Key predictions for HR in 2016

Amelore comment on the key predictions for HR made by Bersin of Deloitte. Here is the first part of two blogs with a summary of Bersin’s predictions and our observations.

  1. wheel_of_fortuneDigital HR arrives – we are not talking employee databases here. 8 million have smart phones, 3 billion use internet. Deloitte research says people check their phones 8 billion times a day!

The trend predicted is a design centric digital focus within HR. Apps will become king.  Clouds sit behind scenes. Traditional software will start to fade out. Any new technology need to be as easy as Facebook or Instagram to use.
Organisations are building HR platforms to allow rapidly built solutions, collect data and people and business process – easily. So they can quickly iterate & improve employee digital experience. Eg 2015 Sidekick Commonwealth Bank of Australia – brings together employees HR, collaboration, admin & support apps to their phones. 20,000 users in 2 weeks of roll out. V successful launch.

Think all my HR programs are apps…

“Of course the actual reality in many organisations is no HR database or something clunky that produces data that has inaccuracies.  When we talk to HR leaders about what technology they are investing in, it tends to be an HR system.

Because of poor organisational experience in the past there can be a reluctance to invest. Cross corridors into the Marketing department and you may see a very different picture.  Employees just like consumers are critical to the success of the business.”

  1. Rush to replace outdated HR systems

Why? To improve employee experience.  Harness people data. 60% of large companies are replacing software. Workday, SAP, Oracle, ADP, Ultimate Software, Cornerstone OnDemand, Ceridan etc are popular choices.

Offering solutions for recruitment, on-boarding, learning, performance, talent management compensation, succession, talent analytics.

The global trend is reduction of HR systems (average is 7) modernising with cloud technology sitting behind.

  1. Global rush to replace and re-engineer Performance Management

This is the hottest and most disruptive area of HR – redesign of performance management. 60% of companies are doing this.

Existing process too complex say 88% of managers.

End to end talent management market fairly mature – core HRMS, payroll with talent management module is a core tool on offer from many.

Trend is around check in’s, feedback, and more focus on development. Followship. Moving away from leaders. Building systems and tools to let people work flexibly and network.

“Many fast growing businesses have been practicing followship for a while. Younger and flatter teams without the traditional hierachy. And checking in with their staff. And with a development led focus which is a core retainer. 

In 2015 Amelore conducted some independent research into the cost and effectiveness of appraisals. Results varied but the core message was that it was a disproportionately costly activity at a time when organisations weren’t investing in staff development and losing them.  If you got rid of your appraisal process tomorrow and replaced it with a career development led focus you’d save money and retain more staff.”

  1. Engagement, Retention and Culture persist as top priorities

The job market is hot, hot, hot. Many scare skills are in scare supply, the economy is growing so the employment experience is highly transparent.

Open feedback is increasingly expected – 80% of millennials want to give their bosses an appraisal!  Employment brand a big thing. Staff engagement once a year surveys is old fashioned. Real time and continuous feedback is king.

There are 5 different types of feedback systems emerging:

Pulse survey tools – managers and HR rapidly take the pulse of the people’s feelings and opinions supplemented by annual survey.

Feedback apps – Employees can randomly provide an open suggestion box of comments that can be analysed, filtered, up-voted, down-voted & evaluated at any time.

Performance feedback systems – Give employees an opportunity to provide team or manager feedback as part of the performance management cycle.

New Work Environments – people work in teams through collaboration with tools (Slack, Workboard, Trello, Impraise) & give feedback immediately on anything.

Social Recognition Tools – Employees can give thanks, points & other forms of positive feedback to others in an open and social way.

Trend is towards letting employees “Like” or “Yelp” things at work which provides valuable data about work practices, safety situations, customer service issues and of course management.

“Some organisations are struggling with this new way of working particularly senior teams who seek to impose something that is more familiar to them. This gives the younger CEO the advantage that experience gives someone older.  Resisting large scale changes in the workplace is like attempting to type better internal memorandums as email emerges.”  

  1. Career and Talent mobility continues – investment in Coaching and Mentoring grow rapidly.

Investment in leadership is inconsistent. At highest level this is only £2,600 per leader per year. This is a very modest investment in great leadership.

Roles of leaders have changed. Spans of control have increased by 11 percent for lower-level leaders.  Todays leaders are ‘team leaders’ more than ‘top down executives’ learning how to lead cross functional global teams.

Approximately 50% of all leaders in every company are first or second line leaders – getting younger each year. Coaching and mentoring are therefore critical for their development.

New leadership model is followship – ability to set an example, empower and encourage others, drive change, alignment and inspiration.

Companies still far too attracted to old models of leadership inc long development times, slow progression & traditional HiPo (high potential) programmes. High performing companies promote young leaders at a highly accelerated rate and enable them to learn on the job.

“The smart money is on those with potential. Whatever their age. One of our clients Monica Vinader, who have trebled their turnover in the last 3 years and grown rapidly, have always identified and backed potential. A hallmark of their success has been the dedicated and hands on approach that both Monica and her sister Gabriela have shown in being very clear what is expected of individuals.  This has enabled a number of talented individuals to thrive and flourish along with the company.”

