How to deal with underperforming staff

  • Do you have staff in your business who are not performing the job to the level that you are paying them to?

  • How much time do you spend managing staff who aren’t doing their job properly?

  • Have you ever thought on how this effects your business?

Research states that managers spend more than a quarter of their time managing staff members who don’t perform.

Costly mistakes, the loss of customers, and the loss of experienced staff have the potential to negatively impact on you and your business and therefore are too important to ignore.

Dealing with an employee who is underperforming is unfortunately something that as a manager or employer, you will have to face throughout your career. Poor performance can affect productivity, bring down the morale of the rest of the team and affect the overall goals of your business. Therefore, no doubt, when presented with this situation, you’ll want to deal with it right away.

While this is something that happens in most workplaces, there is definitely a right and wrong way to go about the situation. So with this in mind, here, Julie Pollock from Consult HR shares the most effective ways to deal with underperforming staff.


Get to the source of the problem

Often, there is a reason an employee is making multiple mistakes or doesn’t seem to be putting in the effort anymore, so begin by questioning what the cause could be. Are they overwhelmed by their workload? Are they experiencing difficulty prioritising? Could they benefit from more training? Or, is there a personal reason for their lack of enthusiasm at work?

Prepare to give feedback

It’s important to plan your meeting with the employee in question so that you can offer feedback, which will hopefully lead to improvement. Before the meeting, gather as much evidence and material as possible, so that you have all the facts to hand in order to be specific. Choose a time to sit down together, rather than airing your grievances in the heat of the moment, especially in front of other employees. Be clear about the key messages you wish to get across and how a resolution can be reached.


Deal with underperformance sooner rather than later

If you don’t deal with an underperforming employee sooner rather than later, you are delivering the message that what they are doing is okay. Furthermore, other members of staff may believe that their behaviour is acceptable and follow suit. During the meeting, highlight the fact that the aim of the discussion is to find a solution, rather than as an opportunity to vent. It is also worth highlighting some positive attributes of the employee so that it isn’t an entirely negative experience.

Make your expectations known

While from time-to-time there will be employees who don’t take a role seriously and try to get away with doing as little as they can, most people don’t deliberately set out to under perform. Poor performance can arise as a result of someone not being 100 per cent clear on what exactly is expected of them. In this instance, it is important to make the expectations of the role known. Be clear on boundaries, who they are responsible for reporting to, any targets they must meet and timelines for outstanding tasks. Ideally, this show be made known to an employee as soon as they join your company. Furthermore, regular appraisals are key for keeping staff motivated and productivity levels high.


Offer feedback on performance not personality

Unfortunately, we won’t like and respect everyone we work with over the years. There will be personality clashes and we won’t enjoy spending time with everyone, but this should not impact on your view of an employee’s performance. If a staff member falls into this category, make sure you are offering feedback on their work only. It is vital that your personal opinion of them does not impact your view of their work, especially if they are hitting targets and performing well.

Learn what motivates your employees

It’s worthwhile noting that different things keep different people motivated. Ideally, you should regularly get to know your employees, and specifically, their long term goals and aspirations, and what you can do to better support them.


Reward improvement

A great habit to get into, is following up with underperforming employees to review their progress. For those who have made improvements, give credit where credit is due. Rewarding their change in attitude is a surefire way to ensure they continue to meet your expectations and take pride in the job at hand.

We are here to help

If you are experiencing difficulties with underperforming employees, help is at hand. If underperforming employees are causing you some problems, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or to discuss further.

Snow business: How to manage staff during bad weather

With snow forecast for many over the coming weeks, as a business owner, you may find yourself wondering how to manage your staff and your business during this period if the bad weather causes some disruption. Here, Julie Pollock from Consult HR answers the common questions asked by business owners in regards to bad weather…


Do I have to pay my employees if they can’t get into work?

In general, no. Employees are legally obliged to come to work provided they are not on sickness, annual or some other “official” holiday. This is the case even during periods of extreme weather.

If the workplace is open, employees should make the effort to get to work if they can. While employers should not encourage employees to put themselves at risk, if an employee cannot get in the employer is not obliged to pay them.

