Category: Recent Blogs

30
Sep2020

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 info@gravitatehr.co.uk or call us on 0131 225 7458. 

25
Sep2020

How to avoid fines, penalties and legal action as furlough ends

In March of this year, Marianne McJannett and I started the series of webinars which Gravitate HR have continued for six months.  These have tracked the progress of furlough, working from home, supporting our teams and their mental wellbeing and have followed the journey of us all through the up and downs of living and working through a pandemic.  As the furlough scheme comes to an end in 5 weeks our focus on this webinar was the steps that business owners and employers should start to think about and to raise awareness of the various risks that are currently prevalent.

Redundancy follows a very structured path of communication, consultation and decision making.  Within that structure there are very many twists and turns and variables, it is not a one size fits all process and has to be adapted and planned to take into consideration of the size, shape and make up of the employee population and the number of roles which have to be lost.  And then there is the human element.  It is this additional dimension that has complicated the process during the pandemic.

The unique factors that have now to be considered include:

  • Are you employees still on furlough, flexi furlough, working from home, or working in the work place?  How might the decisions that you make be influenced and perceived by others by this?
  • Are employees fully appraised of the status of the business?  Are they aware of how the economic challenges have affected income and cost structures?
  • The external job market is overall not healthy with a huge number of people looking for work which makes it very competitive?  This influences the attitude of employees when facing possible redundancy and fighting to keep their jobs in selection processes.
  • The risk to the business of carrying out a flawed process, or making unfair decisions are very real, with employees (with more than 2 years’ service) having redress through the tribunal system.
  • There is also a risk of unwittingly making discriminatory decisions, decisions which are perceived to be based on protected characteristics rather than a fair and consistent process.
  • And all of this is carried out remotely through a screen, with the potential for the meeting to be recorded, and an extra layer of distance to be factored.

As the Job Retention Scheme ends on the 31st October 2020, employers will be required to pay 100% of contractual payment from the 1st November 2020.  If this is not affordable then the business needs to start to plan what alternatives it can put in place.  All alternatives will require some form of consultation and agreement with employees, they can not be imposed.  There are a number of alternatives available and a number of routes which can be followed.  It may be advisable to take some advice early in order to inform your decision making and avoid costly decisions that could have long term adverse effects on your business.  This webinar discusses the journey through furlough, the current trends in the employment law sphere and some of the very unique set of circumstances that we now find ourselves after working from home for six months; and now advised that should be our default position for some time to come for many businesses.  The end of October is a milestone in this journey and our advice is to be sure that you are prepared for the changes that will arrive with no more JRS payments from HMRC.

If you would like any further advice about an HR issue you are managing please get in touch with us on 0141 459 7558 or email info@gravitatehr.co.uk.

14
Sep2020

The 5 Things you need to know Managing your team remotely

Cameron Thomson of FootDown Scotland joined us for our most recent webinar on 1st September 2020. Cameron works across all industries and sectors as a professional coach and culture building specialist.

The session looked specifically at considerations for managing teams remotely, which we felt was a useful topic as we await further guidance from the Scottish government about possible return to non-essential office working from 14th Sept.

Even if the green light is given in the coming weeks, the overwhelming sense is that continued remote working will remain and may even replace the office altogether for many organisation.

Cameron gave an informative and practical presentation on some key areas he has been supporting clients in whilst they plan ahead for longer term remote working. Cameron encouraged attendees to think about how they could manage their employee’s energy and ensure they were not burning out; to deliberately build chemistry among the team to make up for the natural social interactions which are no longer happening due to remote working and gave practical guidance on how to ensure staff are prioritizing the important work over the work that they enjoy.

If you would like to discuss how Cameron might support you or your business, or to obtain a copy of the slides, please email cameron.thomson@footdown.com or call 07795598464.

A recording of the session can be found here.

21
Aug2020

My First Week At Gravitate

Rae, our new HR Account Manager, reflects on her first week at Gravitate and starting a new role remotely…

Read more

13
Aug2020

Why A Lack of Sleep is Costing Employers £1035 Per Employee Per Annum

Did you know…

4 in 10 people regularly get insufficient sleep

1 in 5 sleep poorly most nights

70 million sick days are lost in the UK to mental health issues


On Tuesday 18th August, 12.30 pm – 1 pm, we will be learning how sleep can affect your mental health and by extension impact your work and business. With recent events and the stress, uncertainty and anxiety it has caused, there is no doubt that many of us will have suffered a few sleepless nights.

We are delighted to welcome Aliyah Rehman of the Strathclyde Sleep Research Unit within the University of Strathclyde as our guest speaker.

