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Criminal Record Checks

Criminal Record Checks

If an applicant or employee has a criminal record, that doesn’t mean they aren’t right for the job.

You may be surprised to learn how many people end up with a criminal conviction by the age of 53. So, how does this affect your hiring decisions?

We explore this and more in our presentation below.

Get to understand criminal record checks in our presentation below, including:

-The Rehabilitation of Offenders Act
-Different Types of DBS
-Spent vs Unspent Convictions
-Disclosure
-Filtering
-Risk Assessments

Please play and pause the slideshow by pressing the button in the bottom left of the video.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

 

Focusing on Finances for a Post-Lockdown World

Focusing on Finances for a Post-Lockdown World

Remember your swimming badges at school… My least favourite was the one where – after you had already swum multiple lengths and dived in for a brick – you still had to swim a length in your pyjamas. I remember feeling tired, my swimming stroke wasn’t particularly strong and the weight of my wet PJs made the last bit pretty tough.

I think a lot of us feel like that now, having got through the last few months and fortunate to still have a business, we now must turn our attention to making it post-lockdown. We all feel a bit beaten up by it all. That’s why I’ve decided to share a few tips to get you energized and ready to tackle the post lockdown period.

 

Growth

We are all in a growth phase now as we rebound from this period, but this is different from when you started your business and grew from nothing. Now you can use everything you have learnt from the first time you did it and grow faster and more profitably.

My two key questions to consider;-

Who you want to sell to?

Is it the same people you sold to before or do you now better understand the profile of customer you want to work with? Think about the size of customer, the sector they are in, the location or even the number of decision makers you have to deal with.

What do you want to sell?

Do you know which of your products or services are the most profitable? Can you drop services you didn’t enjoy delivering, have you pivoted during lockdown and have great new offerings to get out there?

 

Capacity

Do you know the maximum capacity you could deliver right now based on your existing cost base?

It’s important to understand this and compare it to what you are delivering and think you may be able to in the coming months.

If you realise you are currently over- capacity, then consider:

-Use of the flexible nature of the Job retention Scheme from 1 July. Understanding what staff you need now is key and knowing your trigger points in terms of sales vs capacity, so you bring people back at the right time.

-Unfortunately, you may need to make redundancies now to preserve the long-term future of your business. If based on realistic sales this is necessary, then do not take too long making this decision.

If you are under capacity because business is going better than anticipated, then think about whether you really need to employ or are you better surrounding yourself with a network of good quality freelancers. The second option puts less pressure on fixed cots during what may be a volatile time.

 

Forecast

In such an uncertain time there is no getting away from the fact you need to forecast your cash flow.

Factors to consider:

Income – So hard to really know what will happen- will recovery be U or V shaped- who knows. Start with your best guess based on what you know now.

Costs – Ensure you build back in any costs which have been reduced during this period e.g. rent reductions, other premises related costs. You may also want to build in costs to help you re-build such as advertising or marketing.

Loan repayments– any loan repayment holidays may be about to expire so ensure you have considered these.

Tax deferrals – If you deferred Vat as part of the Vat deferral scheme ensure you rebuild in repaying this before 31 March 2021.

Sensitivity – Now you have done all this look at how sensitive you are to change – if sales were 10 or 20% lower than you have forecast what impact will that have on your cashflow

Financing – Now you know your position consider if you have the right financing in place.

So deep breath folks, we made it this far. You built your business before and all of this will help you to build faster and more profitably second time round.

 

More Support

Helen Fleet of HF Financial Strategy works as a finance director and guides companies to delivering their financial and business objectives which can include cashflow planning, pricing reviews and ways to improve profitability.

Helen kindly crafted this blog as part of our Return to Work Toolkit. You can download it for free here.

 

Preparing to Return to Work: HR in a Post-Lockdown World

Preparing to Return to Work: HR in a Post-Lockdown World

We are living in very strange times and it is not the first time I have said that…

Who would ever have thought 3 months ago that we would all be cooped up in our own homes for days at a time, let out for an hour, having to queue for our shopping, fretting about toilet roll and tinned tomatoes, baking banana bread and relying on a thing called Zoom we had barely even heard of? Some days, I feel like we’re trapped in some weird apocalyptic Netflix drama – but maybe that’s just because I’ve spent a while watching that too – Tiger King and White Lines anyone?

 

Moving Forward – HR in a Post-Lockdown World

However, lockdown didn’t keep us down for long. We adapted surprisingly quickly, kept going and it’s starting to feel like we’re finally coming out on the other side.

That’s the reason for this blog to be honest…

My raison d’etre is to help small businesses navigate the intricacies and plain madness that comes from employing staff, so I decided to make things easier for you all and put together a pack with all the common questions I am being asked by you about the ‘BIG RETURN’ – along with some guidance, information and resources that should help ease your concerns.