Summarised from Predictions for 2016 – A bold new world of Talent, Learning, Leadership and HR Technology ahead. Bersin by Deloitte with commentary by Amelore.

 

M&A – Assessing People and Cultural Fit

So many factors contribute to success in merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions — and many involve getting the right people into the right jobs. Unless the deal involves nothing more than physical assets — which is the exception to the rule of acquisitions in today’s global business world — the acquirer will need talented, high-performing individuals at all levels in order for the deal to reach its full potential.

Consequently, it is critical to assess the target company’s human capital with the same rigor that is applied to the assessment of pension liabilities, inventories, financial statements, and other significant assets. If we agree that people are ultimately a company’s most valuable asset and largely responsible for income generation and revenue growth, identifying and managing people risks and opportunities usually account for the difference between M&A success and failure. In many cases, however, acquirers know very little about the human capital — at least not initially — that may soon be part of their corporate families.

M&A transactions always trigger decisions about individuals. A merger, for example, often produces redundancies; suddenly there are two CFOs, two HR Directors and so on. The question is: Who should go and who should stay (even if in a different role)? In an acquisition, the acquirer must determine whether incumbents from the target are the best people for the job, given the objectives of the new organisation. Talent assessment addresses this important issue.

For each key position, talent assessment aims to answer these questions:

  • Can this individual successfully achieve the business strategy?
  • Has he or she demonstrated leadership that produces results?
  • What is the employee’s industry-specific knowledge?
  • How well does this person manage relationships?
  • Will this individual be able to work within our culture effectively?
  • Does he or she develop the talents of key subordinates?
  • How long will this person stay and remain motivated?
  • Are there any reasons for concern about stability or volatility?

Pre-close pressure

Talent assessment can be completed at any time, but the more information an acquirer has before signing a letter of intent or closing the deal, the better. For many practical reasons, however, this almost never happens. Time is insufficient. Data from the target are spotty or unavailable. Or the target will not give access to its key people. As a result, a big part of talent assessment tends to be done after the closing, when the acquirer has full control.

Thus, organizations should do whatever they can to overcome these barriers as early in the deal as possible. While a full, formal assessment may not be possible in the early stages of a deal, many actions can be taken to begin the assessment process and get an early read on people and potential deal risks that allow for an early determination of whether to proceed with the deal or walk away.

These include observing behaviour during management presentations and meetings, reviewing CVs provided in the data room, conducting internet searches (or “desktop” research), and conducting informal operational or functional meetings as part of the due diligence process.

The target’s deal team can begin compiling a list of business, leadership, and other behavioural attributes that begin to tell the story of whether a key or critical employee will fit into the go-forward organisation or kill the deal.

The figure below describes the assessment approaches and tools that can be utilised for a systematised approach to talent assessment that will ensure thoroughness and save valuable time.

Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 16.58.11

In our experience, there are five steps in the process.

  1. Clarify the business imperative

Always begin with the objectives of the deal and expectations for the new organisation. Talent, after all, must be measured against its potential to fulfil those expectations. A clear understanding of business objectives should guide the assessment. For example, is quick turnaround of the business needed, are growth objectives very high, or is the acquisition in a stable environment that will need little change?

  1. Define the essential success criteria

The next task is to define the success criteria required by the business objectives. Those criteria typically involve skills, knowledge, behaviours, experience, values, and — for executives — leadership ability and strategic thinking.

For example, to fill the CEO position at a target company, it is important to determine:

  • The level and scope of experience required to successfully lead the organization, depending on its size and complexity.
  • The technical skill/industry knowledge required for success in this position.
  • The intensity of ambition, commitment, and personal interest a person must demonstrate in order to achieve the defined business objectives.
  • The balance of strategic and operational focus needed by the ideal leader.
  • The leadership style and fit with culture and core values

Culture is an important part of this step. The acquirer should define the workplace culture it wants its key people to embrace and demonstrate through their behaviour.

In many instances, acquirers want people whose values are compatible with their culture. They know that conflicting values will make for a bad corporate relationship and impair the deal.

  1. Develop role profiles

In this step, the assessment moves from the general to the specific, documenting the success criteria for each position in terms of job scope and responsibilities; required skills, know-how, and behaviours; and experience the ideal candidate brings to the table. Based on conversations with the acquiring company or hiring managers, the assessment team identifies the level of responsibility and job requirements for the target roles.

From this it identifies the requisite skills, knowledge, and abilities necessary to carry out the role requirements to their fullest extent. In addition, the team examines what experiences have helped other successful individuals in the past that are relevant to the current situation. This enables the creation of a robust, defensible, and detailed description of the requirements of the target roles.

  1. Assess the talent pool

The first three steps set the stage for the detailed work that follows, gathering whatever relevant data are available on candidates for each key position. The goal is to give decision-makers the information they will need in selecting the best people for each role. These data are gathered by interviewing the board (in the case of CEO talent assessment), hiring managers, or others involved in the acquisition and by gathering any past performance information that is available.

For executive and director/manager positions, the typical selection criteria include leadership ability and leadership style, alignment with the culture of the new organization, potential for future personal development, cognitive ability, and motivation. For professional positions, selection criteria are more geared around specific skills and experience in the job; thus, assessment is heavily weighted toward professional competency, work history, past performance, and future skill-development potential.