You should double check your staff policies and contracts for any indication that staff will be paid in the event of bad weather. You should also be mindful of what has been done in previous periods of bad weather as if you have paid absences of this nature in the past, you may have set a precedent for payments of this nature.


Do I have to pay my employees if I have to close the business due to bad weather?

If you send staff home after they have presented for work then yes, you will be required to pay them for the full day, unless you agree an alternative with them, i.e. they take holiday hours or they will work back the time at a later date.

However, if you have a lay-off clause in your staff’s contract of employment and you give your staff advance notice not to come into work you can put them on temporary lay off and pay them the guaranteed payment rate instead of their normal wages which is currently £28 per day. Employees who work 5 days per week are entitled to up to 5 days guaranteed payment for any lay off days in a 13 week period (4 days guaranteed payment if they work 4 days per week and so on).


What alternatives are there to docking pay?

Employers may wish to avoid docking staff wages to prevent low morale amongst staff. Approaches to consider include:

  • Paying all staff, regardless of whether they are able to make it into work;
  • Introducing “snow days”, or paid leave for days absent due to bad weather which is limited to a number of days;
  • Asking staff to take annual leave (note that an employer cannot force an employee to take a day holiday without giving advance notice);
  • Permitting staff to make up the time off on their return;
  • Asking staff to work at an alternative workplace (if available); and
  • Permitting staff to work from home if appropriate.​


What can I do if I suspect an employee can make it into work but is choosing not to, blaming bad weather?

In this situation you may consider disciplining the employee. However, employers must have evidence to show employees are blaming their absenteeism on the weather and must not act on suspicions alone. Therefore a thorough investigation should be conducted initially and decide whether this is sufficient information before progressing the matter to a formal disciplinary hearing.

If you have concerns as to what you are required to do as an employer, get in touch today.  Call Julie on 07858089006.

Bah humbug! Alternatives to the staff Christmas party

Without sounding like the ‘Grinch’ at Christmas, the aftermath of the staff Christmas party is becoming more problematic for employers.

The fear of alcohol fuelled behaviour such as unwanted touching, telling the manager what you really think of them or a night ending in a bar brawl are the main fears for employers.

Julie Pollock from Consult HR said: “At this time of year, we receive many calls from clients seeking advice following their staff Christmas parties. We are finding that many employers are rethinking the traditional staff Christmas party and replacing it with alternative.”

If you are considering something different to the usual staff Christmas party, here are the alternatives, sure to put a smile on your employees’ faces.



A festive lunch

Research has suggested that 50% of staff don’t actually like the staff Christmas party so one of the most popular alternatives is a festive lunch. The thought of finishing work early and heading out for a nice lunch with colleagues will definitely instil some festive cheer. Plus, if it’s during the day, staff are more likely to refrain from drinking excessively and head home late afternoon/early evening so you don’t need to worry about being over the limit travelling to work the next day.



When questioned, a survey showed that 90% off staff would prefer a bonus to a Christmas party, so why not fulfil their wishes?! Using the money that you’ve saved on the Christmas party means that you can distribute it to staff. They’ll definitely thank-you for the extra cash which comes in useful around Christmas time.

An extra holiday

Just like bonuses, extra free-time is definitely appreciated. Giving staff an extra afternoon off will allow them to use the time as they wish to do any last minute shopping, catch up with an old friend home for Christmas or go to their child’s nativity play.

Team activity

If bringing your staff together is your goal, a team building activity might be a better option. Get employees to vote on a few activities and book the one that comes out on top. This allows relationships to grow without the chaos that often comes with Christmas parties.


In-office Christmas party

Many companies substitute a Christmas night-out with an in-house office Christmas party. Festive-themed knitwear, Christmas inspired nibbles, music and games is the perfect way to show your appreciation for a great working year.

If the traditional office Christmas party doesn’t work for your workplace, try these fab festive options instead.

If you still intend to hold a staff party, check out our blog post here, where we explain how to avoid making costly mistakes at the Christmas do!

If you have any staffing problems that you would like some help with, contact Consult HR by or by calling 07858089006

Happy Christmas from Consult HR!

What are the benefits of contracts of employment?

