Employer Right to Work Checks

The world is going through a phase right now of increased hacker activity, and as companies we need to respond and show that we are taking steps to protect employees. Here is a quick outline of 4 basic steps you can take to do that.

1. Data Encryption

It’s becoming more and more advisable that all data for your company is kept on an encrypted hard drive. This essentially is a locked hard drive that requires the unique key to open it. It’s easier than ever now to make use of high level security features with online cloud storage making huge strides towards online security for your data.

2. Keep what you need, nothing more

Part of the data protection act requires that we don’t keep data we don’t need, and though companies follow this rule, generally, well, we could tighten it up for ourselves, and make a distinct effort to not keep data on an employee we really don’t need or could do without. By reducing what we keep on our employees we reduce the amount of information a hacker might get hold of. Mothers maiden names are now so dangerous due to their overuse as “secret question” answers. We can get better at this!

3. Use dedicated online systems

We wrote a blog post a while back on using an HR Management System in your business, and while these can be practically rewarding due to simplicity, they offer security benefits. Essentially, you don’t store HR related data onsite, it’s elsewhere, and you can generally be assured that these companies are doing their best to keep this data safe, if they didn’t they wouldn’t exist long! While it’s common it’s not a given, so research the security of the system you are considering before you invest.

4. Keep it non digital

This seems drastic, and counter intuitive to what we are saying about HR Management Systems, but we aren’t saying don’t use them, just add an extra level of protection to some data by keeping it in hard copy only. It depends on what data your company needs, but it might be worth a consideration that not all data requires instant access, and it could be safer in hard copy only.

Solve HR childcare

Solve HR childcare

What experience does Solve have of working within the childcare sector?

At Solve we work with a nursery that has 5 individual nurseries spread around Edinburgh and the Lothians.  This has given us valuable insight into the challenges faced by nurseries including

  • SSSC standards
  • The importance of Care Inspectorate reports
  • Finding the right employees with the necessary qualities, experience and skills
  • The day to day ER issues faced by nurseries

How can Solve assist with the recruitment of childcare roles?

We have been actively involved in the recruitment of Nursery Managers, Practitioners and Support Workers so we understand how difficult it can be to find the right people for these roles.  It’s not just about having the right qualifications it’s also about having the right qualities and behaviours to undertake a role in childcare.  In conjunction with our nursery client we have established a robust advertising and recruitment strategy that has enabled us to fill over 20 roles in the last year including a number of senior positions.

How can Solve support Nursery Managers with day to day HR?

We understand that the main priority for Nursery Managers is the care of the children in their charge as well as the day to day running of the nursery so they may not have the time required to be able to fully manage HR issues.  We have provided our nursery client with hands on HR support with a variety of different issues such as:

  • Absence management
  • Maternity
  • Flexible working
  • Disciplinary Issues

What other support have you offered?

In order to help the Nursery Managers with their development we have also run a number of training courses such as:

  • General Management training
  • Managing Difficult Conversations
  • Managing Probationary Periods
  • Investigations and Disciplinaries
  • Recruitment

At Solve we believe that through our extensive experience we understand the challenges faced by not just nurseries but other organisations within the care sector and that we truly can support these organisations with all their HR needs.

childcare staff selection and recruitment

childcare staff selection and recruitment

Working in your industry Solve. is aware that high quality care and the maintenance of service delivery is essential for your reputation. This means that the commitment of your care staff is crucial and their values are your competitive advantage. However, with turnover now averaging 14% (an increase of 2% on the previous year); attracting, sifting and selecting for the right employees has never been more critical.

Does this sound familiar?;

  • You place an advertisement for new nursery staff and are inundated with responses from completely unsuitable candidates
  • You need staff who demonstrate the key values of care, commitment and integrity but have no idea how this fits into your selection process
  • You’re starting to feel like your business has a ‘revolving door’, with the number of staff joining and leaving within very short timeframes
  • Parents are starting to complain about the lack of consistent care

At Solve. we can help make your Recruitment and Selection challenges a thing of the past and strengthen your business with the introduction of up to the minute tools and techniques that will ensure you attract, select and retain the best in the business.

Employer Right to Work Checks

The voluntary Living Wage has increased 2.4% to £8.45 an hour across the UK.