  1. Review and select talent

The results of the assessment are presented in detailed reports to decision makers, who use them for review and selection. The quality and extensiveness of these results go a long way toward ensuring the full value of the deal.

CONCLUSION

Indeed, M&A transactions are full of risks and opportunities, and many of those reside in the target company’s human capital. Because of this, it is essential to thoroughly evaluate key and critical talent with focus, rigor, and honesty, beginning as soon as possible and continuing throughout the deal phases.

The consequences of getting people decisions wrong could be the difference between winning and losing in the marketplace — something no company should risk in today’s highly competitive market and volatile economic environment.

Strong HR in a High Growth Business

Research from the CIPD has shown that HR has a vital role to play in driving long-term performance in SMEs, whatever stage of growth the organisation is at, and whether or not it has a dedicated HR function.

The research report (Sustainable organisation performance through HR in SMEs published in 2013) identifies six key insights which can help HR managers – or those responsible for HR – anticipate and respond to the people-related challenges that will inevitably arise as the business grows.

Read on to see if these resonate in your business.

  1. Anticipation is key:  HR needs to have a clear understanding of where the business is headed.  They need to be deeply familiar with the strategy, vision and values, so that they can anticipate key stages of growth and transition and plan for any necessary shifts in the way HR challenges and processes are managed.
  1. Values and purpose should be the bedrock of the business.  One of the biggest challenges facing SMEs is how to retain the heady excitement and ‘family’ feel of the early days.  HR has an important role to play in preserving the vision of the founder or leader and embedding it in all aspects of people management.  Are people engaged with the overall purpose of the business and clear about how they fit into the bigger picture, for example?  If innovation and creativity are valued in the business, are there mechanisms in place to reward employees demonstrating these behaviours? Make sure HR processes are set up to reflect the way the business wants people to work on a day-to-day basis and are not time consuming or complicated.
  1. HR and business strategies need to be aligned.  In the early days, it can be difficult for HR to make itself heard in an SME.  Owner/managers often see it as something they ‘have to do’ rather than a strategic tool they can use to support business growth.  HR needs to work hard to demonstrate that well-thought out people processes can play an important part in building the high performance the business needs if it is to sustain long term growth.  Having up-to-the-minute information about everything from head count to available skill sets is a good way to build credibility and get your voice heard.
  1. Keep processes simple.  As an SME grows, it inevitably needs to move to a more structured approach and to introduce more formal people processes.   It’s important, however, to find the right balance between structure and fluidity so that agility and entrepreneurial spirit are not stifled or undermined by bureaucracy.  Many Office Managers given HR responsibility will implement inefficient and out of date practices due to lack of training or the desire to create a job for themselves. Many processes should become automated.

The latest HR software allows employees to access and update their own data – and makes it much easier for line managers to manage processes such as holidays and absence.  It cuts down on the paperwork, ensures consistency and makes HR processes simpler and more transparent.

  1. Strike the balance between preservation and evolution.  As the business grows, it’s important not to be sentimental about what has always been, and to let go of processes or aspects of the business culture that no longer support its vision or priorities.  In today’s environment, for example, highly formal team meetings are often giving way to more immediate and engaging forms of communication.  Likewise annual appraisal processes are increasingly being replaced with a constant feedback loop and a greater focus on career development. SMART objectives are now seen as a bit silly.
  1. Lay the foundations for the future.  In a busy SME, it can sometimes be difficult to see beyond the immediate operational issues.  HR people in small businesses often find themselves caught up in a relentless cycle of recruitment as the company grows, and barely have time to lift their heads to look at what strategies they should be putting in place to prepare for the future.  Make sure you are not getting so caught up in short term solutions that you are missing golden opportunities to support longer term goals. Sow now what you later want to reap.

The way forward

What HR strategies are you employing to support growth in your SME?  How do you manage to make time for the strategic issues? How scalable are your current practices if you continue to grow at the rate you have?

If you are planning a lot of recruitment when did you last review your recruitment and attraction practices, your employee benefits package, how you manage talent?  No point in putting lots of effort into recruitment if you have a revolving door straight back out to your competitors. Both expensive and a waste of your time.

Whilst your business may not need a full-time senior HR practitioner, working with someone flexibly to help set the direction internally and pin down your strategy for how you handle the people side of the business just makes good business sense.

More about the Immigration Bill

The Immigration Bill 2015-16, which is currently working its way through parliament, is intended to clamp down on illegal immigration, tackle the exploitation of low-skilled workers and punish those that facilitate this exploitation. Small business owners need to be alert to developments in order to avoid severe punishment heavy fines.

While employers are already required to prevent illegal working in the UK by carrying out relevant document checks in accordance with guidance from the Home Office, the new Bill will provide immigration enforcement officers with considerable more powers and also increase the penalties handed out to businesses who fall foul of the law. The government already publishes lists of companies that are served civil penalty notices, thereby ensuring maximum damage in both monetary and reputational terms.

Small firms and startups that employ a considerable proportion of low-skilled workers, for example retailers, independent hotels, restaurants, pubs, coffee shops etc. should start preparing now because the repercussions of failing to ensure that there are no illegal immigrants amongst a workforce will be severe. If the Bill progresses without any problems, as anticipated, it will become law by July 2016.