This is the question that I get asked a lot and there are many pitfalls for employers who do not have contracts of employment in place for their staff.

Many are surprised to learn that it is in fact law that employees receive written terms and conditions of employment within two months of taking up their position within their company. Employers can also be fined between 2 to 4 weeks pay per employee for failing to have written terms and conditions issued to staff.

Employment contracts comply with the employment legislation and should set out their employment rights, as well as the responsibilities and duties that you expect your employees to work to when they are employed by you.

The good news is that a good employment contract doesn’t have to be lengthy and confusing. In fact, the clearer, more concise and easier it is to understand, the better.

Contract of employment

A contract should be created for each new employee and tailored towards their specific role, including, but not confined to the following:

  • Details of the position offer, including job title
  • Primary duties and responsibilities that the role includes
  • Details of salary
  • The duration of employment, whether it is permanent or for a fixed period of time
  • Details of any benefits such as holiday entitlement, pension, bonuses, health insurance plans etc
  • Restrictive covenants or a non-compete agreement, stating the employee cannot work for a competitor or start a competing business within a specified time frame, if necessary
  • Reasons and grounds for termination
  • Confidentiality guidelines

While creating contracts of employment might just seem like another thing you have to do, their implementation actually affords many advantages!



Saves you money

Julie Pollock from Consult HR reported that when designing contracts of employment she has helped business owners:

  • Reduce the amount of overtime paid
  • Reduced the amount of holiday pay
  • Have control over when staff can take their holidays so they are not taking holidays when they are required to work
  • Protect the reputation of your business through appropriate policies

Reduces risk

The main advantage of having contracts of employment in place is to reduce the risk of future claims by employees. By ensuring both parties (employer and employee) are in agreement to the terms and conditions, which are then signed, this binding contract serves to reduce the chance that one party will have grounds for legal action later down the line.

Setting standards

Stating exactly what you expect from an employee in their role, standards of performance and what is deemed acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.  By communicating this to employees from the outset will reduce the amount of time you spend speaking with employees, advising them of your expectations and correcting behaviours.

Protect sensitive information

For roles which involve the handling of sensitive or confidential information, a contract of employment will further protect this. A confidentiality clause will ensure sensitive information, which could be valuable to competitors is not leaked. Furthermore, the employee will not be able to use this information should they wish to compete with you.



The don’t have any at all

You’d be surprised by how many companies don’t offer contracts of employment for employees. In fact, many don’t realise they have a legal obligation to do so. In the long-run, this can actually be more costly, disputes are much harder to resolve if it is not set out clearly in black and white, so protect your business and ensure you have these in place.

Copying someone else’s contract

Employers at times use standard terms and conditions and don’t really pay much attention to the content, and treat it as a tick box exercise.

They use templates from the internet or use the terms from another company and introduce it into their business.

This is highly dangerous because what is in one company’s contract may not necessarily be relevant or appropriate to your business.

The wording of your contract is critical when you want to draw an employees attention to something that you are unhappy about, or want to correct, are in dispute or worse case scenario situations that could lead to fines.

By having the correct wording should bring about a resolution very quickly, however having particular wording in contracts that you do not intend or are unaware of can be costly.

Not keeping them up-to-date

Often, a job role, working conditions and salary change over time, so contacts of employment need to be kept up-to-date to reflect this.  This also applies when employment law updates occur and policies may need to be updated.

Not having them for all staff

Many believe that contracts of employment only apply to full-time staff or should not be issued to senior staff within the business, but the fact of the matter is that ALL employees, including temporary, part time or fixed term employees have the same rights as full-time employees and should ALL be issued with contracts.



At Consult HR, our outsourced services regularly sees us assisting with contracts of employment. We can help you:

  • Develop robust terms and conditions of employment that both comply with legislation and are specifically tailored to suit the requirements of your business.
  • Develop procedures which sets out the expectations that are required by the employees during their employment with you.
  • These policies and procedures are designed to protect your company in litigation claims.
  • We also develop Employee Handbooks.

