RETURNING TO FACE TO FACE WORKING

On the lovely Anna King’s show (BBC Radio Gloucestershire) today we discussed the Prime Minister’s announcement last night about the inevitable return to the workplace and how workers and employers will manage this in a post-lockdown world.

The Prime Minister said that “we now need to stress that anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.” But what does that mean and what are the implications for employers and employees, particularly as it looks like children will be at home for some time to come

KEY CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR RETURN TO WORK PLAN

Your starting point

Your business may have been totally closed with all staff furloughed, trading on a limited basis with some staff furloughed or operating as close to normal as possible with everyone working from home.  Your starting point is key for creating your Return to Work plan.

Two months ago, there many businesses that could not have envisaged a situation where they had everyone working from home. The world of work has changed for ever and it is important to take some time reflect before you rush to try and create what you had before. What is the right model for the future? Do you need premises and the traditional 9-5, Monday to Friday model?

Some companies have continued to operate but do completely different work.  Instead of manufacturing hoovers or watches they have focussed on producing hand gel or ventilators.  So, of those operations are winding down, staff will need to understand what is next for them.

Your premises/office

It will be important, if you do want staff to work face to face, that you deep clean and disinfect the workplace.  Especially if it has bene empty a while.  You will need to minimise the number of staff in the office at any one time (maybe by creating shifts or staff taking it in turns to work remotely) and may need to re-arrange the office furniture to create safe distancing.  You may need to review your office cleaning protocols.  Door handles, keyboards and phones may need a daily wipe with an anti-viral cleanser for example.

PPE

Your business may already use this, but it is likely that gloves, face masks and anti-viral hand gel will be as important as training staff to use them correctly. Considerations like where they can wash their hands and needing to restrict access to small places (like the toilets) will also be important.

Travelling to or for work

The government are discouraging the use of public transport. Consider how your staff will get to work safely and how you can help. Some companies have decided to pay for taxi fares. If your employees need to travel with work, take time and care to think this through (in consultation with them) to make sure you agree a sensible and phased plan to do so.

Will you need everybody?

The furlough scheme is set to run until the end of June. If the government don’t continue it, employers can at their own expense.  Selecting who returns will involve an number of factors should include the needs of the business but also employees. 

What if staff can’t work

Some of your employees may not be able to work. They could still have children at home or have been told to shield or self-isolate.  Consider whether working patterns can be changed to accommodate them (like a night shift) or if they can work from home.

The key with everything in the workplace is to communicate what you are thinking and consult with your staff and/or trade unions/employee representatives if you have them in place. Ultimately everyone wants the same thing which is the survival of the business and the health and safety of the employees.

Re-boarding your staff

If your staff have been out on furlough leave, treat their return as if they had been off on maternity or long-term sickness.  Arrange a 1-2-1 meeting with them and discuss in detail how they are feeling. They may have faced real stress and hardship. Someone may have died. They may be frightened of becoming ill. They may be exhausted by home schooling and currently there is no end in sight on childcare. Document this discussion and keep it as a record.

On-going monitoring

There are a number of measures being considered to monitor the health and safety of staff on a daily basis.  These include daily temperature checks, a temperature scanner at the door right through to using technology like Fitbits to record markers like your daily temperature and jackets that sound an alarm if someone is too close to them. Many implications to be considered for introducing for such invasive measures and more likely if we get a second wave.

Isolation rooms

It is important that you create a place that staff can retreat to if they feel unwell at work. The aim should be to get them home safely as quickly as possible and deep clean that space.  Staff also need to know what is expected of them if they feel unwell and that normal sickness absence procedures apply unless you have modified them.

Legal and psychological considerations

Normal employment legislation remains in place and although these are unprecedented and slightly desperate times, employers should avoid any actions that could be seen as discriminatory or unfair.  This would include being heavy handed and trying to force staff to return that are frightened to do so or are caring for children as the latter will disproportionately affect women.

Employment lawyers will be quick to point out that they predict (or maybe it’s wishful thinking?) a huge spike in Employment Tribunal claims.

Our view is that if you treat your staff well, consulting and agreeing any actions this is less likely. However, there may be a rise in personal injury claims if employers don’t recognise how this pandemic will impact staff psychologically and provide whatever support they can including access to employee assistance programmes.

Need some help?

