Work social events play a vital role in fostering a positive workplace environment and range from informal gatherings to organised team-building activities. While many employees may grumble about having to attend social events at work – there are some key advantages:

Social events provide employees with the opportunity to interact outside of the typical work setting and can build stronger interpersonal relationships. People who know and trust each other are more likely to collaborate effectively. Informal settings encourage open and relaxed communication, breaking down the traditional work-place hierarchies. Employees may feel more comfortable sharing ideas and feedback, leading to a more communicative and innovative work culture.

Participating in enjoyable activities together can significantly boost employee morale and when employees feel appreciated and engaged in their workplace, motivation and productivity tend to increase. Social events can help employees feel valued and more connected to the company’s mission and values.

Regular social events help to reinforce and shape the company culture and can reduce stress levels. A relaxed and enjoyable work environment can improve overall employee well-being which encourages a stronger culture. Employees are more likely to stay with a business when they feel engaged. 

If you need some ideas as to how to build a strong culture by incorporating social or team building events into your workplace, contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 9995 121 for assistance!

Gen Z employees, born between 1997 and 2012, bring unique perspectives and values to the workplace but are known for having specific needs and motivations.  We offer some suggestions in how to get the best from this cohort of employees:

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up with the internet and digital devices from a young age. They are tech-savvy and expect their workplaces to be too. Providing the best, most up to date technology is likely to enhance their productivity and job satisfaction.

This generation values personal and professional growth. Offer training, workshops, and opportunities for continuous learning. Encourage them to pursue new skills and certifications, which not only benefit their career development but also add value to the organisation.

Gen Z employees prioritise work-life balance and mental health. Flexible working hours, remote work options, and promoting a healthy work-life balance can increase motivation and loyalty to the company.

Gen Z employees are ambitious and goal-oriented. Clearly defined career paths and opportunities for advancement are essential. Regular feedback and career development discussions can help them understand their growth trajectory within the company.

A positive, inclusive, and diverse workplace culture is crucial for Gen Z. They want to work in environments where they feel respected and valued. Promote teamwork, recognize achievements, and create a supportive community within the workplace.

While they value independence, Gen Z also appreciates collaboration and teamwork. Create opportunities for them to work on team projects and contribute to collective goals. Encourage open communication and idea sharing.

By understanding and addressing the unique motivations of Gen Z employees, companies can create an engaging and productive work environment that attracts and retains this talented generation.

Managing short-term absence is vital for maintaining productivity and employee morale in any workplace. 121 HR Solutions offers the following strategies to combat the problem:

1. Establish a Clear Policy

Communicate your policy regarding short-term absences. Employees should understand the process for reporting absences, including who to notify and any documentation required, such as medical certification.

2. Talk it Out

Ensure that your encourage an environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their absence reasons. Open communication can help managers understand the context and plan accordingly.

3. Track and Monitor

Establish a process to accurately track absences, whether it’s a simple spreadsheet or dedicated absence management software. This helps identify patterns.

4. Consider Flexible Working

Flexible working arrangements, such as remote work or adjusted hours can help employees manage short-term personal issues without taking a full day off. This flexibility can reduce overall absence rates.

5. Return-to-Work Meetings

When employees return from a short-term absence, conduct a return to work meeting to understand the reason for the absence and address any concerns they might have.

6. Create a Positive Work Environment

A positive workplace culture can reduce unnecessary absences. Recognise and reward good attendance, and ensure employees feel valued and supported.

By implementing these strategies, employers can manage short-term absences effectively, ensuring minimal disruption to operations and maintaining a supportive workplace environment. If you feel that your absence policy requires an overhaul, contact 121 HR Solutions at

More than half of younger workers would be hesitant about accepting a job from an organisation that lacks a diverse leadership, a study has found.

A poll of 2000 UK employees of all ages, found that 56% of those aged between 18 and 24 would hesitate to take a job if there were no minority or traditionally marginalised demographics represented among the company’s senior leadership team.