For more information, get in touch today! Call Julie on: 078 5808 9006 or email:

Easy ways to reward staff without giving them a pay rise

As a business owner and employer, you may have realised by now that recognising your staff’s hard work and dedication is an effective way to keep moral high. Business owners sometimes assume that the only way staff want to be rewarded is with a cash incentive, such as a bonus or a pay rise. However, that isn’t always the case and is not always possible. Thankfully, there are some amazing alternative ways to reward staff, when there’s no money in the budget for an increase in salary or you want to build and retain key staff. Here’s how…


Offer the opportunity for progression

Often for employees it isn’t just about money; it’s about feeling like they are progressing within a company. Knowing they are moving up the career ladder instils a sense of security and helps staff feel valued. So if the situation allows it, promoting someone from say, Account Executive to Senior Account Executive is often all they really want or need.


Who doesn’t love receiving a gift voucher? Do a little digging to find out which restaurants, shops or hotels an employee loves and present them with a voucher to treat themselves.


A day off

A simple, yet effective way to show your appreciation is to give an employee an extra one or two days off on top of their current holiday allowance. This means they can book a longer holiday, or use the day as they wish, whether that be lazing about at home, or doing something they enjoy.

Set high standards for training

As well as benefiting the employee, you’ll also reap the advantages of training staff. Whether it’s offering on-site training, or presenting them with the opportunity to enrol in a course, which will help further their career, regular training is effective in ensuring staff remain loyal to the company and they learn a new skill or knowledge which benefits the business.


Take them out

Who would turn down the opportunity to get away from the office, particularly when it’s paid for?! Whether it’s lunch in a restaurant, a drink in a bar or something more extravagant, taking staff out shows you value their hard work and builds stronger relationships within the workforce.

Employee of the month

This strategy has been around for years, which isn’t surprising, given its ability to instantly praise an employee and boost morale. Not only will you be highlighting their great efforts, you’ll be letting everyone else know. Plus, you’ll spark a little healthy competition among employees who are keen to earn the title for themselves.


A thank-you note

An old fashioned idea but a goodie… a simple, handwritten note to an employee, acknowledging their good work can go a long way. Leave it sitting on their desk so that they pick it up when they arrive at work the next day. You would be amazed at what this does to someone’s attitude at work and their work performance!

Be their mentor

Or if that isn’t possible, assign someone else who would do a good job. Appointing someone who will help an employee grow and progress within your company is an amazing opportunity that many would snap up in a heartbeat. Choose someone who the person can really learn from and who they admire to ensure it is a worthwhile opportunity.

Making the effort to regularly reward staff by supplementing pay rises and bonuses with some of these perks, brings with it many benefits such as:- staff work well together in a friendly environment, staff will work harder and create better results at work and you hold onto key staff that you don’t want to lose, which ultimately strengthens your business.

If any of these issues are causing you some problems, contact Julie Pollock on 07858089006 or to discuss further.

10 top tips for effectively managing discipline and grievances in the workplace

Whatever the size of your business and regardless of how informal its culture is, one of the key elements that it should have is effective disciplinary and grievance procedures in place. As well as being a requirement of the law, they serve to protect both employers and employees should either the need for disciplinary action or a grievance arise. Not following correct protocol can be a costly mistake. If an employee has been in service for one or more years, failing to take the correct course of action may lead to an unfair dismissal claim, with the potential for a compensation payout.

Thankfully, best practice guidance is available via the ‘LRA code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures’. But if you don’t fancy delving deep into it, we’ve put together some top tips on effectively managing discipline and grievances in the workplace!

discipline and grievances

1. Have relevant and clear policies in place

Having discipline and grievance procedures in place ensures that:

  • Everyone is aware of how disciplinary and grievance problems are dealt with
  • Proceedings will be fair
  • Such issues will be acted upon in a timely and sensitive manner

So that your company’s policies are appropriate, you should ensure that:

  • Staff are aware of their existence and they are readily available
  • All managers are fully trained on these procedures
  • Such issues are dealt with as soon as possible
  • Policies are updated in line with changes in the law or the business structure

2. Determine the best route to take

Each individual grievance should be dealt with accordingly, deeming whether a formal or informal route should be taken. Here, be guided by the employee’s wishes, or the severity of the situation. If, for example, an employee is offended by a comment given by someone else in the workplace, addressing the situation by speaking to the employee in question may effectively resolve it. On the other hand, where issues such as discrimination or harassment arise, treating it as a formal grievance is more appropriate.

