What Employment Law Changes Should Businesses Be Aware of In 2022?

We are now well into the second month of 2022; a year where no one really knew what to expect following on from the constant restrictions and uncertain futures we saw in 2020 and 2021 thanks to Covid-19 and Brexit.  As HR professionals, we have been sitting tight to see just how January and February have panned out in terms of what should we expect to see in terms of legislation changes as the year goes on.  Here are just a few measures that employers should be aware and planning for:-


  1. National Minimum/ Living Wage

The first change we know for certain that is coming is the increase of the National Minimum Wage at the beginning of April.  In an effort to counteract the rise in inflation rates and the increasing living costs, the government are applied the following minimum pay increases as follows:

The national living wage rate applies to those employees who are 23 years of age or older.

This is one of the highest pay increases applied since the introduction of the national minimum/Living wage rates with some rates seeing an increase of almost 12%!!


This brings with it another problem, employers are now seeing the pay gap narrowing between the higher skilled and experienced staff and those who are less so.  This has resulted in additional financial pressure to push those experienced workers pay rates up to avoid disharmony, recognise their additional responsibilities and contribution they bring to the business and also as a retention strategy so these key people don’t ‘walk’.



2. Increase To Other Statutory Payments


Statutory maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental, and parental bereavement pay will also increase from £151.97 per week to £156.66 per week along with statutory sick pay increasing to £99.35 from £96.35.



3. Holidays

To celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the late May bank holiday, which normally would have fallen on 30th May 2022, will now move to Thursday 2nd June 2022, and there will be an additional bank holiday on Friday 3 June 2022 making way for a four-day weekend.  Not everyone will be automatically entitled to this bank holiday and will be dependent on what your employment contract says:-

  • If the employee’s contract says they are entitled to, for example 20 days plus bank holidays and does not specify the bank holidays or the number, the employee will be entitled to the additional bank holiday.
  • If the employee’s contract specifies the number of bank holidays or total number of holidays including bank holidays, the employee will not be automatically entitled to the additional bank holiday and therefore it is up to the discretion of the employer if they wish to give this additional holiday to their staff.



4. Family Friendly Rights

The beginning of February saw a bill of rights being passed in Stormont allowing Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay to be brought into line with the rest of the UK which strengthens an employee’s rights in the event of loosing a child.  In another revolutionary move, Northern Ireland is also now the first jurisdiction in Europe to have legislation in place for miscarriage employment rights, the finer detail is expected later in 2022.

We are also expecting a number of other employment bills to be finalised this year namely the introduction of statutory neonatal leave and pay for parents of babies requiring neonatal care, and the extension of the redundancy protection period for employees on maternity leave to up to six months after they return to work and the introduction of carer’s leave.



5. Third Party Harassment

Changes to harassment laws are expected in 2022, including an extension to the time period employees have for raising tribunal claims and enhanced protection against harassment from third parties, such as clients, customers and members of the public.  There is currently protection for sexual harassment from third parties already in place but this protection is likely to be expanded into other areas. Training for employees will need to be updated on this point, as will organisational policies.


If your require HR support or have any staffing related issues you could benefit from some seeking advice on, please get in touch with Julie on 07858 089006 or by email to julie@consulthr.co.uk.

Is the future flexible? How to strike the right balance in a hybrid working world

By Julie Pollock Owner, Consult HR


The last 20 months have seen a fundamental re-think in how we live and work. The shift to remote work has been a silver lining in an otherwise challenging time, offering staff a greater work-life balance, freedom to live where preferred, and spending more time with loved ones. In pre-Covid times working from home was almost unheard of, with only 5% of staff operating outside the office. With CIPD figures suggesting that 40% of employers expect more than half their workforce to work regularly from home, and 80% of staff who worked remotely seeking that arrangement to continue, it seems the arrangement is here to stay.

While both a high number of employers and employees alike are seeking to rethink the future of work, a cautious approach must be taken to Is the future flexible? How to strike the right balance in a hybrid working world ensure that the right balance is struck. Making sure working arrangements put in place do not have a detrimental impact on the business must be the top priority of any employer.

It is worth noting that remote working is not for everyone. Under 10% of people report they would not want to work-from-home at all, and particular jobs are simply not suitable for a remote working arrangement. Going forward, employers must not rush towards a one-size-fits-all policy that simply will not work for their business or particular employees. Are you developing a work-from-home or hybrid working arrangement?

