Team building – All for one and one for all
You’ve only got to witness the recent panic buying to know that in times of crisis, self-preservation can alter people’s behaviour. And if a crisis skews behaviour in your organisation, it can damage relationships, team dynamics and company culture.
Promoting a resilient culture within your organisation where employees collaborate during good times and bad benefits both your employees and your business.
Building strong, committed teams doesn’t just happen. But it doesn’t have to involve an expensive day out of the office. It can be achieved over time through your company culture, although this means far more than a hackneyed mission statement on the wall.
It is things like encouraging idea-sharing and interaction, and fostering an atmosphere where your employees have the confidence to feed their opinions back to management. This can be supplemented with team building activities that promote working together and problem solving, in line with your budget of course. They will help forge a sense of inclusivity, shared identity and maybe even friendship.
You’re not looking for a workforce of carbon copy identikits. Celebrate difference and help employees to identify their own strengths and those of their colleagues.
From introverts to extroverts, right-brain thinkers to left-brainers, there’s a lot to be gained from a diverse team of people working together. For instance, you will avoid the perils of groupthink, and the different perspectives may lead to unique insight that will help your business grow and evolve. You’ll also better represent the breadth of your customer base.
Remember this when remote working too. It can be isolating to work remotely and feelings of exclusion may be more difficult to spot. Ensuring that your corporate culture embraces remote workers may be challenging. So think about how the team can keep in touch and strengthen relationships with their colleagues virtually.
If an underlying issue is affecting your team’s ability to work well together, we can assist. We offer a new service which includes fun games that help with team building and leadership alongside other services such as personality profiling. Confronting such issues head on with help from The HR Dept will allow your company to move onwards and upwards.
We are all having to adapt to the new and changing coronavirus landscape – and employers have their own set of challenges.
The news is changing frequently, so it’s important to keep up to date with the latest official advice from the government, Acas and your sector.
But what should you be doing with your HR hat on? Taking into account official advice review your existing documentation to ensure the appropriateness of any infection control and travel policies.
Understand how your business will respond to absenteeism from illness, self-isolation or caring for a dependant and make sure your policies reflect this. Then communicate these with your staff. There may be a lot of nuance to this, so contact us for advice if you’re unsure.
Flexible working will never work for some businesses. But if it just might for yours, then implementing it now could be the decision that keeps operations running. Again, get in touch if you need help making this work for you.
And don’t forget that hygiene is king. So whatever happens in your organisation, make sure it happens with clean hands!
The Good Work Plan
Here’s another quick heads up about important changes to employment law coming in April. Responding to modern working practices, the government is introducing the Good Work plan. The plan aims to increase rights and benefits for workers and agency workers. But, be aware, some of the changes do affect all employees.
The impact of this legislation is far reaching. In April, a day one right to employment particulars (often detailed in the employment contract) for new workers is one of the main changes. It’s required for people with worker status, not just employees, and it will need to carry more wide-ranging detail. Other changes include the introduction of parental bereavement leave and pay (Jack’s law) and a change to how holiday pay is to be calculated.
We know that this is a potential minefield and that employers can be subject to harsh penalties for failing to comply. So if you need support, give us a call.
Sleeping on the job
We’ve been following the case of whether care workers are entitled to receive the national minimum wage (NMW) for sleep-in shifts for several years. It’s recently come before the Supreme Court, and how the ruling goes will have a big impact on the care industry.
The original tribunal found in favour of the employee but the Court of Appeal overturned this decision, taking into account the enormous financial burden for caring charities and small businesses. Unison, batting for the employees, then won the right to appeal this decision. While now, in practice, many care providers do pay NMW for sleep-in shifts anyway, the cost of back-pay, if it becomes chargeable, could run into hundreds of millions of pounds.
Far clearer is that if you’re not allowed to kip at work, don’t. That also applies when working from home. Learn from a sleepy bank worker in Germany who, drifting off mid bank transfer, moved around 200 million euros more than he’d intended. Perhaps, when keying all those 2s, he was trying to type zzzz.
Coronavirus: Budget support
Acknowledging coronavirus’s huge impact on SMEs, we’re pleased to see that Rishi Sunak’s Budget provides some support measures. We already knew that statutory sick pay (SSP) would be more widely available, payable from day one. And we found out that firms employing fewer than 250 employees can claim back two weeks’ SSP payments related to coronavirus. Although it’s only £94.25 per week per employee it will help cashflow. Records should be kept, but GP fit notes aren’t necessary (NHS 111 is being geared up to provide these after 7 days of sickness).
Other measures include Business Rates Reliefs for small businesses, bespoke Time to Pay arrangements for tax due to HMRC but disrupted by the virus and a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which supports loans to SMEs. Currently up to 5 million.