3. Designated chairperson

If the need for a formal grievance procedure arises, an appropriate chairperson will need to oversee the meeting. It is essential that the person in question is deemed suitable. Often, the individual’s line manager will chair it. If, however, the subject is of a sensitive nature or the complaint is about the manager, a more senior member of staff may be better suited to deal with it.

4. Confidentiality

Throughout the process, this is of the upmost of importance. Employees concerned, and those who serve as witnesses should be made aware that they are not permitted to discuss the issue with anyone else.

discipline and grievances

5. Investigation

This fact-finding exercise is critical to collate all relevant information relating to the grievance or disciplinary. This stage is essential to establish the facts. Interviews with witnesses may be required, in which notes should be taken. Other steps such as reviewing CCTV, computer or phone records may also be required.

6. Hold a grievance meeting

It is important that a meeting is held as soon as possible, after the issue has been raised. It may be necessary to adjourn it until further investigations are carried out.

7. The right to be accompanied

Employees should be made aware that they have the right to be accompaniedat both disciplinary and grievance meetings. Often this is a trade union representative or a work colleague of the employee’s choice.

8. Reaching a decision

The panel should carefully consider all information and arrive at a fair and reasonable outcome. The employee should be made aware of the decision taken in writing.

So, in the case of a disciplinary process they should be advised if a warning is being issued, what level, the duration of the warning and the improvement expected.

In the case of a grievance process, the employee should be informed of the outcome of their complaints and what action will be taken to resolve the matter.

In either case, the employee should also be made aware that they have the right to appeal.

9. Appeal

If possible, an appeal should be chaired by someone who is more senior to the person who chaired the previous meeting, has not been involved in the process so far, and therefore deemed impartial. Again, employees have the right to be accompanied.

discipline and grievances

10. Seek the advice of a professional

Here at Consult HR, one of the key services we offer is flexibility in dealing with grievances and disciplinary action. We offer on site support or advice on how to conduct investigations, discipline and dismissal meetings, as well as providing advice on appropriate questioning techniques. Furthermore, we can conduct independent investigations or disciplinary hearings and present a report on our findings to ensure a thorough and fair process is conducted.

For more information, contact Julie on: 07858089006.

Easy ways to keep employees motivated during summer

Unsurprisingly, the summer months see many employers report lower levels of productivity in the workplace. With holidays, kids off school and big sporting events, it might seem like an impossible task to keep staff focused. And for those who aren’t taking any time of work, being left behind in the office while others are away, can be a bit of a drag.

However, we have the answer. Here, we’ve rounded up our top tips to keep employees driven during the summer months.

employees motivated

Embrace the great outdoors

It’s widely known that Vitamin-D has a multitude of benefits when enjoyed in moderation and with sun protection. So we say… embrace the great outdoors! One easy activity to take outside is company meetings. Technology has never been more mobile meaning that any necessary laptops, tablets etc can be brought with you. Rather than sitting in a stuffy boardroom dreaming of the great outdoors, staff will be full of new ideas given the change of location, not to mention the sunshine.

Consider activities

The summer months are the perfect time to stage an activity. Whether it’s a charity event, team building exercise or sponsored tournament, a day away from the office will definitely boost morale and bring a team closer together, increasing productivity in the process.

employees motivated

An unexpected treat

Sometimes the smallest gestures can have the biggest impact. Whether it’s something as simple as nipping to the local park for a picnic or having an ice-cream truck stop by in the afternoon, the way to employees’ hearts is definitely through their stomachs. Their gratitude will be shown through their focus in the office.

Dress down Fridays

If your work environment allows it, dress down Fridays are the perfect way to keep staff focused during the week. We all remember those non-uniform days at school and how happy we were when the day rolled around. Having dress-down Fridays can have the same effect. With the summer months typically being warmer, not having to wear a full suit will ensure employees stay cool and comfortable.

employees motivated

Finish early Fridays

Speaking of the F-word, allowing staff to finish early on Fridays can also have the same impact. Getting out just as little as an hour early really does wonderful things for team spirit.