The amazing Helen Fleet will also be contributing from a financial standpoint (we are all in this together).

 

So, you want to open up and start the BIG RETURN, what should you do?

Firstly, you need to think about what your organisation needs to look like; i.e. will it be the same or will you need to pivot and change?

  • Do you need to bring people back into the office or keep them working from home for a while or for the foreseeable future?
  • Have you furloughed staff you need to bring back or are you keeping them on furlough or a bit of both?
  • Will some staff be returning at all?

 

Bringing People Back

What should you be considering before you bring people back? Making these considerations is a great place to start…

1. The big first tranche of returnees will occur in July where the furlough rules are changing to allow employees to be furloughed on a part-time basis. If you need to take employees off furlough, it is advisable to write to them to have it confirmed. In our COVID support kit, we’ve crafted a brief returning from furlough letter template to make this an easy task.

2. You need to do a Risk Assessment for each returning employee.  Unfortunately, the only COVID specific risk assessment I could find is from the Northern Ireland HSE but its great and I highly recommend you use this as a basis for your risk assessments. You can view it within the risk assessment pack of our toolkit here.

3. You need to get your offices ready so that the appropriate level of social distancing can occur. It’s also a good idea to deep clean the office if you can and provide plenty of hand sanitiser, soap and notices from the HSE around hygiene and safe practice. Encouraging good hygiene practice will help to keep to kill the virus.

4. You also need to think about your employees’ journeys to work. Does this put them at risk?

5. It may be worth considering staggering and extending hours, and whether working more flexibly could help your business get back quicker. Check out our Flexible Working Policy within our pack for more information on this.

6. Do you even want your employees in the office at all – or would you prefer they worked from home? If so, we’ve also created a Working from Home Policy to help you formalise and control this agreement.

7. You may want to restructure.

8. You may need to consider redundancies.

These are just some of the considerations you may want to make before rushing back to work.

 

When They Return

Mental health, divorce, feelings of anxiety and displacement, pure joy and relief – these are just some of the things you must prepare to face on your return.

But don’t worry, CrosseHR are here to help and we have you covered. Our comprehensive Return to Work Toolkit has been drawn up by experts and our team. It’s designed to help provide you with everything you need to get started, including:

  • Introduction
  • Information on Ending Furlough
  • Return to Work Letter Template
  • Information for Directors
  • Health and Wellbeing Policy
  • Sickness and Isolation Support
  • Health and Safety Guidance
  • Changing Terms and Conditions
  • Childcare and Returning to Work
  • Maternity Issues
  • Conducting Return to Work Interviews
  • Flexible Working Policy
  • Flexible Working Request Form
  • Flexible Working Methods
  • Homeworking Policy
  • Stress Awareness Template
  • Supporting Employees – Debt
  • Energise – Tackle Business Finances with Helen Fleet
  • Supporting Employees – Divorce

So feel free to download it, it’s on us! And, if you want to chat further, we are always delighted to help.

Olga Crosse, on behalf of the team at Crosse HR.

 

 

Return to Work Toolkit

Return to Work Toolkit

Our raison d’etre is to help small businesses navigate the intricacies and plain madness that comes as a result of employing staff. So, we decided to make things a little easier for you by putting together this support pack to aid your transition back to ‘normal’.

We’ve included all the common questions we’re being asked by you about the ‘BIG RETURN’ and some helpful resources too.

We hope it helps in this stressful time. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Return To Work Toolkit - COVID19 HR Pack

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Giving Evidence at an Employment Tribunal

Giving Evidence at an Employment Tribunal

Employment tribunals have been a popular topic in the industry since the independent body, the Law Commission, recommended that they should be given powers to: 

  • Award up to £100,000 
  • Deal with disputes where employees are still in work 
  • Double the claim period to 6 months in response to the pandemic 

The significance of these changes could be huge after COVID-19 starts to lessen. Disgruntled workers who have worked excessive hours or feel mistreated will have a longer period to raise their case, in addition to an anticipating rise in unfair dismissal claims, discrimination and redundancy disputes. The resulting pay-out of this could terminate your business’ chances of recovery. 

If you can’t settle a case within the workplace and you are forced to escalate, you best be prepared. Giving evidence against a potential colleague or friend can be an unsettling experience. 

To help get you started, we’ve collated some top tips so that you can keep your cool. 

 

Appropriate Etiquette 

 

It goes without saying that it is vital to represent your organisation well in front of the judge – and the first step is knowing the right etiquette.  

We’ve all seen plenty of films that depict tribunal and, for those that have never experienced it first-hand, that may be all they have to go off. But life isn’t an episode of Judge Judy, so how should you act? 

Simply put, you want to come across as professional, competent and likeable. 

