HR Consultancy ServicesHR360 provides a range of HR services designed to meet the needs of our clients, whether it be on an ad-hoc or contract basis. We offer a common sense, business focused approach, whether we are working with you as one of our retained clients or on a single, focused project.
Training, Coaching and Development
Once you have recruited effective people into your business, it will be important to make sure they stay motivated, develop their skills and grow with your business.
Occasionally you will identify gaps in their skills, or your performance appraisal process may highlight development needs. These days there are a number of options open to you that previously didn’t exist. In addition to formal training courses, you can now opt for bite size workshops, maybe over a lunch hour or breakfast, structured mentoring or work shadowing, secondments, or coaching.
We can tailor training programmes to suit your business needs and your budget. We can use your own premises if you have them, or source suitable venues. Depending on the subject, it may be suitable to offer full day or one hour sessions, and we can discuss this with you at the outset. Some of the most typical training programmes we run are:
- Interviewing skills
- Discipline and grievance
- Appraisal management
- Supervisory skills
- Time management
- Delegation skills
- Stress management
In a small business, you may well not have sufficient numbers of staff to justify a formal training programme on site. You may have an employee who you would like to develop, perhaps into a more senior role, but s/he has a number of development needs that need to be met before this can happen. We can work with you to set structured targets for that employee and a system of regular monitoring, usually on a monthly basis, where you will be able to sit down with that employee and discuss their measurable outcomes as they work towards their final goal.
Often you are so business running your business that you never have time to stop and think about your own development. One to one coaching can provide you with tailored, individual, development where you will be able to take time out from running your business to concentrate on your development needs and goals. We will usually plan to meet on a monthly basis to suit you, and at the outset we will agree measurable outcomes that we can revisit at the end of the programme to assess the effectiveness of the programme.
Recruitment, Assessment and Selection
Effective recruitment starts with a good job description and person specification, setting out the requirements of the role and the person you are looking for. From there, it becomes easier to draft a targeted advertisement. Systematic interviews are far more effective, using prepared questions and behavioural interviewing techniques (asking questions to find out how someone has dealt with a similar situation in the past is the best indicator of how they will deal with it in future). Failure to use a systematic interviewing approach has been shown to be only slightly better at predicting job success than picking a random person off the street.
HR360 can help as much or as little as you would like us to, whether that be attending first interviews with you, or managing the whole recruitment project. Here are a few of things we can help with:
- Drafting job descriptions and person specifications
- Sourcing the best recruitment media
- Drafting and placing advertisements on your behalf
- Sifting and responding to applicants on your behalf, presenting you with a shortlist
- Conducting telephone screening interviews
- Designing competency based interview questions
- Conducting face-to-face interviews with or without you
- Administering and analysing psychometric assessments
- Designing and delivering assessment centres
We can provide you with a costing for the project at the outset, and discuss which elements of the recruitment process you would benefit most from to achieve the best result.
Employment Tribunal Representation
Would you like to work with an HR consultancy that can manage your Employment Tribunal case from start to finish, including representation at the Hearing? Many HR consultancies either don’t deal with Employment Tribunals at all, or pass you on to a solicitor when things get tricky.
That’s where HR360 is different. We will:
- Advise you at the outset, providing you with a risk assessment and estimated percentage of success;
- Deal with any early settlement negotiations before you begin to spend money on a weak case, if that’s what you have;
- Complete and submit your ‘ET3’ response form to the Employment Tribunal, setting out your ‘grounds of resistance’;
- Produce and manage all correspondence with the Employment Tribunal, Claimant, and Claimant’s Representative;
- Provide you with regular updates on the case management;
- Represent you at Preliminary and full Employment Tribunal Hearings;
- Draft any final ‘COT3’ final settlement agreements on your behalf.
In short, we will deal with your case, from start to finish, on your behalf, minimising the stress we know these situations cause to our clients. Research shows that around 80% of cases settle before they reach a Hearing, and part of our role is to ensure you achieve the best possible settlement. We do this by making sensible, reasoned arguments on your behalf.
