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…)

How to Give Feedback When an Employee Does a Terrible Job

how to deal with staff errors

In a small business or start-up culture there is often limited time available for formal employee appraisals or structured feedback planning. However, developing a business culture where structured feedback is routinely given, received and acknowledged is essential for long-term growth. (more…)

Science of Success – How to Apply Team GB’s Gold Medal Winning Techniques to Your Business

Team GB golds - business lessons

In 1996, Britain’s team of athletes returned from the Olympic Games in Atlanta with one solitary gold medal from rowing. This was a low point in British international sporting achievement and was the subject of a good deal of national self-flagellation in the media.

Fast-forward to 2016 and Team GB had completed an incredible turnaround in performance, securing over 20 gold medals. So what was behind the change in fortunes? And what lessons can you take and apply to boost your business? (more…)

How to improve company culture by enlisting your ‘Culture Champions’

Growing your company culture

Why does your company do what it does?

If you’ve thoughtfully identified this motive, you have probably embedded it in statements of your business mission, vision, and values.

These documents are akin to the ten commandments – guidelines that suggest how to act in the course of delivering your products or services. They are foundational to any corporate culture. (more…)

How reverse mentorship can drive fresh ideas, develop staff and help your business succeed

younger employees being a mentor for older staff

With age comes wisdom, but all too often in the business world, hubris can come along for the ride too.

After finessing business decision making for decades, executives naturally begin to conclude that their specialised knowledge, expertise and business skills mean that they always know the best way to solve a client problem, to win a major account, or to drive a workplace innovation.

After all their past successes confirm this. Subconsciously survivorship and confirmation biases are at work; good decisions are reinforced, and poor ones are forgotten – which distorts their real importance.

So, can these experienced executives learn something from Millennials? Absolutely! (more…)

Motivating Employees: How to Energise Your People to Achieve Great Things

finding emotional trigger to boost employee performance

Your people are one of the most powerful forces available to you in realising your goals and ambitions, and the way you culturally think about your people strategy is critical to your commercial and business success.

Getting the most out of your team is pivotal to a thriving business, so motivating your employees isn’t an optional extra.

The key to really energising your staff is finding their motivational triggers. Best-selling author, Royston Guest, explains how you can do this.

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Five questions that will add value to your bottom line

increase profitability

As a business owner, you are always looking for greater efficiencies, more productivity and some general cost savings.

One of your key jobs is to make sure you are always looking for ways get your business running more smoothly and more profitably, but before you jump in and make wholesale changes to the way your business is run; ask yourself these 5 key questions; (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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6 common team challenges – How to overcome them and grow your team

As a business owner, you will no doubt, face some of the common team challenges experienced by many businesses today. When you do face these problems, you will need to know how to overcome them if you want your team to deliver.

We all know that dysfunctional teams are not successful. They will become de-motivated and in turn deliver poor results.

So, here’s how to take the pain out of meetings, handle tricky conversations and solve those perennial communication problems once and for all. (more…)

3 Ways to create a culture of learning, not blaming, in your business

Culture of learning Business of excellence

If you can create a culture of learning, not blaming, in your business, you are more likely to see your business grow and flourish.

If you allow a blame culture to take hold in a business, staff will tend to hide, or even cover up, any mistakes. This attitude can often compound problems further. On the other hand, a learning culture encourages errors to be highlighted so everybody can learn lessons from them.

To help explain the benefits a learning culture brings to your business, and how you can instil such behaviour in your team, we asked Justin Hughes, author of The Business of Excellence: Building high-performance teams and organisations to share his experiences and to explore a few of the key issues around a learning culture; (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 to hold a productive meeting – it’s time to get moving

We’ve all been in business meetings where we’re clock watching and wondering how long it will go on for, worrying about our to-do lists which are not getting any shorter. This is especially true in start-ups, where time is especially precious for everybody in a small team..

When it comes to meetings, especially internal ones, it can be difficult to enforce the discipline needed to get the most out of them. This includes starting and finishing on time and sticking to the agenda. Meetings should have a purpose and a definite outcome, otherwise they can be an unproductive use of time for all involved.

What’s more, poor meetings aren’t only wasting our valuable time, they are also having an impact upon our bodies. Research has shown that spending long hours sitting down can play a significant role in the development of chronic diseases, so it’s imperative that you, as an employer, implement changes to protect the health, wellbeing and productivity of your employees.

It’s time to transform the standard routine and be more creative and active with work meetings, not only to breathe more life into them, but reinvigorate your colleagues too. Here’s how you can achieve more from meetings, eliminate wasted time, improve your health and potentially have some fun in the process: (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…)

Why “Change Management” is the most overlooked driver for executive success

Uber has a new logo. And many people don’t like it. There are things we don’t mind changing – seasons, governments, underpants – but most of the time, most of us resist change.