The changes announced by the Living Wage Foundation this week affect around 3,000 Living Wage accredited employers. The rate applies to workers aged 18 and over.

The Living Wage is independently calculated each year to reflect what employees and their families actually need to meet their living costs. This is based on research by the Resolution Foundation.

In London, the rate has increased 3.7% to £9.75 meaning an increase of 35p per hour.

These rates are distinct from the National Living Wage, the legal minimum introduced in April 2016 for over 25’s which was set at £7.20 per hour.

The changes come a day after a poll showed one in five workers (more than five million people), are being paid less than the Living Wage.

Employers including Ikea, Majestic Wine, National Express Bus and EDF Energy have signed up to the scheme and it has recently been announced that Everton Football Club, the British Library, MoreThan owner RSA Insurance, Curzon Cinemas and law firm DLA Piper International have now been accredited.

Katherine Chapman, director of the Living Wage Foundation, said: “It’s more important than ever for leading employers to join the growing movement of businesses and organisations that are going further than the Government minimum and making sure their employees earn enough to cover the cost of living.

Research shows that workplaces designed with employee wellbeing in mind can play a role in reducing absenteeism, improve job performance, employee motivation and help with recruitment and retention. It makes sense, given we spend more time at work in atypical day than anywhere else. We have looked at some ways you can help make your workspace a healthier, happier and more productive environment for your employees.

1.Encourage your team to move throughout the day

Various studies link regular exercise to lower absence rates and improved job performance so simple touches like encouraging employees to use the stairs by posting encouraging signs and making sure your stairwell is freshly painted and clean. If you have parking make sure there are secure spaces for bicycles, if you have the space (and budget) you could install showers and lockers so that those who walk, run, or cycle to work, or workout at lunchtimes, can have a shower. Or, find out the location of your nearest local swimming pool and encourage employees to have a swim or use the showers there at lunchtime or before starting work.

2.Make sure your office furniture provides support

Give some thought to furniture design and layout. Ensure furniture you have is ergonomic to provide adequate support when working. Make sure your employees know how to adjust their office furniture to ensure it is comfortable as well as supportive.

3.Improve the environment

Buy some office plants to cheer up desks and workspaces. Certain types of plants filter out toxins from the air and improve humidity levels as well. Make sure you address any complaints about hot and cold spots from employees by providing extra heaters and fans. Make sure your work space is well-ventilated. If you can improve the air quality then research shows productivity can improve so choose paints and carpets that don’t emit toxins and check ventilation is adequate. In most cases the landlord has lease obligations to ensure working heating and ventilation systems.

4.Check out lighting solutions

Fluorescent lighting isn’t the only choice available now for overhead lighting – check out LED systems which allow you to adjust light intensity and colour throughout the day. Provide desk/table top lighting based on tasks your employees are carrying out to help make working much easier on their eyes. If you can have some natural light in some areas all the better.

5.Encourage healthy eating

We’re not advocating a ban on chocolate but providing a bowl of fruit for your employees daily / weekly or as a monthly treat may encourage healthier eating habits. Fruit is loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre and can give an immediate energy boost.

6.Have a relaxing zone

Finally, have a space for your employees to relax away from their desk with comfortable seating and USB sockets for them to charge their devices. Providing free wi-fi is an added bonus and means employees can keep up to date in their breaks.

Thanks to modern technology it is becoming increasingly easier to search and find candidates that match the skills, qualifications and experience required for a role i.e. the ‘hard skills’ but what about the so called ‘soft skills’? It’s easy to forget these hidden factors such as social cohesion, personality alignment and interpersonal value tolerances. Whilst a candidate may have the necessary hard skills to fulfil the role it is also important to find out if they have the soft skills required to fit in with your organisation’s culture.

There are a variety of personality tests available to assess candidates. At Solve. we use the Thomas International PPA test to assess candidates work behaviours. The PPA can also be used to indicate the impact that a candidate may have on an existing team i.e. what will they bring to the team and will they fit in.

By assessing soft skills as well as hard skills an organisation will benefit in a variety of ways:

1. Creates a more cohesive team that work well together.
2. Better staff retention
3. Reduced recruitment costs as result of having to recruit less frequently
4. Greater job satisfaction for employees
5. Improved efficiencies
6. Decrease in ER issues