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VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter September 2017 (Scotland)

New guidance on suspending employees for gross misconduct

In years gone by it has been normal practice to automatically suspend an employee accused of a serious offence, pending an investigation. Usually, the offence would be serious enough to be considered gross misconduct: for example, theft, harassment or violence towards a colleague or customer.

A letter confirming suspension and the reasons why would be issued. It would state, among other things, that it carried no implication of guilt, but was a means by which the company could carry out the investigation impartially. It would tell them that they would be interviewed as part of the process.

Of course, all their colleagues would be aware of the suspension and reach their own conclusions. And herein lies the problem. In recent cases, the courts have made it clear that suspension is not a neutral act and have forcibly advised employers against a “knee-jerk” reaction.

The danger for the employer of reacting by immediately suspending – once the allegation comes to light – is that it can destroy the employment relationship. It could lead to the employee resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. And as in the latest case of Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth, the employee can claim damages.

So, faced with this problem, what should you do? The first thing is to pick up the phone to your local HR Dept and discuss whether there is another option available other than suspension.

In some cases, suspension will still be the right way forward. But only after carefully considering the facts and listening to the employee’s explanation. The letter informing the employee they are suspended must also make clear who has taken that decision.

With an increase of tribunal claims expected, it would be unwise to give a knee-jerk reaction resulting in your scoring an own goal!

Suspending an employee due to gross misconduct is never going to be easy. For help and advice to ensure you get it right at every stage, call us as soon as you realise there is a problem.


Flexible working for parents with children starting reception

Due to reception classes staggering their start times to acclimatise the new intake, you might notice an increase in parents with young children requesting flexible working hours.

Provided an employee has been working at your company for at least 26 weeks, they have a legal right to request flexible working hours. And although you are not legally obliged to grant it, as an employer you must consider any proposal for flexible working in a ‘reasonable manner’.

Considering a flexible working request reasonably could involve assessing the pros and cons of the employee’s request, holding a meeting with the employee to discuss it, and offering an appeal process if the request is denied.

It can be difficult to strike an equilibrium between family life and the interests of the business. But in the longer term, it’s in both the employee’s and employer’s best interests to achieve this balance.

For advice on managing employee requests for flexible working hours, contact the HR Dept.


How good is your onboarding?

According to some sources, a total of £28bn is lost annually in the UK and US on unproductive employees who don’t understand their job. After a quick online search of poor on-boarding, it’s easy to see why.

We came across one lady describing how, when she arrived at her desk on her first day, she was immediately told to visit HR to sort out paperwork… in a different building. When she got there, they didn’t even have her name on file!

One employee stated how they were escorted to their desk without being introduced to anyone or shown around. Another described an onboarding session consisting of the owner talking non-stop about themselves – for eight hours.

For a meaningful employer-employee relationship, it’s important to take time to settle new starters. And don’t forget to tell them what their job is!

Need help with onboarding? Give us a call.


Managing May Day mega holiday requests

Providing employees don’t work weekends and bank holidays, during May 2018 they can transform 14 days of annual leave into 24 days.

This is through a combination of the 7th May and 28th May bank holidays and weekends.

As an employer, it’s good to have this on your radar in case one, two or a flurry of holiday requests come in for next May.

But what should you do if this occurs? There are several issues to consider, including whether you can cope with people missing for so long, and how to manage conflicting holiday requests.

You should have a holiday policy, as this will be a useful tool for managing holiday requests effectively.

For help writing holiday policies or guidance on managing annual leave, contact The HR Dept.


Internships: A millennial could be your social media star

Southern Rail made headlines in July by delegating their Twitter account to a 15-year-old work experience student. Although the thought might have some senior managers quivering in their boots, the student’s witty responses and endearing charm worked wonders for Southern Rail’s reputation.

Many companies rely on a strong social media presence to stay relevant these days. This task can lend itself to social media-savvy millennials who have grown up as digital natives. However, it’s important to define goals and strategies to make sure social media activity is aligned to your business, and offer training. A social media policy is also essential to set out what is and isn’t acceptable when representing the company and offer guidelines on tone of voice and messaging.

