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How to host a good work Christmas party

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Group of people toasting with Santa hats.

The festive season is upon us! And like many employers you may well be getting ready to celebrate a year of hard work by hosting a Christmas party for employees. You’ll likely know, from past experience, that the annual work Christmas party is a much-anticipated event. Employees see this as a time to let their hair down and get to know colleagues in a more relaxed environment. You may also be aware that although it’s referred to as the “work Christmas do” it’s not uncommon for some attendees to forget the “work” association as soon as the party gets started.

A change of scenery, relaxed dress code and a few drinks. It doesn’t take much for some employees to create a narrative for your party worthy of a soap opera. Loose lips on real opinions, fallouts, awkward flirting or sexual harassment. The work Christmas do can be a hotbed for it all. What’s worse is that you are responsible for employees and could find yourself to be vicariously liable.

In the age of social media, there’s little chance of the “work Christmas don’ts” going unnoticed. Merry mishaps can now get live-streamed online for all to see. Yikes!

We know that warnings about the Christmas party can seem like they have come straight from the Grinch himself. But we believe that you deserve to enjoy your Christmas party just as much as everyone else does. And for that to happen, some HR-advised party planning wouldn’t go a miss. 

Your work Christmas party checklist

To host a Christmas party that everyone remembers, for the right reasons, see our party planning checklist below. And cheers to the relief of knowing that your business is in safe hands.

1.A reliable risk assessment – Before securing the venue for your Christmas party it would be wise to perform a risk assessment of your preferred venue to check for potential hazards. It’s also important to check that the venue has the correct licenses and plans in place for the Responsible Service of Alcohol and other safety issues.

2.An informative invite – As well as setting the scene and building excitement for the party, your invite should remind employees that this is a work event. The normal company rules, code of conduct, disciplinary and grievance procedures apply. 

3.Travel to and from the event – The work Christmas party is an extension of the workplace and the safety of employees travelling to and from the event comes under your responsibility as the employer. Consider how employees will travel safely to and home from your party.

4.Food and drink – If you are providing dinner or a buffet, make sure that dietary requirements have been accounted for so that everyone can eat. When it comes to drinks, it could be a good idea to consider limited drinks vouchers over a free bar. This way you can keep an eye on consumption.

5.A good time for all – Prep your senior management team ahead of the party to keep an eye out for any untoward behaviour. Everyone deserves to have a good time and you’ll need a few eyes and ears to help you manage this.

6.Work the next day – If your party is during the working week, as many are, make it clear to staff before the event that no-shows and unauthorised absences the next working day will not be tolerated. You may like to encourage employees to use their leave allowance (if they have any remaining) to counteract them going AWOL and leaving you short the next working day.

Your HR party planners

If you are about to host your first Christmas party and you want to make sure there’ll be a second and third, or you’ve already had yours and been left with a painful brain teaser for Christmas, call us. Your work Christmas party can be a fun way to reward staff and boost morale. It has great potential to be heaps of fun when done right. Let our experienced HR team give you peace of mind on your party planning.

Would a four-day working week solve our problem with productivity?

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Monday mornings. You may be ready to jump straight into the week ahead, but you’ll likely encounter at least one person who wants to know how your weekend was, or tell you about theirs. Even up until mid-week, it can still be a distraction.

Employees will swap stories about what they got up to. With the ones who had a quiet couple of days often being envied by the working parents who squeeze leisure time between kids’ parties. Or the overloaded project managers who take work home every single weekend. 

No matter how a weekend was spent, there is usually consensus on one thing. And that is that just one more day off would have made it perfect.    

So what does this tell us? Is the weekend too short? Are we working too much? Or perhaps there is something else that we aren’t getting quite right.

The history of the weekend

With Sunday long identified as a holy day of rest, the first signs of the weekend as we know it can be traced back to the 19th Century. This could also have been the birth of the Monday blues, for those that chose to spend their Sunday in a knees-up celebrating the working weeks end, found turning up for work on Monday somewhat of a struggle. Some employers chose to close their businesses earlier on a Saturday to try and cut down on Monday no shows.

Full Saturdays did not form part of the weekend until later, when it was decided that Jewish workers should be entitled to celebrate the holy Shabbat. But it wasn’t until 1948 that the working week was officially reduced to 40 hours (it was reduced again to 38 hours in 1983) and thus the 48-hour weekend as we know it was born.