Here are my top tips around what employers should consider when implementing new working arrangements:

  • Involve your staff in the discussions, ask them what works well and what doesn’t. Research suggests that staff preference is a hybrid approach, a combination of working from home and in the workplace.
  • Identify when staff are required to be in the office to fit with the needs of the business and clearly communicate these boundaries to the relevant staff.
  • Consider whether you will adopt a fully work from-home arrangement or a hybrid approach. This should be given careful consideration, taking into account the potential impact this could have on working relationships. Research suggests those working fully from home reported poorer relationships with colleagues and a more negative impact on their health.
  • Clearly set out your expectations around childcare when working from home, i.e., are employees allowed to care for their children when working remotely or must they have appropriate childcare arrangements in place.
  • Prepare a clear, bespoke policy setting out who the policy applies to, what the flexible working arrangements are and your expectations from staff.
  • Put a trial period in place which will allow you the flexibility to try and test these arrangements with the ability to change this if parts of this arrangement are not working, rather than being stuck with a policy that doesn’t work.

Consult HR has a wealth of experience with developing polices plus all other HR related matters. If you would like any further information or advice, contact Julie on 07858 089006 or by email to julie@consulthr.co.uk

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Recruitment and Selection Strategies for the Modern Workforce

The past few years have brought about many drastic changes to the way we work and communicate with others particularly in an era of a multigenerational workforce of which each generation has different preferences and even more so with Brexit which has caused recruitment problems including: increased cost and complexity when hiring EU residents; and reduced applicants for jobs traditionally filled by workers from EU nationals. Not forgetting COVID-19 which caused unprecedented economic disruption, however that said the pandemic has accelerated the use of technology forcing companies to adapt very quickly.

Many challenges have been overcome with technology however, the issue of finding not only new employees, but the right employees, continues to linger on and thanks to COVID-19 the traditional hiring process has been harder than ever this year with recruiters and candidates having to adapt to a fully remote experience.

There is an abundance of empty positions out there that need to be filled and it is all too common to find that employers are somewhat struggling to get the quality applicants that are needed to fill them.


This new age workforce that we are seeking to fill these empty roles are becoming harder to entice which is making the recruitment and selection process very difficult. As it stands, about one-third of the current workforce is either Gen Y or millennials (age between 25 and 40 years old), but this is predicted to rise over the next decade to around the three-quarters mark. Here are a few strategy ideas to implement when recruiting.


  1. The HR process needs to be personal

No one wants to be just a number. The days where people were just grateful to get a job offer have almost disappeared.  With the rise of remote work, people can pick and choose where they work and who they work for. This means that you need to step up your game if you want to hire the right people for the positions that you have open.

Part of making sure that you can hire and recruit successfully is offering a highly personal HR experience. Your HR department makes the contact, carries out the benefits package discussions, and PTO negotiations amongst other things.  A potential employee will appreciate the opportunity to discuss these matters with the objective to create a personalised package which is suitable for them.  Making a personal impact at this point is hugely beneficial.


  1. How employees expectations has changed over time

Employees used to conform to whatever employers needed. In recent years, that dynamic has fundamentally changed. Businesses are now conforming to workers – understanding them, investing in them, and involving them to create a better working experience.

Companies need to work on issues ranging from bread-and-butter basics – like pay and admin processes – to deeper cultural shifts around management and training.

[Linkedin Global Talent Trends report 2020)

  1. Ask Interesting Interview Questions

Gone are the days of the boring questions asked at all interviews. Replace the “What are your goals for your time here?” discussion with a chat about how the person might improve your company if given the chance. Ask questions that judge personality and temperament as well as skills and knowledge.

Finding applicants that are a good fit for existing teams and company ethos is really important. A secondary benefit to asking interesting interview questions is that your company will stand out in the minds of the people that you interviewed, making them have a positive feeling about the position.

We are operating in a world where it is not only you making the selection during the interview process.  The candidate is also assessing you and the Company to decide if this is a place they would like to work, if offered the job.  you need to attract the attention of skilled workers and convince them to choose to work for you, by having a positive and exciting interview process can be a big help toward getting new hires to accept your offers.

4. It goes beyond Salary and Benefits

If you can’t offer up a full slate of competitive benefits, you may some of the most experienced applicants for your jobs. You should seriously consider, healthcare, flexible work schedules, and other perks in addition to a basic benefits package if you want to hire the right talent for your needs.

