October, 2017

Admin grind causing people to leave the office

A third of workers are tempted to leave their job, or have already left a role, because they are spending too much time on ‘work admin’, a new study has found.

The survey of 2,034 UK employees also revealed that two in five workers spent most of their working day on ‘work about work’ tasks – including going to meetings, looking for information or organising their workload – rather than doing their actual job.

Information overload, combined with a lack of clarity, has led to poor working habits, and limiting the productivity and morale of UK business teams and employees. There is evidence of increasing work intensity in UK workplaces that does not necessarily lead to enhanced performance and productivity. This means that employers need to foster smart and inclusive working practices that encourage higher levels of engagement and commitment, which in turn can lead to positive organisational outcomes.

The survey also found that the problem of work admin is worst at companies with 500-1,000 staff, with 58% of employees at businesses of this size saying they were asked to work on tasks that would then be duplicated by somebody else at the organisation.

  • Posted on October 31st, 2017

Make sure redundancy selection criteria are objective!

A travel company that assumed a pregnant employee would be happy to switch to a job share when her role was at risk of redundancy has lost an employment tribunal.
The Employment Tribunal heard the employee was dismissed through redundancy. The company employed her as a global travel help (GTH) executive.

She was on maternity leave between April 2013 and November 2014. When she returned, she requested flexible-working arrangements, which involved job-sharing and a three-day week and the travel agency agreed to this. In June 2016, business plans were put forward that would involve closing the office, putting the jobs of the 46 staff who worked there at risk. However, the proposals also created six new roles which the agency planned to fill from their existing staff.

The employee was due to take maternity leave for her second baby from July 2016 to July 2017 but told HR that she was interested in applying for one of the new roles.
It was suggested she consider a job share alongside another employee who was also pregnant and she said she would give this some thought but that she would also be interested in returning to a full time role if successful. Following an interview process she was placed sixth out of the eight applicants and was told that she had not been selected for a role and would be made redundant. She and the other pregnant employee had been evaluated as one employee, on a job share basis.

Finding that the dismissal was both unfair and discriminatory on the grounds of her pregnancy, the tribunal criticised the company for its inadequate and subjective marking and for assuming a job share would suit both pregnant candidates, resulting in them being marked as one person. In particular, the judge found that one of the three managers responsible for the selection process had treated the employee unfairly because of her personal circumstances.

This case is a reminder to employers to make sure they can justify why a staff member is being made redundant. It needs to be meticulous at every stage because discrimination can be present even if the employer seeks to do things lawfully.

  • Posted on October 31st, 2017

Take time out of the office and network to drive creativity and entrepreneurship

Businesses that want their employees to be more innovative should send them out of the office more often, new research has found. The study revealed that managers who demand constant outputs from their staff don’t give enough time to think, preventing new ideas.

The researchers also found that the best ideas were developed when employees were given time to move away from the office, engage with other people in their network and consider feedback from multiple sources, as opposed to only seeking opinions in their office. Staff need time to consider and reflect – this is not unique to entrepreneurs, but for anyone who wants to be innovative. Seeking feedback from different sources benefits creativity.

Other recent studies have also suggested that too much time in the office might be taking its toll on employees. Only half of staff worldwide felt that their workplace fostered productivity, while 42% of employees believed their office had no positive effect on their happiness.

  • Posted on October 30th, 2017

Employers not making their staff aware of changes to the childcare voucher scheme

More than a third of employers are unaware of upcoming changes to the childcare voucher scheme, despite significant reforms coming into force in just six months.

A recent survey also revealed that, 90% ran a childcare voucher scheme, just one in three had done something to make staff aware of the changes. From April 2018, childcare voucher schemes will be closing to new applicants. Employees who have already signed up to a company’s scheme will be eligible to keep receiving vouchers, but they will not be able to rejoin the programme if they leave and will not be able to join their new employer’s scheme if they change jobs.

Although the vouchers are essentially being replaced by tax-free childcare, the two schemes do not operate in exactly the same way. This is a major change and should be communicated like any other change.

The survey suggested that employees might be unaware of the reforms. A quarter of those surveyed said they thought none of their staff were aware the schemes would close to new applicants, and three-quarters said nobody had approached them with questions about the changes.

An HMRC spokesperson said that, since the government had launched its Childcare Choices website in March, with the aim of bringing together information on all the different kinds of help government offered on childcare costs, it had had more than a million unique issues. More than 700,000 had also used the website’s calculator to find out which option offered by the government suited them best.

  • Posted on October 27th, 2017

First prosecution for business failing to implement pensions auto enrolment

UK Pensions Regulator has announced the first prosecution of an employer who failed to comply with the law on auto-enrolment. The rules on auto-enrolment require employers to automatically enrol workers in a pension scheme that meets certain minimum requirements. The Pensions Act 2008 states that it is an offence to fail to comply with the rules on auto-enrolment. The employer that is being prosecuted is a bus company and one of the directors has also been prosecuted. This is the first prosecution launched by the UK’s Pension Regulator for the offences under section 45 of the Act for which the maximum sentence is an unlimited fine.

