It’s almost the end of another year. Can you believe it? Many of us will be starting to wind down for the Christmas break, or, more likely, desperately trying to complete to do lists. In terms of HR, your focus right now is probably managing the Christmas period in the office, or maybe, (though hopefully not), picking up the pieces after the office Christmas party. But before you wind up for the Christmas break, it is important to look ahead to next year and turn your attention to your 2017 HR strategy. Now’s the time to understand how HR will be required to support your 2017 business strategy, and also take stock, learn from experiences and make improvements for the year ahead.
Here’re are a few things to consider for your 2017 HR strategy.
Compensation and company benefits
The new year typically brings with it annual salary increments and bonus payments. Now’s the time to conduct a salary review to benchmark your company against the marketplace and understand the resourcing and retention budget required for your 2017 business plans.
You may wish to offer premium company benefits to be more competitive than other companies in the market. If you have benefits in place already, are you communicating them well enough? Make sure you have an efficient and regular communication strategy in place to improve benefit take up and inform employees of policies and guidelines.
Improve your hiring processes
It is likely that recruitment will be vital to your business growth strategy in 2017, and improving the recruitment process will help you increase efficiency and hire better quality candidates. Consider your current recruitment process. What are the successes? Where can you improve? Consider pre-screening tools, improving job descriptions and reviewing interview processes. For more information on recruitment, read our recent blog posts:
How to avoid discriminating during the recruitment process
How to structure a job description
Recruitment: How to recruit the right people
Do you have an onboarding strategy?
Onboarding strategies offer new employees a better insight into an organisation’s strategy and culture. They also help them quickly get up to speed with their job role. First impressions count. Getting them engaged from day one when they are feeling most positive, will help them bed in quickly, reflect the companies values and increase their confidence in fulfilling their role. Request open and honest feedback from new starters and use it to revamp processes, or improve your onboarding strategy for 2017.
Keep skills up to date
Do you need to invest in training to align the skills of your workforce with your organisation’s strategy for 2017? Training and development are vital to ensure the continued growth of organisations whilst demonstrating that you value, and are willing to develop your team. Training goes hand in hand with employee career progression. The cost of developing existing employees, (with the knock-on benefits to morale, engagement and loyalty) must be considered against the recruitment costs of hiring more experienced team members.
Training doesn’t necessarily need to be costly. You may have the skills in house, in more experienced team members, that can be harnessed to develop those that are less experienced.
Test out a new education initiative, measure the results and strategise for the rest of year.
Employee engagement and culture
Now’s the time to work on your employee engagement strategy. Employee engagement is a vital part of improving motivation, productivity, employee retention and well-being, as well as building a sense of pride and loyalty. Consider mentoring for newcomers, charity projects, celebrating achievement, recognition schemes, social events, feedback exercises, office decoration and team building exercises.
Poor communication is one of the biggest frustrations in many businesses, particularly when they reach a size where there are multiple departments, with competing objectives. Relationship building, however, is vital to productivity, efficiency, and workplace harmony. How can you improve communication processes between departments and team members? Consider the best ways to collect information and the best channels to use to share it, whilst at the same time, avoiding meeting overload!
Time is limited, and energy is often lacking in December, but getting ahead with your HR strategy for next year, will pay dividends. Creating the foundations now will help you hit the ground running in January.
Bullying, unfortunately, is not just the reserve of the playground. It goes on in all walks of life, every day, and quite often is evident at work. Bullying in the workplace is an issue which is very important for employers to deal with as it can have an incredibly damaging effect on staff absence, staff turnover, productivity, team morale, and organisational reputation. But how do you know if there is bullying going on in your business and what should you do about it?
This article gives som clarification, from a legal perspective, on what is classed as bullying in the workplace and provides some tips on how to deal with it.
Performance management or bullying?
The line between performance management and bullying is often difficult to see for employers. Managers must make difficult decisions every day and are trusted by employers to address poor performance from their team. This can result in difficult conversations and may lead to some employees feeling that they are being victimised.
Poor management technique can also often be misconstrued as bullying. There may be no intention on the manager’s part, to cause harm with their behaviour, they may simply lack the training or experience to manage people effectively. If this is found to be the case, the manager in question should be trained and coached to improve their management technique and ensure they are managing in a way that is consistent with the company’s values.
What is classed as bullying in the workplace?
ACAS define bullying as ‘offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient’. In her recent article, which you can find here, Employment Law Solicitor, Gaynor Beckett, outlined some of the behaviours you as an employer should look out for:
• violent or intimidating behaviour
• humiliating people through unwelcome remarks, gossip, or jokes about people’s age, race, sexuality, appearance, or beliefs
• carrying out this behaviour through text messaging and social media
• making people look stupid by deliberately setting impossible tasks or deadlines
• making persistent and unwarranted criticism and undermining people’s integrity
• undervaluing another’s contribution or giving them meaningless tasks
• leaking or sharing a person’s confidential information
• deliberately withholding information from people, and isolating or excluding them
• becoming angry and shouting or crying and weeping whenever challenged
How to tackle bullying in the workplace
• Have a clear, robust and accessible policy covering bullying and harassment at work, that extends to work-related events outside the workplace.
• This policy should outline your organisation’s behaviour standards, state that bullying and harassment are unlawful, and will be treated as a disciplinary offence. It should also outline unacceptable behaviour, and reference disciplinary procedures. The ACAS Guide for Managers and Employers is a valuable guide for further information on policies.
• Produce and communicate an organisational statement to address expected standards of behaviour.
• Set a good example from the top down. Develop a consistent and preferred management style from senior managers and ensure this is communicated through the management chain.
• Encourage employees to challenge inappropriate behaviour and act on any evidence of bullying.
• Encourage those experiencing bullying to keep a record of incidents to avoid the ‘my word against yours’ situation, and provide evidence to back up their claim. They should raise their concerns with someone they feel comfortable talking to, their manager, another team member, union or staff representative, or their HR team.
• Deal promptly and fairly with employee complaints through clear grievance and disciplinary procedures.
• Take the complaint seriously and investigate it objectively and independently.
• Seek an informal resolution to the problem. Those involved may find this challenging but often a frank and open discussion, between the individuals and a neutral party, will enable issues to be raised in a safe environment so that behaviours can be changed.
• Where an informal resolution is not possible, the matter may become a disciplinary issue, and as such, should be dealt with formally. More information about disciplinary procedures can be found here.
Bullying is a damaging behaviour in the workplace. All your hard work, and expense, recruiting and nurturing talent to drive your business forward can be undone in an instant if that employee is managed poorly, or at worst, bullied. Address complaints promptly and ensure there are formal policies, and a consistent management culture from the top down, to communicate your expectations.
For advice on how to deal with bullying complaints in your organisation, or for support on mediation on managing the disciplinary procedure, we are always here to help. Contact us on 0330 555 1139 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.