Also, consider being willing to accept custom requests from your new hires. For many job roles, small shifts in the hours worked on certain days, or other such requests, will not cause an impediment to daily work tasks. In some cases, it will actually help with efficiencies to allow your new hire this flexibility.

Be mindful that many adults are having to provide support to their child for school right now, as well as attending to all the usual ups and downs of busy daily life. Being flexible will help secure your position as a top job for many of your applicants.

Professional development, opportunities for promotion within the business and a company’s corporate social responsibility strategy and ethics are also hugely important in motivating candidates as well as a sense of ‘team’ and ‘belonging’.

Training, mentorship and company culture are also important selling points for potential new employees.


  1. Employer brand – employee value proposition

Candidates today, especially millennials, are smart, well informed, and favour companies that are able to conduct a dialogue with them, understand them as individuals, build relationships, and offer a hiring and employee experience that looks at not just their skills, but also at their needs and career aspirations.

They will research companies on social media platforms, thoroughly before they even apply and in doing so will make a choice as to whether they see themselves working for the organisation or not. Candidates are more likely to apply for a job if an employer brand is strong and the company social media sites not only tells them about the job but gives them a sense of the organisations culture.


  1. Internal recruitment

Organisations face greater competition for the most in demand skills and with internal recruitment you can fill open roles with existing employees. Not only do you retain great  employees and valuable talent but it improves retention, it’s much better they move within your company than out. 41% of employees stay longer at companies with high internal hiring vs those with low internal hiring [Linkedin data].


  1. Diversity and inclusion

Recruit from broader, more diverse groups who are typically underrepresented can be another way to boost candidate choice, for example,  disability, those with caring responsibilities, single parents. In 2021, companies should look beyond diversity as a quota to meet and focus more on creating a culture where diversity can thrive



To successfully recruit top talent, you will need to understand the needs and desires of candidates. Candidates are looking to have a remote-working option, an inclusive environment, strong company branding, company values that are compatible with their own and the potential to get reskilled by their organization along with growth and development opportunities.


Recruiting the right people is paramount for the success of your business.  Consult HR has a wealth of experience within recruitment and selection plus all other HR related matters.  If you would like any further information or advice, contact Julie on 07858 089006 or by email to julie@consulthr.co.uk.

Employing a young workforce and knowing the law

Businesses stand or fall on the quality of their people – and if your company can’t recruit enough staff with the right level of skills and experience, that’s potentially a serious problem.

Many business sectors in the UK and Ireland are reporting a worrying shortage of skilled employees which is having a direct knock-on effect widespread across all industries.   The impact of Brexit and Covid 19 has resulted in a huge number of foreign employees, who would have filled many of these currently vacant posts previously, returning back to their homelands.


One way of counteracting these staff shortages is to employ local young people.  Coincidentally, young people aged 16-24 make up the largest portion of unemployed people in the UK so it makes great sense to endeavour to utilise what we have immediately available.

Employing young people has historically been a financially attractive way to see through particularly busy periods offering casual, temporary work but for skilled trades, employing young people requires investment, time and they have addition employment rights.



Here is a handy checklist for employing younger people, along with a couple of more general tips to help you tackle these staffing problems head on!

  1. Know your minimum wage


Reflecting their lack of experience, young employees are paid a lesser hourly rate than those aged 21 and above.  Ensure you are paying them at least the appropriate hourly minimum wage rate for their age.


2. Working hours and rest break rules are different


Be aware of the rules surrounding working hours and rest break entitlements as these differ for employees dependant on their age.  For example, employees under the age of 18 years old must receive a minimum of a 30 minute uninterrupted break if they work more than 4.5 consecutive hours.


Those aged 18 years and over must receive at least a 20 minute break uninterrupted break if they work more than 6 consecutive hours.


The breaks do not have to be taken at the end of the 4.5 or 6 hours, they can be taken some time during this period and there is no legal entitlement for employers to pay employees for their breaks.



3. There are restrictions on night work


With the exception of work in hospitality, hospitals, agriculture, retail and culture/arts activities, an employee under the age of 18 should not be expected to work after 10pm and before 7am.  They should not be made to work more than eight hours per day or more than 40 hours per week.

They will only be able to work longer hours if they either need to:

  • keep the continuity of service or production
  • respond to a surge in demand for a service or product

and provided that:

  • there is no adult available to do the work
  • their training needs are not negatively affected

They should also be supervised at all times.



