A tribunal is not a pleasant experience for anyone involved, except perhaps the lawyers of course, it means a dispute between the employer and employee has gone beyond the point where it can be resolved between them. Tribunals are akin to courts which will look at all the material facts of an employment dispute and make a decision either in favour of the employer or the employee. This week we will explain just how a tribunal works and explore the legal side of employment.
One of the top reasons tribunals take place is for unfair dismissal, this is where the employee believes they have been dismissed illegally for a reason which the law defines as ‘unfair’. These claims can be split into two categories; dismissals which are ‘automatically unfair’ and all other unfair dismissals. In next weeks blog we will discuss both of these categories in more detail.
This article does not cover all aspects of tribunals and employers should seek the appropriate advice if they are being taken to tribunal or believe it is likely they will be.
CrosseHR specialises in providing consultation to employers before, during and after a tribunal and can advise on all aspects of proceedings. For more information contact us on 0330 555 1139 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow us on Twitter and connect to us on LinkedIn for regular HR insights.
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We have all seen it; the employee who slumps into their swivel chair, bags under their eyes as they gulp down a luke warm latte. Sleep deprivation is a huge problem in the UK with 1 in 5 people at any given time feeling fatigued and run down. A recent study conducted by the Rand Foundation with the University of Cambridge suggests that those who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night are far less productive than those who get 7 or 8 hours of sleep.
This situation of course puts the manager into a difficult position; how do you deal with a tired employee? It is difficult to handle given that sleep isn’t usually the problem but rather what is causing the lack of sleep and is it the managers place to know? Understandably the new father will be tired getting up to feed baby, the employee who is going through a divorce may be having sleepless nights, none the employees fault but still leaves productivity lacking. We have been looking at the top ways companies and managers deal with tired employees and have come up with a handy guide;
Spot the signs
Depending on the management style of an organisation it can be easy to miss that an employee’s fall in productivity is owing to them not getting enough sleep. Being able to spot that an employee is lacking in sleep will change your view of the negative effects of it, failing to do this may just leave you disappointed at the employee which will only add to their problems. Common signs include:
Mistakes the employee wouldn’t usually make such as spelling.
Forgetting things they usually remember such as meetings, appointments or details such as email addresses and phone numbers.
Increased caffeine intake, they constantly have a coffee on their desk or have more coffee breaks than they usually would.
The employee becomes noticeably clumsy.
Emotional or angry outbursts.
Increased sickness and/or sickness absence.
The employee keeps falling asleep! If you keep seeing the employee dozing off at their desk.
Of course we all have days when we would rather be in bed and the trick is to spot those who have a problem with sleep generally rather than those who just have the odd day of fatigue. Spotting the signs is the first step to understanding why an employee is tired which is what the problem is rather than the sleep deprivation itself.
Wellness and Health Oriented
A healthy employee is a productive one and it is within the employers interests to foster a culture of mindfulness at work. Educating employees on healthy practices, especially in relation to sleep, helps not only to prevent sickness absence but also builds a happier and more productive workforce. Having a health culture doesn’t mean a short seminar or sticking up some posters around the office, it means having a clear and structured way of encouraging healthy practices in the workplace. You can be as creative as you like in finding ways to help your staff be healthy from workplace sports teams to providing fresh fruit. Here are just some ways we have heard about;
Wellness charters – a visible set of wellness principles that employees and employers agree to, this could include a culture of openness in which employees agree to come to their managers when they feel their health is affecting their work or their work is affecting their health. Charters should always include how the employer will resolve, or attempt to address issues.
Active workplaces – as mentioned above a sports team is a great way of getting employees active whilst at the same time building on team work. Activity days are also a great way of getting employees out and pulling them out of their routines and comfort zones. Having a regular activity day on work time doing something that is a bit out of everyone’s box will help employees to discover the fun in being active.
Whatever it is you come with the most important thing to put across to your employees is that you genuinely care about their health and have made a commitment to make your workforce healthy. A healthy culture in the workplace is not something that can be achieved quickly, however the benefits of a workforce mindful of it’s health will ultimately benefit the bottom line.
Tighten up overtime
Whilst for many employers overtime is essential it is also a way for already tired employees to become exhausted. This problem is pertinent amount tired employees with money troubles, to fix the very problem keeping them awake at night take on extra hours which only makes them more tired. It is a good idea to take a look at your over-time policies to be on approval only and cap hours.