Please call us 01453 548070 or email ruthcornish@amelore.com for a no obligation chat.  Watch out on Linkedin for details of our upcoming HR briefings with key topics and the chance for Q&A.

Advice for employers in dispute

It can be an awful shock. One minute everything is ticking over quite nicely and the next minute you get an employee going off sick with work related stress and/or a grievance or a letter of resignation. You had not seen it coming and feel both worried and upset. Then the employee lets it be known that they have taken advice and have made lots of notes. This makes it all feel much worse.

BUT HOLD TIGHT!

The important things to remember are as follows:

  1. Stay calm and stay in contact with your employee. Most issues can be resolved by speaking face to face. But listening is the most important thing here – even if you don’t agree. Do make a note of the meeting.
  2. If an employee is off sick with stress agree how you can communicate with them whilst they are off. Directly or via someone else. Obtain their permission for you to do this. Find out if anything is worrying them that you can investigate further. Understand that they may need extra support and understanding and can’t control how they are feeling.
  3. If you have a grievance or a letter of resignation try and meet them face to face. As soon as possible but not when you feel angry or upset. Be mindful that both documents are official records and if there is any claim or allegation in there you need to take it seriously and respond. Even if they verbally retract it. Get anything in writing as that is what will be relevant in a Tribunal situation.

The types of issues we have seen include:

  • A link with health problems or experiencing work-related stress
  • Allegations of bullying or harassment
  • Allegations of unfair treatment or discrimination
  • A feeling that they aren’t valued
  • A feeling that they have no future
  • A suggestion that things are not as they seem internally
  1. Take care to keep the matter as confidential as possible. No matter how outraged you are don’t share this unnecessarily as that can cause more issues. You can’t control what others say. You also have an obligation legally to keep the matter confidential. This includes sharing it with ex employees and anyone that does not have a clear managerial or professional interest.
  2. Be wary of venting your frustrations on email as your employee could make a Subject Access Request (SAR’s) and see everything you have written. If you want to vent do so verbally and to someone that is in the loop formally.
  3. It’s important not to take your employees action as a personal betrayal. Yes they may have worked with you for a long time but no matter how close you are, you are still their employer and that brings legal and statutory obligations to your door.
  4. Make notes of all conversations and acknowledge the resignation and/or the grievance. Follow your sickness policy if someone is off with stress and consider involving Occupational Health.
  5. Seek professional advice as necessary. This could include an HR Consultant, Employment lawyer, Occupational or Wellbeing practitioner.
  6. Do not ignore how you are feeling. Is this too much on top of everything else you are dealing with? Or can you cope with some self care and support.

For more information and advice please contact ruthcornish@amelore.com

Employment Law Updates for 2020

What important UK employment law changes come into effect on 6th April 2020?

Here is a quick overview of the changes that are heading your way. If you have any questions please get in touch with us.

New right to a written statement of terms from Day 1 of employment

  • Currently any employees who have been continuously employed for more than one month must be provided with a written ‘statement of terms and conditions’ within two months of their employment commencing.
  • From 6 April 2020, all new employees and workers will have the right to a written statement of particulars from their first day of employment. Additional information that must be included as part of the extended right will include, benefits, paid leave, details of the probation period and training requirements.

Agency workers rules – amendment

  • Currently The Agency Worker Regulations 2010(AWR 2010) entitles agency workers to receive the same pay and basic working conditions as direct recruits once they have completed 12 weeks’ continuous service working in the same role. The ‘Swedish derogation’ currently provides an exemption to the right to equal pay, if agency workers are employed under a permanent contract of employment with a temp agency and are paid by the agency for periods between assignments.

 

  • From 6 April 2020, the Swedish derogation is removed. Once agency workers have satisfied the 12-week qualifying period, they will be entitled to equal pay to workers who are engaged directly by the employer.

On or prior to 30 April 2020, agency workers whose existing contracts contain a Swedish derogation provision must be provided with a written notification by the agency that it will no longer have any effect.

In addition, from 6 April 2020 all agency work-seekers must be provided with a statement setting out the terms under which they will undertake the work.

