INSIGHTS

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How To Get The Most From Homeworking

According to a recent research by ILM, more than half of workers feel trapped by the rigid structure of their workplace. A whopping 74% said that they wanted more freedom and flexibility, so it’s not really surprising that homeworking is a trend that many savvy employers are considering.

So Why Is Homeworking So Popular With Employees?  

Homeworking provisions vary between businesses, but the overarching principle is that you let your staff carry out their tasks from the comfort of their own space. They might do this once or twice a week, or it might be a more permanent solution. It’s an approach that’s likely to be welcomed by those with caring responsibilities, and let’s be honest here, probably everyone else, too. After all, no one enjoys doing the commute, or being stuck in an office all day long. And for many is an opportunity to get their heads down and get some proper work done without endless interruptions. 

But There Are Benefits For Employers Too…

There are many positive takeaways from offering your employees more flexible working conditions: being able to attract top talent, retaining the right people, and offering a total reward package that motivates and drives the business forward, particularly important if you have less cash to spend than some of the larger players.

But as a business owner, you’re likely to have a few concerns. Could it really work? Will you be able to get hold of them when you need them? Could it actually be a more effective way for staff to get the job done? Or will it provide employees with the temptation to sit watching daytime TV all day, or god forbid, look for another job and go for interviews?

There’s no denying that there’s a lot to consider, if you’re to get it right…. Here’s some top tips on how to get started:

5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Flexible Working:

  1. Use clear guidelines and objectives: If not a company-wide policy, make sure all managers are well versed in what rules are okay and what are not.
  2. Take the first step and trial it: Do it for a set period of time, get feedback, evaluate and make changes as required.
  3. Support your people: Make sure managers know what they can and can’t allow/ promote and make sure all are comfortable in having conversations about this with their teams.
  4. Trust is key: We build trust by delivering on what we say we will do and by sharing. So share your expectations clearly, including about how often you will be in contact and what results you expect to see. Engaged employees will instinctively use their time efficiently so let them get on with the job. But communicate properly with them and use technology effectively to keep in touch and encourage team spirit rather than just to scare about monitoring ability.
  5. Measure productivity: Silence the critics by measuring output – don’t just focus on feedback about staff well-being.

Remember too that homeworking isn’t right for everyone. Some of your staff will crave face-to-face contact, and will be able to imagine nothing worse than just staring at the same four walls all day, with only their dog for conversation.

But it’s 2017 now, and a homeworking policy is definitely something worth looking at in order to attract and retain the best possible talent…

Introducing more flexibility into your business can be a difficult shift to manage. But get it right and it could work some real magic. Need help with planning your approach? Get in touch today for a free no-obligation consultation. Call us on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk

image: Canva

Quick Checklist: Performance Management For SMEs

Most business leaders buy-in to the fact that effective performance management is an important way to get the most of your staff, and ultimately for their businesses to achieve their goals

But making the most of the performance management process is a complex task to master. Particularly when business-critical issues are leading you astray.

Help is at hand though. This quick checklist, gives you the tips and advice you need when giving your performance management process an MOT:

Our Quick Performance Management Checklist:

√ Create A Policy That’s Well Communicated To Staff And Regularly Reviewed
Creating HR policies and procedures isn’t just about ticking boxes. Your documentation should support the day-to-day running of your business, prevent any problems from occurring and ensure that you have a clear route to follow if things go wrong. Done correctly, they can save you a load of time, money, and hassle. If you don’t have a performance management policy that your staff know about and understand, then this needs to be your first action point.

It should be noted here that any HR policy needs to be regularly reviewed. Is it fulfilling its purpose? Is there room for improvement? Are there certain issues that keep arising, that need to be tackled? If you haven’t recently reviewed your documentation, then take this as a reminder to do so.

√ Design A Framework To Manage Conversations

There needs to be a degree of flexibility in your conversations, and each and every member of staff will be different. Still though, having a framework that allows you to structure the meetings and cover key points is essential.

Exactly what you decide to include will depend on the nature of your business, but you’ll want to consider how you’ll include positive feedback, how you’ll introduce areas that need to be improved and how you’ll set goals.

√ Upskill Your Line Managers

As your business grows, it’s unlikely that you will be able to manage all the performance discussions. The responsibility will be passed over to your line managers and this of course makes sense if they are the ones who staff report to on a daily basis.

So make sure they are armed with the appropriate skills and training. Are they confident with the task? Do they understand its importance? And are they operating within the policies and frameworks that you have created?

√ Ensure That You Have A Comfortable And Private Setting To Hold Discussions

A no-brainer you would think, but when we’re under time pressure, it’s details like this that can be forgotten. What you discuss in performance management meetings should be confidential, so make sure that you’re making your staff feel welcome, comfortable, and at ease. If necessary, book a slot in a meeting room, and make it clear that interruptions are unacceptable unless there’s an emergency.