What are the main changes?

For small business owners the most significant proposals are the additional powers that will be given to immigration enforcement officers.

Firstly, the Bill will enable officers to seize the earnings of anyone found to be working illegally. Naturally, this will affect an employee more so than the actual employer but the Bill will also tighten the rules that determine if a worker has been employed illegally. Not many business owners are aware of the criminal sanctions related to illegal working as the Home Office often publicises the £20,000 civil penalty scheme on the basis that it is easier to administer.

Currently, an employer commits a criminal offence if they knowingly employ an individual who did not possess the relevant permission to work in the UK. This is being amended slightly so that an employer may still be guilty if there was “reasonable cause to believe” that a person was an illegal worker. There has also been an increase in the maximum sentence period from two years to five years (upon conviction on indictment).

The Bill will also enable immigration enforcement officers to shut down any business suspected of wrongdoing for up to 48 hours and there is the potential that closure could be extended should the appropriate court order be obtained. Immigration officers will also have increased powers to search a business premises and seize documents should they believe those documents to be related to suspected illegal activities such as suspected illegal working.

The consequences for employing illegal workers were always serious but the new proposed measures add a new level of severity to the situation.

What are the most likely pitfalls?

All of the above proposals are centered on the notion that employers should bear responsibility for who it is they employ and the status of those individuals.

The difficulty that employers face is the ever changing nature of the right to work checks, and so mistakes will inadvertently happen. This is particularly the case for smaller organisations who do not have the luxury of an HR or compliance officer.

There are a number of common pitfalls which can trap employers:

  • Employers forgetting to record the date on which a check occurred – this can be done on the actual photocopy of the document or noted on an internal or on-line HR system.
  • Employers forgetting to make follow-up checks at the correct time – important to diarise when checks should happen.
  • Additional checks are required if the employee is a student with work restrictions. Employers must also obtain, copy and retain details of a student’s academic term and vacation times so that employers can ascertain independently when it is that a student can work full time
  • Employers frequently get caught out by not retaining evidence of their checks for the necessary period of time or by not retaining copies in a secure manner (i.e. an unlocked cabinet in an unlocked office)
  • Photocopies are unclear or not complete. Historically a partial right to work check would be considered a mitigating circumstance but this has since been done away with meaning that a correct check is now more important than ever before
  • Employers can also enter into difficulties by conducting a right to work check after an employee has already started work. All initial right to work checks must be conducted prior to the individual commencing work.

Employers now front line immigration control

The attempts of the Home Office to simplify the right to work checks as well as the desire to make it harder for illegal migrants to work in the UK has resulted in employers being on the front line of immigration control in the UK. Most employers who receive a civil penalty notice only do so due to poor and weak practices – all of which can be avoided with some training and careful planning in advance of the new requirements becoming law.

As always having strong HR procedures that are regularly reviewed will provide a solid foundation for your business to grow. If you are unsure how up-to-date or good your existing practices are, why not get someone external to conduct an operational review? Many employment lawyers offer a legal compliance review and HR consultancies will check that as well as designing and implementing suitable practical procedures if required.

Not making the right checks and potentially employing someone illegally is an extremely serious matter which will be both distracting and damaging to you and your business. Avoid this by getting ahead now and making any necessary changes.

Amelore is raising money for Penny Brohn UK – Living well with cancer, by organising a grand autumn raffle to be drawn in November 2016.

Here is why.

My story

One sunny morning in June 2011, I was brushing my hair when I felt a small lump on my neck that I hadn’t noticed before. It grew a bit over the forthcoming weeks.  From a grape to a walnut. A misplaced Adams apple that worried me so went to see my GP.  Nothing to worry about he said. Most likely a bronchial cyst. But it didn’t go away like he said and I went back again and again until I was referred in July. By August I had the devastating diagnosis that I had Non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Although I didn’t appreciate it at the time, I was lucky. They were aiming for curative and I was only stage 1A.

Treatment started straight away and after 3 rounds of chemotherapy I was as bald as the day I was born. My hair grew back in a shaky and fuzzy way only for a patch to be burnt off during the radiotherapy.  The fatigue was like nothing I had ever known (and I had 2 babies very close together) and I continued to run my business in between sleeping the sleep of the dead and awaking exhausted.

Having cancer in my life was so unexpected at 44, that I felt the need to immerse myself in knowledge so I was at least informed.  A good friend of mine told me about the Penny Brohn centre, right on my doorstep in Bristol.  I looked on the website and could see that they did residential courses about Living with Cancer. Off I went to one, in between chemo and radio and it was wonderful.  I did another at the end of all my treatment and took a dear friend as my husband was at home with our small children.

The Penny Brohn centre was a place of hope, inspiration and meeting others in a similar boat. The food and nutrition is a key part of what you learn and to my mind it was delicious. The surroundings were beautiful and people came from all over the UK and further afield to attend the courses.  They were free though people made donations. I didn’t at the time as I was surviving on my part-time salary and was the only one working in my family.

My last day of treatment was 9th January 2012. Sadly it was the first day of chemo for my younger sister Hilary who rather shockingly had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer 2 months after me. Very sadly for her she was already stage 4 and though she battled hard against the cancer that would kill her just 10months later and make her 2 boys motherless, she was game over before she had begun.