Changes to IR35 rules for the private sector

  • At present, the IR35 rules apply where an individual (worker) personally performs services for another person (client), through an intermediary (usually a personal service company, or PSC), and if the services were provided under a direct contract, the worker would be regarded for tax purposes as being employed by the client.
  • Currently, it is the intermediary’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies.
  • From 6 April 2020, changes to IR35 ruleswill be implemented for medium and large businesses in the private sector and will largely mirror changes that took effect in the public sector in 2017.
  • Under the new regime, for all contracts entered into, or payments made on or after 6 April 2020, the onus will shift from the PSC to the end user client to make a status determination.
  • Responsibility for accounting for tax and national insurance will shift to the party who pays for the individual’s services, known as the ‘fee-payer’.

Small businesses will not be caught by the changes.

 

New parental bereavement law

Effective 6 April 2020

  • Currently when an employee loses a child their employer may allow the employee to take compassionate leave or holiday or a leave of absence. In some circumstances the employee may be signed off sick.
  • The Parental Bereavement (Leave and Pay) Act 2018is expected to come into force in April 2020. If it does come into force, bereaved parents will have the right to two weeks of leave following the loss of child under the age of 18, or a stillbirth after 24 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Bereaved parents will be entitled to take their leave in one two-week block or in two separate blocks of one week. The leave must be taken before the end of a period of at least 56 days beginning with the date of the child’s death.
  • Bereaved parents employed with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will also be entitled to receive statutory parental bereavement pay. Those with less than 26 weeks’ continuous service will be entitled to take two weeks of unpaid leave.

Holiday pay calculation adjustment

  • From 6 April 2020, the holiday pay reference periodwill increase from 12 weeks to 52 weeks. Employers will be required to look back at the previous 52 weeks where a worker has worked and received pay, discarding any weeks not worked or where no pay was received, to calculate the average weekly pay.

This change has been made to help even out the variation in pay for workers, particularly those in seasonal or atypical roles.

For more help and preparation please contact ruthcornish@amelore.com

 

Brexit – What next?

The United Kingdom has formally ceased its membership of the European Union. Since 1st February 2020 a transitional period is in place until the end of 2020 as longer-term trade and immigration arrangements are worked out.

Although the transition will keep existing provisions around free movement of people and goods as they are before Brexit, this period is finite. Businesses should therefore take appropriate steps to plan for and support their workforce now.

What are the key Brexit milestones?

31 January 2020: UK formally left the EU and the beginning of an ‘implementation’ or transitional period.   EU/EEA/Swiss nationals retain existing free movement rights in the UK and vice versa

Spring 2020: UK Government to announce final post-Brexit immigration policy

31 December 2020: End of the transitional period

1 January 2021: New immigration system introduced

30 June 2021: Extended deadline for settled status applications for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens in the  UK before 1 January 2021

What do I do if I have EU citizens working in my organisation?

Support  EU/EEA/Swiss nationals and their families to  apply  for settled or pre-settled status under the European Settlement Scheme (EUSS) by 30 June 2021. If unsure,  first find out who are and how many affected workers you have in this category. Ensure they receive the support and information they need.

Can I ask my EU staff members what their intentions are?

Yes. Have this conversation with your employee’s welfare in mind. Brief your managers to have a simple one-to-one conversation with their team member to find out how they are feeling currently about the UK leaving the EU. Ask if settlement status has been applied for, for them and their family and provide the offer of help to navigate the process and complete the online application.

What do ‘settled status’ and ‘pre-settled status’ mean?

EU/EEA/Swiss citizens will have to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by June 2021, where they will be granted settled or pre-settled status. Settled status will be given to those who have lived continuously in the UK for five years and enable the holder to remain in the UK indefinitely. Pre-settled status will be given to those who do not yet have five years’ continuous residence. Individuals with pre-settled status can apply for settled status once they have accrued five years’ continuous residence. The application process can be done via any mobile device or computer.

From what date do I need to ask new or existing staff for evidence of UK settlement status?

EU citizen staff who are already in the UK or arrive before 1 January 2021 can continue to work without needing to show settlement status until 1 July 2021.

EU citizens who enter the UK for work from 1 January 2021 will need to meet the UK’s post-Brexit migration requirements.

Should I change any policies after 31 January?

Policies are likely to require changing from 1 January 2021. The UK Government is planning to introduce a new immigration system for those who want to work in the UK for a period of time. The new system has undergone consultation which CIPD has responded to. A draft scheme is as yet to be announced.