For a social media policy or advice on managing interns, contact The HR Dept.


Preparing for seasonal workers

Christmas may be some way off, but it’s important to plan ahead – no, we’re not talking about ordering your turkey or planning the Secret Santa! If your sector experiences a Christmas surge of business, it’s wise to consider your seasonal staffing requirements now.

Alongside getting ahead of the game by sourcing staff early, it will give you the chance to do it properly.

This includes deciding the person’s status, will they be an employee, a worker or an agency worker? All these need contracts and have different rights. We can help with the recruitment and ensure you are legally compliant.

Contact us for advice.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter September 2017 (England & Wales)

New guidance on suspending employees for gross misconduct

In years gone by it has been normal practice to automatically suspend an employee accused of a serious offence, pending an investigation. Usually, the offence would be serious enough to be considered gross misconduct: for example, theft, harassment or violence towards a colleague or customer.

A letter confirming suspension and the reasons why would be issued. It would state, among other things, that it carried no implication of guilt, but was a means by which the company could carry out the investigation impartially. It would tell them that they would be interviewed as part of the process.

Of course, all their colleagues would be aware of the suspension and reach their own conclusions. And herein lies the problem. In recent cases, the courts have made it clear that suspension is not a neutral act and have forcibly advised employers against a “knee-jerk” reaction.

The danger for the employer of reacting by immediately suspending – once the allegation comes to light – is that it can destroy the employment relationship. It could lead to the employee resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. And as in the latest case of Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth, the employee can claim damages.

So, faced with this problem, what should you do? The first thing is to pick up the phone to your local HR Dept and discuss whether there is another option available other than suspension.

In some cases, suspension will still be the right way forward. But only after carefully considering the facts and listening to the employee’s explanation. The letter informing the employee they are suspended must also make clear who has taken that decision.

With an increase of tribunal claims expected, it would be unwise to give a knee-jerk reaction resulting in your scoring an own goal!

Suspending an employee due to gross misconduct is never going to be easy. For help and advice to ensure you get it right at every stage, call us as soon as you realise there is a problem.


Flexible working for parents with children starting in reception

September means that chilly weather and a new school year are here. And for some parents, the start of their child’s first days of reception class.

Due to reception classes staggering their start times to acclimatise the new intake, you might notice an increase in parents with young children requesting flexible working hours.

Provided an employee has been working at your company for at least 26 weeks, they have a legal right to request flexible working hours. And although you are not legally obliged to grant it, as an employer you must consider any proposal for flexible working in a ‘reasonable manner’.

Considering a flexible working request reasonably could involve assessing the pros and cons of the employee’s request, holding a meeting with the employee to discuss it, and offering an appeal process if the request is denied.

It can be difficult to strike an equilibrium between family life and the interests of the business. But in the longer term, it’s in both the employee’s and employer’s best interests to achieve this balance.

For advice on managing employee requests for flexible working hours, contact the HR Dept.


How good is your onboarding?

According to some sources, a total of £28bn is lost annually in the UK and US on unproductive employees who don’t understand their job. After a quick online search of poor on-boarding, it’s easy to see why.

We came across one lady describing how, when she arrived at her desk on her first day, she was immediately told to visit HR to sort out paperwork… in a different building. When she got there, they didn’t even have her name on file!

One employee stated how they were escorted to their desk without being introduced to anyone or shown around. Another described an onboarding session consisting of the owner talking non-stop about themselves – for eight hours.

For a meaningful employer-employee relationship, it’s important to take time to settle new starters. And don’t forget to tell them what their job is!

Need help with onboarding? Give us a call.


Managing May Day mega holiday requests

Providing employees don’t work weekends and bank holidays, during May 2018 they can transform 14 days of annual leave into 24 days.

This is through a combination of the 7th May and 28th May bank holidays and weekends.

As an employer, it’s good to have this on your radar in case one, two or a flurry of holiday requests come in for next May.