4. Health and safety


It only stands to sense that employers must protect the health and safety of all employees as far as reasonably practicable – no matter what their age. There is specific provision under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 addressing the safety of young workers (under 18).


This act explains that a young employee must not be exposed to risk due to a lack of experience, lack of maturity or by being unaware of existing or potential risks. There are several areas for you to consider including workplace layout, training and work equipment among others.


5. Keeping records


Good HR is often underpinned by good record keeping, and this is certainly relevant when employing young people. In fact, there are some legal requirements to be aware of. You must keep records for two years of the following:

  • The average weekly working hours as proof they are not working over the 8-hour limit per day.
  • Night work when it has been required.
  • Health assessments offered throughout their employment.


Further considerations


Following on from the pandemic, there has been a massive shift in not only how we recruit new employees, but in how we hold on to the ones we have already!  Whatever the ages of any new employees you take on, you may find that things like your workplace culture, training and development and employee benefits packages may need a review or some improvement.


At Consult HR, we specialise in offering experienced advice and guidance beginning at the point of recruitment and following through to all HR related matters for all staff.  If you would like any further information or advice, contact Julie on 07858 089006 or by email to julie@consulthr.co.uk.





Employee Flight Risk – How to handle unhappy employees considering leaving

What is a flight risk? 

In HR & recruitment, flight risk refers to the likelihood that an employee will leave the company presumably for a better job opportunity elsewhere. The flight risk most often involves an increase in salary, but there are many other reasons.  These non-financial motivators for switching employers include having a difficult relationship with a colleague, unfavorable micromanagement and little to no hope of career progression or personal development.


How can a flight risk impact your company?

Flight risk employees are a huge financial danger to a company.  If they decide to leave, not only are they leaving an employer with an added workload to redistribute, but they are creating a considerable financial burden for the company.  Indeed, if the employee has been with you for a considerable length of time, they will have a good handle on your business, suppliers and many contacts which they will take with them to their new position.  The hiring process alone to find a replacement, can be costly as well as the difficult matter of finding another candidate with the experience you require, to step in and continue working at the level the last employee did.

Of course, there are many other scenarios where employees may decide to leave.  Some of these, such as relocating or retirement are unavoidable but, there are many factors that can increase an employee’s flight risk that an employer can control.  By considering the motivators which make employees unhappy in their role, an employer can mitigate the risk staff leaving.


How to identify a flight risk

The trick is to spot the reasons why employees are leaving their jobs and adapting to try and retain them. Here are a few pointers to consider:

  • Competitive Salaries

Money talks and for an employee who works hard but doesn’t feel that their efforts are being gratified, they very quickly become a huge flight risk.   If a pay rise isn’t on the cards at the moment, consider implementing employee benefit schemes or a structured target with rewarding bonus at the end.

  • Clear routes for career progression

Frustrated employees who see colleagues progressing in their careers or changing direction within a company when they are not, are another flight risk.  Offer personal development plans, options to gain further qualifications and be transparent with your employees.  Ask them what their goals are and try to help if you can.

  • Minimise Stress

25% of all UK workers have said that their work or place of work has caused them stress in the past year. Employees often feel stressed because their workload is too much. A way to combat this is to get employees to tackle bigger tasks as a team instead of working individually. It’s best to let them decide amongst themselves how best to divide up the work as this also help great more autonomy. Many hands make light work.

  • Managers

For some people a poor relationship with their manager is the number one reason they leave their job. There are many different reasons why people don’t get along with their manager. For instance, failing to recognise an employee’s quality of work, undermining the employees work performance, and toxic communication.  By encouraging your managers to offer constructive feedback or help, it will allow the employee to feel part of the team and will pave the way for a better working relationship.

  • Keep things fresh

Monotonous tasks can make employees feel unstimulated and bored.  By doing the same things day in day out, many employees struggle to find motivation and actually end up being a lot less productive than if they have fresh, new and exciting tasks to complete.  Think about your workload and try to allow employees to do new things.

  • Strengthen your company culture

A company is only as strong as it’s employees thus it is paramount that they feel valued and looked after.  Your company values should be clear and concise and by introducing things such as healthcare plans will help to show that your employees matter.



