex task as you look to source people with different skills – but crucially a similar outlook, buying into the company vision and ethos. There is no doubt that hiring the right sort of person is vital for driving continued momentum. While hiring people who just don’t fit in inevitably leads to lost productivity and direction and can further dent staff morale and public perception. The Accountancy Partnership’s (TAP’s) managing director Lee Murphy says there are a number of key areas employers must address ahead of the hiring game to ensure the... »

Salary Sacrifice Schemes: What Next?

Salary Sacrifice Schemes: What Next?

Towards the end of 2016 The Finance Bill 2017 was published, containing provisions intended to eliminate tax advantages that many previously enjoyed through entering into salary sacrifice schemes. Salary sacrifice schemes are agreements undertaken between employers and employees to provide non-cash benefits. However, changes to such schemes, announced in November’s Autumn Statement, mean that employers who have these arrangements in place must prepare to adhere to the new legislation coming into effect from 6 April 2017. The change is due to the government’s concerns regarding an increase in the use of salary sacrifice arrangements, especially as employees effectively pay for the benefit themselves through the reduction in their gross pay. What changes are proposed? Consultation documents ... »

Disciplinaries: The Correct Way to Handle Things

Disciplinaries: The Correct Way to Handle Things

There are several different reasons why an employer might need to take an employee down the disciplinary route. It may be that they are not performing to the required standards of their role or they have unacceptable levels of absence or timekeeping. In more extreme cases, disciplinary may be as a result of gross misconduct, such as indecent behavior, assault or stealing company property. Whatever the reasons, it is important for employers to follow the correct disciplinary procedure, otherwise they may end up attending an employment tribunal. These are the steps to take to handle disciplinaries in the correct way. Informal meeting No one really enjoys going down the route of disciplinary. It can be just as distressing for the manager, as it is for the employee. As such, it is good practic... »

5 Ways to Address High Staff Turnover Rates

5 Ways to Address High Staff Turnover Rates

Having a high turnover rate among a workforce is generally bad news for any business but for smaller businesses it can be particularly damaging. The processes involved in hiring and training people to become valuable contributors to your business usually requires a considerable investment of both time and resources. So to lose these people for any reason soon after those investments have been made can be a real setback and a source of concern. With that in mind, here are some ways in which a small business might aim to reduce the rate at which its employees move on and aim to establish a more sustainable turnover rate among its workforce. 1. Refine your hiring processes If you have a high staff turnover rate then it could be that the processes you’ve relied upon to identify potential new h... »

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