I told her about the wonderful Penny Brohn centre and she visited in May 2012. She loved it but so ill and weak from her aggressive chemotherapy she had to leave early. She planned to return after she was better but she never made the return visit; sadly she died in August 2012 at only 44.

Since then

Since I recovered, I have been fired up with the desire to grow my business so that if I was ever ill again, I’d have something to support me beyond my own labour.

When I was diagnosed, I was the Interim HR Director at the wonderful notonthehighstreet.com who were very supportive.  That business (which was 10 years old yesterday) has become a household name.  A huge part of its success has no doubt been to  how it works with people. Its own staff, the partners that make the amazing unique products we all love, its customers and future employees.

Much of what we do now for fast growing and entrepreneurial clients was inspired by those early days with notonthehighstreet.com.  Much of the growth of our business was driven by my experience in 2011/2012 and my sheer joy at being alive and able to do something I love.  I’m lucky that I have been in remission ever since but none of us know what is around the corner so it’s great there are organisations like Penny Brohn to support us.

I will never forget what Penny Brohn did for me and want to repay them by organising an amazing raffle and helping raise some much needed funds so others can benefit like my sister Hilary and I did.

How you can help

Please can you donate some wow prizes for our amazing luxury raffle? We have only just started and have already had a few fantastic donations from some of our clients.

Gold and diamond cocktail ear-rings worth £390 from Monica
Vinader

A large luxury hamper from L’Occitane

Can you make a donation?

We are particularly looking for a star prize – a holiday or weekend away

Donations of champagne, wine and spirits

An all expenses paid meal

Cash prize or gift certificate

Please email us at office@amelore.com or call us on 01453 548070 if you can donate a prize or would like to sell tickets.

Thank you.

Ruth and the team at Amelore.

7 tips for negotiating a promotion…

No-one enters the workplace, having been taught how to manage their career and what, when and how to negotiate. It’s not something companies teach their staff either as it suits them just fine if their employees are not informed or confident in this area!

Just like networking or giving a polished confident interview, knowing what to do to give outstanding performance or gain a promotion, negotiations are part and parcel of life, especially at work. Practicing and learning more about it is something that most people could benefit from.

Too many workers, because of lack of confidence, take the easy way out and avoid the uncomfortable conversation when asking for a promotion or pay raise. Like it or not, it’s something you’ve to get comfortable at, as no one is going to voluntarily offer to match your value to the salary – except yourself.

This is one of many things you need to do in managing your career and here’s a few useful tips to help you through (it can be quite a fun process when you know what you are doing)!

  1. It’s a negotiation process, not a battle. 

Sometimes it’s easy to fall into the trap in thinking that negotiation is a war, it’s “you vs. them”. Changing this mindset is crucial to improve your chances for a successful outcome. You need to view the negotiation as a discussion and a partnership instead. By making it less personal, you’d be in a “friendly but assertive mindset”, trying to work things out for the benefit of both parties. If there is no clear business benefit it won’t happen. It’s something you have to do for yourself in planning your financial future and career.

Remember any negotiation at work is not a personal thing so don’t let it become something personal.

  1. Always know your worth to your employer

Of course, you need to enter a salary negotiation prepared. It’s hard not to get emotional, but you need to treat it as if it’s a pitch for a project, for your services. Most importantly, you need to have a good idea of how much you’re worth to your employer, and there are many ways to do that:

  • Do a thorough search on LinkedIn Jobs for similar roles to get a benchmark salary range for your role. This is a simple gauge of your salary at minimum.
  • If you can, start interviewing externally for a job you’d like as if you’re planning to leave your current role. Although more tedious, this has various benefits of improving both your interview skills and your confidence as getting an actual job offer gives you a proper benchmark for compensation package and what you’re worth, not to mention it strengthens your bargaining position later on. This is something we personally highly recommend. Plus you appear less desperate in the negotiation which is always a good thing!
  • Find out the cost of replacing you – meaning how much it will cost the company if you leave. In particular, if you’re working on projects with tangible deliverables (such as £ X cost savings per year etc. vs. if you hire external consultants) – these are important facts to know besides the actual cost of hiring someone to replace you. There’s also recruitment costs, project delays, training cost and management time for recruitment/induction etc – build a reasonable argument around this and emphasize that you’re delivering results to your company and have examples/proof of your contributions (see next point).
  • Remember most managers have no idea the true cost of recruitment as often budgets are kept separately by HR. But working it out can be a powerful argument that also gets you noticed.
  1. Go in there to promote yourself – no time for false modesty

Time to sell/pitch about how awesome and valuable you’re to your firm. It helps to have materials that help demonstrate your value to the organisation. This can be anything from printed materials to an actual presentation. It’s especially helpful if you’re multi-skilled and contribute in various areas, because this is highly likely to mean that the company will incur more cost in replacing you with a few individuals with specific skill sets.

What you’re trying to drive across here is your contribution to your firm, and the message that “oh my God, I hope you don’t leave because it will be a nightmare”.

