The How To of Employment

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.

For more advice or support contact us here

Start as you Mean to Go On….

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.

People Issues!

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.

Organisational Culture is a Choice!

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.

For more information or if you have any questions you can find us here

What records do you need to keep for your Employees?

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. Why is it so important?

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.

For more information on Manual Handling training click here or contact us

Looking for a new employee? Read this!

So we are busy bees in Keating HR doing lots of recruitment for our clients and it got me thinking about the recruitment process. It can be an arduous, time consuming process so here are a few tips for employers to help streamline looking for new members for your team. They don’t cost anything and can really help you to attract and hire the right people for you.

1. Spend time designing the role and be as specific as you can about the essential skills you need for your team. Be realistic too.

2. Advertise where you think your perspective employees will hang out. If you want graduates, target universities, colleges etc

3. Screen Cv’s with the job spec in mind but also be aware that many skills are transferrable and bear in mind that initiative, enthusiasm and a desire to learn are tough to measure from a CV.

4. Consider doing a phone interview before you schedule face to face interviews. Decide on three questions that you really want the answers to and ask those. (Schedule the phone interviews before hand. Its not nice to surprise a candidate!!)

5. If telephone interviews are not for you send the candidates you have shortlisted an email with your key questions and ask them to respond to you by a date.

6. Consider asking candidates to prepare a presentation to present in interview but beware of the topic. Don’t ask them to present on topics they wouldn’t have knowledge of yet. Obvious I know but it happens. This is a great way to measure commitment, how they cope under pressure and their presentation skills without the usual generic questions.

7. Plan the questions you want to ask in an interview and take notes. Get

8. If the role is a practical one ask them to demonstrate their skills such as beauty treatments etc.

9. Take some time to plan out the training and induction period. What can you train in-house, who is the best person to train the new employee? It important to have a plan and some structure around this so that your new recruit hits the ground running.

10. Always set a trial or probation period and be disciplined about measuring progress and performance.

Happy Recruiting

Happy New Year


A new year is a good time so assess those areas of your business that might need a little attention. Planning ahead can protect you from those problems that can arise to knock you off course. Its also a good time to make sure you are getting the best from your team. Motivating your team can be a challenge particularly in these dark winter months. Check in with our blog for some tips for keeping morale up in the coming months.
For more information about how we can help with your people issues you can find us here



Your Employee as Brand Ambassador

Last week I had the pleasure of attending The Image Womens Networking Breakfast and it was all about Branding, What makes a brand stand out?  And how to create, develop and nurture your brand to become a global hit? One of the questions asked was about training employees to understand and communicate your ‘Brand Message’

Often as Business Owners or Employers we focus on aspects such as logo design, websites, visibility, the product offering etc but we miss out on a really key opportunity in relation to getting our brand message out into the public domain. The resource that often gets forgotten is our people, they work for us because they share a belief with us that there is value in what we do (or at least they should) and who better to deliver that message to the public than them.

And so how many of you reading this have an Induction Programme? And how many of you include some sort of training about your Brand in there? Its so simple and so key and yet so often missed. Food for thought isn’t it?

Five Interview Questions You Need to Ask

We ask a lot of an interview in the recruitment process, so the                      quality of your questions needs to be good. You are attempting to get lots of information about a candidate and how they work in a relatively short time…… so what should you ask?

What do you know about our company?

If a candidate is coming to interview with you and is interested in the role, they should have done their research. Be wary of candidates who don’t know at least the basics about your company!

What are your most significant achievements to date?

This allows the candidate to tell you what they are most proud of in their career to date and can put them at their ease. People like to talk about themselves and their achievements and you may find that it will relax the candidate enough for you to get a glimpse of the personality behind the interview nerves.

When was your performance last reviewed and what sort of review did you get?

This can give good insight into a candidates overall performance at work and also their ability to take constructive criticism. Reviews should form part of the ongoing management of people in an organisation and employees need to be able to be objective about the feedback and use it to improve their performance going forward. As the saying goes…. nobody is perfect. Beware of the candidate who believes that they are the exception!

What type of managers have you had in your career and what type of manager do you feel you perform best with?

Asking this question will force the candidate to think about the management styles they have encountered in the past and which ones they respond best to. Every manager has a style and the challenge is often being able to recognise yours and adapt it where necessary to accommodate everyone. It takes all types to make an organisation!

What will you bring to our organisation?

This is the candidates opportunity to sell themselves to you. By now you should have given them an insight into the role you are recruiting for and the attributes you are looking for so let them tell you why you should jump at the chance to hire them. You can learn a lot from someones sales pitch, particularly when they are selling themselves!