The idea of the four-day working week

Back to the present day and some people think that the five-day work week is outdated for the 21st Century. Not only have there been discussions of a four-day working week for some time, but some companies have already run trials to this effect. So what did they discover?

An Australian digital marketing company took a different approach to extending the weekend. The CEO felt that giving employees Wednesday off as part of a four-day working week would be more beneficial for mental health and well-being. The trial was a success with the company reporting that profits had almost tripled and employees were healthier, happier and less likely to take sick days.

Microsoft‘s month-long trial in Japan resulted in happier employees and a 40% increase in productivity. Additionally, the company was able to save money on overheads such as electricity. Another four-day work-week trial which took place in New Zealand saw employees less stressed, more productive and able to achieve a better work-life balance.

Not all trials to cut down the work week have produced promising results however. Sweden’s two-year trial to reduce weekly working hours, albeit over a five-day week, proved to be too expensive to be deemed a success. They did however admit to seeing a boost in productivity during the trial.

Could it solve our productivity problem?

Australians are known for working longer hours than some other countries and yet we still have a problem with productivity. So could a four-day work week be the answer?

Whilst a three-day weekend has clear benefits for work-life balance, it could result in longer working days which are known to be a key cause of stress. Could it also be avoiding underlying problems with workload, time management and resilience? Perhaps there is only one way to find out.

Can a four-day working week work for your business?

Even without a nationwide trial we are certain that a four-day work week will not yet be beneficial for all companies or industries. But we do believe that, at the very least, increased flexibility can have substantial benefits for both a business and its workforce.

Finding a way to provide flexible working can reduce employee stress, improve work-life balance, increase productivity and see happier and healthier employees coming to work each day.

If you’d like to introduce flexible working to your business or want to ask more about how a four-day working week might, well, work; ask us. We’ll make sure your actions are legally compliant and put your business first. 

Documenting employee conflict. Are you taking note?

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HR manager taking notes

Although the benefits of writing something down are widely known, you may sometimes be tempted to take a chance and hope that you’ll remember something important later. Even with multiple methods of note taking at our fingertips in today’s technological age, there will still be times when we throw caution to the wind and say, “I’ll remember this”.

Going to the supermarket without a shopping list or failing to keep a pen and paper by the phone can be an interesting test of memory. Usually though, it results in returning from the shops with everything, except what you needed most, and forgetting to tell a colleague that their wife called.

To note or not to note

Some people make it through the day without taking notes. For example, waiting staff at a restaurant who have been trained as such. Or the CEO whose meeting style abandons note taking in order to give presenters their full attention.

Navigating yourself through each day and deciding whether to take notes is your prerogative and will depend on your personal memory style. Most of the time this will serve you well and you’ll see no reason to change. But, should the time come when you need to recall a specific conversation or event with a disgruntled employee, your version of events can be contested and difficult to prove without some form of documented evidence.

Risks to your business

We’re not suggesting that you write everything down. You’d be drowning in notes or need a scribe to follow you around for that. But there are some situations with employees that carry risk. And in order to protect your business, you’re going to want to take notes.

In the unfortunate event of a Fair Work claim, it’s accurate notes and records that can help to back up your side of the story in court.

Will you stand up in court?

An argument can be dismantled due to inadequate HR processes. Don’t let this happen to you by checking your understanding of the following.

If it wasn’t written down, it didn’t happen

You know what happened, you were there. But your employee has a different version of events. Unfortunately, if you have no documentation or paper trail to show, the court could dismiss your only defence.

It is vital to have a paper trail and document difficult conversations and altercations involving employees. Have all parties sign a document, at the time, in a show of agreement to the true version of events.

If it’s inconsistent, it’s debatable

Perhaps you already follow best practice with documentation. Great! But if your dates and times lack consistency with an order of events, your documents can be argued and picked apart.

All documents must contain the correct time, date and names of those present, in order to be used as substantial evidence.

If it’s not backed up, it can disappear

Whether you’ve made a conscious decision to cut down on paper or most of your internal comms happen online, your notes and documents are not safely stored unless you have a reliable back-up system or secure cloud storage in place.

HR software provides a safe and reliable way to keep notes and records on employees. Be sure to file those relevant emails too, you may need them as evidence.

