Author: uniqmarketing

29
Apr2021

Hybrid Working: The new way of working for SME’s

Laura and Margery were delighted to be joined by Jonathan Smale, Founder of ‘Work to Be’ in our recent webinar on 27 th April 2021.

Jonathan has been helping organisations adopt more agile working practices for a number of years now and carried out a lot of research into the impact of Covid, lockdown and future ways of working.
Working from home is not a new concept, however over the past year, working from home has taken on a whole new meaning. Read more

25
Mar2021

My first week with Gravitate HR

What an incredible week! After a couple of years working in recruitment, I came across a great opportunity and a week ago I started working with Gravitate HR as an HR assistant.

I was excited by the prospect of a fresh beginning but also inundated with a sea of worries before my first day. I was not only starting a new role and a new career, but I was going to start it remotely! How was I going to learn the intricacies of the role from my living room? How was I going to fit in with the team if I had never met them in person? How was I going to be supported and trained? Read more

18
Mar2021

Restructuring Webinar

Neil and Margery hosted our most recent webinar on 16 th March 2021 with restructuring forming the topic of conversation. An area where Gravitate HR have a wealth of experience in supporting clients across all sectors, the team felt this would be a useful session for business owners/managers at the point of having to carry out some restructuring or at the stage of considering some changes to their
business. Read more

08
Mar2021

Post Brexit Immigration and Visa Rules in the UK

Laura and Neil were delighted to be joined by Nikki Weir, Senior Associate of Burness Paull in our recent webinar on 2nd March 2021. Nikki is an Immigration Law expert, working with organisations to help them manage sponsorship, Visa applications and provide specialist advice in this area of law. Read more

20
Jan2021

What does Brexit and Lockdown mean for employers in 2021?

At a time of great uncertainty there is much to preoccupy the minds of employers and employment lawyers as we enter into 2021.

Vaccinations are on the horizon for many and there is a public discussion about the legitimacy of employers requiring having the vaccination a condition of employment for employees.  There is a view that this could give rise to direct and indirect discrimination which is covered by the Equality Act 2010 as there are certain conditions which may not allow for an individual to have a vaccination. For example a pregnant woman is not advised to take the vaccine and therefore she could be excluded from employment on the grounds that she was pregnant which would be direct discrimination.  So we need to watch this space as vaccines are rolled out to ensure that we treat all employees fairly, taking into consideration particular circumstances and the context of the employment environment.

Brexit has arrived and with it what some are calling teething problems while others are seeing the routes to their markets disrupted with catastrophic impact on their ability to trade.  If this does not become resolved this will have an impact throughout the supply chain, with an inevitable detrimental impact on employment.  Brexit will also impact on the free movement of people which will curtail employment opportunities and recruitment of EU nationals in the UK.  There will now be a points based immigration systems presenting a further barrier to employment rights and employers ability to recruit from across the EU.

Furlough is due to continue until the end of March and we will wait and see if this is to continue or for some other form of support to be put in place by the Government.  Currently the uptake of furlough seems less intense than back in the Spring of 2020, either as employers have changed working practices, taken measures to reduce number of employees or are being more flexible in their approach.  We are seeing employees with caring responsibilities, in particular home schooling, asking for furlough to support with the demands of working at home whilst having parenting or other caring responsibilities.  If furlough is not an option then we would encourage employers to look at other flexible working options to support employees in these circumstances.

Case Law will continue to be determined in the High Courts and will impact on the precedent for employment decisions, which always keeps our employment lawyers engaged and debating the relative merits of different cases.  Employers need to keep an eye on landmark cases and we expect that there will be tribunal and other decisions which will reflect back on “furlough decisions” and other employment scenarios that arose over the past 12 months.

We do expect that over the coming  year that there will be a move back to the work place and the possible tensions with blending this with home working. For example deciding who goes into the office, who stays at home and the relative safety of all the various options, including travelling to and from work.

There is one thing for sure – there will be plenty to talk about, debate, share and learn in 2021.

13
Jan2021

Charting the waters in 2021

It would be normal in Q4 to firm up on budgets, business plans, goals and objectives for the year ahead.  After the experiences of 2020,it seems to me that is not necessarily a good use of valuable management time to go into detail.  If I learnt anything from last year it was that remaining agile and flexible to respond to the challenges and opportunities that arose was beneficial and served us well.  So on the cusp of 2021, how do we approach the year ahead?  I liken it to being in the harbour and preparing to set sail.  I know that my destination is across the ocean and I have a broad plan on co ordinates to reach my expected landing.  As I leave the harbour I will be subject to the vagaries of weather patterns, tides, wind, currents, and my ability to navigate!  It will not be a straight forward passage and I will have to make changes to my route, I will have to cope with disappointment and backward travel, I will need to dig deep, take advantage of the tide and wind when it is in my favour and I will have to have confidence in my ability to navigate and lead the team.