But what should you do if this occurs? There are several issues to consider, including whether you can cope with people missing for so long, and how to manage conflicting holiday requests.

You should have a holiday policy, as this will be a useful tool for managing holiday requests effectively.

For help writing holiday policies or guidance on managing annual leave, contact The HR Dept.


Internships: A millennial could be your social media star

Southern Rail made headlines in July by delegating their Twitter account to a 15-year-old work experience student. Although the thought might have some senior managers quivering in their boots, the student’s witty responses and endearing charm worked wonders for Southern Rail’s reputation.

Many companies rely on a strong social media presence to stay relevant these days. This task can lend itself to social media-savvy millennials who have grown up as digital natives. However, it’s important to define goals and strategies to make sure social media activity is aligned to your business, and offer training. A social media policy is also essential to set out what is and isn’t acceptable when representing the company and offer guidelines on tone of voice and messaging.

For a social media policy or advice on managing interns, contact The HR Dept.


Preparing for seasonal workers

Christmas may be some way off, but it’s important to plan ahead – no, we’re not talking about ordering your turkey or planning the Secret Santa! If your sector experiences a Christmas surge of business, it’s wise to consider your seasonal staffing requirements now.

Alongside getting ahead of the game by sourcing staff early, it will give you the chance to do it properly.

This includes deciding the person’s status, will they be an employee, a worker or an agency worker? All these need contracts and have different rights. We can help with the recruitment and ensure you are legally compliant.

Contact us for advice.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: Safety Matters: Summer 2017

A Case at A Warburtons

Warburtons Ltd. has been fined after an agency worker was injured when his arm got trapped in a conveyor belt.  The worker’s right arm became trapped between a conveyor belt and moulder as he attempted to clean out dough which had become caught between tins.

The company was fined £1.9m under the Provision & Use of Work Equipment Regulations.

This highlights again the importance of assessing all risks faced by employees and training employees how to work safely.

Since the new Health & Safety sentencing guidelines were introduced in February 2016 there has been a significant increase in fine levels for companies prosecuted for offences under the Health & Safety at Work Act and the associated regulations.

In 2016 there were 19 fines of more than £1m compared to just three fines of over £1m in 2015 and none in 2014.

Health & Safety Myth

Health and Safety Regulations now ban the use of ladders.

This is a story that appears frequently.  There is no ban on ladders if they are used safely.  There are regulations to ensure that people do use ladders safely to reduce the numbers of workers seriously injured or killed falling off ladders every year.

There is no ban on ladders as long as they are secured and used appropriately.

ISO 45001

The latest draft of ISO 45001, the planned international standard for safety and health management systems, has been approved in an international ballot.  However further amendments to the standard, which is due to replace BS OHSAS 18001, may push the publication of the final text into next year.

Big Ben

Big Ben has fallen silent as of 12 noon on 21st August for 4 years due to health and safety concerns for workers who will be working on refurbishing the tower which holds the bell. Authorities have been criticised for halting the chimes because of health and safety, with many criticising that not even The Blitz halted the chimes of Big Ben.

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter August 2017

The GCSE system is changing

We are all familiar with the GCSE grade format A* to G – GCSEs have been around since 1988. Well, it’s all about to change. So here is your lowdown on what’s coming up.

With the first wave of students being graded this summer, their GCSE results are set to be replaced with a new grading structure from 9 to 1 – with 9 being the highest grade and 1 being the lowest.

So how will this affect you as an employer? And what do you need to know to ensure you’re recruiting the right talent at the academic level you require? The good news is that these new grade boundaries will give employers a better breakdown of competence in each subject.

Doubts have been cast on the integrity of the A* grade because of the high numbers awarded. This new system aims to tackle this perceived lack of rigor, with 9 being a more difficult grade to attain than an A*.

This is particularly relevant for employers that take on apprentices. Also, for employers who hire young workers, this new system should give them a clearer idea of their specific skillset.

The new grading system won’t come into effect across all subjects immediately. English Language, English Literature and Mathematics will be the first GCSEs to be graded from 9 to 1.