  • Posted on October 26th, 2017

Personal Data and the GDPR

When the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is implemented in May 2018, consent for employers to access and use data will have to be freely given by employees and that consent must be specific, informed and revocable. The GDPR expressly states that, where there is an imbalance of power between the party giving consent and the party receiving it, consent will not be valid. In an employment context, it has long been acknowledged that there is such an imbalance between employer and employee.

The legal grounds for processing some categories of personal data will remain straightforward. For example, employers have to process employees’ bank account data to pay their salaries, and their sickness absence data to enable statutory sick pay.

But there are limits on how far employers can legitimately extend their interests. If an employer uses a data loss prevention tool to monitor employees’ outgoing emails automatically to prevent unauthorised transmission of proprietary data, it will need to ensure the system’s rules are fully transparent to employees; they must also be warned in advance if the tool recognises an email to be sent as a possible data breach, giving the sender the option to cancel it.

Employers need to review their template employee documentation such as employment contracts and ensure that any employee consent to access, monitor or pass on data is expressly given and not implied as part of the contractual terms.

  • Posted on October 25th, 2017

Are your managers trained to investigate?

Conducting Workplace Investigations

8th November 2017 in Dundee

Feedback from previous delegates:

“Very useful training – to the point but personable”

“Interesting and informative presentation, leaving me feeling confident to investigate matters”

There are many occasions where there is a need to hold internal investigations in the workplace. They are held to clarify and establish the facts of individual cases and to assist Managers in making a decision as to whether there are grounds to call a disciplinary hearing or dismiss a member of staff. It is important to be aware that employers may be held liable if a poor investigation leads to an unfair dismissal.

This workshop will cover:

• The responsibilities of the employer
• The rights of the employee
• The stages of an investigation
• Listening and questioning techniques
• When to suspend
• Writing the report and presenting findings

Who is it For?

HR professionals, line-managers, supervisors, employee representatives and legal practitioners.

Price: £160 + VAT, per person. Maximum of 4 delegates per organisation. Contact us to find out about multiple booking discount available

Time: 10.00am – 16.00pm.
Book now: click here to book your place or contact us at mailto:events@121hrsolutions.co.uk

Cancellation: Minimum 7 days cancellation notice applies or full cost will be charged.

  • Posted on October 24th, 2017

Businesses still missing the mark with employee engagement

Only a tenth of UK employees feel engaged at work, according to new research, while a fifth are actively disengaged.

The report stressed that UK businesses need to do more to account for the preferences of their young millennial workforce. Businesses are not focusing enough on employee’s expectation of work and the speed that technology is changing the world of work.

Improved employee engagement makes for better sales and improved customer service; but the research demonstrated that it is only the really enlightened businesses that take it seriously enough to invest heavily in this area. Businesses need to ask their workforce for honest feedback and then apply it to make positive changes. This will lead to improved productivity and better staff retention. 121 can help design and implement an employee engagement survey in your business. Contact us at enquiries@121hrsolutions.co.uk for further information.

  • Posted on October 24th, 2017

Only a third of employees see a clear link between their pay and performance, according to research.

Only a third of employees see a clear link between their pay and performance, according to research.

The study, which gathered responses from more than 36,000 employees across a range of industries, also revealed that only two in five employees felt their managers made fair decisions linking performance to pay. Less than half said their organisation clearly explained its reward programmes.

Only 58% of UK companies thought employee performance was being fairly reflected in pay decisions.

The findings follow various warnings that wages are becoming increasingly squeezed. The CIPD revealed in August that pay growth was anticipated to be just 1% over the next 12 months -the lowest expectations have been, in three-and-a-half years.

Employers face a challenging balancing act to manage or deal with poor salary budgets and few incentives, but also to retain and attract talent. Managers must become more strategic in rewarding good performance – Linking pay to performance and rewarding correct behaviours.

  • Posted on October 18th, 2017

Employees hide their grief

One in four employees took no time off work following the death of a loved one, while a further one in 10 took just one day, new research has found.

The survey of 2,000 UK employees who have experienced the death of a loved one revealed that half of employees who did take time off felt under pressure to conceal their grief when they returned to work.

Despite this, the research found that 98% of employees believed some time off after a death is reasonable.

The findings come less than three months after a private member’s bill was introduced into parliament to give employed parents a statutory right to paid time off to grieve in the event of the death of a child. Such a right does not exist in law currently although the Employment Rights Act entitles staff to a ‘reasonable’ amount of unpaid time off to handle an emergency involving a dependant.

Apparently, almost half of employers did not have any formal policies in place to cover staff bereavement, although 92% regularly provided flexible-working options for employees dealing with a death.

  • Posted on October 18th, 2017

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