A Practical Guide to Flexible Working Rights for Small Businesses

Request for flexible working

The statutory right to request flexible working is available to all employees who complete 26 weeks of continuous employment.

Whilst flexible working is certainly becoming a more common feature in the workplace, it could stand to become even more significant in 2019 as discussions continue around whether employers will be required to state whether positions can be worked flexibly in job advertisements.

In the meantime, here’s what every small business owner needs to know about flexible working rights, and how to handle flexible working requests from staff so that you don’t end up in front of an Employment Tribunal; (more…)

Becoming an Employer – Your Responsibilities When You Hire Staff

what you need to do when employing staff

No matter how successful your business has been with just you working in it, if you want to grow you’ll need to employ people.

There are innumerable benefits of having employees. The right people will ease the workload on you and allow you take holidays. Good staff keep your business running day to day, so you can focus on the most important part of your role as the leader: growing the business. (more…)

How to Hire Graduates for Your Small Business

Attracting graduates to SME

A recent study found that 48% of millenial graduates believe a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) to be the ideal sized business to work for as opposed to a larger organisation.

Even with this encouraging statistic, graduate recruitment can be difficult for small businesses. If you are to succeed you need to take a multi-faceted approach to gain interest from students and graduates alike. Here are 4 things you can do to ensure your graduate hiring process delivers. (more…)

The Challenges of recruitment for startups

Challenges new businesses face when hiring staff

Hiring the right people is vital for the growth of your company. It is likely to go some way in contributing to the development of the business and helping it to become successful.

The task of recruitment varies across different industries depending on their nature. For example, recruitment in hospitality is seasonal and finding the right people can be difficult.

Moreover, recruitment can be even harder for startups, so here we take a look at some of the main challenges facing startups when it comes to looking for people to join their team. (more…)

What can small employers do to improve gender equality in the workplace?

What small businesses can do to enure gender equality

The issue of gender equality in the workplace has garnered much publicity in recent months and is one of the biggest issues facing employers in 2018.

Most of the media attention has surrounded information on Gender Pay Gap Reporting (GPGR) which forces companies with 250+ employees to publish a report detailing aspects of staff pay and bonuses.

Whilst smaller employers are not caught by this requirement, it will be wise for all employers to take appropriate measures to address gender equality in their workplace. So what steps can you take to do this? (more…)

How a social conscience can help small businesses attract the people they need

attracting motivating and retaining millennials

By 2020, millennials will comprise more than 50% of the total workforce, according to PwC.

This generation is radically different to any other, with new tastes, preferences, and expectations – and we’re not just talking about selfies.

With millennials shortly to make up the majority of the UK’s workforce, businesses need to understand what motivates and drives this generation when it comes to work and their career. So how can small businesses attract and retain millennials? (more…)

What Employers Need to Know About Hiring Staff From Overseas

employing staff from outside UK

In all businesses, the focus is on employing the right person for the role. When the person you intend to hire is not a UK citizen, you need to be aware of the legal requirements to ensure you stay on the right side of the law.

If you get things wrong you could be fined £20,000 for every worker you’ve wrongly employed. Some cases could even result in an unlimited fine and a 2 year prison sentence. With such a lot at stake, we asked HR expert, Peter Done of Peninsula Business Services, to explain what employers’ need to know about taking on people from outside the UK. (more…)

DBS checking employees – 6 tips to make sure you get it right

Tips to DBS checking staff

Whether you are a small or large business owner, it’s likely you will welcome any method that cuts down the level of effort and time needed to successfully perform a given activity.

Employee recruitment and security checks can be time-consuming and laborious, so it’s helpful to know whether there are quicker routes that will benefit you and your business.

The Disclosure and Barring Service, or DBS, gives organisations the opportunity to identify who might, or might not, be a suitable employee, so many businesses now run a DBS check as a matter of course when recruiting staff.

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Setting up an induction process for new employees

Developing an onboarding or inductoio process for new employees

Once the recruitment process has completed with your chosen candidate accepting your job offer and agreeing their starting date, this should not signal the end of your plans for the new recruit.

To give the new employee the best opportunity to flourish you should set up an induction process.

But what is an induction, or onboarding, process, and what should you do to help your new staff members settle in quickly? We asked Peter Done, Managing Director of employment specialists, Peninsula Business Services to explain. (more…)

The real business case for inclusion

How diversity can make a better, more profitable business

As a small business owner, you may think ‘inclusion’ is an issue for big corporates, with large HR departments.