In 2018, 20 more subjects including History, Geography and the sciences will adopt the new grading system. All will be using it by 2020. Also, these new grades are only being implemented in England – Wales and Northern Ireland have no current plans to apply them. Scotland has a different system altogether.

If you are an employer who focuses on GCSE results, perhaps taking on young workers, you’ll need to get your head around this new grading system. If you need advice or have any questions, contact your local HR Dept. We can also help you consider other recruitment strategies and techniques that take in softer skills which aren’t measured by GCSEs.

 

How autumn can affect employee productivity

The varying seasons affect the way many of us function. As the days get shorter and nights get longer, you might find that the upcoming autumn months have an impact on the workplace too.

Some employees become more efficient as there is no glorious sunshine to distract them from their daily tasks. But on the other hand, it’ll come as no surprise that cold weather often leads to increased rates of illness and sick days.

Rainy days may affect the mood of your staff – particularly those who commute in cold, wet weather. And when the daylight really starts to diminish, some find SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) kicks in.

If you need any advice on keeping your employees happy and productive throughout the next few months, contact The HR Dept.

 

Employers recount the worst interview candidates

A recent Reddit post asked employers to reveal some of their most painful experiences with interviewees. And the results might astound the most seasoned of hiring managers. We selected some of our favourites to highlight just how interesting the world of HR can get!

One manager asked a candidate, “What would you do if you had a conflict with another co-worker?”. The applicant responded with an anecdote about how a previous co-worker had had an affair with his then-girlfriend and he’d had to encounter him every day at work and “resist beating his ass”. The candidate then felt the need to follow this statement with, “I mean, I got him outside of work, but I never touched him at work!”.

Another hiring manager reported the downright brashness of one candidate who said, “You guys would be lucky to have me. Google is trying to recruit me too!”. The manager promptly wished him the best of luck at his job at Google.

During an interview for a restaurant position, one candidate was asked to give an example of his leadership abilities. The candidate replied by telling the interviewer how, in his previous job, he disliked the head chef so much that he organised the kitchen staff to walk out during the Friday night rush. There’s no denying this shows leadership qualities – but maybe not the right kind!

The hiring process can be just as frustrating for those on either side of the table. If you need advice on how to avoid car crash interviews, contact The HR Dept.

 

It’s a busy time for holiday requests

Managing conflicting holiday requests, ensuring your business is adequately staffed during busy periods… It’s enough to make you want to take a holiday yourself!

Next up it will be the Christmas period, so check out our HR Dept Toolkit quick!

It’s a cloud-based, simple platform that can be used by you and your employees.  The Toolkit manages a variety of HR tasks such as staff holidays, employment contracts, inductions, appraisals and sickness.

A key feature of the Toolkit is that it has three tiers of access – owner, manager and employee.

This means that everyone in your organisation can control and view information at their appropriate level.

So, if you would like to find out more about this stress-free, low-cost way of managing your HR, contact us and we’ll be happy to arrange a demo for you.

 

Latest update on tribunal fees

We hope you saw our report on this big employment news: The Supreme Court has ruled fees for employment tribunals are unlawful because they restrict access to justice a basic principle in UK law.

The introduction of fees of up to £1,200 saw a 79% drop in tribunal claims in 2013. The government immediately stopped charging the fees and are looking at refunding the £32m charged in recent years.

The big question now is will they allow people who did not make a claim because of the fees to make one now even if technically out of time.
Undoubtedly, more employees will now take their bosses to a tribunal even though it is thought a lower fee will be introduced.

Many of our clients have expressed concern about the increased risk posed by increased tribunals. Sound, practical and pragmatic professional advice is the answer.

Our Advice Line service – which covers unlimited telephone and email support – is backed by our market-leading tribunal insurance. So, if you follow our HR professional’s advice, you’re completely covered from any award at a tribunal.

 

Gender pay gap update

The BBC gender pay gap has been well publicised.

At the time of writing, the latest news was that female stars were calling on the BBC to take action.