The introduction of fees for Claimants on 29 July 2013 certainly reduced the number of claims made, but we have found that those claims that remain are more likely to proceed to a Hearing than previously, with those small, nuisance claims for a week’s pay tending to disappear, and the bigger claims still going ahead.
There are two types of claim – type A and type B. Claimants making type A claims are asked to pay £160 to issue a claim and an additional £230 Hearing fee, whilst claimants making type B claims are asked to pay £250 to issue a claim and an additional £950 Hearing fee. Some claimants will be able to claim remission from part or all of their claim.
Type A claims are the simpler types of claims eg. breach of contract, wages claims, and claims for written statements (pay, reasons for dismissal, terms and conditions). The majority of claims fall into type B eg. TUPE, discrimination, part time workers, redundancy, and unfair dismissal.
We can also recommend cutting edge barristers for cases where one is called for.
We compete directly with employment law solicitors in this area – why pay three times more than you need to pay?
And most importantly of all – we haven’t lost a case yet.
There are a number of steps you can take right now to improve the effectiveness of your workforce, explained below.
An effective induction programme
Employees who leave you within the first year are generally leaving as the result of either a recruitment mistake or poor induction. It is essential that you give your new employee a good quality, structured induction. This will demonstrate that you are committed to integrating them fully into the team, as well as giving them the best possible chance to succeed in their new role.
Effective induction doesn’t have to be costly, it just has to be structured, informative and systematic. It should fit the size and complexity of your company, and should begin before the employee joins you. HR360 can help you design a programme that will give your employees the best possible start in your company.
Always include a probationary period for your new employee. The duration can be varied depending on the employee’s role within the company. Probationary periods enable both sides to assess the fit between employee and company and to part ways if things don’t work out. Probationary periods can also be extended if you need longer to make a final decision. It is crucial that probationary reviews are carried out before the end of the probationary period – if you decide an employee is not suitable but forget to carry out the probationary review meeting until after the end of the probationary period, the employee may be deemed to have automatically passed their probationary period by default. HR360 can help you avoid a potential claim from a disgruntled employee, as well as maximising the effectiveness of your probationary review process, and providing you with all the supporting documentation you will need to create a probationary review process that works.
Research shows that, in general, managers hate carrying out appraisals and employees hate having appraisals. This is because often the process is too long, too complex, and not fit for purpose. The result is that it becomes a box ticking exercise that benefits no one. We understand this, and we firmly believe that it is only worth carrying out performance appraisals if they achieve the objectives of enhancing performance, facilitating two way communication, and setting clear objectives and development plans.
With this in mind we design appraisal processes for our clients that work. In some cases 360 degree appraisal is suitable, where the employee receives combined feedback from peers, line manager and subordinates. We can design and facilitate suitable 360 degree feedback tools where appropriate.
We can also train your managers to conduct your performance appraisal effectively, ensuring that both managers and employees get the maximum benefit from the appraisal system.
When running a small business you will inevitably have to deal with a wide range of people related problems. Unfortunately it would be a rare small business that could justify the cost of its own in-house HR Department.
We work with our clients to become their HR Department for a fraction of the cost of an in-house HR professional. We are on hand to provide advice and support as needed, with unlimited access to employment law advice and guidance, as well as hands on support with disciplinary, grievance and appeal meetings.
We can provide you with your own experienced HR Consultant who will work with you to get to know your business and the challenges it faces. We believe there is little value in a faceless advice line where you need to explain a problem you are having with a staff member over and over again each time you call. Whether you are dealing with a poor performing employee, a long term sickness case, a grievance, large scale redundancy, TUPE transfer or any other people related problems, our Consultants are specialists in their field and will be able to help you deal with issues effectively, professionally and safely. Just email or call us, we can give you the advice you need, as well as drafting letters and supporting documentation.
We can work with you on an ad hoc or retainer basis, with our retainers starting from as few as two hours a month. We will review your contracts, employee handbook and policies and procedures, providing regular updates on changes in legislation.