Following best practice for HR

We hope that you never have to face a Fair Work claim. And following best HR practice is always the first line of defence for staying out of court. Through our HR Solution service, not only do you receive unlimited HR advice to follow best practice. But if you are taken to court by a disgruntled employee, you’re covered for costs and any pay-out as long as you followed our advice from the outset.

If you have questions surrounding how to follow best practice note taking for your HR, get in touch today. We can also advise you on employee documentation and record keeping, making sure your business is compliant.

Bushfires – Important information for employers

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In response to the catastrophic bushfire crisis impacting Australia, The HR Dept have created a guide to help you understand your rights and obligations as an employer.

With the worsening conditions many businesses have no other option but to close. And many people are also being evacuated from their homes. Ensuring the safety and well-being of you and your employees should always be the first consideration for any business owner.

Even if you have not been directly affected this time, we would always advise that you have a disaster recovery plan in place, so that you are prepared for high risk situations. Your plan should consider the following:

If you need to temporarily close your business

Any required temporary closure of your business due to a natural disaster or emergency must consider employee entitlements. You will need to ensure that correct entitlements are applied whilst your business is closed. This could involve giving employees the option to take their accrued paid leave.

Standing down employees

You may need to stand down employees under the Fair Work Act 2009 (FW Act), due to there being no useful work available for them and this being outside of your control. If so, it is your choice whether to pay employees. Be sure to check award, agreement and employment contracts for any stand down provisions, and inform all employees in writing of your stand down procedure.

Flexible working options

Before opting to stand down employees, consider if you can provide flexible working options. This could involve employees working at alternative sites or from home if their living situation has not been affected. Changes to employee working patterns must consider the FW Act and relevant awards or agreements.

If your business is open but employees can’t get to work

You should never require an employee to come to work if it puts their life at risk. During a natural disaster it is also possible that their home has been affected, causing them extreme difficulty and immense stress. Keep in touch with them during this time to fully understand their situation.

As a result of a natural disaster, permanent employees (not casuals) may be entitled to take paid personal/carer’s leave or compassionate leave in order to take care of themselves or their family members. This may also involve a parent needing to arrange childcare due to school closures. All employees, including casuals, are entitled to unpaid compassionate leave.

Community service leave

Employees who belong to a recognised emergency management body are entitled to take unpaid community service leave to assist with a natural disaster. Certain awards and agreements may include provisions in relation to community service leave so be sure to check.

Legal advice and support

Whilst a disaster recovery plan can help in times of distress, a natural disaster can still pose unexpected threats to your business and raise many important questions. We are here to help. Contact us for advice and support on your obligations as an employer. Preventing people problems together, we will advise you on an effective and legal solution.

How to manage imposter syndrome in your business

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Female nurse or doctor stressed at work

As an employer you may not be surprised to hear that some people lie on their CV to increase their chances of getting a role. They will knowingly falsify grades, get phony references and even make up work experience or entire educational establishments. This is employment-related fraud. So many employers now include thorough background checks, in addition to interviews, in the recruitment process to dig deeper and filter out imposters.

What you may not be so familiar with is that the opposite can be true. Some people, with legitimate qualifications, real work experience and a proven record of success can, at times, doubt their abilities so much that they fear being exposed as a fraud. Dismissing their life achievements and feeling inadequate and incapable, these employees suffer from imposter phenomenon, also commonly referred to as imposter syndrome.

We can all experience moments of self-doubt from time to time. Overcoming nerves in the workplace is an important part of our personal and professional development. But imposter syndrome is more intense than this, and the symptoms can be debilitating.

What is the cause of imposter syndrome?

There are many complex factors that lead individuals to question their abilities and feel like imposters. From childhood upbringing to negative school experiences, battles with confidence or feelings of under representation. Anyone who experiences it will have their own mix.

Who is at risk from imposter syndrome?

Studies show that a staggering 70% of people will suffer from imposter syndrome at some point in their lifetime. And although it affects many people, it often goes unreported as a sufferer’s fear of being exposed, however unjustified, will often stop them from opening up about their psychological struggles.

We do know that imposter syndrome commonly affects high achievers or those trying something new for the first time. And while almost anyone can be a victim, it is minority groups who have reported a higher presence of symptoms. Research tells us that women and LGBTQI employees are more likely to experience imposter syndrome.

How can employers help those with imposter syndrome?

The signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome are not physical or obvious. Therefore it can be difficult for employers to know if an employee is suffering. So, we suggest that employers take a proactive approach to reduce the chances of manifestation.

Five top tips on how to counteract imposter syndrome

1.Effective interviews and detailed job descriptions – Conducting effective interviews will help you to clarify a candidate’s suitability for a role and provide an opportunity to explore their experience further. This is prime question time for both you and them to decide if they are in the right place. Taking some knowledge of imposter syndrome into interviews can help you target your questions

A clear and concise job description will help to attract the right person for a role. For someone vulnerable to imposter syndrome it will provide clarity of their scope which may help ease their anxiety.

But a job description also exists to remind employees of their position and purpose at work. If your company has grown or you have had a restructure, roles may have changed overtime. Keep all existing job descriptions up to date so that employees are clear and content with their responsibilities and capabilities.

2.An inclusive culture – As one of the key causes of imposter syndrome is a feeling of under-representation, it’s important to have a robust diversity and inclusion strategy in place for your business. This will help to inform your company culture and values which employees adhere to daily.

If you ever feel that an employee is not behaving in accordance with these values, you must refer back and remind them in order to protect and maintain your culture.

3.Position failures as growth – Those suffering from imposter syndrome, particularly high achievers, will see failures as validation that they are incapable. But failures can happen to us all and learning from them is how we grow and improve. If employees are afraid to fail it can create insurmountable pressure and have a negative effect on mental health.

To combat the impossible perfectionist, celebrate second chances and explain that they can learn from a mistake. You may like to point out that it’s human nature and that even you have experienced mishaps during your career.

4.Be approachable – If employees know that your door is open, they are more likely to confide in you about personal struggles interfering with their work. Although a conversation might seem awkward at first, it is better to address their concerns and seek a resolution as this will enable them to move forward and reach their full potential. It also stops you from having to guess what might be affecting their performance or behaviour.

5.Seek expert advice – Identifying and combatting imposter syndrome can lead to wider discussions about your workforce structure and employee well-being. If you’re experiencing doubts about how to proceed, remember that we are here to help. Call our HR experts today for practical advice.

Are cliques running your business?

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Colleagues getting along and working in teams is an ideal scenario for employers.

That is until a clique forms and uses your business as its headquarters.

A clique is a small exclusive group of people, which may also be referred to as a gang or posse. The exclusivity of these groups can be damaging to workplace culture, and with favouritism or even discrimination at play, those being excluded can be subject to bullying.

This can be deeply upsetting and harmful for the person on the receiving end. It can affect performance at work and lead to increased absences. It can also create bigger problems for you if you are aware of exclusion or bullying and fail to intervene.

All employees have the right to a healthy and safe working environment and the success of your business depends on their ability to work well. So if a clique or cliques are gaining momentum in your business, it’s time to overrule.

How to take down the clique

Here are a few tactics you can use to counter the clique, according to the nature of your business.

Observe and identify

You may have the suspected ringleader in your sights and be one step away from storming down the warpath. But before you act, we must stress the importance of gathering the facts prior to making your first move.

Impulsive actions, in the absence of facts, can cause problems. So whilst you may think you have identified a clique, you could be about to rumble an innocent group of work friends.

We suggest taking a moment to observe and collect information. Look out for specific “cliquey behaviour” such as exclusiveness, rumour spreading, group negativity towards others and even cyberbullying. Be sure to document your findings, as this will help you to plan your next steps.

Level-up your senior staff

If, after your investigations, it appears that you do have a toxic clique to contend with, it’s time to level up your senior staff. This is because a clique growing in power can be the sign of ineffective management.

With adequate training, your managers can learn to spot the signs of an emerging clique and act accordingly. Give them guardianship of your company culture and explain the damage that cliques can cause to morale and the work environment. If you suspect that a manager or member of senior staff is involved in a clique themselves, have a private conversation with them about their own professional boundaries and development needs.

Divide and divert

Whilst clique members might argue that they are “working as a team”, they have not quite grasped the purpose of teamwork. Rather than divide and conquer, we think it’s a good idea to divide and then divert their attention. Seek opportunities for employees to work with colleagues they have not collaborated with in the past. This can even be across departments or specialist areas for a wider team building initiative.

If an employee objects to working with their designated partner, it’s time to intervene. Talk to them to find out what’s really going on and seek a resolution. This process can instigate some difficult conversations. Ask us if you have questions.