Of course, the BBC isn’t alone in having a gender pay gap. In the case of the screen stars, the BBC may not be breaking the law.

But generally, not only is it illegal to pay employees differently based on gender, it can result in low morale and employer/employee trust issues, as the BBC is discovering.

More work needs to happen on abolishing the gender pay gap.

At the current rate of progress it’ll take 62 years to close it fully.

For help getting this right, give us a call.

 

T H E  I N D I C A T O R
Employment and litigation issues

STATUTORY PAY
Maternity/Adoption pay – SMP/SAP is paid for 39 weeks. Pay rate for first 6 weeks of SMP: 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings. SMP remaining weeks/SAP: £140.98 or 90% of average weekly earnings, whichever is less. Sick pay (SSP) – £89.35 per week provided employees meet criteria.

REDUNDANCY PAY
Pay rate – 0.5 week’s pay for each year of service for employees aged under 22 (1 week’s pay is calculated at £489 or the weekly amount if it is less). 1 week’s pay for each year of service for employees between the ages of 22 and 40. 1.5 week’s pay for each year of service for employees aged 41 and older.

NATIONAL MINIMUM/LIVING WAGE
National Living Wage hourly pay rate – £7.50 for workers aged 25 and over. National Minimum Wage hourly pay rate – £7.05 for workers aged 21 and over, £5.60 for workers aged 18 to 20, and £4.05 for workers aged 16 to 17. Apprentice minimum wage £3.50 per hour (apprentices under 19 or 19 and over who are in the first year of apprenticeship).

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter July 2017

How family friendly are you?

Most parents will tell you that it can be a struggle when it comes to balancing work and family life. The school run, unexpected sickness, sleepless nights and costs…lots and lots of costs. Many companies are now beginning to realise the importance of supporting employees who have children.

Tech giant Google is well-known for its pioneering work culture, and its Mountain View campus in California boasts four childcare centres.

Facebook offer free meals and a free laundry service, alongside $4,000 ‘baby cash’ given to employees with new-borns. The company also subsidises the cost of childcare and provides help with adoption costs.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples of bad practice too – both through ignorance and deliberate acts. Such actions are very likely to see employers fall on the wrong side of a tribunal judgement. For example, you should never assume that pregnant women want to immediately be taken off big accounts or that they will no longer want to travel for work. Even if your intentions are positive, this is a form of discrimination. And that’s before we even talk about more overt discrimination like bullying or forced redundancy.

It’s not always easy for SMEs, but providing parenthood perks can be beneficial to you as an employer too. If you want to recruit and retain talented staff, they can be a major attraction, as well as enhancing your reputation. Whatever you do, it’s important to ensure that you give benefits equally – extending them to adoptive parents and same-sex couples too for instance.

Contact The HR Dept for expert advice on family benefits.

New court ruling on shared parental leave

A tribunal judgment has shaken the conventional view on how fathers should be paid under shared parental leave. It was believed that, if men and women were treated equally within a shared parental scheme, discrimination was not occurring. Even if a company’s maternity pay policy was more generous than their paternity scheme.

However, in the case of Ali Vs Capita, a father successfully claimed that he was being discriminated against due to being paid less whilst taking shared parental leave when his wife returned to work.The judgement is quite nuanced and similar claims have failed due to subtle differences.

If in doubt, you should have your policies reviewed to ensure that they are not discriminatory.

It’s raining babies!   

Count back nine months from September and October, and you may not be surprised to find that those autumn months are when most babies arrive. The cold, dark nights of the previous winter, the Christmas parties and all that!

We’re only a couple of months out from that period now, so are you managing any expectant mothers correctly? It’s essential to maintain communication with employees on maternity leave, be aware of contractual benefits, and know the appropriate pay rates.

Are any of your staff pregnant right now? If so, The HR Dept are here to advise.

Does adoption leave and pay differ from maternity/paternity leave and pay?        

A survey by Slater Gordon showed that 40% of managers try to avoid recruiting women of childbearing age because of fear of them having children.