Consider working from home

From time-to-time, allowing employees to work from home can be immensely rewarding. Often, working from home has less distractions than a bustling office so you may discover that an employee is actually much more productive at home. Plus, with rapid advances in technology such as videoconferencing and remote desktop applications, staying connected has never been easier.

employees motivated

Offer incentives

Perhaps the biggest motivator of all, putting incentives in place for reaching targets is a sure way to get employees’ heads in the game. The reward could be anything such as finishing early, working from home or a monetary bonus.

Encourage creativity

Banish boredom from the workplace! If staff are allowed to work on projects that they actually want to spend time on, they are more likely to be productive. Ask them for their input to determine what they’d love to be doing. By allowing staff to be creative, they’ll throw themselves into it in the hope of impressing you, and therefore output remains high during summer.

employees motivated

Offer good feedback

Feeding back to employees on how they are doing, gives them value. Feedback should be provided on the standard of their work and on the role they play within the company. Feeling like you are part of something bigger is a fantastic incentive, especially if there is opportunity for growth.

Give a little control

Where possible, loosen the reigns and give staff some control. This creates a sense of responsibility and helps establish trust, which in turn keeps productivity high during the summer months.

Armed with these top tips, keeping staff morale and productivity levels high during summer will be a breeze! For help with your HR, get in touch by calling: 078 5808 9006 or emailing:

Top tips to reduce employee absenteeism in the workplace

We’ve just had a scorching May and early June and fingers crossed, the good weather is set to return. While the sunshine puts a spring in our step, it has brought with it some problems, with many employers reporting that they noticed a rise in absenteeism in the workplace.

In particular, employees are phoning in sick when employers suspected that they were basking in the sun in their gardens or soaking up the sun at the beach!

With the average UK worker being absent over six days annually, costing employers an average of £554 in sick pay per employee, no doubt you are keen to limit this cost within your business.

Effectively dealing with employee absence and differentiating between genuine absence and those taking advantage is a common challenge that many employers face.

So what exactly can you do to reduce employee absenteeism? Here, Julie Pollock from Consult HR provides her top tips on how you get a handle on it this summer.

employee absenteeism

Have a clear policy in place

The first and most important step is to ensure that your company has a practical, well-written policy in place, which is given to employees when they take up their post. The document should state the process which employees are expected to follow should absence from work arise. Having clear attendance and absence policies will keep employees versed on the standards expected of them, as well as assisting managers when dealing with proceedings. Furthermore, the policy should be readily available to staff, such as on the company’s intranet. This easy access and high visibility will enhance its importance. Finally, asking employees to read and confirm they have understood the procedures regarding absence helps improve compliance.

Conduct return to work interviews

The thought of having to sit down with a manager face-to-face to explain absence, after taking a ‘sneaky’ day off can be enough to make employees think twice about actually phoning in sick.

So having return to work interviews as standard practice can reduce your absence levels without you even noticing.

Ensure managers are approachable

If employees don’t have an understanding point of contact in the form of a manager, they may be less likely to discuss issues or requests which could avoid absence. For example, if an employee feels they can’t approach staff for a couple of hours off to attend a necessary appointment, the result of this may be calling in sick at the last minute, requiring a full day off work. Having an open, sympathetic ear will help put employees at ease and open the door for communication and ultimately reduce absence levels.

employee absenteeism

Monitor absence

If you aren’t already doing so, monitoring absence patterns and levels is an effective way of foreseeing potential problems. This will help you identify those employees you need to have a conversation with, distinguishing between those who genuinely need assistance with ongoing health problems and those who may be taking advantage of your company’s sick pay scheme.

Keeping a record will also help you to keep abreast of trends, ie those that have ‘Monday-itis’. Furthermore, this can help notify you of absence trends, which may reveal that the employee has some external issues, which are impacting on their ability to attend work and may be resolved in a short period of time with some support from you.

Communication Is Key

Where you identify some concerns with an employee’s attendance at work, address the matter early by having a conversation, advising the employee concerned what your concerns are. This in itself may be enough to correct the problem early without the matter getting out of hand.

