HR Consultant Reading
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APRIL 2024


Performance Appraisal

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For an effective performance management process there are key components that will influence both positive and negative responses from your employees.

Start by really understanding what it is you want to get out of your performance process. If you know that then start to think about how you communicate that to your employees. People will respond more positively when they understand why they are doing something. People who approach a goal to get recognition for their good performance are more open to performance monitoring than those trying to avoid negative feedback for poor performance.

Interestingly employees who have a lot of freedom in their work tend to be more negative about performance monitoring electronically than others who are not.

Technology has come a long way in providing electronic monitoring and people are less inclined to negativity when they have control of their own monitoring and electronic systems can help with transparent monitoring practice.

Think about the culture of your business because a business that values and demonstrates social responsibility, tea performance and friendship will find more employees actively engaging in their performance development than employers with less caring cultures.

When interviewing employers are increasingly being asked by candidates “How will my performance be managed if I were to join your business?” Unfortunately, if you don’t have a performance management procedure or a working performance model then what is already a dire market for talent is decreased again when your candidate looks elsewhere for employers who can demonstrate a culture of development that is fairly applied and rewarded.

Guest Speaker

Our Guest Writer - Lyn Lapworth - Founder of ECO For All

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A conversation with a school mum 3 ½ years ago changed everything. We both had an interest in being eco-friendly, but when she announced that she found being eco-friendly expensive – it played on my mind for weeks.

Before long, I found myself doing something I never ever expected to do – set up my own business.

ECO for ALL was set up 3 years ago and I’ve made it my mission to make living more sustainably as easy and affordable as possible since then.

My RAMP up your Sustainability program focuses on Realistic, Affordable, Manageable and Practical tips and tweaks to everyday habits, many of which save them money.

So what does this look like?
Making sure you put the lid on your saucepan when cooking brings the water to the boil more quickly – when combined with switching off the heat a couple of minutes early, the veg will continue to cook in the hot water but you’re not using any power. This saving of around 5 minutes energy each day equates to 24 hours saved over a year.

Add that strategy to your oven – switching it off 5/10/15 minutes early depending on what you’re cooking and you could save upwards of another 24 hours of energy over the year.

You can see how small tweaks to everyday habits quickly mount up.

Having been approached by a forward-thinking business to bring some of my top tips to their employees, I created my Corporate Lunch and Learn service.

For more information about how I can help you, your business and your employees be more eco-friendly

Labour Outlook

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According to the CIPD’s most recent labour market outlook employers are starting to see the reversing of the basic pay awards which have been running at 5% for over a year. We are seeing 4% now matching the level of CPI inflation. The median pay award is set to remain higher in SME’s (5%) compared to larger private organisations (4%).

It looks like the continued decreasing of employees within organisations is set to continue as a response to the last 2 years of high wage rates. It seems redundancies will continue to be prevalent in the immediate term with the public sector employer twice as likely to decrease total staff levels. The reduction of costs is likely to be a common theme in order to balance the wage costs moving forward. Unfortunately, the reduction of costs will influence headcount growth and as we can see the trend is not increased staffing but a significant reduction.

We have previously mentioned the steady increase in tribunal claims which fortunately have fallen now to pre-pandemic levels. However, claims for unfair redundancy process and procedure cases are common and employers should be aware of not having or following a formal redundancy process.

Maybe unsurprisingly given the above there does appear to be an easing of shortages of talent as fewer employers are expecting difficulties in filling their vacancies in the near future.

Return to Work

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Long-term absence in the UK is at a record high of 2.8 million up from 1.9 million in 2019 and that’s an enormous jump. Long-term absence is qualified as one month or more absence from the workplace.
The average absence for an employee in the UK is 7.8 days a year and was 5.8 in 2019. These statistics often surprise people managers and they really should not.

In many organisation these stats are used for planning workforce needs and it would be reasonable to say these absence figures are taken into account when deciding the number of staff needed to maintain or grow your business output.

In smaller businesses, the impact of one long-term absence can be catastrophic. It is common for only one person to know how to do something and learning under pressure is never likely to give optimal performance to the employee or the customer.

What can you do to help mitigate this risk to your business?

Firstly, don’t be that manager who tells us you don’t have an absence issue when you don’t actually have any absence data recorded.

Nine times out of ten when we find and record that data, we find there is an absence problem. In the main, it’s due to nobody knowing about it and therefore nothing being done about it. And unsurprisingly some absentees know and exploit that.

For long-term absence, it is good practice to have monthly meetings with the employee, manager and Human Resources which can be in person or video conference. It’s key in keeping the employee connected and involved and gives them a chance to update you on their progress.

Next, make sure you have a Return-To-Work (RTW) meeting with your employees including someone going home early due to sickness. This is the number one tool for actively managing absence in any business.

It is unlikely no communication takes place with your returning employee as we are generally nice people who care and will be asking how are you? The RTW meeting is that discussion but documented so you can capture the data by using a RTW form or electronic system. Most importantly the manager and employee have a chance to acknowledge and discuss the absence and to qualify any concerns and provide any assistance.

If the RTW is for someone with a long-term absence then it is recommended they have a phased return to work which can be tailored to their role, tasks, and needs. Having a phased return greatly increases the chance of a successful return to full working capability. The danger is we all can overestimate our capability and try to run before we can walk and that is the primary danger to a phased return. It accounts for the majority of failed returns. Often setting the employee’s health back and back to being absent from the workplace.