  1. Don’t show your hand first

One of the cardinal rules of negotiation is that you should never be the first to name a number. That question will pop up for sure and you’d be pressured to give a number. If your efforts to deflect this discussion isn’t successful, give a narrow-ish range which you’d be happy with if they offer the lowest of that range; or deflect this with any of the below phrases temporarily:

  1. Think about your total package

It’s often that politics or organisational structure that comes in the way too. It could be that your boss values your contribution, but is unable to promote you or budge on salary due to budget limits set by others, arbitrary standardisation etc. Then, the next question you’ve to ask is: “Are there any other compensation elements that we can discuss?”

By being collaborative in that way, understanding their position (they want to keep you happy too if they know your value add to the firm), they are more inclined to help you out in improving your offer by being more flexible on these aspects:

  • A pay rise (if your salary is frozen sometimes non pensionable allowances can be agreed which keep things below the radar)
  • An increased holiday entitlement
  • An increased notice period (makes you look more senior & useful if you are made redundant or want a nice stretch gardening leave before the next job)
  • Extra training/educational opportunities (go prepared with specific suggestions and costs)
  • Improvement in bonus structure (cash and/or shares)
  • Any other perks/benefits – existing or suggested by you
  • Flexible working
  • Agreement about what you need to do to get promoted

Know what you would consider aside from a promotion here. If you improve your overall package you have been successful.

  1. Silence is Golden

People are naturally conditioned to fill silences. When being made an offer, don’t feel compelled to answer right away. Remember: you’re in control of the conversation. Let any offers breathe and often times, you’ll be on the offensive without saying a word as the other party rushes to fill the awkward silence 😉

  1. Good follow up could be the deal breaker

Not many managers will be able to make a decision on the spot. Particularly if you sprung the conversation on them. Leave the meeting being clear about what happens next and who they need to speak to, to make something happen. Do a follow up in writing and keep pushing. Try and agree a date when they will get back to you with a response. If your manager can’t make the decision, go and see the person that can.  Don’t leave it too long – a few weeks at most.  Remember if you are sitting on an offer, a counter offer can take a matter of hours.

GOOD LUCK!!  Remember that companies regularly congratulate themselves on hiring and retaining good productive people on less than the external market rate. No company voluntarily pushes staff costs up (in fact many are charged with doing the opposite) so take charge of your career and make sure you are on a package that you feel happy about.

International Women’s Day – 8th March 2016

IWD landscapeYesterday to celebrate International Women’s day I was on an expert panel at an event organised by the Enterprise Network at the stunning Bowood House, Wiltshire.  One hundred and fifty, mostly female, attendees came to celebrate, share and inspire each other.

It’s an important date in our calendar for two reasons – firstly it’s our son’s birthday – he does not expect different things from himself or his younger sister. He has just got into grammar school and expects his sister to do the same. He doesn’t expect to have a better career than her. Or for her not to have one. Neither does she.

Secondly, we must never forget that women have been treated very differently by society; they didn’t have the vote, were sacked when they got married or pregnant, were suppressed, dominated and silenced. However, things are moving on…

Yesterday’s panel was made up of female business owners who were asked what issues they felt women needed to focus on in 2016.

Mine was simple. Just be in business. Stop being a woman in business. Men don’t brand themselves as men, they are just in business. Men don’t call themselves working dads. They are just parents. Let’s do the same.

I know that many women care for their children and run the home as well as running a business. Women are amazing.

I know they often work long into the night to get things done when it is quiet. Respect.

I know that they can be limited by their husband’s job and geographical constraints. But they still create wonderful businesses.

I know they beat themselves up about the fact their children don’t return home to immaculate homes or freshly baked biscuits. I certainly do!

But the thing is being in business isn’t easy whatever your other roles.  Whatever your gender!

I’m lucky in some respects and unlucky in others depending on your point of view.

I work and my husband is the primary carer getting involved with the business when he can.  This gives us flexibility to bring up our children but it doesn’t give us a second income and security to fall back on.  I had my first child at 19 so have always been a working parent. I’ve still enjoyed a great career though I had to make it happen for myself.

I’ve had many senior HR roles and often one inherits or gets asked to lead or set up a Womens focus group. Such initiatives have been around a long time and I have to say, in their current format they just don’t work.  Mainly because the people that attend already care about women in business and the ones that don’t are out there doing business.

Likewise, womens business networking groups are great if you are selling products that only women will want to buy. But less good if you want to expand your market.  Female only environments can frighten or confuse men and aren’t great for equality in the same way ‘Boys Clubs’ exclude women. Female only environments can segregate women further.

Targeted development sessions and 1-2-1 coaching is different and we know that women can still hang back in the way that men don’t.

I’m all for talking working parents, and Shared Parental Leave presents great opportunities for men and women, especially Generation Y to work in a different way. It’s all about choice.

Most of the experts that work for Amelore are working parents and our model of linking them to fast growing businesses, providing flexibility on both sides, is working well.

The key thing in the business world is to ensure we provide opportunities and ways of working that enable everyone to flourish and thrive.

Upcoming employment law changes for 2016

In 2016, employers will begin to feel the impact of the employment law reforms made by the first Conservative Government in nearly 20 years, with some controversial decisions affecting a number of areas in the world of employment.