Aliyah will reflect on the academic research in relation to how sleep can affect your and your team’s mental health, productivity and effectiveness. With 1 in 3 days absence attributed to stress and anxiety and the avg. annual cost to an employer of £1035 per team member, it’s a serious issue that is likely to be heightened in the current circumstances.

Although there is perhaps a greater awareness and understanding of mental health today than there was a few decades ago, it can still be a taboo subject and no employer is immune from the effects. Aliyah will also be sharing their tips to a great night’s sleep and the positive mental and physical benefits it has.

Cameron will also discuss what employers can do in the current climate to help their employees (and indeed themselves) to get a good night’s sleep and preserve their physical and mental health, as well as maintaining a good level of productivity.

This will be an interactive session so please come with your questions and ideas.

Sign Up Now!

12
Aug2020

Webinar Summary: Is Recruitment Dead?

Recruitment is Definitely Not Dead

Kirsty MacKenzie from iMultiply confirmed that there are roles out there, it is just the volume that has decreased.  She also commented on the changing nature of the recruitment market and gives some very practical advice to employers looking to recruit and for potential candidates looking for a new role.

Some key points to note:

  • Employer brand is key to make your role and your organisation stand out
  • Be ahead of Covid 19 questions, take the initiative and set out how you have responded to the pandemic, how it has impacted your business, what business contingency plans you have in place and what challenges lie ahead
  • Consider what employees may be looking for from an employer which could be in relation to terms and conditions or more around the culture and way of working and how that will impact them in a new role
  • Think through the interviewing process, perhaps start with a short telephone call; followed by an online meeting giving consideration to how many people there are on the call and the tone of that call and make allowances for technology gaffs
  • Consider whether there are different ways in which to contract with a new employee that may be more suited to the current circumstances
  • Remember you may not get it right first time, in terms of leadership or indeed managing a recruitment process but if you take advice, listen to the experience of others and be open minded to different approaches you may minimise risk

For candidates:

  • Go for quality rather than quantity when applying for roles – less is more rather than just any role that you might be in scope for
  • Build up relationships with consultants within relevant recruitment businesses
  • Use your professional and personal network to look for possible roles
  • Tailor your CV on achievements rather than duties
  • If you have been “at home” for a while talk about what you have achieved during that time, volunteering, helping in the community or any learning that you have completed

 

The recruitment market is alive and well, there is a reduction in volume but there are roles out there, especially in specific sectors for example health and social care; fintech; tech start up.  As an employer you may need to think differently about how to approach the market and it maybe advisable to get some expert advice to help you navigate the recruitment and selection journey; you may need to change the way in which you contract with your new hire and paying attention to your employer brand will pay you dividends.

If either iMultiply or Gravitate can assist you with you recruitment needs please do reach out to Kirsty at kirstymackenzie@imultiplyresourcing.com or Margery@gravitatehr.co.uk.  Look forward to hearing from you.

06
Aug2020

Is Recruitment Dead?

With thousands of job losses being reported regularly in the media is recruitment dead for the foreseeable future? Are there sectors which are growing and looking for new and different skill sets? As an employer if you are recruiting how do you avoid being overloaded with spurious and inappropriate applications? We heard of one bar looking to recruit 2 new members of staff who would normally get approximately 20 applications received over 500.

One of the very real challenges many businesses are faced with is the balancing act of generating enough work to bring their team back to work while servicing that business themselves. It has also been a time for us to reset and take stock which has resulted in some team members deciding not to return thereby potentially creating the need to recruit.

Kirsty McKenzie, CEO of iMultiply, finance and executive recruitment specialists, and Margery will be discussing how you should approach the market to find and attract the right skills and experience.They’ll also be discussing what trends, changes and challenges has COVID had on recruitment.

If you have a question or a point of view either as an employer looking out at the recruitment market or as an employee contemplating a new job role, what do you need to know to navigate your way through this minefield with some authority and confidence.

Join us on Tuesday 11th of August, 12.30 pm – 1 pm.

SIGN UP HERE!

 

 

 

05
Aug2020

Why Mindset Matters In Business – Now More Than Ever

Yvonne Webb of ActionCOACH joined us for our most recent webinar on 4th August 2020. Yvonne works with business owners, managers and teams across a number of strategic and operational initiatives to improve the people within the organisation and ultimately the business performance.