This misperception assumes that inclusion is a cost, when in fact, done properly, inclusion is one of the best free resources available to smaller businesses.

Here’s how being an inclusive business can help you succeed and how it can help you to build a more profitable company. (more…)

Interviewing job candidates – How to get it right

conducting good job interviews

Getting the recruitment process right is important for any business as employing the wrong person can have a significant impact on future success. It will also save time and costs as the process will only have to be carried out once and not repeated.

Although some employers perceive interviewing as a small part of the recruitment process, it is a vital opportunity to examine how potential candidates measure up against the needs of the business and, as such, it is important to get it right.

There are also risks of discrimination that employers should be aware of to avoid a tribunal claim, so here’s how to make sure your interviewing process gets the right results. (more…)

Getting your job adverts right

job advert in newspaper

Advertising for a new member of staff is something many business owners will need to do. Whether it’s because an existing employee is leaving, or a new role is being created, advertising for job vacancies is part and parcel of running a business.

One of the first steps for many businesses seeking a new employee will be to write a job advert. However, there are legal implications, as well as practical concerns regarding the advertising of job vacancies, that employers need to be aware of.

If you get this crucial part of the recruitment process right, the next steps are more likely to go smoothly, but get it wrong and you could get into hot water.

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A guide to carrying out a disciplinary investigation

Disciplinary inestigation

A disciplinary investigation is the first important step in carrying out a full and fair disciplinary process. It is one step that employers may find insignificant but, on the contrary, a proper investigation will generally lead to a smoother disciplinary rocedure.

An investigation is key as it is required by the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and will be taken in to account by an employment tribunal when deciding compensation awards. It is usually detailed in a company’s disciplinary policy and procedure which should be followed internally.

Here’s what every business owner needs to know about a disciplinary investigation; (more…)

Restrictive covenants and contracts of employment – Advice for employers

restrictive covenants

For most employers, setting in place rules and responsibilities for employees during their time with the company is their most important consideration. This can be achieved through having effective contracts of employment, alongside employee handbooks.

Employers should, however, be putting thought in to what happens once employment ends to ensure that they are protecting their business interests. After the employee has resigned, or been dismissed, they are no longer bound by their contractual terms.

Restrictive covenants are an effective tool for restricting damaging activity by the ex-employee but employers need to carefully construct these covenants to ensure they are enforceable. (more…)

Understanding fixed term employment contracts – what business owners need to know

Fixed term employment contracts are generally seen by employers as those which “plug the gap” when their normal, permanent employees are absent for a period of time.

Fixed term contracts are useful tools for businesses who need to employ staff to cover short term peaks in business demands. But before employing staff on a fixed term contract, employers need to be aware of the rights fixed term employees have to ensure they are not at risk of a tribunal claim.

So to help make sure you don’t get caught out, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points of fixed term contracts for small businesses; (more…)

A small business guide to employee handbooks

Nearly all employers are aware of the legal requirement to give new employees a statement of their main terms once they start working for you.

For some small businesses this may be the only documentation they give staff, after all this meets their legal requirements. However, many employers can find that well-drafted and implemented employee handbooks are essential to safeguard their business.

To help you understand how an employee handbook can help both employers and employees, here’s what every small business owners needs to know about them; (more…)

A small business guide to carrying out effective staff appraisals

When staff appraisal or review time rolls around, many small business owners view this as a waste of their valuable time. This is not the case, however, and employers who spend the time and effort to make these meetings are a success will often get much more out of staff appraisals than they put into them.

In this guide, we look at staff appraisals and outline how smaller employers can reap the benefits of an effective employee appraisal scheme;

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How to lead inclusively

Your ability to be your most effective and successful is fueled by how inclusive you are as a leader in all aspects of your business – your supply chain, your workforce and how you take your products and services to market.

It’s likely that you have based your success to date on your intuitive grasp of key business issues, but if you rely on intuition alone, you could reach a plateau that will stunt your progress, and may well limit the level of creative and innovative thinking around you.

This isn’t a great recipe for sustainable business success, so here’s how you can avoid this stagnation and drive your business forward. (more…)

Work Experience & Internships – A Guide for small businesses

Many companies are enthusiastic about creating opportunities for younger people to gain business experience and skills in shorter placements, often labeling these as work experience or internships.

