Here comes the festive season yet again with the routine end of year parties and office celebrations. Under those wonderful celebrations lie the murky waters of potential litigations and reputational damage that may result from reckless incidents.
Whether the Christmas party takes place outside of working hours and/or off company premises, the normal laws that protect employees and their rights still apply under the Safety at work Act. If an employee is injured or abused in any way, the company may well be legally liable.
Furthermore, employee relations issues can arise when an office party is planned insensitively; when this follows a period of cost-cutting and redundancies or when no consideration was given to staff from a different faith.
A few tips to consider:
There’s a lot of talk about the importance of businesses having a People Strategy yet, like anything in the world of business, it requires some investment in time and effort to produce one. It is worth that investment?
It’s a competitive world out there and with a robust People Strategy within your Business you can see improvements in productivity, employee engagement and reduced costs, thereby increasing profitability.
A people strategy created to complement business objectives, integrating company culture and values, has been shown to help reduce staff turnover and ensure that your workforce is fully committed to achieve your overall business objectives. Considering that a huge part of business income is spent on employees the ROI on that spend is crucial. For example, in the care sector, nearly 60% of income is spent on employees whilst around 15-30% is the norm. With those sort of numbers in play, isn’t it worth some time looking at how you work with your people?
Middle managers are the first line managers in an organisation. They manage a team to drive results yet have very little or no impact on company strategy and objectives. They are expected to achieve results and motivate their teams by senior management, expected by their team to support and develop them whilst also delivering on people related aspects of the job and any reporting that is required by the business.
Senior management will typically expect from middle managers that they deliver the objectives determined by the organisation even if these aren’t realistic. They’re expected to get on with the difficulties that may arise with their team whether it is interpersonal conflict or staffing problems without letting it impact on the plan and expected output. They are also typically expected to find ways to motivate their team members and retain them even in contexts where they themselves have no impact on company direction or the changes that are impacting their team such as budgets or companywide technology and processes for example.
If you run an SME, the likelihood is that you don’t have a large HR team to tackle all of the areas of HR that are essential to support your business.
Many SMEs don’t have an HR function at all; they have an office manager who does a great job juggling all of the business support tasks that you send their way. Of course, the challenge with this is not to drop a ball. Then, when SMEs grow to about 50 employees, they start investing in the function and hire an HR professional. This is usually someone who is experienced enough to be autonomous but not so senior that they’re put off by the more administrative parts of the job.
The inherent issue with the early steps of introducing an HR function within a business is that the role is extremely busy dealing with a wide disparity in people practices across the teams and having to create everything from scratch for each new activity to undertake. This leaves no time for the job holder to reflect and take a step back to look at the bigger picture. As a result, this role is often reactive and what is urgent and important takes priority over checking that every part of the function is developed to the level it should be to better serve the interests of the business and its employees.
One tool that can help taking this step back and assessing what needs doing is an HR Audit. These can be wide ranging or focus on specific areas of HR and tailored to the level of maturity of the organisation. The outcome of your audit enables you to make informed decisions as to current risks, needs and the future direction of travel for your HR function.