If you require further support with staffing, please feel free to contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or e-mail julie@consulthr.co.uk. Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk





6 tips for employers on how to re-motivate, re-energising and re-train staff as we return to work

6 tips for employers on how to re-motivate, re-energising and re-train staff as we return to work

With restrictions lifting in the last week of May, many businesses are reopening their doors for the first time in almost six months. It’s been greatly anticipated by customers and business owners alike. However, employees may not feel the same.

It’s only natural: staff are returning to work after a 6-month hiatus. Within that time many will have established new routines and adjusted to having a lot more time at home. So, some staff may feel a little deflated and unmotivated. Others may resent having to return to work, even in the most positive of working environments. While this is understandable, it’s not efficient for business.

Until we fully adapt to the ‘new normal’, business owners are responsible for guiding their staff through this exciting, rapidly evolving period. Here are 6 tips for employers to build confidence in staff as we begin to open our doors again:


  1. Safety first

Clarifying and implementing COVID procedures is a crucial first step. Government guidelines change almost weekly in Northern Ireland, so staying up to date with advice is vital. Doing so ensures that you are providing the safest and most comfortable environment for your employees, and your clients. Update employees about internal changes within your company which impacts how they should operate.


  1. Support and adjust early

Over the course of the pandemic many employees may have faced incredibly challenging personal circumstances. Their health and wellbeing, and that of their friends and family, may have been impacted. Extreme changes in circumstances can be reported to the human resources department if necessary.

It is important to offer support, and provide an invitation for employees to bring their concerns forward so that necessary adjustments can be made.

Now is also the perfect opportunity to revise existing set rotas, team structures and employee development plans.

Businesses are facing an ‘evolution’ stage. Areas for improvement and issues experienced prior to the pandemic should be highlighted and resolved alongside the new COVID alterations, while people are already adapting.


  1. Hit the ground jogging?

The lockdowns have severely adjusted the pace of our lives; this is especially true for people who have received furlough and have had a full break from work.

Accept that employees may initially struggle to readapt to the speed and energy required to work. If staff are in agreement and it’s possible financially, offer reduced hours or staggered working days. Working shorter, more frequent shifts opposed to longer days should prevent overwhelming staff until they are ready to return to work at full capacity. Flexi-furlough may be able assist this.

Where this isn’t feasible, collaborate with staff to figure out which tasks need to be prioritised. Express expectations, and implement a plan to determine the best way to move forward with maximum efficiency.

If staff are unwilling to return to work, contact HR about how to proceed. There is no blanket approach on how to treat individual staff members following a pandemic. However, if an employee is unnecessarily underperforming or unreasonably refusing to return to work, disciplinary actions may have to be considered.


  1. Refresh and retrain

Relying on muscle-memory may not be the best strategy to adopt towards people who haven’t been operating in their roles since December.

Providing a mini-induction training to cover the basics and daily operations will provide comfort, and allow staff to readjust to their roles. A refresher course will also instil confidence in staff who may be intimidated at the thought of returning to a job they haven’t worked at for half a year.

For those in the hospitality sector, offering a trial day, for example a friends and family only day, should alleviate pressure from employees and help sooth anxiety among those who feel overwhelmed.


  1. Reconnect through a team building activity

Many people experienced long periods of isolation over the duration of the pandemic. Another thing to consider is that many staff members may not have seen or spoken to each other in almost half a year.

Team building exercises not only reduce potential awkwardness between co-workers, but are proven to increase long term productivity and communication, and reduce the occurrence of health and safety incidents.[1]

Ice-breaking activities encourage collaboration and solidarity among co-workers. They bring people out of their shells, and closer together as a team. As Margaret Carty said, “The nicest thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.”


  1. Lead staff with compassion and clarity

Gather staff together for a meeting to acknowledge that you appreciate that things have been anything but normal for the past year, and that you understand discomfort – you are only human too, of course. Reminding employees that they are valued and an integral aspect of the business is also important.


Despite the challenges, it is time to move forward. Employees must be onboard and prepare to begin progressing enthusiastically, and as a team. Reinforce that they are still expected to work to a high standard upon reopening, even if that standard has changed.


If you require further support with the Coronavirus please feel free to contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or e-mail julie@consulthr.co.uk. Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk

Tags: Coronavirus, Coronavirus HR, Covid-19, HR, COVID, return to work, adjusting to covid, motivating staff, human resources


[1] https://teambuilding.com/blog/team-building-statistics

Can Managers Make Staff Get a Covid-19 Vaccine?

