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10 things you can, should and must do before making someone redundant

10 things you can, should and must do before making someone redundant

Making your employees redundant is hard. It’s natural to feel a burden when you hold the fate of others in your hands. In our latest blog, we set out what you can, should and must do during the redundancy process to make sure it’s carried out fairly, sensitively and legally.  

Redundancy best practice: what can I do when making someone redundant?  

 We’ve detailed 10 things you can do to handle your redundancy process fairly and sensitively: 

  1. Provide your employees with as much notice as possible and start consultation as early as you can. Listen and consider all suggestions as part of consultation. 
  2. Invite employees to volunteer for redundancy in the first instance and consider a ‘sweetener’ – i.e., above the statutory minimum for those that volunteer first if budget allows. 
  3. Use defined selection criteria which can include interviews to select employees for redundancy.  
  4. Clearly communicate redundancy selection criteria to your employees and allow  employees ask questions about the selection process. Consider all alternatives to redundancy. Redundancy should only be a LAST resort. Remember, it’s the role that is being made redundant. 
  5. Schedule more than one meeting (as part of the consultation process) to allow employees to discuss selection criteria and give them plenty of opportunities to consider their options. 
  6. Be flexible on notice periods – i.e., allow them to leave early – the decision is ultimately yours, but if they’re keen to move on, try to support and facilitate this. 
  7. If budget allows, consider going beyond the minimum statutory redundancy requirements. 
  8. Consider offering emotional support and access to counselling – it’s a stressful process, so listen and help where you can. 
  9. Be flexible about allowing employees to book time off to attend external interviews  
  10. Look after those who are not leaving, they need support too! 

Remember – communicate, communicate, communicate and then communicate some more.

What should I ideally do when making someone redundant? 

 Your employees are entitled to a fair and objective process, so implementing the following steps will help things to run smoothly.  

 10 things you should do during the redundancy process: 

  1.  Explore alternatives – for example, alternative roles with similar pay, skills and conditions, before making your decision. Redundancy should always be a last resort  
  2. Explain why it’s happening and provide an estimated timeline. 
  3. Define and explain the criteria for redundancy. 
  4. Emphasise at the first consultation meeting that no decisions have been made and you wish to work with your employees to find the best solution for everyone. 
  5. Take the consultation seriously – your employees may have some fantastic ideas you hadn’t considered. 
  6. Invite employees to at least one 1-2-1 meeting. 
  7. Take and circulate minutes of all meetings. 
  8. Prepare a matrix of employment criteria to choose the most suitable roles to retain and let go. Remember, it’s the roles being made redundant, not the people! 
  9. Inform employees in writing if their roles are being considered for redundancy  
  10. Inform affected team members they can appeal your decision. 

 Keep an open mind ahead of the redundancy process and make sure you support your employees as much as you can, such as helping with CVs, interview tips, references, outplacement support or offering training to assist them in securing another role internally.   

What do I have to do when making someone redundant? 

 Under the 1996 Employment Rights Act, employees can be made redundant if the following statements are wholly or partly true: 

  •  The employer ceases to continue the business 
  • The employer ceases to continue the business in the location where the employee worked 
  • The need for employee/s to do work of a particular nature ceases or reduces 
  • The employer no longer needs work of a particular nature to be carried out in the location where the employee worked  

 When it comes to your legal responsibilities, here are 10 things you must do before making someone redundant: 

  1.  Give a paid notice period ahead of redundancy (the length depends on employees’ contract and length of service). 
  2. Carry out a meaningful consultation process to justify your reasons for the redundancies and ensure the process is fair and objective. 
  3. Invite employees to take part in the consultation process in writing. 
  4. Ask employees to attend at least one meeting during the process. 
  5. Detail any severance payments in writing. Employees with more than two years’ service are entitled to at least the statutory minimum. 
  6. Don’t use a “last in, first out” approach – that ended years ago. 
  7. Pay furloughed employees redundancy pay based on their standard wage, not their furlough wage. 
  8. Ensure it’s a fair process that doesn’t discriminate. Selection is based on set criteria that should not discriminate.  
  9. Don’t pre-select employees before the consultation period or selection period. 
  10. Do allow reasonable time off for job interviews. 

 Help for employers during the redundancy process 

 Handling human emotions is always challenging, and every business has different needs and experiences.  

 Our expert advice will ease your redundancy process and help achieve a positive outcome for all.  

 You can also download our free restructuring kit, full of advice and useful templates, to help you steer your business through times of change. 

 Need extra support in making redundancies? Crosse HR are experts in understanding you and your business, and we’re here to help. Together, we can find the right redundancy solution for your workplace and implement it smoothly and successfully. 

 Contact us on 0330 555 1139 or hello@crossehr.co.uk  

 

The Employee Reference Question

The Employee Reference Question

One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘What shall I put in an employee reference’?

It’s all well and good if everyone got on, there were no problems and the employee in question left on good terms, that does not tend to pose any questions.

It’s the iffy, ‘I was well rid but really don’t want to say so’ references that cause the dilemmas.

In short, you can give a factually based reference for everyone, the good, the bad and the indifferent.

These are the key details to confirm:

  • Job title
  • Start and end date of employment
  • Short disclaimer at the bottom

That way you cannot be accused of discrimination in any form as you are treating everyone the same. Steer clear from personal opinions because they are exactly that – personal and can cause all sorts of issues.

Keep it short and to the point. For guidance simply download our How-To Guide, which contains a sample reference policy and wording here or call us on 0330 555 1139.

