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…)

5 Principles to cut your meetings in half and still make them more productive

organising worthwhile meetings

Many businesses, organisations and leaders have created a ‘meeting culture’ whereby they need a meeting to decide what they are going to be meeting about and then another meeting to prepare for the meeting itself and another to de-brief after the meeting.

Wow, that’s a whole lot of meetings going on.

Meetings are the killer of productivity and part of being a ‘productivity ninja’ is centred on valuing your time and the time of others. Small businesses tend to understand this better than big business, simply because resources are tight and time is scarce, but I have no doubt we’ve all fallen into the ‘meeting for meeting sake’ trap.

Now, if you’re in this trap and not sure how to get out of it follow these five simple, but effective, guiding principles on how you can halve your meetings AND reduce the time they take whilst still making them productive. (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…)

Employment Status – Why do I need to know the difference?

employed, self employed and worker

It would be fair to say that employment status has been a contentious issue in recent times as business owners and staff in various sectors dispute the true nature of their respective working arrangements.

As a business owner it is important that you are familiar with the differences between the three main categories of employment (employee, worker and self-employed) as this will help determine the rights of the individual and the obligations you have towards them. (more…)

5 Simple ways for SMEs to address workplace stress

workplace stress

This year, Mental Health Awareness Week (14 – 20 May) is shining a spotlight on stress.

With one in six adults experiencing depression, anxiety or issues relating to stress at any one time, it’s important for smaller employers to recognise the signs that their team may be under too much stress.

Here, Jaan Madan of Mental Health First Aid England, highlights five ways small businesses can address workplace stress.

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4 Reasons why SMEs should invest in an Employee Assistance Programme

stressed female employee

1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lives and the UK Government is taking this statistic seriously, recommending all companies with more than 500 employees should provide tailored mental health support for their staff.

But what about smaller businesses? With millions of small businesses in the UK, making sure these businesses are equipped to support the mental and physical wellbeing of their staff is essential for keeping the majority of the working population healthy. (more…)

Incentivising and rewarding staff with an EMI share option scheme

Retaining and rewarding key staff with EMI share options

For many companies, staff retention is a key issue. Giving employees a slice of the business can foster a sense of ownership and can be a key element in retaining and rewarding them.

One of the most widely used methods of achieving this is the use of Enterprise Management Incentive (“EMI”) Share Option Schemes. EMI Share Options are significantly more generous than ordinary share options from a tax perspective so can help you attract and incentivise key staff, in a very tax-effective manner. We asked John Leyden FCA, to explain how.

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Minimum Wage and statutory rates increases – April 2018

statutory payments and minimum wage changes April 2018

The beginning of April has likely been a hectic time for many employers, with usual accounting and financial deadlines sandwiched in between important updates to employment law rates and payments.

Here, we outline the increases in the National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage and other statutory payments, all business owners need to abide by from April 2018. (more…)

How to improve your company culture to attract, and keep, the best employees

how to improve your company culture to foster a happier, more positive and productive workplace

Improving company culture is at the top of the agenda for most modern day businesses, as more employers are coming to appreciate the role it plays in attracting prospective employees.

However it is not as simple as placing a ping-pong table in the staff room; a company culture needs to be fostered over time. To foster a better culture businesses need to take a multifaceted approach that demonstrates genuine commitment to equality, transparency and valuing employees. (more…)

How to help more of your employees to stay in the company pension scheme

helping employees stay in auto enrolment company pension

Workplace pensions are a legal requirement for all UK businesses no matter how small. Since 2012 more than 8 million people have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employer.

With auto enrolment contribution levels set to rise on 6 April 2018, it’s more important than ever that small businesses improve pension awareness to prevent employees opting out of the company pension scheme. To help you do this, we asked Steve Butler, CEO, Punter Southall Aspire to reveal his tips on how you can help ensure how your staff continue to save for their retirement. (more…)

How work experience can boost the bottom line for SMEs

why work experience benefits buisnesses

This week (5-9 March) marks National Careers Week, it highlights the importance of good careers education and support for young people leaving education. The week brings together schools, colleges and universities with employers to showcase best practice in careers guidance.

Work experience can help kickstart a career for young people, but it also offers many great opportunities for employers too. If managed effectively, a well-structured work experience programme can deliver returns from bringing in fresh insights, through to training the next generation of talent with the skills your business need. So, this National Careers Week we’re looking at how and why more SMEs can reap the rewards of offering work experience. (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…)

Having Fun at Work – Is it Something Your Business Should be Aiming For?

Having a fun workplace - advice and tips

What constitutes ‘fun’ at work, and why is ‘fun’ in the workplace deemed essential anyway? And more crucially for business owners, does having a fun workplace bring real benefits to the business?

We asked change consultant, Philip Cox-Hynd to share his experience and reveal the 9 Do’s and Don’ts of building an open and honest work culture where employees feel valued and engaged. (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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How to create a positive workplace

Building a business isn’t just about making money. It’s about building a workplace that people want to be part of.

Whether you are building a new business or part of an existing one, you can and should take steps to make the culture of the workplace a positive one.

In this article, I’ll discuss some of the challenges that workplaces face, why it’s important to focus on workplace wellbeing and how to change your workplace for the better. (more…)

5 Ways small businesses can implement a successful CSR program

successful CSR for small business

When it comes to implementing an effective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy, small business leaders can often feel overwhelmed.

However, CSR activity shouldn’t be reserved just for the big players. Small businesses can also enjoy the benefits a good CSR program can bring. (more…)

10 of the most common workplace accidents and injuries

Common accidents and injuries suffered at work

There are hundreds of thousands of accidents – many of them serious – in workplaces every year. That’s why it’s so important for every small business owner to take the proper precautions.