Champion individualism

Cliques can encourage copycat behaviour as members fear betraying the group. Some people even lie to join the in-crowd, hiding their true selves, opinions and beliefs. Maintaining this charade can be draining on a person and affect their psychological well-being and performance at work. They may even decide to leave, putting you at risk of losing good employees.

A way to counteract cliquey copycats is to champion individualism. You can do this by celebrating unique thinking and welcoming opinions from all employees. Why not try offering a training incentive for those that contribute ideas? This can encourage employees to think individually and about how they can work on their own career progression.

Five truly troublesome characters to watch out for in your workplace

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With supermarkets stocking up for Halloween, it’s hard to ignore the theme associated so closely with this time of year. But we know that it’s possible to get a fright at any time when a troublesome character causes havoc at work.

To help you keep your business a fright-free zone, we have listed the top five most wanted offenders and their characteristics below. Plus how to approach dealing with them. Don’t be deterred by their seemingly unapproachable nature. Stop them in their tracks and remember we’re on call to assist.

The zombie

A zombie will turn up for work, because if nothing else, they are good at walking from A to B no matter what gets in the way. But when they arrive, they are not exactly ready to work and certainly don’t look presentable. They appear to have been woken from a deep sleep and have not quite recovered. Or they could have been awake for hours and are powering through, sleepwalking back and forth to the coffee machine and mumbling. They will make it through the day, but with minimal effort, focus and concentration, wasting both your time and theirs.

Most people run and hide when they see a zombie, but that’s not going to help in this situation. There’s work to be done and you need to break the zombie curse to find out what’s going on with this employee. If it’s a one-off bad night’s sleep, this can happen. But you should try to find out if something more serious is going on and if you can help. However, if the problem is self-inflicted, let them know that this behaviour is unacceptable and consult us for backup.

The ghost

There one day, gone the next. Ghosts are known for having terrible attendance records. They somehow accept meeting invitations yet fail to show when you need them the most. Customers ask for them, so you know they’ve been sighted at some point. But their presence is so unpredictable you’re beginning to wonder if they even work for you anymore.

This is a difficult situation. But before you start Googling the Ghost Hunter, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help. Firstly, make sure you record any absences. Secondly, call them into a meeting the next time you see them to investigate their poor attendance. If they are absent without leave, call them each day and as a last resort, send a letter to their home address to let them know their job is at risk.

The werewolf

Tread carefully with this one. Something doesn’t go their way and they quickly transform into an unreasonable and vicious being. Unable to control their emotions, a werewolf will let anger get the better of them and they can lose all sense of rationale. Shouting, slamming objects and making threats are the warning signs of an attack. And if it’s before lunchtime, be extra cautious, as their fury could be tenfold.

Make no mistake, werewolf tantrums do not belong in your business. This sort of behaviour is looming towards a disciplinary or gross misconduct and needs to be addressed asap. Get them into a private room to protect other employees from the scene. Coherent conversations are not easy when emotions are running high, so try to get them to calm down before getting to the bottom of what just happened. If you can’t reach a resolution, send them home and arrange a formal meeting at the next available opportunity.

The clown

We’re not talking about the kid’s party kind, although they too can be scary to some. This clown is the one that cracks jokes at the expense of others, goes for a cheap laugh by playing pranks and wears a wry smile that suggests they’re up to no good. They are more dangerous than they first seem, because they encourage others to follow suit and can make a laughingstock of management. They’re usually highly skilled, that’s one of the reasons you hired them. But boredom fuels their need for disruption and your workforce is their very own captive audience.

This is no laughing matter, and challenging to say the least. But we like a challenge and believe that with good management this sort of energy can be channelled in the right way. Training your senior staff to deal with unruly behaviour and to hold difficult conversations can keep business as usual and help you to get the most out of employees.

The illusionist

Charming their way through the working day, an illusionist knows how to make an impression. The trompe l’oeil or trick of the eye is their speciality and they’re usually keen to show off and boast about their hard work with magnificent results. But behind the smoke and mirrors lies a very different story. Their triumph has come as a result of a less vocal, hard-working colleague. The dominant character has come up trumps whilst your hard worker is not getting the recognition they deserve.

This charade won’t last for long and can unravel in a worrying way. To avoid being won over by illusions, implement a robust review process to monitor employee performance. Conduct regular 121s and be sure to consider all work involved in addition to results achieved. If it transpires an employee has been taking the credit for someone else’s work, an investigation with possible disciplinary hearing is required.