If you see a pattern of sleep deprivation then the quickest way to resolve the situation is to ask. It is important that asking is done in a caring and concerned way rather than disappointed and angry. Again the most likely scenario is that the employee’s lack of sleep is owing to something in their personal life or their lifestyle, being angry at either won’t help to solve the problem. Asking the employee about sleep will help you to understand their attitude towards it and at the very least open a dialogue for them to talk about it and realise it is a problem.
In order to help the employee you might suggest referring them to your Occupational Health provider who will provide you as the employer guidance on managing the issue, but you need to get the employee’s consent before you refer.
If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place then you could think about mentioning it to the employee. Most EAP providers operate a confidential helpline and advice service to employees who might be having debt, emotional or any other worries.
Annual leave and time off
Make sure your employees take their contracted annual leave during the leave year. Also monitor their working hours and patterns to ensure they are taking enough time off to recharge. It could be as simple as needing a week away to take charge again and recharge those tired old batteries.
Starting a business on a shoe string often means marketing falls further and further down the list of priorities, however what many forget is that when it comes to marketing tools you really can get something for nothing. There are multiple ways to get your name and brand out there with a marketing budget of £0. Here are 7 marketing tools for free.
1. Social Media
So perhaps the most obvious of all is social media and everyone is using it, however there are some lesser known features of Facebook and Twitter that many business neglect to use. The first of these features is TweetDeck the feature allows you to make the most of twitter by scheduling tweets, gaining industry insights and measuring your engagement. This will keep you constantly engaging with your followers and make sure you are getting your brand in front of potential clients at strategic times of the day.
2. Marketing Tools for Articles
Many start-ups will be sent requests by budding journalists for interviews. It’s easy to overlook these especially with the schedule of the average entrepreneur, however these can be worth more than you know even with little known blogs, websites or news outlets. Giving short interviews or typing up a quick email will help to increase your web presence and google rankings, and you never know the traction these outlets might gain in the future. If you haven’t had any requests then actively seek interviews and start small and specific in doing so. The big names in media are likely to move your emails directly into the bin but the smaller outlets are always looking for something unique and quirky. Have a Google and find out who is talking about the things your business does and send a pitch. The Huffington Post is a great site with a huge readership, they love small business and often approve blog posts as long as you have something new and different to talk about, submit an idea.
Whilst not a direct form of marketing Peek is a free tool which helps to see what users think of your website. Fill in the form on the peek website and your website will be user tested for free! the testing is done by real people and you will be provided with a video of the users experience outlining the best features and features which need improvement.
4. Newsletter/Email insights Marketing Tools
Having a monthly newsletter can help to build loyalty and gain followers and connections on your social media profiles. There a number of free tools which allow you to not only create a newsletter but also measures how many users open the email and how they interact with the content and links. One such application is IContact., this application allows you to send monthly newsletters to up to 500 contacts. Another great tool is Sidekick, this application gives insight into how your ordinary emails are interacted with; it tells you when an email is opened, how long it was viewed for and shows you their social media profiles with the same email address. Another great feature is that you are able to schedule emails strategically meaning you will be at the top of that hot lead’s inbox at the right time of the day.
Having a blog will help to build an image of your company and the best tool to do this with is Medium. The blogging site comes with an inbuilt audience and the networking tools will help your content spread across multiple media outlets. The audience is made up of bloggers, journalists and social media savy entrepreneurs. It combines all the best features of a social network and the design features of a powerful blogging system to create a painless way of getting your brand out there.
Many businesses have been slow to adopt video marketing as part of their campaign however it’s power should not be underestimated. Creating videos about your business is a great way to create a real connection with your audience and doesn’t have to be a glossy advert. Having a weekly vlog which is warm, funny and engaging is a great way to turn views into sales. The advent of youtube means the cost of video marketing has fallen dramatically and the user base speaks for itself. If your videos gain subscribers users will be presented with your videos every time you upload them.
Making sure your website is search engine optimised is essential for any business, it will make sure you show up is search results and will guide you through making sure your content is relevant and easy to read. The best tool for this is HotJar, the WordPress plugin integrates seamlessly into your dashboard and will test all your content for search engine compatibility. HotJar is one of the most powerful tools available as it measures how your users are interacting with your content; what they are reading, where they pause and ‘heat maps’ of where people click and focus.
CrosseHR provides a number of HR services to startups including training and policy around PR. To view a full list of our services check out our solutions page, you can also follow us on Twitter and Linkedin for insights and updates!