While larger businesses frequently put internship schemes in place, many smaller businesses can be put off offering these opportunities because they view them as an extra administrative burden.

Many small business owners hold the misconception that they would take up large amounts of time, money and effort but this is not always the case. In fact, providing such opportunities can bring tangible benefits for smaller employers.

Here’s what every small business owner needs to know about offering work experience and internships; (more…)

Training and developing staff on a tight budget

‘If you think training is expensive, try ignorance’

This oft-quoted phrase, attributed to Peter Drucker, is frequently used when businesses say they ‘can’t afford’ to train or develop their staff.

So it’s worth asking yourself how much ‘untrained ‘or ‘undeveloped’ staff are costing your business – now and, potentially, in the future? (more…)

How small business owners can tackle difficult conversations with employees

Having to carry out difficult conversations is an inevitable consequence of owning a business and being an employer. When most business owners start employing staff they often haven’t thought of the reality of becoming an employer and having to tackle workplace issues as they arise.

Employers often don’t have the confidence to successfully carry out difficult conversations but avoiding these, and leaving issues to fester, is likely to negatively impact the business and, whilst this may be avoided in a larger business, a lack of productivity, capability or incidents of misconduct can have a serious effect on the business as a whole.

As a small business employer, you can avoid this outcome by being prepared, and facing difficult conversations with confidence in your ability to come to a positive solution. Here’s how; (more…)

What is workplace diversity, why is it important, and what are the benefits to businesses?

Workplace diversity is a term which relates to the people who work for an organisation. It is often spoken about with reference to equal opportunities, and the two are intrinsically linked, but have varying perspectives.

Providing equal opportunities means ensuring that no individual is treated less favourably on the basis of who they are – that all decisions taken in relation to them are based on fact and merit alone.

So what are the benefits of workplace diversity to a small business and how can you achieve it? This guide provides you with the necessary advice. (more…)

Guide to Employment Contracts for Small Businesses

guide to employment contracts

When you start taking on employees you will be faced with a fair amount of legal responsibilities. It’s important you understand all your obligations as an employer as if you don’t comply with UK employment law you can easily find yourself in front of an employment tribunal.

As a small business owner, your legal responsibilities when taking on staff can be somewhat daunting but with a little help you can soon get your head around what’s needed. One of your first duties as a new employer is to ensure you comply with employment contract law. To help you understand your legal obligations, here’s a guide to employment contracts for small business owners; (more…)

Making sure staff know their position and purpose within your business

Red tape… compliance… ticking boxes… costly… time consuming… frustrating… not my job!

Be honest, when you think about HR (Human Resources) in your business, are these the kind of phrases that first spring to mind?

If you ask any small business owner what frustrates them in their company, most will include HR and talk about problems with their staff. They will tell you about people who fail to do what they are supposed to do or what they say they will do! They will bemoan the fact that people constantly ‘let them down’. This is what they relate HR with… and blame HR for!

However, HR does not have to be like this.

Imagine you could get people to do what they are supposed to do and to the standard you need – wouldn’t that make your life as a small business owner easier? Would that add value to your business? Would it free up your time so you could concentrate on other aspects of your business?

Well it is possible – not easy – but possible! (more…)

How to decide if you really want to run your business

When you start a new business you will need to do almost everything. This means you will need to roll up your sleeves and take a very hands-on approach. You will be working IN your business.

However, if you want to grow your business, you will need to pass on the day-to-day work to others and spend more time managing. You will need to work ON your business.

Some business owners find this shift difficult because it means giving up work that they enjoy. You, along with thousands of others, may have started your own business so you could follow a passion. But growing a business means that you can become detached from the work that fulfils you, and the very reason you started your business in the first place.

So how do you decide whether you really want to run your business?

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A Guide to calculating holiday pay

When you employ staff you must give them a certain amount of annual leave, and pay them during this time.

If your employees work a set amount of hours, and received a fixed salary, calculating their annual leave entitlement and holiday pay is straightforward. However, if staff have irregular hours, work overtime, or receive commissions or bonuses then calculating holiday pay can get quite tricky.

To help new business owners and employers understand the regulations on calculating holiday pay, we asked employment law expert, Peter Done to explain the key points for small businesses;
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First aid training at work: Why is it so important?