If you have any questions or concerns please get in contact with us.

Bereavement: beyond the legislation

As many of you will be aware, it has recently been reported that parents will become entitled to two weeks of paid bereavement leave if they lose a child. This new law will be effective from April 2020. It will be called ‘Jack’s Law’ in memory of Jack Herd whose mother has been campaigning for reform since her 23-month-old son drowned in 2010. Lucy Herd, Jack’s mother, has commented that she is proud to have achieved this in Jack’s memory and hopes this will help future families.

Whilst this new law on bereavement is a welcome step in the right direction, many employers will want to consider their approach more holistically. The death of a child is one of the most tragic life experiences and therefore an employee is likely to need significant support in order to return to work successfully after such a life changing event.

In our experience, many employers are very sympathetic towards employees losing loved ones – offering them the time and financial support they need to return to work successfully. We encounter many firms that are already going beyond the statutory minimum offering. Two approaches organisations can take is firstly provide time off and secondly support the individual at work itself through, for example, an employee assistance programme which provides access to counselling.

It is becoming increasingly common for organisations to adopt well-being frameworks and approaches which provide employees with channels of support. This support can include provisions for those suffering from poor mental health at different points in their life to help prevent feelings of isolation. Companies without a defined well-being approach should make this a priority of any people strategy.

Earlier this year the Mayor of London and Peter Cheese, Head of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, launched ‘London’s Good Work Standard’ which provides a framework of good work guiding principles. One of those is dedicated to workplace well-being and outlines that employers need to go beyond the legislation and create a channel for workforce dialogue as well as fostering a positive culture around work-life balance; offering flexible working for all and encouraging senior managers to model that behaviour.

People strategy is no longer the playing ground of just big companies and corporates, smaller organisations are also now concerned in understanding and supporting their workforces more fully in order to attract and retain talented employees. If your business is small, growing, and concerned about the well-being of its employees a conversation around your people strategy should be on your agenda as well.

If you would like to discuss how well-being becomes or remains a priority for your business, please contact ruthcornish@amelore.com for a discussion on how this could be incorporated into your business’ people strategy.

Death in Service Checklist

A death at work is as rare as it is shocking. In this article we detail a short checklist to enable you to cover all bases at a time of considerable stress for you and your organisation.

Here are ten steps to follow if an employee dies at work.

  1. Call 999 and notify the HSE, ASAP. https://www.hse.gov.uk/riddor/reportable-incidents.htm There is never ever a reason to wait to inform the authorities and doing so will only cause problems.
  2. Immediately thereafter, notify the employee’s emergency contact person, preferably in person. This news should not be delivered over the phone if at all possible. If you must deliver the news via a phone call, arrange for a company representative to meet the family, likely at the hospital. Alternatively the police will do this in your behalf and they are trained to do so.
  3. Notify Directors, key stakeholders and other employees with a need to know what happened. If you work in the public sector you will also be required to complete a SitRep (situation report) so ensure you follow the correct procedure.
  4. Notify your remaining employees of the fact of the death and let them know that further details will follow. Identify if anyone is significantly destressed and send them home or provide additional support. Take care not to share details unnecessarily.
  5. Follow your internal procedures for contact with the media. If you do not have any such internal procedures, or if you are not comfortable with anyone in your organization facing the media, engage a public relations firm, as soon as possible. You will need someone to say something. “No comment” is not a good statement under these circumstances; it will look like you’re hiding something or don’t care.
  6. Show extreme sensitivity to the family of the deceased. Who do they want to be their contact person? Who will disseminate funeral arrangements and how? What are the family’s wishes regarding flowers, donations, calling, visitations, and other contact? How and when does the family want to handle necessary employment issues (final pay and holiday inc bonus, pension, company car, death in service benefits, access to Employee Assistance if relevant etc)
  7. Designate one suitable internal person as the main contact who is briefed to communicate information to employees, and for employees to ask any questions. Take care to appoint someone that you judge can handle doing this as not everyone could no matter how senior. Unless the family directs otherwise, instruct employees not to contact the family.
  8. Arrange for counselling or other mental-health services for those employees who witnessed any accident, or are otherwise impacted.
  9. Don’t forget yourself. Are you OK? Who is supporting you? Have you eaten or contacted home. What do you need?
  10. Once the initial actions have been taken it is important that someone leads a debrief for all that are involved. This may be a week or two later. Think about what the company can do with regard to the funeral (sending flowers etc) and how to pack up belongings and get them to the family. The company may also consider making a corporate donation (with the families permission) to a suitable charity in memory of the employee.