Who you gonna call?

Whenever you come across a troublesome character amongst your staff, there is only one number you need to call. Our HR Solution service provides unlimited HR support. So get in touch when trouble arises.

Why it’s so important to inspire creativity in your business

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A common misconception of creativity is that it requires a specific time and place to materialise. For example, a planned brainstorming session or in a design studio. Whilst these environments can be beneficial for some people, they are not the sole conductors of creativity.

Many businesses that don’t have an obvious creative function or don’t operate in a creative industry may be missing out on great opportunities, by thinking that creativity is not an essential skill required by their business.

It’s true that creativity can spawn stunning visuals, catchy stories and memorable campaigns, but it can also do so much more.

The ongoing benefits of a creative workplace

Creative thinking is a skill that all employers should look to nurture in their workforce. It is the skill that will see continuous growth of both their people and their business. Creativity breaks tradition, isn’t afraid of failure and brings life to new ideas. All of which can drive a business forward to reach new levels of success.

Creative problem solving can find a solution for what may have seemed like an impossible situation. It can seek new business opportunities, look for new ways to cut expenses or increase revenue. When applied by management, creativity can get the most out of employees and find workable solutions for a complex mix of personalities.

In addition to the direct benefits for your business, a creative working environment can also be positive for employees. Belief in their own creative ability and freedom of expression can build confidence, encourage collaboration and have a positive impact on employee retention. It can be fun and engaging!

Igniting the creative spark and keeping it alight

Some people think that they are simply not creative and allow this belief to stifle them. But anyone can be creative. Encouraging positive self-belief is a good place to start.

Committing to a creative workplace doesn’t need to break the bank or involve an interior design overhaul. A few simple changes can be easily implemented and make a lasting difference.

Make time for new ideas. When an employee comes to you with an idea, take the time to listen before providing feedback. If you agree that it is a good idea, let them know. Tell them if, how and when it could work for the business, and how they might be involved to develop their idea to fruition. If you think it could go one step further, why not challenge them to see if they can arrive at the same conclusion.

If you think that their idea is not quite right, offer constructive feedback to get them to understand why. If employees have a clear picture of wider business goals, they will be more likely to revisit the drawing board and come back to you with suitable ideas.

Think about incentives. Acknowledgements and rewards can do wonders for creative thinking. When an accolade or prize is in sight, thinking caps go on. While the best creative problem solving or project planning deserves a special mention, it’s important to recognise the effort of all those involved. By reframing rejection as redirection, you can encourage employees to keep thinking creatively and build on their ideas each week.

Find flexibility. The best ideas can happen when we least expect it. Even in the shower or the middle of the night. Whilst you can’t rearrange the working day to factor these in, you can consider flexible working schedules to encourage creative thinking. Stress can be a creativity killer, so easing the pressure through flexible working can improve work-life balance for your staff and free up some thoughts for fresh ideas.

Get to know the team. Everybody works differently. Team building and personality profiling are both great ways to get to know the various personalities working for your business. Once you know more about employees preferred working styles, both your people and business will flourish.

The reasons why new employees are leaving

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After a long and arduous search, you found and hired the perfect candidate for a role in your company. Excellent. You welcomed them onboard and walked them through your standard induction procedure. Great. Everything seemed to go swimmingly, and you even congratulated your team on a successful recruitment drive.

So why did the new employee leave within three months of starting?

The job offer was strong, and their early performance suggested that they were the right person for the job. What some employers don’t realise is that this is only half of the winning formula for good recruitment. The rest comes down to the quality of employee induction and what happens afterwards.

The difference between a good induction and a great one

A good induction will ensure that contracts are sent and signed ahead of time, equipment is set up, name badges or uniforms are ordered (with the correct name and size) and a work agenda is prepared for day one. A great induction, which can significantly improve employee experience and retention rates, will also consider the following.

Inclusiveness

If your company values speak of inclusivity, the evidence of this being more than a box ticking exercise will be seen in how welcome and included new employees are made to feel. Many organisations can falter by calling themselves inclusive, but not actively applying inclusive strategies for their people. The promise of an inclusive culture will be appealing to applicants. So if they find the reality to be different, they will be disappointed.