The session looked specifically at mindset and how this can impact resilience, highlighting how important these areas are for leaders within businesses and within teams. Yvonne and Neil felt this would be a good area to cover given where businesses are in the covid-19 recovery process – more and more organisations are now returning in some capacity after a challenging few months. But it is not as straightforward as opening the shutters and back to business as usual for anyone. The challenge to recover and become prosperous again is arguably more difficult than placing the business into hibernation and so mindset and resilience become even more important.

Yvonne gave an informative and thought-provoking summary of the importance of mindset in business; the positive effects that a growth rather than fixed mindset could bring and some practical suggestions as to how organisations could introduce discussion and development on mindset into their business.

Yvonne suggested a starting point with a team could be to have the team watch Carol Dweck’s TedTalk and then note down their thoughts and opinions on this to discuss as a group. Alternatively, or in addition to this, Yvonne welcomed anyone who wished to discuss this further to contact her to discuss how to approach mindset with your team. Similarly, if anyone wishes the opportunity to take up a free coaching session, Yvonne can be reached on 072534999762.

A recording of the webinar can be found here.

Join Margery and Kirsty McKenzie of I-Multiply for our next webinar on Tuesday 11th August which will discuss recruitment in the context of the current pandemic. For further information and to sign up, click here.

30
Jul2020

Protecting the Mental Health and Wellbeing of Employers

Why Mindset Matters in Business – Now More Than Ever


HR isn’t just about looking after your team and their needs, it’s also about how you look after you. Never has there been a more important time to look after yourself and to develop a strong mindset in business. With so many unknowns and great uncertainty it is incredibly tough to manage and plan your business. Often we focus on the job in hand, selling, keeping customers happy, productivity, deadlines etc..we often forget to look after our own welfare and mental health.

The voice in our head is the most powerful drug to influence performance – good or bad. Spending time understanding this, and importantly working on it with your team is an essential in the environment we find ourselves in.

In this 30 minute lunchtime webinar, Yvonne Webb of ActionCOACH joins Neil to take us through some concepts around Mindset and Resilience to help stimulate our thinking of how we can achieve the mindset we need now to be successful and how we can also support our teams achieve the same. Developing resilience both in yourself and your team will help overcome many of the challenges that businesses will experience as we continue to adapt during this pandemic.

Yvonne spent 25 years working with some of the top companies in the UK including Cadbury and Coca Cola, before setting up her own ActionCOACH practice.

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30
Jul2020

Webinar Summary: The Challenges of Returning To Work

Not only did we get to see inside the offices of SeeByte and the measures they have taken to make the workplace safe for employees, we got a good insight into their Covid 19 management approaches.  SeeByte is a software house which services the defence and military sectors and therefore it has very specific and stringent security contractual requirements.  So on the one hand it has a culture which attracts, retains and develops “cool” software engineers, so that it can compete with the likes of Google.  At the same time it has rigorous approaches to security, IT infrastructure and data management to meet the requirements of its customers.

Then bring on lockdown and the need for everyone to work from home – well nearly everyone.

SeeByte have adopted a phased approach to working arrangements underpinned by open communication and consultation with employees, which have included:-

  • Policy and procedures to follow relating to entry into the offices and presence in the office
  • Adaptations to communal areas to make these contactless, hygienic and functional
  • Duty management rota to ensure management presence in the office
  • Online platform to communicate and “book” office time and ensure that numbers of employees are managed and meet capacity guidelines
  • Collecting of data through online platform, meeting room logs and sign in registers to support Test and Trace measures
  • Gradual phased opening up of office to all employees, transitioning from remote working to a combination of office and home working.
  • Promoting personal responsibility for personal and office space hygiene and working practices
  • Special measures to allow employees to return home after a long time away from family
  • Development of more specific data sharing measures if home working is to continue as “home working environments” will have to meet security requirements

SeeByte will continue to navigate the journey through lockdown, encouraging employees to work a blend of home and office working, with more office working becoming more routine albeit on a very part time basis.  Even with these consultative approaches they are alive to the possibility of difficult conversations with reluctant returners, at some point in the future.  It is with the track record of all these measures that if necessary, they would be able to turn to some more directive conversations around the need for SeeByte to continue to meet its business and contractual requirements. That is some way off.  In the meantime they seek to build a safe working environment, ensure personal responsibility for safe working practices and track information and data that are essential in the event of Test and Trace.

None of us know what lies ahead.  It is difficult to predict what questions to ask, far less know the answers.  Sharing experiences and approaches helps us to learn and grow as we navigate this journey.

If you would like to discuss how you are approaching a return to the workplace, please reach out to one of the Gravitate HR team and we will be happy to have a discussion with you.

 

 

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