And finally

If the death at work was in any way suspicious the police will investigate as will the HSE.  However you may also wish to lead your own investigation and appoint someone independent – either internally or externally to enable you as an organisation to reflect and learn at a later date.

If you would like any help or support do get in contact with us.

www.amelore.com

What are the unwritten rules at work?

When you start a new job, you may feel a warm, welcoming vibe as you’re introduced to your colleagues via a company-wide email and taken out to lunch by your boss.

In these early days, you’ll get information on how to file your expense report, order your business cards or how to claim expenses.  You’ll learn what the ‘official’ rules of the workplace are, what policies must be complied with, and what is expected of you in the role you were hired for. Along with an explanation of the company’s values, goals, and mission, your induction may include information on cool company perks such as being able to bring your dog to work.

There’s another category of new workplace rules though that’s not written down anywhere. Not only do they govern the way things actually get done, regardless of anything else you may have heard, but they also define the culture of the organization. “They pick up,” writes Frances Frei and Anne Morris in Harvard Business Review “where the employee handbook leaves off.”

“Culture,” Frei and Morris explain, “Tells us what to do when the CEO isn’t in the room, which is, of course, most of the time.” Though they aren’t documented, they are certainly observable in the workplace. And in the immortal words of Yogi Berra – “You can observe a lot just by watching.”

Here are six things you should observe about the rules you won’t find in your employee handbook.

  1. What flexi time really means:

You love the idea of flexi time and why shouldn’t you? You took the job, in part, because you liked the idea of calling the shots about when you log on and what time you get to the office. Perfect, you thought, as you signed on the dotted line: No more fretting that your boss is timing how long your dentist appointment has you away from your desk.

But, take note. Does your workplace really embrace the flexible arrangement it boasts? Or does it seem like most of your colleagues are at their desks by 8 AM and rarely out the door before 6 PM? Does anyone ever leave midday for a gym class, to go to the chemist, or even to squeeze in a haircut—or are those suspiciously comfy office chairs occupied all day long?

Understanding the reality of the workday and what’s expected of you—no matter what the hiring manager told you in the interview—will keep you from tripping up and help you schedule your extracurricular activities accordingly.

  1. When the work-day actually ends:

Sophie, a woman I worked with, started her second post-university job with huge enthusiasm, a pay raise, and a sparkling brand on her CV. Then she quickly realized she had a problem that was totally going to cramp her happy hour style: No one left the office until the boss did. And the boss didn’t leave until 8 PM.

Being the first to depart in a situation like that can be stressful. If you came in early, it’s likely that no one saw you arrive. If you leave early, everybody knows it. Regardless of how productive your day was, if you regularly jet hours before the majority of your co-workers, you may get inaccurately labelled as lazy or lacking drive and ambition.

The most important thing, of course, is that you get your work done, and that your boss knows you got it done. If the pressure to stay late never lets up, or if your performance is deemed lacking as a result, this might not be the right culture for you.

  1. The open -door policy:

You may find a peach of a company that will tell you the CEO’s door is always open! Come and share your best ideas! We want to hear from you!

The reality may be quite different. You see, it turns out that your manager does not love the idea of you marching into the executive suite and spilling all your brilliance.

Moreover, as lovely as an open-door idea is, it may not always be practical. The CEO may never be around or may rarely have a minute of time to spend with you, or any employee for that matter.

If your company says it has this policy, watch to see if anyone actually uses it (and what happens when they do). Best to be informed before you invite yourself in to share your big ideas with the head honcho.

  1. When you’re expected to respond to email:

Your manager loves to fire off detailed project emails late at night. No need to respond she says, she just needs to get it off of her mind. But the next day, when you notice that your colleagues are talking about the email exchange that happened while you were fast asleep, you feel out of the loop and uninformed.

Knowing when, and how, you’re expected to participate is important. So take a cue from your colleagues. Even if you’re not inclined to change your bedtime just so you can respond within minutes of your supervisor’s message, you can take a look in the morning and get yourself up to speed with anything you may have missed overnight.

