Author: uniqmarketing


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.


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.


Working from home this winter?

How to protect your mental and physical health.

Looking after our own well being and that of the team could help us through the dark and cold months of autumn and winter!

Why is that important?  Exercise gives our mood and mental well being a lift due to the release of serotonin and this may well help all of us to cope with the pressures and strains that we are all feeling due to the current circumstances.  Movement will be a welcome change from the time spent sat in front of a screen and sedentary at a desk, to help move our joints, muscles and ligaments to help prevent injury, pain and stiffness.  It will also provide a shift away from performance to find time and space to active recovery and relaxation.  This is important for us all to be able to perform professionally and personally and to be better able to combat the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

How do we get started? Some of us may have a well established exercise routine and some may not.  It is about finding some activity that you enjoy and have fun – that could be dancing, Zumba, boot camp, running, walking, yoga – the first step is to find something that you enjoy, either on your own or taught.  A guided class can give encouragement, ensure good technique and support from others.  It will be different for all of us – more than ever classes are available online live and recorded, so that you can follow your chosen activity from the safety of your own home.  Even if you are a very active person the opportunity to relax and have the permission to slow down, stretch and experience some mindfulness can bring additional and different benefits.

Usually there is a trigger point, start of the new year, after a celebration or holiday when you are feeling the effects of over indulging or partying – that pushes you to make a change in your lifestyle to make you feel better and better about yourself.

How do we get others started?  It needs to be packaged and set out to be enticing and accessible to encourage people to get involved; it needs inspirational people or stories to get it off the ground and more impetus to keep it going.  Above all it is about selling the benefits of getting together to take part in a group activity; to move a little more, to take in fresh air and nature (outside event) and benefit from the daylight and melatonin which will help us to sleep better.  Find the features and sell the benefits!

Is it all about physical exercise?  There are other elements to the well being story.  Guided breathing and relaxation are great for instilling peace and stillness in as little as 60 seconds which can create a helpful break from the constant activity and business in our lives.  Improving our diet and eating habits can make a huge difference in our well being – our stomachs are like a second brain and the bacteria living there will send messages to our brain and influence our mood.  So we need to encourage good bacteria in our gut to improve our overall well being.

What can we learn from other cultures?  In countries where there are  long cold and dark winters, they celebrate the dark with festivals, light, winter sports – they embrace the weather and approach with a different mindset.  In Scandinavian countries they have shorted working hours, more flexibility and actively take the time to get out doors in the day light and there society is designed holistically to embrace these measures.

What might we need to change?  We might need to

  • stagger start and finish times to allow people to go outside at the start of the day to get a blast of fresh air, natural light and nature
  • allow more flexible working hours to allow people to gain access to chosen physical activity
  • ask, listen and act upon feedback – ask your teams what support they would benefit from
  • think about diversity and the range of needs in your team – how could you provide some thing that will be accessible for different levels of activity and fitness
  • keep it fresh – have a range of strategies that you can mix up with
  • Keep it inspirational – have a speaker to a lunch and learn to inspire with new ideas – new recipes – guided meditation sessions

As a business leader, it starts with us to make this priority for ourselves and others, to lead the way by example, to ask and listen and then put together some initiatives with appropriate messaging.  Seek some help from those who are expert in this – it is not just about exercise, mindfulness and diet are just as important.  Hope these helpful ideas will give you a  kick start to changing the way that we view winter and help to build some resilience and well being capacity.


The new job support scheme – what do we do now?

Following the announcement by the Government of the new job support scheme (JSS) it has given employers another option to consider with the goal of encouraging employers to retain jobs. You will no doubt have seen some of the details of the new scheme however some key points to note:

  • Government contributions are capped at £697.92 per month.
  • Starting the redundancy process or making someone redundant would preclude you entering that employee into the scheme.
  • You will have to calculate and pay wages based on the employee’s normal salary not their furloughed salary.
  • You will claim the government’s contribution (22% of non-worked hours) back monthly in arrears.
  • Employees must be working a minimum of 33% of their contracted hours.
  • You will have to get your employees to agree in writing that they are willing to be a part of the JSS should you go down this route.

The scheme will run until April 2021, giving us an indication of how long the Government believes COVID will continue to impact on business, jobs and the economy. 


What are the pros and cons?

We need to wait for further details to be announced however here are our initial thoughts:

The benefit to retaining more staff on reduced hours could be that should the company start to trade more securely in the future they will save time and money otherwise spent on recruiting new staff. Furthermore if you have been utilising the furlough scheme thus far, you’ll get £1k per head for everyone who remains on your books come January 2021.

That said, I expect a lot of employers will be hesitant to persevere with this scheme, rather than just let staff go. It requires a significantly higher contribution from the employer than the furlough scheme has, at a time when many businesses  are already struggling. There will be many businesses who will be unable to or struggle to pay 55% salary for 33% resource ‘use’. I think it will take quite a specific set of circumstances for a business to be positioned to benefit from this, i.e. they have to have some level of trade, but not the full amount, have sufficient cash flow to pay the portion of the wages they are responsible for and the governments before claiming back in arrears.

What advice would we give at present? 

We need to await further detail on the scheme and its practicalities. If you are a business mid-consultation on redundancies, then I wouldn’t suggest you fully fall back from that just yet. Better to communicate a pause and hold employee’s in their ‘at risk’ status, whilst determining as promptly as possible, whether or not this scheme can help reduce (or remove) the requirement to make redundancies at this time. Make it clear when pausing that the redundancy process may need to restart in the near future.

If you would like any advice or support in determining whether the JSS will benefit your business and how to implement it please get in touch by emailing or call us on 0131 225 7458.