It is a universal truth that no matter what your business, sooner or later someone will be more efficient or innovative than you. There will always be a competitor trying to imitate you, better you etc.
The thing competitors cannot replicate is your people. In becoming an Employer of Choice the goal is;
- Easy Recruitment
- Powerful Retention
- High levels of creativity and innovation
- Improved Customer Service
- A Great Workplace that customers will like too.
Your people are the key to your success so prioritise them.
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Optimising performance in any organisation is an ongoing process. It can be as simple or as complicated as you like but its a necessity. Set objectives for your employees and make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Framed)
As a starting point this guide can be useful;
Measure this on an organisational level too. If you implement a Performance Management Programme you should see an impact on your bottom line.
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So the first step on your New Year HR Plan should be to ensure that all the legal requirements relating to having employees are covered.
It’s so important not just from a legal perspective but also from an Employee Engagement perspective to have a strong and reliable system for ensuring all legal requirements are complied with when an employee joins your organisation.
Aside from the hefty fines and other potential legal risks it doesn’t reflect well on an organisation if an employee has to ask for an Employment Contract or Role Profile. Put together a New Starter Pack and make sure each new employee receives it on their first day.
Establish an Employee Handbook and keep it up to date and relevant. Make sure that its a living breathing guide to your organisation and doesn’t end up on a shelf gathering dust. It should be a Guide to your business that will help your New Starters hit the ground running.
Get the Basics Right!
One of the reasons I love Christmas and New Years so much is because it gives me an opportunity to stop, reflect and take a breath. By the time the New Year arrives I am always full of new ideas and inspirations. Its a time of year full of promise and possibility.
Its also a time of year to take stock of where we are in our business and to set the goals and strategy for the year ahead. What I have learned over my years in HR is that regardless of the type of business you are in, we rely on our people to support and grow our business and help us to succeed.
Managing people can be all consuming and we so quickly get caught up in our daily work so taking the opportunity at this time of year to develop a strategy for People Management and Human Resources is so important. Take some time to set some People Management goals for the first quarter. I will be publishing some blog posts in the coming days with some tips for the first quarter.
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If you are considering employing people in your business how available and clear is the information regarding what you need to do first? In dealing with SME’s over the past number of years I am coming to realise the many company owners/managers are not aware of the legal requirements for hiring employees.
In many cases the issue is time, both in relation to the speed at which employees are hired into organisations and the time that it takes for a manager to research and get up to speed on what the requirements are.
That being said I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get this stage right. Start as you mean to go on and make sure you have all the statutory requirements including Contract of Employments that adhere to Employment Law.
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In this climate of entrepreneurship we see happening around us I encounter many start-up SME’s who are confused about the steps required when they begin to expand and take on employees. There seems to be a heavy focus on getting the right people at recruitment stage but considerable confusion about what happens next.
Information on the requirements tends to be confusing and in a world where time is precious, managers are both under pressure to get the employee on board quickly and also lack the time to research the requirements and legal obligations etc. This can lead to bigger issues down the road. My advice would be to get this stage right and start as you mean to go on.
Putting some structure around working relationships from the outset can avoid problems down the road and one of the simplest ways to do this is to have a strong Employment Contract. In addition to it being a legal requirement when you employ someone, its a great way to set your expectations from the word go and also clarifies what is and is not acceptable in your organisation. You can also set out the steps that you will follow if things don’t go as planned and this is really important if things don’t work out or you need to terminate an employee or encounter a disciplinary issue.
Employing people is expensive and doing it wrong can be costly in more ways than financial ones. Make sure you are protected as an employer by having a comprehensive employment contract. Its worth the time and effort.
Yikes! September has been a busy month. I have found myself dealing with lots of people issues lately. A lovely Law Lecturer I had in college used to say ‘Theres nowt as quare as folk’ and she was absolutely right.
When you put different personalities into one place for up to forty hours a week, ask them to communicate daily, rely on each other for things and then add the pressure of dealing with customers, busy periods or slow periods, worries about job security, busy and stressful personal lives and heaven forbid listening to Joe Duffy in the office (Sorry Joe), you are asking for trouble. And yet we do it and don’t consider the fall out until war has broken out!
Now I am not suggesting for a moment that all of the above can be solved with a few Policies in a Company Handbook but what I am suggesting is that being aware and mindful of the impact unhappy employees can have on your business is important and having a plan in place to deal with people issues is even more important.
People who are unhappy want to be heard. Do not delay in dealing with issues because they will only get worse. Be clear in how you handle things and treat everyone the same. If you feel you are too close to the issue get a professional to come in and help.
And remember most issues can be dealt with on an unofficial basis if you are in touch with what is going on with your employees.
How do you externally market your business? How important is it to decide on your strategy and be clear about what your message is? Don’t you think that should extend to your employees too?
Taking the time to really think about the type of culture you want in your organisation can go a long way towards actually achieving the ideal for your business.
Do you want the type of organisation that hires good people and gives them the freedom to be the best they can be? Are you happy for your people to work the hours that they choose providing they get the work done? If so then commit to that culture and communicate it clearly to your people.
If on the other hand you have the type of business that requires phone cover from nine to five and a formal approach to your customers, or you have strong views on time keeping that mean you want structured hours for your employees, you need to make that clear from the outset.
The above examples are highlighting very easy to identify culture differences. In reality the lines are much more blurred. The key is to be clear on what your expectations are, as this in many instances will assist you in hiring the right employees to fit with your culture. It also gives you a roadmap on how to manage your people and what your expectations of those people are.
The key is to make the decision before you hire and stick with it and most importantly make sure that your preferred culture fits with the industry you are in.
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I have been asked recently about the information that an Employer needs to keep relating to employees to be compliant with the law. I have included a list below. It goes without saying that all of this information should be kept in a secure location in compliance with Data Protection Laws
1. Employer Registered Number and details of the employees PPS No, name and address.
2. Terms of Employment for each employee, records of start date, termination date and details of job classification.
3. Copies of payslips and payroll details for each employee.
4. Hours of work for each employee including start and finish times, details of breaks, annual leave, sick leave and public holiday absence.
5. Any document which would be necessary to comply with Employment Rights Legislation
6. Details in relation to the employment of your persons.
This is the bare minimum that you should hold in relation to your employees to be in compliance with an audit by NERA
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Manual Handling Training requirements are governed by The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work, (General Applications) Regulations 2007, Chapter 4 of Part 2. In addition to carrying out a manual handling risk assessment of all manual handling tasks and providing mechanical supports where appropriate to reduce the risk of injury, its is a requirement of the Act that employees are trained in Manual Handling.
Recently the High Court awarded an employee €30,000 in damages for a back injury that it was deemed, may have been prevented had the employee been trained in Manual Handling.
Whether your employees are office based or otherwise you must carry out manual handling training.
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