Employment Tribunal Representation
Unlike many HR consultancies, we can also represent you at Employment Tribunal, managing the case from start to finish, at a fraction of the cost of an employment lawyer. Many Employment Tribunal insurance schemes will only insure your case if you have followed all their advice from the very beginning of the case. The problem with these schemes is often that the advice is so restrictive for a small business that they may never be able to dismiss an employee whilst taking advantage of the insurance cover.
We can work with you, providing commercially sound advice and guidance, and giving you options rather than restrictions.
TUPE can apply to one employee, or to a whole company. There are prescribed rules for consultation and heavy penalties for failing to consult. The Regulations have evolved over the last 15 years or so, leading to an increasingly complex set of requirements on small businesses.
You will need first to establish whether TUPE does apply to your situation. Once this is established, there are prescribed allowable reasons for not transferring employees, or for making redundancies once employees have transferred.
Without the right help, TUPE can be a costly exercise for small businesses!
Our TUPE experts will guide you through the TUPE minefield, first by establishing whether TUPE applies, then advising on consultation, and working with you on providing the required justification for any changes you may need to make to the workforce.
There are a few important steps you will need to take to ensure you carry out an effective, commercially sound and legally compliant redundancy process:
- Be sure of your business case – you will need to be able to justify your business reasons for making an employee redundant, so the first step is to set out a clear business case. Take a step back and try to look at the business case as an outsider, without any bias caused by your knowledge of the individuals involved;
- Plan the timing for the project up front – make sure all involved or affected parties are will be at work when you plan to carry out the process – you will need to plan time for the initial announcement to all those affected (and potentially the rest of the workforce, depending on the situation), first, second and third consultation meetings;
- Consult your employees in good time – you are required to consult potentially affected employees as soon as you are contemplating making redundancies, so it is important to consult as soon as you reach the stage where you need to propose redundancies, and before any final decision is made;
- If 20 or more employees are affected, you will need to carry out collective consultation, involving electing employee representatives so that you can consult with them rather than with individual employees. If you have a recognised Trade Union for your Company, you will consult with them instead of elected employee representatives;
- Don’t forget to include all affected employees, including those on long term sickness absence, maternity leave etc.;
- You may need to identify a ‘selection pool’ for potential redundancy, where you will group all employees who carry out the same or similar roles, and select one or more employees from that pool. Where you are selecting from a selection pool, you will need selection criteria. These must be objective and quantifiable as far as possible. As a general rule, the more subjective the criteria, the less you should rely on it. Where you are forced to use more subjective criteria, consider asking two managers to independently score the employees and average the scores to increase objectivity;
- Once the process is completed, make an announcement to the remaining staff – it is common to lose good people following a redundancy exercise, and it is therefore critical that you plan for the end of the redundancy process, thinking of ways to motivate and retain your remaining employees.
What gaps exist in your current HR policies, procedures and practices?
What’s urgent? What can wait a while?
And how much will it all cost??
Our unique HR Audit will guide you through a personalised investigation and action plan, facilitated by your own HR360 HR Consultant.
We investigate all the main areas of your business operations impacting on your people management processes, including:
- HR strategy, and the extent to which it enables you to achieve your people management objectives
- Leadership and management style and the extent to which these maximise your employees’ contribution to your overall business performance
- Culture of the organisation, and the extent to which this impacts on your employees, either positively or negatively
- Policies, procedures, contracts and supporting documentation
- Communication processes
The audit will be presented to you by your HR360 Consultant, supported by a detailed report, timelines and costings. This way, you can use the report jointly with your HR360 Consultant to agree priorities and finalise a detailed action plan.
The audit will offer clear recommendations supported by a prioritised action plan. The choice is yours as to how much or how little of the action plan you decide to adopt. Your HR360 Consultant will provide sound guidance on appropriate timescales, together with which actions are essential and which are ‘good to have’. Timescales can be adjusted to suit your budget.
Discipline & Grievance
Handling a disciplinary in a small business is never a pleasant experience!
You may be working in the same office as someone you have to hold a disciplinary meeting with, and maintaining the relationship after a disciplinary is not easy. We specialise in minimising that pain. We can advise you from the beginning of the issue, attend disciplinary meetings and appeals, we can even hold the meetings on your behalf if it helps you to maintain the relationship with the employee.