Well, we hate to break it to them, but not only is that illegal, but nowadays any member of staff could opt to become an adoptive parent. They would thereby have the equivalent rights that are given to employees through pregnancy and maternity.

In 2008, same sex adoption was approved and the numbers have steadily grown to the point that last year, gay, lesbian and single adoptions formed nearly 20% of adoptions in the UK.

For adoptive couples, one person must be nominated as the primary adopter. They would receive the same rights as if they were on maternity leave. The secondary adopter would then have parental leave rights.

Prospective adopters must go through a rigorous assessment and training process before they are approved to be capable of parenting a child. Don’t you wish, when watching hopeless parents trying to manage unruly kids, everyone had to do the same?

To accommodate these training and approval panel days, primary adopters may attend five appointments as paid leave. Secondary adopters may attend two appointments as unpaid leave, although they may have more adoption meetings that need holiday or, with your approval, additional unpaid leave time off. A maximum of six and a half hours is given for each appointment. Agency workers must have 12 weeks service in the same role with the same employer to be eligible for this.

This period is likely to be an emotional rollercoaster, particularly once approved parents start searching for the right child – therefore, your support will be essential. Once approved, it can take a year or even longer to be matched. The key here is to keep communication lines open so that you’re aware of the stage they’re at.

After the employee has been matched with a child, they have seven days to inform you, and their 52 weeks’ adoption leave can start up to 14 days before placement – or 28 days before for children born outside the UK.

If any of these issues affect you, get in touch to ensure you handle them correctly.

Time off for dependant leave

All male and female staff have the right to take reasonable time off to deal with dependant emergencies. But this is not time to stay at home waiting for deliveries or service engineers.

It is unpaid time to deal with emergency situations. For example, when childcare arrangements break down, a dependant is taken to hospital, or putting care in place for elderly relatives. The key phrase here is ‘reasonable time’. This should usually be one or two days to enable other arrangements to be made. Not time off – a whole two weeks of chicken pox and the like.

You must ensure your policy clarifies this and that it states staff must ring you as early as possible, explaining what the problem is, and how long they plan to be away. This should not be a regular occurrence. If it is, particularly during school holidays, ask The HR Dept for help managing it.

Second birthday for shared parental leave

We don’t think the government will be hiring a bouncy castle and putting party bags together for the birthday of two-year-old shared parental leave.

The progressive, but complicated policy that allows both parents to split up to 50 weeks of parental leave has had an exceedingly low take up. However it is very complex and Maternity and Adoption statutory pay means many couples simply cannot afford the higher earner to take time off. There are undoubtedly cultural issues at play too – the kind of gender stereotypes that such a policy intends to break down.

One thing to watch out for is a new layer of complication. In 2018, grandparents will be included in the scheme. You may need an aspirin if you have to implement that!

VIEWCLOSEExpand panel 'People Matter' Newsletter: People Matter June 2017

Seasonal employment – Your employer’s checklist

With the arrival of the summer, many businesses need additional staff to cover increased demand or to cover existing staff holiday or sickness but it is important to get the right contractual relationship in place.

Firstly be clear about what additional hours and commitment you need. If it is for set hours and time then a Fixed term employment contract is ideal. These staff have the same benefits as your other employees but with a fixed end date. Having notice periods and the right to extend makes this contract more flexible.

To cover fluctuating demand the much maligned Casual or Zero hour contract is best. The people on these contracts are workers and have fewer employment rights but the flexibility of casual work suits many people and is an ideal way to manage seasonal work.

On a more regular basis for drivers or warehouse staff in particular agency workers can be the answer. This is a highly regulated area and can be expensive but in high turnover roles provide the solution.

If you think you can manage using your current staff remember the dreaded Working Time Regulations limit on weekly hours and that overtime could have to be included in future holiday pay.

Whether worker or employee the National Minimum or Living Wage applies and holiday accrues from day one, but to be clear about what is best for you and the rules that apply ring The HR Dept.

How should employers behave during general elections?