Of course, even the best prepared among us can still fall victim to accidents at work. But to be forewarned is to be forearmed, so here are ten of the most common accidents and injuries in the workplace;

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A Guide to employee perks and benefits for small businesses

Guide to employee benefits, staff perks and incentives

As salaries, working hours and development opportunities are becoming more aligned from business to business, offering staff perks, benefits or incentives is a way of attracting, and retaining, talent.

Glassdoor, the career site, say that 57% of all workers rate perks and benefits as one of the top factors they consider when deciding whether to accept a job offer.

So what perks can your business offer to help you attract and retain staff, and what should you watch out for? (more…)

How small businesses can encourage mothers returning to work, and why this makes business sense

Over 99% of businesses in the UK are small and medium enterprises and, according to Wasp Barcode’s annual State of Small Business Report, 50% of small businesses say hiring new employees is the top challenge they face.

‘Parents’ represent a great pool of talent; however they seem to not be noticed by many small businesses.

In fact, in some cases they are avoided. According to the Guardian: 40% of managers avoid hiring younger women to get around the issue and costs of maternity leave. (more…)

3 Top Tips for a dynamic December

being productive in December

The Christmas holiday season is eagerly anticipated. But the forthcoming festivities mean that the number of working days in the month is curtailed – and at a time when planning for the new business year makes life busier than ever.

So how can you maximise available working days to ensure a fully relaxing festive period? Richard Morris, UK CEO of workspace provider Regus offers three top tips for a dynamic and productive December.

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5 Key employment law issues that should be on every business’s radar in 2018

Employmenr law in 2018

From the removal of tribunal fees to widespread claims regarding sexual harassment, 2017 has been a busy year in employment law. Although employers might hope for a quieter 2018, it’s looking likely that there will be a number of issues that are prevalent throughout the year, amid the on-going uncertainty of Brexit.

With this in mind, Alan Price, Employment Law Director at Peninsula highlights 5 key employment law issues that businesses will need to address in 2018; (more…)

Why recognition and reward matters for small businesses

reward employees

Every business, regardless of size, scale or industry wants to get the best from its people. When people work hard, it logically follows that output goes up.

The idea of achieving that through incentives is not a new one, but from the outside, it seems that a defined recognition and reward program is reserved for big business.

Smaller businesses just don’t have the time or resources to invest in developing something as grandiose as this and, when the focus needs to be on sustaining the business day-to-day to protect the jobs for everyone involved, it certainly doesn’t look like a business priority.

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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…)

Creating a proactive mental health strategy for your business

avoiding mental health problems in business

According to Unum UK’s “Mental health as a workplace asset” report in partnership with The Mental Health Foundation and Oxford Economics, 15 percent of UK employees – 4.9 million people – are affected by common mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Such issues are fast becoming a top priority for businesses both large and small, especially as it’s clear mental health challenges have no boundaries when it comes to the world of work. (more…)

How to spot, and respond to, mental health problems in your business

helping staff with mental health issues

Each year around ten million adults in the UK will experience mental ill health, meaning one in four of us will experience a mental health issue at some point in our lifetime.

Over the past decade, mental health awareness has accelerated, and more and more employers now understand that mental health is not only a serious issue for society but for businesses too.

With ‘mental health in the workplace’ as the theme for this year’s World Mental Health Day, we asked Poppy Jaman, CEO of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) England, to share her advice on how to look out for, and respond to, signs of mental ill health in your employees. (more…)

‘The ideal leader’ – Is there such a thing? What are the qualities of great leaders?

Leadership qualities - Sir Winston Churchill

Some people say that the ‘ideal leader’ is a myth. They argue that there are leaders that suit some situations but not others.

The notion of ‘good’ leadership is always relative to the need. There is no single ideal leader. Yet there is a common theme to good leadership: access to a particular set of energies and skill-sets.

None of us has all these naturally: becoming a leader means having to grow. But it means growing in a clear direction, acquiring certain qualities that we need but don’t have enough of.

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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…)

How finding a great mentor could help you to grow, and your business to flourish

business mentor helping business owner

If you could have lunch with any businessman or woman in the world, (alive or dead), to discuss your commercial/professional situation, whom would you choose – and why?

Chances are that you’d choose someone you admire or are intrigued by, perhaps because of their achievements, their values or their reputation/personal brand.

Most of us recognise the need to learn from the life experience and wisdom of others. We also aspire to accelerate the pace towards our own success, or at least smooth a few of the bumps in the road. A business mentor can be an invaluable asset to enable us to identify relevant principles of success and adapt them for our own situations and use.

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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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How to increase productivity and positivity with an employee engagement scheme

It has been proven that the happiness of your employees can have a huge impact on their productivity. In fact, job satisfaction can lead to your workers being 12% more productive, according to a study carried out by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick.

One of the best ways to increase happiness and morale throughout your business is by implementing an employee engagement scheme.

Here, Steve King, Director of Gifts International, explains how you can help your staff to be happier and more productive with an employee engagement scheme.

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When could your small business benefit from an interim manager?

how to choose an interim manager

Businesses often find themselves requiring some management resources and skills on a temporary basis.

Hiring an interim manager, or an entire management, team can ensure the business successfully fills this temporary, but urgent, business gap.

To help you understand if your business could benefit from the input of an interim manager, we asked Clive Hyman of Hyman Capital Services to explain when an interim manager make sense and how to go about hiring the right person. (more…)