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People Matter August 2015

Wave goodbye to holiday request slips… forever

Is your desk getting packed out with holiday request slips while your staff are packing their bags to go away? Spending time cross-referencing a calendar to manage holiday conflicts, instead of checking when you can go away yourself?

You need to get tooled up!We are sure you’ve already noticed, but the whole world is going digital. And HR is no exception. With HR Toolkit, all the trappings of manual holiday management become a thing of the past, because it handles and manages all the requests automatically.

And it is not just holiday requests that it looks after for you. It also takes care of absence management, HR document management, HR reports, employee hours and task management.

In the Summer Budget the government prioritised improving the nation’s productivity as key to a strong economy. Just think how much more you could get done if you had HR Toolkit at your fingertips.

In the new digital world we look back on somethings with nostalgia. Some have passion for vinyl records. Vintage fashion is popular in certain circles. It was reported recently that when The Times newspaper moved into its new offices in the Baby Shard at London Bridge, they set up large speakers to play background noise of chattering typewriters. The idea was to recreate the sense of urgency that existed in newsrooms of a bygone era.

Something tells us that if you switch to HR Toolkit, you will not be longing for a return to the old ways so much! Call us today to find out more or watch the demonstration video.

SMEs animated!

We were delighted to see such a buoyant and lively SME sector when the results of our 2015 survey arrived: recruitment on the up and pay rising, whilst companies planning to make redundancies almost halved on last year’s figures!

As well as being personal success stories of you our clients, it is also great news for the UK. It is widely recognised that SMEs are the engine of GDP growth. So to see such a positive scene is good all round.

This year, we have produced an animation of all the results so they can be easily understood and shared. Check it out here, and if you know of any companies that could do with some help with their HR, please do share it with them so they can see what we do.

Social media sackings

Social media has provided a wonderful opportunity to connect with customers. But true to the principles of Yin and Yang it also has a darker side: From viral complaint horror-stories to the staggering amount of time wasted by staff – in America it has been suggested that it costs their economy $300 Billion annually. And then there are the inappropriate employee tweets that lead to bad publicity and P45s. Let’s take a look at this rogues’ gallery. Hashtag: selfdestruct.

  1. Welsh Councils sacked three employees after inappropriate use of social media last year. The sackings concerned offences such as posting a confidential memo, and tweeting inappropriate comments about customers.
  2. This one may well take the world record for the fastest ever sacking – before the employee had even started her first shift! In a tweet too laden with profanity to repeat, Cella expressed her lack of enthusiasm for starting work in a Pizzeria. Her new boss saw the tweet and even took to Twitter himself to sack her!
  3. Third up and we have the ex Major League Baseball player turned radio presenter Mike Bacsik. He was fired from his radio station after venting his frustration at a ball game with a horribly racist tweet aimed at the Hispanic community in San Antonio.
  4. What is it about pizza, Twitter, bad language and sackings? Because another American pizzeria worker was dismissed after using colourful language to describe his new uniform on Twitter. He thought he was tweeting incognito but they found him out and showed no mercy.
  5. Finally, something a little bit different concerning the demise of HMV: with the company in administration and mass redundancies taking place, it was overlooked that some of the unfortunate and peeved staff members still had access to the company Twitter account. The subsequent hijacking and live tweeting of events should be a warning to all business managers.

The first line of defence against social media misbehaviour is to have robust policies in place. For help with this speak to The HR Dept.

Just give her a glass of water! 

Too often, people hide behind ‘health and safety’ to avoid making a decision: sometimes, even, when it seems easier to just get on with it. This really happened: A lady fainted in a shop. Staff rushed to her rescue, getting her into a comfy chair to recover. Good!

However, when she requested a glass of water, she was told “No! Sorry we can’t because of health and safety.” Really? Of course not! The HSE were as baffled as the onlookers when informed. Call The HR Dept for common sense health and safety advice.

The summer budget and your business

The Chancellor pulled one or two rabbits from the hat when he delivered his Summer Budget. But how soft and fluffy will they prove to be for SMEs like yours?

The biggest headline was the introduction of the Living Wage: predicted to hit £9 an hour in 2020 – equivalent to a cumulative annual pay-rise of 6% from the current Minimum Wage. Some businesses, particularly in retail, have expressed concern. Meanwhile IKEA, admittedly a big beast, has committed to paying above the new Living Wage.

The CIPD emphasises that improved productivity will be key to avoiding job losses. To this end, their wish list includes enhancing SME management skills, protecting the adult skills budget and championing sector-based industrial partnerships. News better received by SMEs was that Corporation Tax would be reduced from 20% to 18% by 2020.

Striking changes

You can’t have missed the news about the consultation on a reform of strike balloting laws. It caused quite a storm. The government has published the draft Trade Union Bill, along with three separate consultation documents on ballot thresholds in important public serviceshiring agency staff during industrial action and tackling intimidation of non-striking workers.

The main proposals are:

  • Industrial action will require a 50% turnout
  • 40% of all eligible voters must vote in favour of industrial action which affects important public services
  • The ban on using agency staff to cover striking workers will be lifted
  • There’ll be a four month limit on strike mandates, after which another ballot is required (excludes ballots prior to the Act)
  • More specific requirements for ballot paper wording
  • Banning automatic opt-ins to political donations from trade union subscription fees
  • Strike notice periods for employers will be increased from 7 to 14 days

The consultations are open until 9 September 2015.

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