Whether it’s a misconduct issue for a minor infringement or a potential gross misconduct issue leading to instant dismissal, we can provide advice and guidance throughout the process.
The first step in dealing effectively with disciplinary issues is a good disciplinary procedure, and we can draft one that works for you and your business.
You may have an employee who is struggling to meet the required performance standards, or who has a high level of short term sickness absence. A Capability Procedure will enable you to deal with performance or short term sickness absence problems in a structured way, without the need to resort to the Disciplinary Procedure. Employees can still be dismissed under the Capability Procedure, but it makes a distinction between misconduct and performance problems.
Ill health can be a tricky area to deal with, and it is critical that you follow the right steps to avoid potential claims for disability discrimination.
Formal grievances don’t tend to happen very often in small businesses, but when they do they are usually emotionally charged and very difficult, for the employee, their manager and colleagues alike. The key to effective handling of grievances is to reach a practical solution whilst keeping the Company safe. We can advise you on the best practical path in each case so that you can deal with the grievance quickly and effectively.
A systematic, thorough investigation is often the key to effective resolution of a disciplinary or grievance problem. It is important to take accurate notes of investigation meetings, avoid making decisions before you have completed the investigation, and wherever possible get a different manager to carry out the investigation before handing over to the manager who will chair a disciplinary or grievance meeting. In a small business this isn’t always possible, and HR360 can either carry out the investigation on your behalf or chair the meeting on your behalf.
Contracts & Handbooks
When a company employs people, one of its obligations is to provide a written statement of the terms and conditions of their employment within the first 8 weeks. More importantly though, is the opportunity a written contract gives you to set out the terms of the working relationship between you and your employee. The contract sets out the basics such as hours of work, salary, rules on sickness absence etc., but it can also set rules of what happens when that employee eventually leaves you, perhaps restricting them from taking your business or your employees. Without a written contract you are exposed to risks that are simple to minimise.
It’s also sensible to set up standard documents such as contracts early on, so that as your business grows, all your employees have the same or similar terms and conditions of employment. You may have several different contract versions with varying terms and conditions of employment, and you may be thinking you’re stuck with the problems created by those differences. This isn’t the case, and we can work with you to harmonise terms and conditions for your employees, working towards a simple, single set of terms and conditions and a single contract of employment.
There comes a time in a growing company’s life when an Employee Handbook becomes more important. A Handbook sets out the way the Company operates, gives employees a ‘go to’ place for information about their employment, and sets new employees off on the right track from day 1. Whether you have no policies at all, or just a few, HR360 can provide you with a tailored Employee Handbook that creates a positive impression on new and existing employees alike, providing information and guidance on the rules and operating practices for the business. It will also help to protect your business from potential claims.
When you’re running a small business, sickness absence can place a huge strain on resources and can seriously damage your ability to meet the needs of your clients, not to mention the extra burden on other staff to pick up the pieces whilst their colleague is away. There are a few simple steps you can take to make significant improvements to sickness absence in your business such as return to work interviews, training for managers, processes for dealing with repeated short term bouts of sickness absence, and an effective sickness absence policy.
Short term sickness absence can be a symptom of a lack of motivation, particularly when you recognise patterns of ‘Monday Friday syndrome’ or other similar patterns. By keeping a close eye on short term absence, and having effective tools at your disposal to deal with problems as they occur, you will be able to keep short term sickness absence to a minimum. Long term sickness absence may have an underlying cause related to a disability. A disability in employment law terms is a condition that has lasted, or may last, twelve months or more, and has a significant impact on a person’s daily activities.
Disability discrimination can be a minefield for a small business, but with our help you can deal effectively, sensitively and practically with long term sickness absence, with a view to getting the employee back to work as soon as possible. It may be that the employee is not able to return work, and if this happens, we can help you take all the necessary steps to terminate the employment safely, whilst helping the employee to leave your Company with dignity and a feeling that they have been treated fairly.
HR360 can bring these HR services to your business without the need to employ a full time HR manager. Get in touch today to discuss your HR needs.
5 Pharos Drive