Employment law dates at a glance

11 January 2016 Zero hours employees and workers gain protection rights against employers trying to exercise exclusivity clauses.
1 April 2016 Prospective enforcement date of a cap on public sector exit payments.
6 April 2016 ‘National Living Wage’ (NLW) will be introduced for workers aged 25 and over. A 50p premium will be added to the existing National Minimum Wage.

For more information see the Government’s National Living Wage policy document page.

Jan – June 2016 Gender pay gap reporting draft regulations.
Jan – June 2016 Consultation expected on extension of shared parental leave and pay to working grandparents.
October 2016 Earliest likely implementation date for measures in the Immigration Bill 2015-16.
April 2017 Apprenticeship levy due to take effect.
September 2017 30 hours free childcare becomes available for 3 and 4 year-olds in working families.
2018 The government plans to extend ordinary parental leave, the 18 weeks unpaid leave that may be taken by a parent until their child is 18, to grandparents as well.

The introduction of the national living wage sees a major change to minimum pay levels; this will be a big issue for many employers as they consider how to introduce it.

For the first time, large employers will also be required to publish details of their gender pay gap.

Aside from these two big reforms, other changes to which employers need to pay attention include the Trade Union Bill and new rules on exit payments for public-sector workers.

Read our guide to the key employment law changes in 2016 to ensure you have a head start to the year ahead. 

  1. Gender pay reporting begins

We know that regulations must be introduced by 26 March 2016 that will make it compulsory for organisations with 250 or more employees to publish information about the difference in pay between men and women. This will need to include details of the gap in bonus payments.

However, further details of what this means for employers are yet to be disclosed, including the particulars that they will need to provide and where the information should be published.

It is expected that employers will be given time to get to grips with the legislation before the reporting requirements come into force.

  1. 2. National Living Wage introduced

A significant change for the lowest-paid workers is the introduction of the national living wage on 1 April 2016.

For the first time, employers will need to pay staff aged 25 and over the national living wage, which will work as a new top rate of the national minimum wage. For those aged under 25, lower national minimum wage rates will apply.

The national living wage is initially set at £7.20.

The national living wage is separate to the living wage, a recommended rate based on the cost of living, used by the Living Wage Foundation.

Another change concerning minimum pay is the doubling of the penalty for failure to pay staff the national minimum.

  1. Statutory parental pay rates and sick pay frozen

The Government has proposed that the annual increase in the weekly rate of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, statutory adoption pay and statutory shared parental pay will not happen in 2016.  The rates normally increase every year, but a fall in the consumer prices index has meant no uplift for 2016/17.

Statutory sick pay will also remain the same.

  1. Restrictions placed on public-sector exit payments

Payments made to public-sector staff when they leave their job are subject to new rules.

First, to limit excessive payments, exit payments for public-sector staff are capped at £95,000.  There is no confirmed implementation date for this change.

Second, from 1 April 2016, there will be a requirement for public-sector employees with annual earnings of £100,000 or more to repay exit payments where they return to work in the same part of the sector within 12 months.

  1. Trade union law amended

The Trade Union Bill reforms the law applying to trade unions, including placing more stringent requirements on trade unions before they take industrial action.

The measures include: increasing the voting threshold to 50%; introducing a requirement that 40% of all those entitled to vote in the ballot vote in favour of industrial action in important public services; setting a four-month time limit for industrial action after the ballot; and increasing the amount of notice to be given to an employer of strike action.

  1. Workers given power to seek redress where employer ignores ban on exclusivity clauses.

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts were prohibited in 2015. New regulations that apply from 11 January 2016 aimed at addressing avoidance of the ban, give employees the power to make a complaint to an employment tribunal where they have been dismissed or subjected to a detriment following breach of an exclusivity clause.

  1. New rules to protect apprenticeships

The Government bans organisations from using the term “apprenticeship” where it is applied to describe a scheme that is not a statutory apprenticeship, for example in a job advert.

There will also be an apprenticeship target for public-sector organisations.

  1. Updating laws on employing foreign workers

The Immigration Bill makes various changes to the law applying to foreign workers, including: creating an offence of illegal working; requiring all public-facing public-sector employees to speak English fluently; and introducing an immigration skills charge for employers that use foreign workers.

If your organisation would like any help and advice about the implications of any of these areas please call us on 01453 548070 or visit our website www.amelore.com

Creative people need a creative support team

We have just heard that Chef Benoit Violier, whose Swiss restaurant was named the best in the world in December, has been found dead at his home.

BBC News reports that Mr Violier, 44, ran the Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville in Crissier, near the city of Lausanne.  It earned three Michelin stars and came top in France’s La Liste ranking of the world’s 1,000 best eateries.

Swiss police said Mr Violier, who was born in France, appeared to have shot himself. We can only speculate as to the reasons for Mr Violier apparently taking his own life. It is hard to keep at the top of your game especially in the hospitality industry. Sadly, his death comes some six months after that of Philippe Rochat, his mentor and predecessor at the Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville.

Working with creative people

In our business we have a creative approach to HR and work in a flexible and fluid way with many creative people including chefs.  Often our role is as much about looking after the needs of the creative individual who becomes under increasing strain the more successful their business is, as much as we support the business.