  • Dress smartly 
  • Be punctual – arriving at least 30 minutes before you are due 
  • Follow all instructions 
  • Address the judge/panel correctly – as ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ 
  • Show respect by standing whenever the judge and panel enter or exit the room 

It is also important to remember that you are being analysed from the get-go, not just when you’re holding the floor. You will need to be conscious of your body language and refrain from showing frustration. 

 

Communicate Effectively

 

Although the system itself is not designed to trip you up, some people end up tripping over their own feet due to nerves – this is perfectly normalHowever, to present yourself as a pro, communicate effectively with our handy tips below. 

 

Give Straight Answers to Straight Questions 

A common mistake we often see is the need to fill silence. 

Although its important to provide sufficient detail in response to a question, the judge will normally indicate whether they have understood or need you to expand further. Therefore, be conscious of not waffling and remember to speak slowly and clearly to illustrate that you are calm and collected. 

 

Be certain 

Don’t give the opposition any leverage with your position – ensure you display confidence in your case. 

By using language, such as “would have,” you indicate uncertainty in your own statement. Instead, use less assuming language that reassures the judge that you remember, such as “I did…” and stick to the facts. 

In the case that you don’t remember, or you’re not sure, it is best to be upfront about your weaknesses rather than covering them up. 

 

Direct Your Answers to the Panel 

When you’re answering a question, regardless of who asks, it is important that you reply to the judge or panel. This can feel quite unnatural at firstRemember, you are trying to help the judge see your way, not the opposition, so direct your answer accordingly. 

TOP TIP: Point your feet in the judge’s direction to remind yourself where to look when you speak!

 

Be Honest 

 

Giving evidence can feel uncomfortable, especially if youre friendly with the person/s in question. However, it is your sworn oath and legal obligation to tell the truth, so do not be swayed by any personal bias you may have. 

When answering a question, take your time to think through your reply. If any evidence you provide is found to be false or inaccurate, no matter how small or unrelated to the case, the opposition will try to use this to define your character and determine how trustworthy you are. 

Again, this is not a memory test. If you don’t remember, be honest and admit it rather than making assumptions or guesses.  

 

Using the Bundle 

 

It is standard procedure that relevant documentation, referred to as the ‘bundle’ will be collected ahead of your tribunal dateAny document that is likely to be referred to should be placed into a bundle for use by the judge, witnesses and other relevant parties. It may include items, such as: 

  • Witness statements 
  • Evidence of loss of earnings 
  • Evidence of misconduct 
  • Contract details 
  • Previous communications and efforts to resolve the issue 

You will have access to a co

py of the bundle in advance, so be sure to take the time to familiarise yourself with this and mark relevant pages if necessary. It is also recommended to re-read your witness statement the night before, to ensure you have a clear recollection of events. 

During the hearing, if it would be helpful to refer to the document, ask to do so and take a moment to remind yourself before speaking. 

 

Be Resilient 

 

As a respectable professional, you’ll have likely been exposed to some office conflict or butting heads. However, this may seem like horseplay after being exposed to a distressed and angry opposition at a tribunal, so it is important to be resilient. 

Providing evidence at an employment tribunal can be an uncomfortable experience but remember not to take it personally – it is the opposition’s job to question your character and discredit you and the judge’s role to determine a just ruling. 

 

Keep Cool 

It’s not nice having someone doubt your honesty, competency and professionalism. However, it is important not to become frustrated, offended or visibly upset. The opposition will look for weakness and exploit this. 

Instead, focus on remaining clear and open to questioning. 

 

Prepare for their attack 

Below are a few common techniques that may be used to discredit or unnerve you by the opposition. 

  • Pressuring you into inaccurate statements – often, the opposition may try and pressure you into a black or white situation when it may be a shade of grey. Ensure you look out for this and stick to your grounds.
     
  • They ask is it possible that…” to try and lead you into an admission or inaccurate statement. It is important that you answer this factually but be careful of your language. 
  • They may use cross-examinations to check your facts and statement. 
  • They may interrupt you to disrupt your thoughts or try and elicit a reaction. 

Your focus should remain on telling the truth and remaining calm. Try your best not to become frustrated, offended or upset. Although it can be upsetting having to escalate an issue, if you’re telling the truth, there is nothing to hide. 

 

How do I become Resilient? 

According to MIND, “Resilience is not just your ability to bounce back, but also your capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances, whilst maintaining a stable mental wellbeing. 

The good news is, resilience is not a personality trait – it is something we must all takes steps to achieve. We can do this by making some adjustments:

  • Make some lifestyle changes 
  • Look after your physical health 
  • Give yourself a break 
  • Build your support network 

The charity MIND has some useful resources to help you get started here.

 

Need more advice?

 

If you’re preparing for an employment tribunal and you’re in need of some expert advice, please get in contact here. 

Citizen’s advice also offers some helpful, free guidance that you may find useful on their website here.