When it comes to first aid in the workplace, the same principles apply to small businesses with only a few employees, as they do to companies with a bigger workforce spread across multiple locations.

In both instances, there must be plans in place to ensure the day-to-day working operation complies with health and safety regulations, protecting employees from possible injuries and reacting to sudden illness.

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A small business guide to annual leave entitlement for employees

As an employer you are required by law to give your employees a certain number of days holiday during the year. The amount of annual leave employees are entitled to depends on several factors.

This guide to leave entitlement for small business owners explains the amount of holiday you are required by UK law to give your employees, and how to calculate this for workers not working a normal working week.

Also covered are the laws regarding bank holidays, carrying over unused leave days, imposing a period of annual leave on staff e.g. over the festive season, and when you can refuse employees’ requests to take holiday;

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Team Building – The best way to train your staff to really work as a team

Who do you call if a pipe is leaking? A plumber, right? You don’t call an electrician. And when he turns up, you don’t expect him to build a hypothetical model of the structure of your pipework and work on that, leaving you to sort out the actual problem yourself. You expect him to get stuck in and repair the pipe – don’t you?

Yet this is exactly what business owners often do when tackling the issue of building their teams. (more…)

A Guide to the National Living Wage for small business owners

From 1st April, 2016 all employers will need to comply with the new National Minimum Wage regulations.

To help you understand exactly what the National Living Wage is, and what you need to do to comply with the new legislation, here’s a guide to the National Living Wage for small business owners;

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Your business isn’t ‘yours’, and your problems aren’t all about ‘them’

When you start and run your own business, your company inevitably means more to you than anybody else.

As a business owner, it’s easy to get wrapped up in everything and become frustrated with staff that don’t understand ‘your’ business like you do. This mindset can lead to you spending too much time and effort battling with employees, and this is not good for business. (more…)

How to handle disciplinary issues in the workplace

Despite every effort, even the best-run businesses may encounter disciplinary problems with employees from time to time.

Although it is always best to focus on effective management practice and preventative measures, having clear and fair disciplinary procedures is a good first step in avoiding difficult employment tribunals.

Here’s what you need to consider, the procedures you need to put in place and the steps to follow when it comes to disciplinary matters;

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5 Ways you could be stifling staff, and 5 Steps to harnessing their full potential

It can be exasperating when staff don’t use their initiative, or they go about solving problems in a seemingly baffling way, but often workers donning their stupid hats as they clock-in can be because of how you act as their boss.

If you regularly find yourself cursing the stupidity of your employees, then you really need to take a look in the mirror because your actions and behaviour could well be the root cause of this. To help you understand more about how you could be inadvertently stifling your workforce, let’s look at five common reasons for staff not fulfilling their potential; (more…)

Avoiding discrimination against employees with mental health problems

Mental health problems are often misunderstood, but as an employer it’s your responsibility to ensure that your employees are treated fairly.

Some people may recover from a mental health condition such as anxiety or depression, or it may only have a minor effect, but if an employee’s mental health issues are severe enough to count as a disability, you will also have to consider your legal responsibilities towards them.

This guide outlines your duties and responsibilities to any staff with mental health problems, and helps to ensure that you don’t inadvertently discriminate against them.

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The new business laws affecting small businesses in 2016

Whether you’re just starting up or currently running a small business, you may be feeling overwhelmed by the issues that you face on a daily basis.

With so much to do, one area that is often neglected by many is the law. A report last year found that 25% of SME’s have no idea they’re breaking the law, with many stating that the ever changing legislation and jargon filled manuscripts make it a confusing task.

But ignorance of the law could see you facing crippling fines or even a jail sentence, putting a painful dent into you finances and damaging your company’s reputation.

So with several good reasons for you to get to grips with business laws, this guide gives you practical advice on the major new legislation set to affect small businesses in 2016, and what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law. (more…)

7 Common HR Mistakes Small Businesses Need to Avoid Making

HR tips for small business

Running a successful small business is a balancing act, which requires business owners to be in five different places all at once, whilst also mastering the art of embodying multiple roles in order to service all aspects of their business.

Whilst, unfortunately this is just a fact of life for many small business owners, the competing demand placed on them can increase the chances of mistakes being made. These can damage morale, lead to high employee turnover and possibly see you facing an employment tribunal. Here are 7 of the most common HR mistakes small business owners make, but can easily be avoided; (more…)