The importance of inclusiveness goes beyond new starters. But to make sure your inductees stay to see your commitment to inclusivity, make sure they are involved and invited to participate in work and work-social situations. Additionally, small gestures such as tips for lunchtime and an explanation of team traditions can go a long way.

Communication

Good communication is vital for people to work together well. And although this is widely known, it still requires a dedicated effort to happen consistently. Dedication to good communication is even more important during employee induction as it sets the tone for all future engagements.

Keeping in touch with a new hire before their start date, introducing them to their co-workers on their first day, and clearly explaining who they report to and why, will open up and ease channels of communication moving forwards.

Vision

Just as you have a vision for your company, many people have a vision for their career. For a new staff member to picture themselves working for you in two, five or ten years’ time, they’ll want to visualise their career progression.

As early as interview stage, it’s a good idea to ask about career goals. Some candidates may say what they think you want to hear, so ask more than once. Openly discuss how their own vision can fit in to that of the business. Discuss training opportunities that can continue beyond their induction and put goal setting in place that encourages employees to better their skills whilst working for your business.

Commitment

HR policies let employees know the rules by which your company functions. They are highlighted to new employees when they join through employee contracts and company handbooks. But, if this is the only time that these company guidelines are considered, they may escape the memory of some employees and managers. This will create a less than desirable working environment.

Showing your commitment to providing a safe and happy workplace let’s new and existing employees know that you care about their well-being. Money is no longer the main motivator for many people and happy employees are good for business.

Specialist recruitment, HR and law services

If you are about to launch a recruitment campaign and would like the reassurance that your induction process is the best that it can be, we can help. Call us today to find out more about our specialist recruitment, HR and employment law services. We focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t.

How to help employees manage when life gets in the way of work

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“It’s just one of those days” is a phrase we often hear when a friend or associate is experiencing an off day. Maybe you have even said it yourself.

It’s understandable. Maintaining a good work-life balance is not always straightforward. Any number of occurrences can throw us off course and stop a day from going as planned.

For example, a delayed commute or technology failure can be enough to kick off a difficult day. Meanwhile, break time, which is intended for respite, is often used to catch up on life-admin or cram in appointments. This leaves little time for relaxation.

A day like this can feel like the tip of the iceberg for someone who is struggling with poor mental health. And statistics tell us that’s one in four people. The ability to cope with day-to-day stressors can be impaired by the bulk of the iceberg: a build-up of bigger worries, which are usually kept hidden.

When every day turns into “one of those days”, it suggests that something more serious is going on.

Why might employees be stressed?

It comes down to the individual and their situation. But multiple studies have warned us that some key causes of stress are:

Financial worries. Job insecurity, inflation and the cost of living all contribute to financial anxiety. Continued worry about finances can lead to both mental and physical signs of stress, severely affecting a person’s quality of life.

Family matters. Whether dealing with a tumultuous relationship, going through a divorce or caring for a dependant, family problems can cause unavoidable stress. Even getting married, which should be a joyous occasion, can cause serious stress through the planning or some other issue.

Health concerns. A long-term physical or mental illness can impact a person’s wellbeing. Needing time off work and finding access to support can add more stress to an already difficult situation.

Work stress. One in five workers report that they cannot complete their tasks within their allocated hours. The pressures of an “always on” culture and insurmountable workload can lead to demotivation, stress and even burnout.

Why should employers take note?

Although not all stress is caused by work, it can influence an employee’s ability to work well. Keeping personal problems outside of the workplace can become difficult for someone who is stressed and/or struggling with poor mental health.

Aside from prolonged stress being the biggest cause of absences, costing businesses billions, employees work better when they are happy and feeling well. So, it’s in your best interests to promote good well-being and manage the stress levels of your workers.

Managing workplace stress

Some stress is good and can challenge employees to better themselves. But it’s important to be wary of limits. As mentioned previously, there could be more going on that you are not aware of. Managing stress effectively is crucial for supporting good mental health in the workplace.

Starting a conversation with simple, open and non-judgemental questions, in a private and confidential setting, can encourage an employee to open up. From here, you can look for ways in which to support them. If you need advice on effective next steps, we can help.

This Thursday 10th October is World Mental Health Day. Whilst it’s a great opportunity to review your workplace well-being, we think that a year-round commitment to good mental health is good for business.

Ask us about how you can continue to promote good health and well-being in your organisation.