Here are 4 strategies to keep in mind as we head towards 2021:

  1. Keep positive  – have a positive mindset for yourself and your team.
  2. Be aware of your own mental threshold and be prepared to augment that with support from those around you.
  3. Listen, listen and then listen some more – listening will be the key skills to being an effective leader – listen to the market, listen to your staff, listen to advisors, listen to your instinct.
  4. Take people with you – we are in this together and we need to be supported by each other and the collective good will be stronger and more powerful than a lone voice.

Underpinning these strategies is the need for effective communication.  You will not communicate too much ever, be aware of digital fatigue and use the phone, go for a walk, go for a virtual walk, mix it up.  Be authentic in your communication, there is plenty of under delivered promises and misinformation in the external environment, so create a safe space for internal communication.

Planning for 2021 needs a fresh approach that allows us to be agile, creative, and accountable.

Next week we will update you on expected changes in employment law and trends which you can then build into your journey through 2021.

02
Dec2020

Racism and unconscious bias in the workplace – how to identify and prevent it

In the third of our equality and diversity focused webinars we discussed the impact of the Black Lives Matters movement.  This has undoubtedly raised awareness, emotion and a sense of empowerment to question the treatment of people of colour in our society today.  The issues of racial discrimination are not new but the level of perceived injustice and expressed emotion in society are heightened and palpable.  As we have commented before the boundaries of acceptability change over time and the impact of BLM has increased sensitivity and reduced acceptance of perceived racial discrimination.

The Equality Act 2010 sets out the measures that can be applied and provides a framework for tackling racial discrimination (and other forms of discrimination).  So employers and business owners need to know and understand the protections that are afforded to employees, job seekers and others through the legislation.  They need to go beyond just understanding their responsibilities, by training and educating their employees and managers; reviewing policies and procedures; carrying out an audit of where they are with their policies and practices within their organisation.

There are many recorded benefits of having a diverse workforce, it is good for business, it is good morally and ethically and it provides good protection for your business.  Therefore you may need to start to think about proactive steps you can take to grow and develop a diverse workforce.  Perhaps by starting to gather ethnicity data to build a baseline metric which over time can be assessed and evaluated. Reviewing recruitment processes to ensure that you are reaching a proportionate sample of your possible population. Training recruiters to avoid bias and discrimination and recruit in their own persona. Considering gathering ethnicity pay gap information to examine whether there is a bias in your pay and salary structure.

How can you be an ally to Black Lives Matters?  Supporting the cause with more than just words, taking action that will deliver training and education to challenge systemic societal views. By supporting initiatives like 100 Black Interns which actively seeks to address the underrepresentation of black people in fund management. By taking early action on potential allegations of racial discriminatory behaviour and sharing stories of how BLM and other debates have impacted those from an ethnic background. As well as creating the environment in which issues and concerns can be talked about, addressed and managed (not swept under the carpet) including providing mental health support for those who have been adversely affected.

The legislation can provide a level of protection but our actions as employers, managers, colleagues could make a big difference – if we became an ally of choice and self determination.

25
Nov2020

Sexual harassment in the workplace

Building on our examination of the impact of the Equality Act 2010, we took a more in depth look at sexual harassment in the workplace and where gender lies in the world of equality and diversity.  The legislation on sexual harassment and discrimination has been in place for some time before the Equality Act, it is not new and yet there are live and current examples of sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.  The specifics and substance of these may have changed over the years and the boundaries of what is and is not considered to be acceptable and appropriate has shifted but the principle of the impact of harassment has not.  It is not acceptable for the harasser to claim that it was not intentional, it was just banter and just the way that we speak to each other.  That is not the issue, the issue is the impact that the action has on the victim and if the action is considered to be offensive, inappropriate, humiliating that is what is important.  The action may not be inappropriate groping in the photocopier cupboard as we are not in the office, but comments about someone’s personal space or belongings identified through an online digital call, could be considered to be harassment.

The Me Too movement has raised awareness of the practice of sexual harassment, had lowered the barriers for others to come forward and tell their story and has openly shifted perception and acceptance on this issue.

This could be happening in your workplace and it is not a defence to say that you didn’t know or didn’t think that it caused any offence.  Business owners and employers are advised to take steps in their business to create an inclusive culture in your business. Those steps include:

  • Educate employees and yourself
  • Have appropriate policies and procedures in place
  • Talk about the polices and the implications of the provisions
  • Train managers and employees on boundaries of acceptable behaviours and to set acceptable norms.