For every innovation, from skinny jeans to a black Bond, there are plenty of us instinctively asking why? Why change? Why do the bus timetables have to change? Why do we need another damned software upgrade? Why can’t fat-free yogurt and smoothies still be good for us?

The questions may vary, but the subtext is constant: Why can’t things stay familiar, and safe? (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…)

If you can’t fire an employee you can’t manage staff

Firing staff is never easy. But if you have decided to run your own business then this will be part of what you will be required to do.

Here’s how to conduct positive feedback conversations with staff and effectively manage employees that aren’t performing satisfactorily; (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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Dismissing a member of staff – what you need to do to stay on the right side of the law

Having to dismiss an employee is something many employers dread, due to the possibility that the dismissed employee may take them to an employment tribunal if they feel they weren’t treated fairly. This is why you should take care to act reasonably towards employees throughout the dismissal procedure.

So if you have a member of staff that you feel you may have to dismiss, this guide will hep you to understand how you can do this legally and without the unwanted fear, distraction or costs of appearing before an employment tribunal.

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7 Common reasons why employees resist change and how to encourage them to embrace new developments

Resistance to change can be a major challenge to any new initiatives you might want to implement in your business.

Most business owners will be able to identify some employees that prefer the status quo and find new developments difficult to embrace. But before we think about how we can overcome this resistance, we need to properly understand why people resist change.

Here are 7 common reasons why people resist change, and how you can overcome each in turn, to ensure that your staff tackle changes and new developments with a positive attitude;

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4 Steps to building your business by hiring ‘ugly ducklings’

Recruitment can be a tricky process for any business. Figuring out where to source candidates, considering what to include in the job ad, and trying to decide what salary bracket should be offered can make the process more delicate than you may initially think.

Here, Shweta Jhajharia, of The London Coaching Group takes a fresh approach to recruiting for your small business. It’s counter-intuitive, but she reveals how advertising a job with a lower salary can actually attract more applicants for your vacancies, and how you can use this approach to attract high-potential, ‘ugly ducklings’ to your team. (more…)

How firing under-performing staff can be the kindest thing to do

If Alexander Armstrong gave 100 business owners 100 seconds to name words describing the kind of boss they are, the chances are, “cruel” would be a pointless answer.

But some of the 100 would be wrong. Why? Because many well-intentioned business owners continue to employ some members of staff who, because of their results and/or attitude, quite simply shouldn’t be there.

Here, HR expert and author of Fire Well, Sue Ingram, explains to ByteStart how a small business owner should deal with problem staff and how letting an employee go, can be the most considerate action an employer can take;

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Start up by listening your way to a better business

Employers and employees talking to each other is a good thing… right? Of course it is, but only if they’re actually listening. Key to the success of any start-up is effective communication between everybody in your team. But that means more than merely ensuring that all your staff know what’s required of them.

An employee can often feel their role is that of a worker bee, and all that’s asked of them is to get on with it. While this relationship can work to an extent, it usually results in frustrated staff because they know the business and can see how to improve aspects of their work, but there’s no outlet for them to share their unique understanding, insights and ideas.

So, if you’re starting a business, (or running an existing business), and want to harness the full talents of all your staff, you need to learn to listen actively.

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Are you relieved when a staff member goes on holiday?

When a member of your staff takes a holiday, do you feel like you’re the one having a break? While they’re away, does your time at work feel less stressed? Do things run more smoothly? Is being at work just more enjoyable? And does the workplace in general seem lighter? Do the people around you seem more contented, even though they’re taking on the workload of their vacationing associate?

Yes?

That can’t be right.

Well it’s not. And you need to do something about it. Otherwise, you’re effectively paying someone to sabotage your business. But how do you fix it? (more…)

5 tips to help you create a great team at your start-up

It is often noted that a business is nothing without its people, but how do small business leaders create a winning team when their time and resources are often taken up with getting the business up and running?

The key is to remember that a great team with an average plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan. A great team is one that shares a common goal, its members are engaged and work within an environment of support and trust. Employees who are engaged and feel supported are more likely to be loyal and motivated. (more…)

How businesses can encourage a healthy work/life balance and benefit from more engaged and productive employees

Working is a balancing act. Whether its deadlines or internal demands, we all have plates to spin. This is particularly so in small businesses where there are fewer resources to draw on when the pressure is on.

Being busy at work is the norm for most of us, and often leads to an imbalance between work and life. Letting this equilibrium tip more towards work is not good for our wellbeing and can have negative effects on health and performance at work.

With recent news reporting that 40% of employees are suffering from “brownout”, a milder form of burnout, and are consequently disengaged and demotivated at work, businesses need to think how they can get the best out of employees, including allowing them to re-energise themselves. (more…)