Key stressors for creative leads

  • Excessive working hours.
  • Managing investors and shareholders.
  • Managing demanding staff.
  • Having too many direct reports that are time bandits.
  • Being accountable & responsible for everything.
  • Press, PR, Marketing, HR, Payroll – requiring decisions.
  • Poor work life balance (need to attend events & lack of personal time).
  • Poor diet (yes even chefs) and lack of exercise.
  • Not working in a structured way – giving into the creative side and letting the business side back up.
  • Letting the paperwork get out of control so the paperwork starts to control.
  • Hiring and firing on a whim and getting caught up in Employment Tribunals.

Mistakes that get made

Many creative businesses are often poor at the paperwork side, and when they do realise they need to get more organised often attempt to quickly implement something that is not fit for purpose (way too complicated or generic – more suitable for a very corporate business).

Likewise many businesses will have an Office or Studio Manager or Restaurant Manager attempting to do everything from the website to contracts of employment. It’s very hard to keep control of the situation in this way; and the stress levels!

What works well

We work with businesses in a variety of ways from retained to ad hoc.  In businesses with a strong creative lead we find attending regularly is key so we can pick up what is going on and head off any issues quickly.  Being external helps as does paring back all the paperwork to a core. So everyone understands it and there aren’t long winded staff handbooks that no-one dusts down until there is an ET.

At Amelore we simply don’t do ET’s.  Our approach is one of pragmatisim, commerciality and flexibility.

Give us a call on 01453 548070 or visit our website if you’d like to find out more.

How to avoid Tribunal Claims for your company.

tribunalTribunal claims have dropped significantly since the introduction of fees. Despite this many organisations (including legal firms) still sell HR services linked to Tribunal insurance, which introduces a risk adverse much slower pace and lengthy process for resolving disputes. Failure to follow advice or a long winded process

In the most expensive pay-outs for 2015, it is easy to see both a public sector bias and also a theme regarding the types of claims. For instance, due to the Equality Act, any situation where your approach to staff with additional protection may deemed to be unfair might leave your business exposed.

Ensuring you are treating all your staff fairly and even handedly will be important. Likewise getting good pragmatic advice as early as possible if you have any concerns. Ask whoever you are going to work with if they have ever lost a Tribunal? We haven’t in 25+years across a variety of sectors and we are very proud of that fact.

Personnel Today have done a great summary to round up the six-figure employment tribunal awards that employers were ordered to pay in 2015, with a total compensation amounting to £2.5 million.

Expensive employment tribunal awards: six-figure sums in 2015 

  1. Large award for caste discrimination claimant

In Tirkey v Chandok and another, a claimant who brought a groundbreaking caste discrimination case was awarded a total of £266,537.

  1. Employees dismissed after raising commission concerns

In Gilmore and others v Vodafone Ltd, five salespeople who were dismissed after complaining about how their commission worked were awarded £264,349. 

  1. Mismanagement of sick leave was disability discrimination

In Turner v DHL Services Ltd and another, the claimant was awarded £257,127 over his employer’s lack of support when he went off sick as a result of work-related stress.

  1. Redundancy of mother of disabled child

In J v H Ltd, the employer was required to pay out £251,460 to the mother of a disabled child over the way in which her redundancy was handled.

  1. Dismissal of employee with acute anxiety

In Marcelin v Hewlett Packard Ltd, a claimant who was disciplined for, among other things, his refusal to consent to the release of a medical report was awarded £239,913 for disability discrimination. 

  1. Large award for senior NHS whistleblower

In Sardari and another v South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and another, the employment tribunal found that a senior NHS manager who raised concerns about an alleged biased recruitment process was subjected to a detriment for making a protected disclosure. She was awarded £228,778.

  1. Deceased London Underground worker in large payout

In O’Sullivan v London Underground Ltd, a deceased London Underground worker was awarded £223,869 for disability discrimination. In the event of a successful claimant’s death, the tribunal award goes to the claimant’s estate.

  1. Disability discrimination against ME sufferer

In A v S, an employee with chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) was able to show that the way in which a move to a new role and her subsequent absences were handled was discriminatory. Her compensation totalled £192,656. 

  1. Financial officer dismissed after accounting disclosure

In Nishioka v C&S Shops Ltd, a financial officer who was suspended and summarily dismissed after raising accounting concerns was awarded £184,741 in a tribunal. 

  1. Employer admits constructive dismissal

In Asare-Brown v Mortgage 27 Ltd, an employer that admitted that it constructively dismissed a web designer after non-payment of wages was required to pay £130,702.

Median employment tribunal awards 2014/15

Sex discrimination: £13,500

Disability discrimination: £8,646

Race discrimination: £8,025

Age discrimination: £7,500

Unfair dismissal: £6,955

Sexual orientation discrimination: £6,000

Religious discrimination: £1,080

THE REAL COST OF GETTING IT WRONG

Generally the cost of getting it wrong is much bigger than the actual claim. Management time, morale and reputation, retention and if it gets in the press it can affect sales.

At Amelore we have a tailored our services to help business grow quickly and feel confident about making the right decisions. We have never lost a Tribunal (as a company) or in the history of Ruth Cornish our founder who has worked in a variety of sectors including the City and the Public Sector.

Call us on 01453 548070 if you’d like to discuss your needs.