√ Always Agree On Any Action Points

During the discussion, there’ll be action points for your employee to take away. Even the highest performing staff will have priorities to work on, so they can continue to make a solid contribution and expand their skills, knowledge, and capabilities.

The key to success here is ensuring that the action points are agreed to. They shouldn’t be simply thrust upon the individual without any discussion or agreement. Getting your staff onboard with the goals will make sure that they’re committed to bringing them into fruition.

√ Make Sure That Goals And Progress Are Regularly Revisited And Assessed

Performance management isn’t just about holding a few meetings once a quarter. If you want to facilitate big improvements and exceptional progress, then you need to make sure that performance is something that is engrained in your business culture.

Encourage your line managers to check-in regularly with their direct reports, provide regular feedback, and diligently collate information that helps them build up a picture of how things are going. These things can take time, for sure, but they’re very worthy items on any manager’s agenda.

√ Ask The Individual To Share Their Views And Opinions

Some people think that a performance discussion simply involves the member of staff being ‘talked at’, for half an hour. This should never be the case. Always ask individuals to share their thoughts on how they’ve performed over the past quarter, and what they think they need to focus on in the near future.

You might unearth important information that you hadn’t previously thought about, and making it a two-way conversation shows your staff that you respect and value their contribution.

√ Welcome Feedback On Your Own Performance

You no doubt spend a decent amount of time thinking about how you can get the most out of your workforce. But are you giving them everything they need from a  business leader?

If you’re not already doing so, think about how you might be able to collect meaningful and honest feedback from your members of staff. Being a good leader is an ongoing process, and you need to have continuous development on your list of priorities, always.

√ End Discussions On A Supportive And Positive Note

Often, there will be less than favourable feedback that needs to be delivered in performance discussions. It’s essential that you and your managers are comfortable when it comes to handling the more negative aspects. Still though, it should never be all doom and gloom. Feedback should always be 70% positive and 30% constructive (if possible!).

If improvements need to be made, then you need to make it clear that you aren’t just ‘telling your staff off’. They should leave the meeting feel supported, and positive about the changes that they’re going to make.

√ Keep Your Admin In Order

Sometimes, admin can be overlooked. Surely, what’s important here is that you’re having conversations that inspire and motivate your staff, and encourage them to do their best in their roles? Whilst this is true, you also need to make sure that the paperwork is in order – it’s in your interests as well as their’s…

Having full and accurate records is essential for continuity purposes and it also ensures that you have documentation that backs up your decisions. And It’s worthwhile taking a look at your systems here, and asking yourself whether they’re the best they could possibly be.

Need a little help?

If you’ve recognised that your performance management processes have some room for improvement, then get in touch. We can help you to assess where you are right now, and where you need to make changes. Give us a call today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at hello@thehrhub.co.uk and we can arrange to have a no-obligation chat.

Top Tips For Recruiting In 2017

Brexit might have created uncertainty for business owners, but the latest research shows that 2017 could be a wonderful year for jobseekers. According to research by Manpower, the UK has returned to business as usual, and the net employment outlook has risen to 7%.

So if you’re planning to recruit to grow your business, what do you need to be aware of? And how can you make sure that you capture the top talent? Here, we tell you what you really need to know.

An Ad In Your Local Paper Won’t Cut It

Traditionally, this is what recruitment often looked like… You drafted a basic overview of what you were looking for. You placed your advert in the local press. You sat back and waited for the applications to roll in, as they inevitably did. These days, you can’t afford to assume that this will work.

Think about who your ideal candidates are and where they’re looking for opportunities. The answer is probably online. Sure, you’ll need to brush up on your skills and bring your practices bang up to date, but if it ensures you get the best candidates it’s definitely worth the effort. 

Your New Recruits Want To Know What You Offer

Even in times of economic uncertainty, skilled and talented jobseekers always have options. If you go into the process thinking that you always have the upper hand, purely because you’re the one with the job, then you’re going to make expensive mistakes and miss out on some golden opportunities.

You need to consider WHY people would want to work for your business. Your first answer here is probably going to be about the salary, and it’s true that’s a factor. Today though, people want more. They want better experiences. They want flexibility. These are the things that will not only attract then, but retain them for the longer term.

Recruiting And Selecting The Best Talent Is An Art Form

It’s easy to think that recruiting new staff is pretty straightforward. You advertise the position, you sift through the applications and you choose the best person for the job. In reality, things can be much more complicated. How do you know you’re speaking to the right people? Are you asking the right questions? They might seem switched on and motivated, but are they actually going to perform in the role?

Bringing In Expert Help Could Be Just What You Need 

Doing it on your own is often the roadmap towards making expensive mistakes. When you have expert help, you can ensure that you’re making the right decisions, complying with legislation, and driving your business forward.