An equal proportion of 25 to 35-year-olds felt this way, compared to just 38% of 45 to 54-year-olds and 37% of 55 to 64-year-olds.

Across all age groups, the survey found that 42% of respondents felt diversity was important because it allowed for a greater wealth of experience and insight within an organisation, while a similar number said it showed an organisation placed people first. This shows that diversity is a key factor driving the career decisions of UK employees, especially among younger age groups.

Employers may need to accelerate their efforts to create diverse, inclusive workplaces to meet the expectations of a generation that base their career choices as much on values and sense of purpose, as on pay and progression. If you would like to discuss this subject, contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 9995 121.

Good relationships with colleagues are essential to job satisfaction, according to 77% of 2,141 workers surveyed. Satisfied workers generally considered payment less important than feeling connected to the purpose of the organisation and having a challenging role too. Other important factors for job satisfaction included access to training and development (68%), being trusted to take on more responsibility (66%) and a good work/life balance (32%). 

Of dissatisfied employees in the survey, 47% said that they feel undervalued by their managers. Other factors found to be linked to dissatisfaction included having a lack of growth and development opportunities (45%), low salary (34%) and negative company culture (33%).

Good relationships are also important when considering levels of engagement at work – having a positive working environment will help employees feel involved at work and is more likely to encourage employee retention.  Despite these survey results, it is important not to make assumptions about what creates job satisfaction as what motivates one employee may not motivate another.  The best way to determine what is impacting on job satisfaction in your business is to conduct an engagement survey.  Asking employees what they like, dislike and want to change about their work and workplace is the best way to create a positive working environment.

If you would like to discuss how an engagement survey might help your organisation, contact 121 HR Solutions on 0800 9995 121 for assistance.


Increasingly, employers are recognising the need to act to close the gender gap but are employers working against the progress with ‘unintentional bias’?.

A recent report has suggested that if women—who account for half the world’s working-age population—do not achieve their full economic potential, the global economy will suffer. It claims that if women were to play an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as £21.8 trillion could be added to global annual GDP by 2025. In 2021 the gender pay gap was 17.3% in the UK, which means that on average, women were paid approximately 83p for every £1 that men were paid.

Gender bias often impedes the recruitment selection process for female candidates, regardless of their track records and skillsets. If employers are unintentionally biased, they could be losing out on getting the best candidate. Employers, if they haven’t already, should adopt unbiased candidate practices.  Consider this: when an employer asks, “what is your current / was your last salary?” they may inadvertently disadvantage female candidates who have historically been paid less than male candidates. The lower pay cycle for women therefore will continue…!

Employers should try to ensure that they are actively addressing the gender pay gap – when candidates present with lower expectations than the salary being offered for the role; make sure that gender parity exists when the offer is confirmed. If a new employee later learns that she is paid less than a male counterpart it may lead to a grievance, and worse; litigation.

To genuinely eliminate gender pay inequality, employers must recognise inherent unconscious bias and work against it.  If you feel that your salaries require benchmarking, 121 HR Solutions is experienced in conducting an objective review against gender, industry and job role. Contact us at for more information.

According to new analysis published by the TUC, employees who have what is referred to as “insecure” contracts have increased in number nearly three times faster than secure forms of employment since 2011. It has been stated that the number of employees in insecure work is 4.1 million.

The type of employment referred to includes zero-hours contracts, low-paid self-employment and casual/seasonal work and the prevalence of this type of worker has increased by nearly one million between 2011 and 2023, which is one in eight workers.  People on zero-hours contracts earn on average over a third less per hour than workers on average pay and the pay gap between workers in seasonal and casual work and median earners is also approximately a third.

Having polled high profile UK businesses, the TUC claim that there is support amongst managers for either a ban on zero-hours’ contracts or at the very least, a review of their use. Similarly, there have been calls for support in traditional low-paid industries such as hospitality and care, to enable them to provide more security for their employees.