Health and wellbeing programmes

Companies which offer health and wellness programmes, have been shown to have lower levels of absence than those which don’t. These programmes cover a range of conditions, such as offering on-site yoga classes at lunchtime, to helping employees quit smoking or lose weight. There should be no pressure for employees to participate but they should be made aware of such programmes should they wish to avail of them. As well as helping improve health and wellbeing, staff moral will be higher and good working relationships will be developed, not to mention improved attendance levels.

employee absenteeism

Instil flexible working hours

This is a big decision for a company to take, but one which can result in lower levels of employee absenteeism. Flexible working can take many forms such as working from home, job-sharing, part-time, term-time, job-shares and flexitime. Being able to fit working hours around the demands of a busy life, will again, ensure employees take fewer unexpected days off work. Furthermore, being accommodating instils a greater level of trust between the employer and employee.

Keep staff moral high

Keeping staff motivated is an effective way to ensure absence levels are kept to a minimum. Encourage good morale with incentives, recognition programmes, career advancement opportunities and arranging social events for teams. Undoubtedly, a combination of emotional and physical factors are responsible for preventing employee absenteeism. A positive work environment is a key factor in encouraging staff to come to work everyday.

If you are struggling with employee absenteeism in the workplace, help is at hand. At Consult HR, many companies have benefited from our outsourced HR services. For more information, get in touch here.

A no-nonsense guide to GDPR

There’s absolutely no getting away from GDPR at the minute, and with everyone keen to share their take on it, it can be hard to know where to start to ensure that your company complies with the change in legislation. Here, we share our straightforward approach to help you get to grips with what you need to do.

The UK Data Protection Act is set to change. This outdated law was created in the nineties and with the digital age offering new ways of working and how we handle and store data, this will be replaced with the much-needed and up-to-date Data Protection Bill.

The new regulation aims to strengthen the rights of citizens to data privacy. This means that every business, which deals with information on the public or employees, must meet new standards of security and transparency.


So what does this mean?

Every business, regardless of size and sector, almost certainly holds, stores and processes information for both their own staff and the public. In-line with this new law, how you store, manage and process data for anyone will change. Organisations must analyse the data they currently hold and review their consent procedures to ensure they meet the new standards.

And what do I need to do?

The key is to ensure you put a plan in place now. Ensuring you have an effective and compliant strategy prepared, which will save you much hassle (not to mention a hefty fine) in the long-run.


Here is our simple, 11 step guide on what you need to do now.

  1. Audit and retention: An information audit is required to establish what personal information you hold, how you received it and store it and how and who you share it with and how long you hold this information for.
  1. Review privacy notices: Issue privacy notices to those who you store personal data on, advise them of the detail of the data you hold, why you hold it and remind them of their right to withdraw their consent at any time.
  1. Review employment contracts: Ensure your employee contracts and all relevant policies are updated in line with these new changes.
  1. Individuals’ rights: Ensure you have a well defined process in place detailing the right to request deletion of personal data or how data is communicated electronically.
  1. Access to data: Outline how you plan to handle requests for data, including compliance within the new timescales.
  1. Explain your lawful basis for processing personal data: By law, you need to explain why you are holding information.
  1. Obtaining consent: Decide if you need consent to hold and process the personal data you have and if so, ensure you get this consent before 25th May (consent is not always required).
  1. Security measures: Ensure you put proper provisions and procedures in place to secure data such as: password protection, encrypting data, procedures for working at your desk or in an open office environment, homeworking and mobile workers.
  1. Personal data breach: Should a breach of personal data occur, a policy should be in place to detect, report and investigate such issues and ensure the breach is reported within the specified timeframe.
  1. Assigning a data protection officer: Assign a responsible individual within the business the responsibility for ensuring compliance.
  1. Train staff: Ensure you train all staff on compliance and train them on your procedures implemented to avoid data breaches. This will protect the company from hefty fines.


What happens if I don’t comply?

There are many serious implications for the company including reputational damage where your company could be named and shamed for a data breach.

However the most serious of all is the fines that are imposed for a data breach which can be up to 4% of your annual turnover or fines of up to €20 million. 