Recruiting in 2017 is a whole different ballgame, and you need to be prepared. If you’d like some help to make sure that you’re not missing the mark get in touch today. Give us a call on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at hello@thehrhub.co.uk and we can arrange a no-strings chat….

Don’t Go!…. The Real Reasons Your Best Employees Leave

It’s the nightmare we all dread happening for real. Your best employee – the one you simply can’t afford to do without – asking for a word in private before quietly saying that they’re leaving for pastures new. It may be that you can talk them out of it, but nine times out of ten if they’ve plucked up the courage to have ‘the conversation’ they are already mentally out of the door. Exit interviews are hugely important in helping you understand why they’ve decided to hand in their notice. But often employees aren’t truly honest here, not least because they’ll need you to give them a decent reference.

So we’ve pooled together our experiences and come up with our definitive list of the real reasons employees quit:

1. The Boss

The line manager is the single most important person in a direct report’s work life. If relations turn sour, a good employee is likely to feel their contribution is undermined – affecting their engagement, confidence and happiness. Keep your eyes open for signs of disengagement in your wider team and encourage a culture of open, honest and reciprocal feedback.

2. Loneliness

According to research by Gallup, 1 of the 12 key components of employee happiness is having a best friend at work. Encouraging friendships amongst coworkers definitely improves retention (as well as performance) levels. Team away days are a great help here.

3. Boredom

No-one wants to do be doing a job that’s too easy or boring. Particularly your most talented people. Ensure all your team are engaged, excited, and challenged with short and long term goals that stretch their creativity as well as their intellects.

4. Burn-Out

Of course it’s tempting to work your best people extra hard. But if you increase their workload without also giving them a promotion, enhanced job title or increased pay any high potential employee worth their salt would look for another job that gives them what they deserve.

5. Little Or No Recognition

Everyone needs a pat on the back once in a while. Getting to know what effectively motivates each member of your team (public recognition, money, training) will help you ensure you always get it right. And keep them bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

6. Watching The Wrong People Get Promoted

Seeing someone you don’t rate getting promoted over your head has got to be one of the most demotivating things ever. There’s no way you can’t take it personally. Think about the impact on the rest of the team before making/implementing promotion decisions.

The good news is many of the reasons above are pretty quick to fix. So make the changes now – before the nightmare happens for real….

For help on advice on staff retention or any other HR issue get in touch with theHRhub today on 0203 627 7048 or drop us an email at hello@thehrhub.co.uk to organise a no strings chat about your HR needs and how we can help.

Image: Canva

Why A Good HR Consultant Could Save You £££s

Think that you can’t afford an HR consultant?

Know that you could do with a helping hand with some issues that are bubbling away under the surface, but wondering whether you can really spare the budget?

Considering whether you’d be better off just hoping for the best and carrying on as you are?

We speak to business leaders just like you every day. And we know that it can be scary to make that leap and bring in some HR help. But the reality is that we can often actually SAVE you a lot of money. Words that every SME wants to hear… 

Let’s have a look at just a few of the ways in which we could slash your costs…

1. We Can Keep You Out Of Tribunals

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because you’re a fair employer who tries to do your best by all your employees, that you’re not at risk of having to face a tribunal. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessary true.

Employment law is complicated, and if you miss something, you could find yourself with a potentially costly situation on your hands. We can make sure that your people practices are on the right side of the law.

2. We Can Skyrocket The Performance Of Your Workforce

Imagine if you could transform the output of your workforce. A good HR consultant can dive deep into your business, pinpoint the exact issues at play and create a step-by-step plan to fix them.

This can absolutely skyrocket your productivity and make sure that your staff are firing on all cylinders. You might think that a big marketing budget, or some fancy social media tactics are what are going to give you the edge. But the real breakthrough happens when you look INSIDE your business, rather than outside.

3. We Can Educate Your Managers

We don’t just come into your business, work some temporary magic, and then leave. We can give your managers the skills to ensure that they’re playing an active role in driving your business forward. This means less of a learning curve, less mistakes, and more strides forward.

Your staff are the most important investment that you can make, so it makes sense to nurture that investment. If you know that your managers have room for improvement, look at it proactively and talk to someone who can help you get things moving in the right direction.

4. We Can Provide A Flexible, Pick-And-Mix Service

Maybe you’re not quite at the stage where you need full-time, permanent HR help. That’s exactly why we can assist you. We don’t tie you into long contracts that you don’t need and we can create a package that’s perfect for your business.

No ongoing retainers. No off-the-shelf guidance. Just what you really need to move forward and solve your problems, right now. Our aim is to make you a better employer, not tie you up with unnecessary bureaucracy.

The best HR consultancy services can save you money, and can also seriously add to your bottom line. Want to talk about how we can move forward together? Get in touch today and arrange your no-obligation consultation. Give us a call on 0203 627 7048 or drop us a line at hello@thehrhub.co.uk

Image: Canva