Over half a million people living in Northern Ireland, have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.  And we are now one year on from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In order to protect your staff and your business, it’s important to look at Covid-19 vaccines in the workplace.

One London company, has already hit the headlines on this issue. Pimlico Plumbers, announced that opportunities would be declined to workers, unless they could show proof of vaccination for Covid-19. If your staff deal with the public, should you consider a similar approach?

Here, Consult HR outlines the legal and ethical issues employers face by making a Covid-19 vaccine mandatory.

Covid-19 Vaccine Refusal & Unfair Dismissal


If an employee refuses to get a Covid-19 vaccine  required for ongoing work, they could lodge a  claim for unfair dismissal. Your employees may encounter the public, customers or colleagues in their work. If so, an unreasonable refusal will generally be defined in two ways. This could be an issue of conduct/capability, or “some other substantial reason for dismissal.”

With every dismissal, managers should ensure they follow a fair process, in line with Labour Relations Agency Code of Practice and your own internal Company Policies. Firstly, you need to look at the reasons why they are refusing the vaccine. Do they have a genuine health concern? If so, you might want to explore alternatives to dismissal, such as redeployment.

It would help managers if employees received reliable and accurate information on the benefits and risks of vaccines.  The Public Health Agency would be an excellent source to use. If safety at work issues outweigh your employee’s vaccine concern, you may be able to successfully defend a dismissal.

However, every claim has its particulars and a lot depends on the circumstances. A nurse refusing a Covid-19 vaccination, and a gardener, for example, could have wildly different outcomes at tribunal. Nurses must interact with vulnerable people daily. A gardener, however, may encounter no other people in the course of their daily duties.

Covid-19 Vaccine & Working from Home Requests

Whilst the current guidance continues to be if you can work from home you should do so and those who are in the extremely vulnerable category should also work from home.

Managers do not universally have to grant employee requests to work from home, because of exposure risks to Covid-19 (with the exception of the above). Again, as a manager you should fairly assess the wishes of the employee and the needs of the company.

All your staff may be called to return to the workplace. So, a tribunal may find that it is reasonable to require that all staff receive a Covid-19 vaccine. This also applies for staff interacting with the wider public, in the course of their duties. If someone refusing a Covid-19 vaccine places other people’s health at risk, this is a strong defence for an employer.

The Right to Freedom of the Individual and Beliefs


Tribunal claims indicate that the remit of “religious or other belief” under Equal Opportunities, is wide and open-ended. Human rights principles, such as personal choice, liberty, privacy of medical records and bodily autonomy, could arise in such claims.

Rights must be weighed up against the best interests of all who are affected. An employee’s beliefs are protected, but only if an employer’s actions are deemed disproportionate to the needs of the business.

As these issues have yet to be tested in tribunals, however. So, employers should be careful and cautious in how they handle staff refusals to receive a Covid-19 vaccine. An in-depth consideration of the employee’s position, and the needs of a business, is essential.

Consult HR Help for Tribunal Issues


Going to tribunal is a complex, and stressful process. The best option is to seek professional guidance. Consult HR provides guidance on employment matters to avoid possible tribunal claims.

For bespoke guidance, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk

Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk


5 Ways to Improve Team Management Skills

Now’s the perfect time to assess your team management skills, as you continue to prepare for the year ahead. This is particularly important, as we leave behind a year which stretched our business and management skills like no other.

With a COVID-19 vaccine currently being rolled out, we can begin to hope to return to some normality in 2021. However, the pandemic has exposed huge weaknesses in team management.

City & Guilds surveyed 3,500 UK workers about this issue. Almost two-thirds felt that their company’s leadership had been lacking during the stress and change, of 2020. (You can read more here about this survey).

1. Delegation for Good Team Management

As a manager, you must lead. Yet, it is important to have a staff structure which allows for delegation, and trust. If staff are given responsibilities and autonomy, this eases up the workload of a manager. But – just as importantly – it also encourages a culture of autonomy.

If employees do not feel they are developing in their jobs, there is likely to be higher turnover of staff. This costs a company more, and makes a team more fractured, and less efficient.

2. Empathy

Many managers underestimate the power of empathy, in fact, many don’t see the value in this management skill at all.

Empathy is crucial during times of crisis when so many people are struggling and has been the saving grace for many businesses during the Coronavirus.

Getting this right creates connections with your staff, it creates an innovative, loyal workforce.

How Do You Show Empathy?