Keeping an eye on workplace political discussions to ensure they don’t get too heated? Good.

On polling day, being flexible with working hours to ensure members of staff can vote? Right.

Advising employees which way to vote and threaten them with redundancy if an ‘undesirable’ party gets into power? WRONG.

That’s what two company bosses were accused of in the previous election, claiming that a Labour win would jeopardise the fortunes of the company, and therefore the employment prospects of staff.

One claimed he was joking and that comments saying Labour voters would be the first out of the door were taken out of context. The other acknowledged that employees were entirely in control of how they vote, but that his comments were factually correct.

Our advice to employers is to be wary of expressing political opinions within the workplace, especially when you consider that there may be yet another election around the corner!

A healthy commute works wonders  

A study of UK workers by OnePoll unveiled that if you want to boost your employees’ morale, then an active commute could be the answer!

Rather than rewarding employees with one off-perks like socials and lunches, the survey suggests it is more valuable to offer benefits that promote long-term happiness, like a cycle-to-work scheme.

And with the political uncertainty reportedly making the UK workforce uneasy, it’s more important than ever to keep your staff happy and motivated. Long-term solutions focused on health and work/life balance may be the answer you are looking for.

Hack attack from own employee

To get hacked by an employee once is unfortunate. To be hacked twice by the same employee looks like carelessness. But that’s what happened to a Californian security firm.

The first time, the employee hacked into the payroll system and falsified records to show that he was working vast amounts of overtime. When this was uncovered in 2014, he was dismissed.

The “ex” employee then hacked into the firm’s system again. This time he went on a spree of causing malicious damage. It included, stealing client information to lure them to his own new venture, deleting or corrupting back-up files and sabotaging the company’s website. In what must be a business owner’s worst nightmare, this included posting unflattering pictures of them on the site with the words “Are you ready?”.

The damage this caused was described as debilitating, and the ex-employee was ordered to pay the equivalent of £248,000 in damages.

Not a pretty picture. So what can you do to mitigate the risk of an employee going rogue? Clearly, much of the defence you can put up will come from your IT department or consultant rather than HR. That said, HR can play an important role too.

First, let’s consider the execution of a cyber-security policy. Unfortunately, 90% of all successful cyber-attacks are down to human error. So, you can use HR to ensure that all staff understand the cyber policies and their responsibilities under them.

For instance, who’s in charge of granting access to sensitive data stored online? Do they fully understand the consequences of inadvertently dishing out a username and password? Does everyone know how to identify a suspicious email and what they should do? And the old chestnut of not leaving a laptop without password protection (or any laptop) in the pub!

But you can go further than this with HR. Good recruitment in the first place to minimise the risk of a bad egg. And putting restrictive covenants in employment contracts to stop staff taking clients with them if they leave. For further advice, give us a call.

The decline of the CV

In the digital age, we can legitimately ask if CVs are on their way out. When employers are looking for great talent, more and more are using creative and online ways to find the right candidates.

With the recruitment world constantly changing, big hitters such as Ernst and Young have decided to remove their ‘2:1 degree only’ policy, because it excludes a large pool of otherwise eligible, high quality candidates.

An increasing number of employers feel that CVs are no longer relevant and that they do not accurately represent the individual. In their place, they are using online personality tests and online talent databases. If you know what you are looking for, online platforms could now be the default recruitment tool for you.

If you need assistance in finding the perfect candidate, The HR Dept is here to help.

Election uncertainty- What next?

It’s fair to say that the election result took the country by surprise. With no party having a clear majority, the roadmap for policy implementation looks far from clear – including all the proposed changes to employment law.

The potential effects of such uncertainty will be felt by most people, including your workforce: “What kind of Brexit will we have, and how will it affect me?” “How secure is my job?” “Will proposed changes to employment law be implemented?” are the kind of questions that employees may be wrestling with.

The CIPD have restated their commitment to work with government to tackle workplace issues. Don’t forget, in an uncertain world you can use HR to help your staff. And of course, we’ll keep you posted with the latest developments from the government and the CIPD.