  1. How to dress:

You wore your finest interview attire when you were called in to meet with the hiring manager and your future team members, but do you need to replicate that look on a daily basis?

As you walk through your new workplace, note whether your co-workers are dressed in jeans and flip-flops or business-casual attire. Depending on your role, you may be able to rock the T-shirt and trainers—or you might not. But no matter what, remember that your attire plays a role in how confident, creative, and competent you feel. And it certainly plays a part in how you’re perceived by the group as a whole, so dress accordingly.

Oh, and be sure to check out how the team handles tattoos and piercings. Some organisations or managers will be more open to these accessories than others. Observe what your department is doing, and follow suit.

  1. When to take holiday and for how long:

It’s been well documented that Millennials don’t want to be chained to the workplace. But every company defines the concept of work-life balance a bit differently. The stated Annual leave policy will tell you how much time you get to take off. The culture will tell you whether or not people actually pay attention to that policy.

Are you seeing lots of leave days booked and taken by others? Or are the office absences few and far between? Even in companies that offer unlimited holidays, employees may be reluctant to take much time off. Observing the behaviour in your organisation will give you a sense of what the actual Holiday policy really looks like, and how much freedom you’ll have for all the adventure travel you’ve been saving up for.

The bottom line is that no matter what you receive in your induction materials, so much of what you need to know in your new job isn’t going to be found on paper. By utilizing the powers of observation, you can get up to speed quickly. And so that you don’t commit any office faux pas—or worse, put your work ethic in question—you’d do well to figure out the unwritten rules as soon as you’ve memorized where the coffee cups are kept.

 

5 Typical Mistakes in Employment Contracts

  1. Protection of connections and information

It is astonishing how few of the contracts that we are asked to review, provide adequate protection once an employee has left employment.

Confidentiality clauses are a must in nearly all contracts, but are often missed or poorly drafted.

Well drafted post-employment restrictions preventing the poaching of customers or employees can be enforceable and should be put in place for key employees and sales staff.

Restrictions should be periodically reviewed to ensure they are likely to be enforceable and, as a rough rule of thumb, they should definitely be checked if they:

  • · last for more than 9 months after termination;
  • · don’t have a geographical limit;
  • · aren’t offset against a period of garden leave;
  • · aren’t limited to only protecting the contacts and activities that the employee has been

involved with in the last 12 months of employment.

  1. Contracts working against the employer

A number of insurance backed Legal and HR service providers insist that their clients have contractual disciplinary procedures.

This leaves the employer bound to follow that process for every disciplinary issue and any failure could result in a breach of contract claim, regardless of the employee’s length of service.

Contractual policies may be great for ensuring that claims are never brought against your Legal or HR provider’s insurance, but may not give you the flexibility you need to run your business.

  1. Signed, sealed and delivered

Do your contracts need to be signed as a deed, if so, do you know what is required? Are any new contracts issued to your existing employees enforceable even if signed?

If you want certain protections in your employment contract, often relating to intellectual property or directorships, then how the contract is signed is crucial. Often contracts incorrectly specify that they merely need to be signed, but this could render sections unenforceable.

A mere signature of a new employment contract by an existing employee, without any additional benefit, could also render any post-termination restrictions unenforceable.

  1. Benefits, bonuses and commission failures

Does your contract actually reflect the benefits, bonuses and commission you offer? Does it give you sufficient flexibility to vary those benefits in future?

We often find that contracts fail to deal with fundamental questions, such as:

  • · Do you have flexibility to change the terms of a benefit or commission scheme?
  • · If you discover misconduct, are you able to clawback any bonuses paid?
  • · Do the benefits offered impact on the calculation of holiday pay?
  1. Contracts for board directors

Do you have service agreements for your company directors? If not, you probably should.

These are the individuals who have overall responsibility for the running of the company and have specific legal obligations. You need to ensure that all of their obligations are documented and that the relationship between their employment and their statutory role is stated.

Time for a review?

Please call us if we can help you further.

 

www.amelore.com

Executive Search, Recruitment Agencies, In-house – what is right for your business?

Hiring the right people is as significant to the success of a company as the business model and health of the balance sheet. 

Recruitment is a highly lucrative unregulated and fast growing industry. It is important therefore for companies to understand the different options available to them, the costs as well as the benefits and any downside of the choices they make.