Where it all went wrong for some…

Whitehead Nursing Home – Staff payroll details and residents’ personal data was able to be accessed from a stolen laptop (FINED £15,000)

Moneysupermarket – Sent a mass e-mail out to individuals who had unsubscribed (FINED £80,000)

TalkTalk Telecom Group – They had an insecure portal and individuals were able to get unauthorised access to personal data (FINED £100,000)

So as you can see there is significant financial risk with not getting to grips with your requirements around GDPR.  This is not the time to bury your head in the sand. If you need some help with getting compliant, get in touch with us here and we will be able to guide you through this.

How well do you know your employees’ holiday entitlement?

Bank holiday season has arrived and with the summer holiday season almost upon us, now is the period when staff will be taking time off and submitting their annual leave requests. Holiday entitlement can leave many employers scratching their heads as they get to grips with who is due what. Here, we get clear on those common holiday queries that cause business owners some confusion.

employees' holiday entitlement

Annual leave entitlement

One of the most common questions we get asked at Consult HR is how to calculate employees’ holiday entitlement as this causes employers lots of confusion.

Full-time workers are allowed 5.6 weeks (28 days) holidays a year. This is the statutory minimum entitlement and therefore legal requirement, which employers must offer as a minimum (employers can give their employees more holidays than this if they wish).

For part-time staff, holiday entitlement is calculated on a pro-rata basis based on the hours and days they work. Working out exactly how many days this is can be a little tricky.

The employee’s annual leave entitlement should be included in their employment contract which should be issued to them within two months of their start date. To manually work out how many days off a part-time employee is entitled to, multiply the number of days they work each week by 5.6. So, if someone works 3 days a week, their leave entitlement would be 16.8 days off a year (3 days x 5.6). Thankfully, this handy calculator takes the hassle out of it for you.

employees' holiday entitlement

Bank holiday allowance

When it comes to bank holiday entitlement, there are 5 key things to always remember:

  1. Whether or not employees receive bank holiday entitlement is down to the employer. Employees do not have a statutory right to take off work on bank holidays and whether or not employees receive entitlement should be stated in their contract of employment.
  2. Bank holidays can form part of an employee’s total annual leave allowance. Employees can take all bank holidays as paid leave or employers can count bank holidays as additional holiday days. This is at the discretion of the employer, and again, should be included in the employee’s contract.
  3. Employees are not entitled to extra pay for working on a bank holiday, so if your business operates as normal on a bank holiday, employees are not entitled to any additional payments beyond their normal days pay, unless your policy states otherwise.
  4. When it comes to bank holiday entitlement, part-time staff are entitled a pro-rata entitlement according to the hours they work. Some employers think that the part time employee is only entitled to the bank holiday if they are scheduled to work on that day and that is incorrect.
  5. As per the terms of their contract, if it states that an employee is required to work on bank holidays, they cannot refuse to work.

employees' holiday entitlement

Can you refuse holiday requests? 

In summary, yes! It is a common misconception that employees can take annual leave whenever they want. Employers have control over staff’s annual leave as long as they ensure they have the opportunity to use their leave.

employees' holiday entitlement

Managing holidays around your business’ needs

Having a system in place for requesting annual leave is a good idea to enable you to manage staff holidays effectively. Julie Pollock from Consult HR has suggested some key points you should consider putting into your annual leave policy:
  • The process the staff member should follow when they want to request holidays, who they should make the request to, how they make the request and what notice you require
  • If you have closure days that the company close during the year, set these out in your policy
  • State times during the year when staff cannot request holidays, ie peak business periods
  • How you allocate holidays, ie first come, first served basis
  • If you restrict the number of people off on annual leave at any one time, specify this
  • Specify if there are certain times in the year when you want staff to request leave or maximum periods of time that staff can take off at any one time
  • State if staff are allowed to carry holidays over from one year to the next
  • State what happens if staff have overtaken on holidays at the time they leave their employment

If you need some help with a particular employee holiday issue, get in touch here today! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook here for the latest HR news and free advice, and leave your name & email address in the comments section below to sign up for our monthly newsletter.