As this is an evolving and developing topic, it has to be revisited and worked through to create an environment in which employees feel safe to come forward to talk about issues, raise concerns and establish a healthy and informed workforce which values respect, inclusion and equality.

A first step could be to audit your business to establish what is happening, identify examples of inappropriate behaviour or gaps in training and education.  From this you could build a strategy to actively develop an equal and inclusive workplace.  If you wish to discuss this privately and confidentially please contact us on info@gravitatehr.co.uk or call 0131 2257458.

19
Nov2020

New HR Assistant – Paula Green

I started my new position with Gravitate on the 26 th October 2020. I think on most peoples first days there is a sense of nervousness and anxiety and mine was no different. I think in addition to these feelings there was also a sense of sadness because I was leaving my previous role in Tesco after 11 years with the organisation. It was safe to say that there was a rollercoaster of emotions as I headed into my first day with Gravitate.

In my previous role, I was inducted more than a decade ago and the drastic changes from then to now within recruitment in wake of the changes made due to the pandemic were also a key contender to why I felt anxious. Not being in the office and not actually going to a ‘place of work’ and instead working from home was like a whole other world and one that I was not accustomed too. It almost felt like it was not real. However, as the first day came to an end, I felt silly and asked myself, why I was worrying as much.

The team at Gravitate are the friendliest and most supportive group I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Even from the interview process, whereby everything was done virtually they made me feel at ease and comfortable with the process. As I am working from home the logistics are extremely different to what they would normally be, with no office chat, no asking questions out loud to your colleagues and no normal office chatter it was something of the unknown to me however, Neil and the team have been so supportive and went above and beyond making me feel welcome on the first day. The synergy and team working spirit radiates through Gravitate and I am very proud to work for this organisation.

Gravitate will be my first HR role and provides me with an exciting challenge due to the variety the role entails. Even speaking to the team about their clients and what they need from Gravitate it is evident that I will be exposed to much more than if I was working in internal HR. I am really looking forward to finding my feet, liaising with clients, getting to know them and their different HR practices. Already in my first week I have been involved in re-drafting contracts, furlough, preparing leaving letters, appropriate filing, HR software and HR enquiries. I feel like everyday at Gravitate is going to be like a school day, where learning is always at the forefront.

It is evident that everyone at Gravitate really enjoys what they are doing, and I am raring to go and learn as much as possible from such an experienced team. It seems like I have waited a long time for my chance to work in HR and I am ecstatic that my journey starts here and now with an incredible team of experts.

19
Nov2020

Inequality in the workplace – would you recognise it and know how to prevent it

Ten years on and the Equality Act 2010 celebrates an anniversary but are we celebrating additional protections and its impact on our society and workplace?  In the webinar we examine the cornerstones of the Equality Act and how it affords protection to those with protected characteristics.

Todays Covid world has exposed cracks and fractures in our society, workplaces and working practices and demonstrates the need for anti discrimination legislation as we have seen women and people from ethnic backgrounds more affected by employment measures, gaining access to health care and their role in the family than other sectors of the population.  It is a real and relevant issue for all employers who have a responsibility to educate themselves about the Equality Act 2010; to train and educate all employees by sharing policies and procedures and embedding it in management practices throughout the whole of the employees life cycle.

A discrimination claim can be brought before a potential employee even before they join a business as pre employment practices such as recruitment and selection are open to scrutiny.  All claims can be persued in through the tribunal system and the awards, if proven, can be very punitive towards employers.  In this scenario a defence of “I didn’t mean it” or I did know that this could cause discrimination or offense” means very little.  What can be offensive is defined by the view and opinion of the person to whom it is intended – it is not for a white, women of Scottish origin to comment or define what may or may not be offensive to a male, man of colour and Scottish decent.

The rewards of a diverse and inclusive workplace go beyond the management of risk.  A culture that welcomes employees from diverse back gound, ethnicity will enrich the skills and experiences that you can tap into; may allow you to connect with a broader audience and customer base and build in resilience to your workforce.  It starts from:

  • Understanding what you have got by employing a diversity audit
  • Review of your policy and procedures to make sure they are up to date and relevant to our contemporary expectations.
  • To train your managers and employees about what this means in practice.
  • Embed into your way of working and dealing with exceptions and departures from policy provisions.

Coming soon – new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion e-learning course!

We will soon be launching our brand new EDI e-learning course where you and your team can train in a variety of issues receiving a certificate at the end of the training. It’s a very practical action you can take as a business towards creating an equal, diverse, and inclusive business.

Archives