  • Listen to people—without interrupting.  And while you’re listening, pay attention—without distractions like looking at your phone or looking at your watch.
  • Talk to people – be genuinely interested, ask them about their interests, pay attention to what they’re doing and praise them for what they’re doing well, and encourage them to speak up with their own ideas.

Not only does it create a stronger workforce but improves the overall business performance, a study from Harvard Business Review found that empathetic companies outperform their more callous counterparts by 20%.

3. Provide Feedback to Your Team

Millennials now make up a high percentage of most businesses, it is imperative managers tailor their management style to suit the workforce.

Generation Y Millennials (aged 24 to 38) prefer to receive on the spot recognition.  They also crave recognition, career progression and want to learn and develop.

However irrespective of the demographics of the workforce, successful performance of your team is achieved by being clear on the expectations of each team member, providing regular feedback on performance and giving staff accountability for their own performance by setting targets.

However research would suggest if you want to hold on to your top performers  one of the main retention strategies is recognition, 25% of people said they left their jobs due to lack of recognition in their employment.

4. Communicate With Your Team

Team managers should seek to create a sense of parity. Rather than being distant in an office, a team manager should hold regular team meetings.

These meetings are an opportunity to update staff on changes within the organisation. They also allow for hearing the views and experiences of staff, and welcoming new team members.

Team meetings also allow a manager to build on their active listening skills. A manager should not assume because they lead, or have many years’ experience, that they always know best.  They may be pleasantly surprised and the company may benefit from the skills, experience and input of newer and younger staff.

With many staff working remotely, this brings it’s own challenges but also makes the regular communication more important now that ever.  Communicating with remote teams will ensure the workforce stay connected and up to date with what is happening within the business.

5. Manage Discipline Fairly

A manager should strictly follow best practice, as outlined by Labour Relations Agency.  Managers should be aware, that a one size fits all approach, however, could be discrimination. Particular attention should be given, to protected characteristics under the remit of the Disability Discrimination Act. If not, a manager could well have a tribunal to answer to.

A practical step to take, is to ensure policies in relation to discipline and equality, are in place. Management need to ensure they are followed across the company and amended over time.

For example, a decade ago there was little discussion of gender identity beyond male and female. Earlier this month, a tribunal claim brought against Jaguar Land Rover, broke new ground in protection for gender-fluid staff. (Read details here).

Consult HR Help for Team Management Skills

There’s a lot for a management team to think about, when it comes to efficient management skills. The best option is to seek professional guidance. Consult HR can provide the management support and training your company needs.


For bespoke management training and support, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk

Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk









Brexit Guide for Employers in Northern Ireland

Brexit came into force on 31 December 2020, so this Brexit Guide for Employers in Northern Ireland is essential reading.

Brexit means that free movement of people has ended in the UK. This will impact on your business if you currently employ employees from EU member states. It will also impact on future employment of such individuals.

Using this Brexit Guide for Employers

This Brexit Guide for Employers flags up the key issues your business now faces. These include understanding your EU employees’ status, their right to work and your duty as an employer.

This guide offers tips on dealing with these key issues advise you on how to deal with them. We also have some useful links below guiding you to other resources to help you.

Your EU Employees

Europeans living in the UK on, or before 31 December 2020, may retain the right to work in the UK. However, to qualify, the employee must apply for settled status, under the EU Settlement Scheme. A ‘grace period’ exists for this –  EU nationals have until 30 June 2021 to apply.

Anyone who is granted settled status is permitted to continue working in the UK beyond 30 June 2021. European nationals who arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020, will need a visa, to work in the UK.

If your employee has been a resident in Northern Ireland, before 31 December 2020, they can continue to work for you. To qualify for this, you need to have completed ‘right to work’ checks.  These checks involve verifying the employee’s identity by inspecting official documentation, such as their passport. You then retain copies of this documentation on file. See further details on ‘right to work’ checks here.

Your Duty as an Employer Under Brexit

You should advise all EU national staff of their requirement to apply for settled status by 30 June 2021. However, ultimate responsibility lies with the employee – they must apply, themselves. Applications can be made online.

Displaying posters in your workplace, stating how staff can make their applications is sensible. You may also wish to offer support to any staff who need it, regarding PC access and skills.

Brexit Right to Work Guidance

Until end of June 2021, employers carrying out work checks on European nationals, can accept an in-date European passport. Employers can also accept a valid national ID card, as proof to right to work. If a person is granted settled status, this can be accepted as proof.