 

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and tell us all about it

‘Tis the season to be jolly…and tell us all about it

Christmas is coming, and with it comes parties, Instagram opportunities, Facebook posts, Twitter feeds, extended time off and plenty of time on people’s hands. In other words, Social media and HR.

So what you may well ask has this got to do with me as an employer?

Plenty is the short answer, plenty.

You cannot control what an employee does or says in their free time, but what if it’s being done in your company name, company time or is associated in any way with your company. Do you even know who or what you or your brand is being associated with?

It might be the time to find out or at least set the boundaries around what is acceptable or not.

Quite bluntly, employees should not be associating their employers in any way on any form of private social media, this includes, not stating where they work, no company logos, not discussing company business, clients or other colleagues (even if they are friends) on any of their private accounts.

Many an employee and employer has at the very least been angry the very worst severely embarrassed or reputationally scarred by a rogue employee who decides to post or rant about ‘work’, post pictures of themselves in fancy dress (think that Justin Trudeau post), drunk, on holiday (when they’ve rang in sick), high, taking drugs, espousing views that would make the most ardent left or right winger choke over their cornflakes, engaging in splats on Twitter with a major client, swinging, posing provocative, boasting about all sorts – you get the picture, all the while sitting proudly next to that is your Company name.

So what to do about it, like anything you set the boundaries, and the easiest way to do that is draft a policy into your HR Handbook or Policies & Procedures and make all employees aware of it.

To help you out, I have drafted one here for you for free. Download our Social Media Policy template to enable your business to develop clear policy guidelines around social media usage.

If you need any help with any of the topics mentioned in this blog then please contact us.

 

Download your free Social Media Policy

Social Media

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Get Ahead With Your 2017 HR Strategy

Get Ahead With Your 2017 HR Strategy

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.

Improve communication

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.

How to safely terminate employment

How to safely terminate employment

Taking the decision to terminate an employee can be a stressful one. How do you make sure you have a legitimate case? What’s the correct way to dismiss them to avoid being landed with an employment tribunal hearing? In this week’s blog we aim to shed some light on the factors you need to consider and will also explain the correct procedure to dismiss an employee safely.

What is dismissal?

Firstly, let’s look at the term dismissal. Dismissal is when you end an employee’s contract. There are many different kinds of dismissal including:

• Fair: You have a valid reason for dismissing someone such as redundancy, they committed gross misconduct, they are incapable of, or something prevents them legally being able to, do their job, e.g. they have lost their driving licence.
• Unfair: An employee can claim unfair dismissal and take you to an employment tribunal if they think the reason was unfair, you acted unreasonably or the reason you gave for dismissal wasn’t the real one. There are many reasons that are automatically deemed unfair: these include any discrimination over age, gender or race, pregnancy, acting as a trade union representative, joining or not joining a trade union and many more. You can find out more about unfair dismissal here
• Constructive: When an employee resigns because you’ve breached their employment contract. This could be because you cut their wages without agreement, unfairly increase workload, make them work in dangerous conditions for example.
• Wrongful: Wrongful dismissal is when you break the terms of an employee’s contract during the dismissal process. For example, dismissing someone without giving them propert notice.

What’s the difference between fair and unfair dismissal?

The difference between a fair and unfair dismissal rests entirely on two points; the reason for dismissal and how you act during the dismissal process. You must act ‘fairly’ and ‘reasonably’ and the law has very specific ways of defining these terms. To dismiss fairly you need a ‘fair’ reason such as conduct, behaviour, capability redundancy, breach of statutory restriction or some other substantial reason, such as a restructure. Even if you terminate via a fair procedure, if the reason isn’t ‘fair’ then the dismissal will be deemed unfair.

If your reason is fair, you must then act ‘reasonably’ before you terminate someone. This means you must investigate properly, consider alternatives and be consistent with how you have treated other employees. If you are dismissing an employee because of misconduct, you must conduct a thorough investigation before holding a disciplinary hearing and ensure they have the right to appeal your decision.

How to stay safe

To terminate an employee should be considered as a last resort. You should consider all possible alternatives before taking the decision to terminate. These alternatives will differ based on the particular issue you have with the employee. For example, if you are considering dismissing because of ill health, you should consider how you could get the employee back to work. You may need to consult their doctor, arrange an occupational health assessment or make adjustment to their role/work space if they are suffering from a disability. If on the other hand performance is the issue, then the employee must be warned about their short comings and given the time and support to improve.

If you make sure you act fairly and reasonably at all stages of the process, and have a legitimate reason for termination you should be safe from the penalties you may be concerned about from an employment tribunal. The ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) code of practice has set out clear advice to business owners on how to dismiss someone properly. You can download the full code of practice here.

The implications of getting it wrong

If you are taken to an employment or industrial tribunal for unfair or wrongful dismissal the penalties could be considerable. You may be ordered to reinstate the employee into their previous position or ‘re-engage’ them, (re-employ them in a different job). You may have to pay compensation which varies depending on the employees age, gross weekly pay and length of service. The compensation a tribunal can award is limited unless you are penalised for unfair dismissal in cases relating to health and safety or whistleblowing. In these cases, compensation can be particularly severe.

If you are considering terminating an employees contract be sure to obtain professional advice to ensure you are working to the correct procedures. The team at Crosse HR are here to help whether you are looking for advice or a professional intermediary to ensure you get the resolution you desire whilst staying on the right side of the law.

References

http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1650
https://www.gov.uk/dismiss-staff/overview