Whilst zero hours and ad hoc employment contracts have their place, if you have a concern that your contracts of employment could be better framed, contact 121 HR Solutions and ask for us to help with a review, at

As the country prepares for what appears to be a history-making election it is worth considering the potentially destructive conflict that can arise in the workplace when politics enter the lunchtime chat. Human relationships are vitally important in any workplace and when friction or disagreement arises, productivity and service delivery suffer.  

Google, Meta and Coinbase have already introduced a ban on political discussion, due to its likely detrimental effect on productivity. However introducing a complete ban on any political discussion is likely to be very difficult; not least because of the consideration of how to sanction an employee who breaches the ban. How often do politics unwittingly creep into everyday conversations?!

As with any edict relating to employee behaviour, it is important that employers are consistent. This can begin with a reinforcement of what is acceptable, and unacceptable behaviour in the workplace.  It is important to remind employees that there is a job to be done and that productivity must not suffer; regardless of conflicting personal opinion. 

Managers need to be trained to have potentially difficult or sensitive conversations with employees who are overstepping the mark, forcing their political views on others. Supporting employees in avoiding political disagreement will ultimately result in a healthier workplace, mitigating expensive and damaging conflict before it occurs.

121 HR Solutions regularly runs workshops for managers, including Managing Difficult Situations. These are run externally and internally and can be tailored to specific industries and management teams.  For further information contact us on 0800 9995 121.

The Wells Fargo bank dismissed several employees for “simulation of keyboard activity creating impression of active work” following concerns that working from home was being abused. There are many “mouse cheats” which can be used to “jiggle” the mouse of a PC to make it appear as if the user is active when in fact they are not even sitting at the desk.  It is thought that in the case of the Wells Fargo employees they used technological assistance to create the impression of working when they were not. 

The reaction from Wells Fargo has resulted in a variety of responses – on the one hand, concern from some that the employees have breached trust and deserve the outcome; and on the other, concern at the level of surveillance which is being used by the bank (and other organisations) to determine who is working and who is not.

It might be said that if employers have to monitor workplace activity then there is already a problem with trust – the assumption is that employees “need” to be monitored. This may create a difficulty with those loyal employees who are productive and who do a good job without the monitoring but who may not agree with a culture of close supervision and monitoring. 

What is important is that employers are transparent with their employees about the ways in which they are monitored at work, particularly if they are using surveillance technology. Remember too, that failure to comply with legal obligations risk a breach of data protection law and employment law. It is vital that employers create a supportive organisational climate in which they trust employees and give autonomy to deliver agreed outputs within agreed timeframes and provide the necessary resources to do this.

If you have any questions relating to monitoring and surveillance, contact 121 HR Solutions at for assistance.

It has been well documented in both the press and from feedback received from 121 HR Solutions’ clients that there is an extreme lack of skilled candidates available for many roles advertised in Scotland.

Recent research has determined that only one in five businesses has implemented a skills plan despite ‘stubbornly high’ gaps in capability.  Advice suggests that businesses should be involving both managers and teams in ongoing workforce planning – potentially using a skills matrix to help with succession planning. Many businesses feel that they are reacting to issues which results in lack of time to plan for the future; but failing to take the time to consider what skills will be required in five years’ time may result in the structure and success of the business suffering as natural attrition occurs. 

The research has found that two fifths of businesses plan to use mentoring or coaching within the next 12 months to help develop skills and foster a supportive learning environment to enhance employee attraction, engagement and retention but that the majority (63%) of companies lack specific recruitment, training and retention initiatives for underrepresented groups such as young people, older workers, those with disabilities and neurodiverse individuals.

121 HR Solutions can help with a skills gap and succession planning; along with supporting businesses to recruit skilled roles. Contact us today on 0800 9995 121 to find out how we can assist to attract talent to your team.

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