A right to work check based on a European passport, gains a statutory defence against illegal working.

Employers found to have staff working for them, who do not have a legal right to work, can be fined. The fine can be up to £20,000 PER illegal worker.

Cross-Border or Frontier Workers Under Brexit

Frontier workers are cross-border workers. A frontier worker in Northern Ireland is an EU National employee who resides in ROI, but works in Northern Ireland. They return home at least once a week.

Under the new regulations, frontier workers must hold a frontier worker permit to enter the UK for work. This comes into effect from 1st July 2021 but DOES NOT APPLY to Irish citizens.

About Frontier Workers’ Permits

Here’s a short summary of how the system works:

  • The worker applies for a frontier worker permit
  • A permit lasts for 5 years and belongs to the employee. They can switch between employment.
  • You can apply for a frontier permit online. It is a free application, up to 1 July 2021.
  • Irish citizens do not need to apply for a frontier permit.

Points Based Immigration System under Brexit

Under the points-based system, UK employers will need to be a registered sponsor. See details here on how to apply for a sponsor licence. This enables you to recruit new employees from outside the UK. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens planning to work or study in here, will need to apply through the points-based system.

Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter the UK under the Common Travel Arrangement. They are not required to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme or under the new points-based scheme.

Non-Irish EU citizens, living in the Republic, who wish to work cross-border, will need to apply to the points-based system.

Recap of Next Steps for Employers under Brexit

  1. Ensure employees are aware of the EU Settlement Scheme – target your communications to encourage them to apply.
  2. Continue to use the same ‘right to work’ checks until 30th June 2021.
  3. Employers are not expected to check if the employee has applied to the settlement scheme. It is your duty to carry out appropriate checks, in line with your recruitment process, when an employee is appointed. It is the employee’s responsibility to apply for settlement.
  4. Allow appropriate time to act, if intending to be a sponsor.


Useful Links


Intertrade Ireland

If you require any assistance with your HR requirements, we are more than happy to help, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or e-mail julie@consulthr.co.uk

Disclaimer: This article is intended to provide you with general information on the EU Migration Scheme.  You should take professional advice prior to making any decisions in line with this guide.

3 Ideas for a Virtual Christmas Party

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, a lot of our Christmas traditions can’t take place. Yet don’t despair; there is a range of ways, to celebrate virtually, with staff. Holding a virtual Christmas party is a great way to boost morale. It also serves, to thank colleagues, for working hard throughout such a tough year.

Virtual Secret Santa

An oldie, but a goldie. A firm favourite for many workplaces, Secret Santa can be altered to be a virtual event. Slack has a Secret Santa app, which can be downloaded. It randomly selects colleagues, messaging them privately, who they need to buy a gift for. However, you don’t need to have Slack. Any form of video messaging software will work, and as a manager, you can pick names out of a hat. Gifts can be posted to colleague’s home addresses. This is a great option if you have a small to medium-sized business. It’s a wise idea to set a spending limit, of around £5 or £10. Staff may have varying salaries. Keeping the budget low, is inclusive.

Virtual Award Ceremony

Getting dressed up, without worrying about falling over in heels, or sorting taxis at the end of the night. That’s the joy of a virtual party for staff. Many companies will have had to cancel yearly, in-person ceremonies. Budget set aside can contribute to holding a virtual version. Managers can set a black-tie dress code and allocate a set allowance for buying drinks and snacks. To make the event more fun, consider creating voting cards. Staff can then vote on the night, for the person to fit the categories. Keep these light-hearted, positive, and PC!

Presents Wrapped With Bows

Virtual Christmas Crafts

For those up for a challenge, consider hosting a virtual craft-making session. Managers don’t have to be artists – there are many fun, simple, tutorial videos available to watch on YouTube. The tutorial can be screen shared with everyone, and the materials can be sent in advance. Or a list of materials to find. This is a great option for organisations, with smaller budgets. There will be many crafting ideas that rely on using household materials, which would normally be thrown out, or recycled.

Consult HR Wishes Our Clients a Happy Holiday Season

2020 has been a challenging year for companies. Consult HR would like to thank our clients, for choosing us to manage your HR needs. We wish everyone a happy Christmas and a healthy New Year. We look forward to working with you in 2021.

If you would like some support with your HR issues now or in the New Year, please get in touch with Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or email julie@consulthr.co.uk

Visit our website here: www.consulthr.co.uk