Some Key Facts 

The findings of the latest Labour Market Outlook from the CIPD and the Adecco Group demonstrate how important this is. They surveyed 2,182 employers on their recruitment, redundancy and pay intentions for the second quarter of 2019. 

Pay outlook– pay growth largely limited to key staff and new starters

  • Despite rising recruitment and retention pressures, median basic pay expectations in the 12 months to March 2020 remain at 2%. However, pay expectations have fallen back in the private sector from 2.5% to 2% and have risen in the public sector from 1% to 1.5%. 
     
  • Inflation is continuing to put upward pressure on pay for some organisations. Recruitment and retention difficulties are also a key factor in driving pay decisions, affecting new starters and key staff in particular. More than half of employers (53%) said they have increased starting salaries for at least a minority of vacancies and one in four (28%) have increased salaries for the majority of vacancies in response to recruitment pressures.  
     
  • In addition to hiring challenges, a third of employers (33%) said that it has become harder to retain staff in the last 12 months, particularly in the public sector (42%). In response, over half (54%) of organisations have increased salaries in some capacity and one in four organisations (25%) have increased salaries for key staff only. 

Skills shortages– employers are having to be more flexible to find candidates 

Skills shortages are particularly being seen in professional occupations (e.g. scientists, engineers) where 50% of employers report that applicants don’t have the required level of skills needed. 

The Labour Market Outlook found that:

• Two in five employers (43%) are upskilling existing staff to offset hard to fill vacancies 

• 23% are hiring more apprentices 

• 19% are recruiting from outside the UK

• 1 in 7 (16%) are lowering their recruitment standards 
 

In line with recent ONS data*, the report also found that employers were making greater efforts to hire those aged over 55 (8%) and those from disadvantaged groups (6%). 

What is the difference between Executive Search and Recruitment Agencies?

The aim of Recruitment Agencies is to fill a position with the best available person. Recruitment agencies source from a pool of candidates that are actively looking for a new challenge by advertising on various platforms. This leads to a group of candidates that are “self-selected” of which the selection was not pre-determined by the company.

The aim of Executive Search consultants is to locate and recruit the best person, regardless of whether he or she is already employed or seeking a new position. 

This approach can broaden and deepen the talent pool available to a search firm’s clients and places the control of who should be part of this talent pool, squarely in the hands of the client company. 

There may also be the use of specialised pyschometric tools, resources and skills to enhance the selection process.

The costs

Executive Search and Recruitment Agencies tend to charge a percentage fee or a retainer. 

The percentage fee is based on the starting salary of the candidate and is normally payable once the candidate starts work with you. This form of charging is most common and if you don’t find a suitable candidate, you don’t have to pay the agency anything.

However, fees can vary from 8-25% depending on the agency and the salary. If you choose a retainer fee, it is agreed at the outset; with a percentage being payable upfront and the remainder due when the candidate starts their employment.

What are your recruitment options?

Your network– Many companies use their personal network to find staff and this can be very effective. However it can also lead to skills shortages and complications with personal relationships.

Advertising on line– Companies may advertise via online sites such as Linkedin, Indeed, Monster, Fish4jobs and even Facebook.This has the benefit of advertising that your company is busy and hiring but can create a lot of administration.

Recruitment Agencies– You won’t have been in business long before the sales calls start.  When choosing an agency, try and get a recommendation and check their credentials. Anyone can set an agency up with no qualifications or experience. If things like diversity and inclusion are important to your company make sure you ask about this.

Executive Search or Headhunters– This is usually used for senior or specialised roles due to the cost. Finding a firm that understands and challenges you is worth a lot. Meeting a few firms and interviewing them can be helpful.

De-constructed recruitment– A key component of recruitment is identifying the passive candidate.  You pay a day rate for experienced researchers to find and speak to candidates for you.  A cheaper option but requires internal co-ordination.

Independent HR company or individual– Many experienced HR professionals have strong recruitment experience. They can also manage the whole process for you, even if you work with an external recruiter. 

Common recruitment mistakes

Organisations in high growth mode often run very inefficient and costly recruitment processes with little thought for the candidate experience even though it is a seller’s market.  Multiple repetitive interviews, waiting until vacancies have been created to start a process and failing to assess candidates thoroughly are typical.

Looking ahead

It is important for companies to understand and cultivate their ability to read market conditions, trends, movement and fluidity in order to develop and manage effective recruitment strategies. Needs changes as companies grow and it is important to regularly review this.

Ruth Cornish (FCIPD) is the Managing Director of Amelore an HR consultancy. Amelore provide exclusive HR and OD services to high growth and ambitious companies.

www.amelore.com

Executive Search and Recruitment Agencies – what is right for your business?

Hiring the right people is as significant to the success of a company as the business model and health of the balance sheet. 

Recruitment is a highly lucrative unregulated and fast-growing industry. It is important therefore for companies to understand the different options available to them, the costs as well as the benefits and any downside of the choices they make.

Some Key Facts 

The CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) in partnership with Hays Recruitment, conducted a Resourcing and Talent Planning survey in 2017. 

Resourcing and talent management in current economy “an employee’s market”

  • Half of CEOs have recruitment & talent management as a priority
  • Three quarters are recruiting key talent/niche areas
  • Growing demand for labour – more than half expecting headcount to increase
  • Skills shortages are escalating – four-fifths feel that competition for talent has increased 
  • Lack of specialist or technical skills & lack of sector/industry or general experience were common problems
  • Organisations are increasingly required to be creative in both their search for candidates and the packages they offer
  • Brexit is creating a bigger focus on developing internal talent

What is the difference between Executive Search and Recruitment Agencies?

The aim of Recruitment Agencies is to fill a position with the best available person.Recruitment agencies source from a pool of candidates that are actively looking for a new challenge by advertising on various platforms. This leads to a group of candidates that are “self-selected” of which the selection was not pre-determined by the company.

The aim of Executive Search consultants is to locate and recruit the best person, regardless of whether he or she is already employed or seeking a new position. 

This approach can broaden and deepen the talent pool available to a search firm’s clients and places the control of who should be part of this talent pool, squarely in the hands of the client company. 

There may also be the use of specialised pyschometric tools, resources and skills to enhance the selection process.

The costs

Executive Search and Recruitment Agencies tend to charge a percentage fee or a retainer. 

The percentage fee is based on the starting salary of the candidate and is normally payable once the candidate starts work with you. This form of charging is most common and if you don’t find a suitable candidate, you don’t have to pay the agency anything.

However, fees can vary from 8-25% depending on the agency and the salary. If you choose a retainer fee, it is agreed at the outset; with a percentage being payable upfront and the remainder due when the candidate starts their employment.

What are your recruitment options?

Your network– Many companies use their personal network to find staff and this can be very effective. However it can also lead to skills shortages and complications with personal relationships.

Advertising on line– Companies may advertise via online sites such as Linkedin, Indeed, Monster, Fish4jobs etc This has the benefit of advertising that your company is busy and hiring but can create a lot of administration.

Recruitment Agencies– You won’t have been in business long before the sales calls start.  When choosing an agency, try and get a recommendation and check their credentials. Anyone can set an agency up with no qualifications or experience. If things like diversity and inclusion are important to your company make sure you ask about this.

Executive Search or Headhunters– This is usually used for senior or specialised roles due to the cost. Finding a firm that understands and challenges you is worth a lot. Meeting a few firms and interviewing them can be helpful.

De-constructed recruitment– A key component of recruitment is identifying the passive candidate.  You pay a day rate for experienced researchers to find and speak to candidates for you.  A cheaper option but requires internal co-ordination.

Independent HR company or individual– Many experienced HR professionals have strong recruitment experience. They will often manage the process for you, even if you work with an external recruiter. 

Common recruitment mistakes

Organisations in high growth mode often run very inefficient and costly recruitment processes with little thought for the candidate experience even though it is a seller’s market.  Multiple repetitive interviews, waiting until vacancies have been created to start a process and failing to assess candidates thoroughly are typical.

Looking ahead

It is important for companies to understand and cultivate their ability to read market conditions, trends, movement and fluidity in order to develop and manage effective recruitment strategies. Needs changes as companies grow and it is important to regularly review this.

Ruth Cornish (FCIPD) is the Managing Director of Amelore an HR and Coaching consultancy.  Amelore work with a range of clients and have recently begun to work in partnership with Mazars a large accountancy firm to provide exclusive services to their high growth companies.

www.amelore.com