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Enhancing and Optimising Your LinkedIn Profile

linkedinLinkedIn is one of the most useful tools in the world of business but is sadly under-utilised by most people and businesses.  LinkedIn is one of the most useful tools in the world of business but is sadly under-utilised by most people and businesses.

 

With over 225 million members, over 2 million groups and millions of professional oriented searches happening every day LinkedIn is a fantastic tool for engaging with key stakeholders and enhancing individual and company online presence. Having an up-to-date, informative and professional looking LinkedIn profile is vital if you want to stand out from the crowd. Your profile is your window to the world and will dictate how your peers, clients, suppliers, prospective clients and employees or employers view you.

A good LinkedIn profile with good connections is also an invaluable tool for recruitment as it instantly allows you to reach out to people within your industry with relevant skills and experience. LinkedIn allows you to search for individuals who have the key skills and experience you require. You can also advertise job vacancies cost free through relevant industry groups.

Enhancing your profile is relatively straight forward and if done right should result in a better profile rating and an enhanced online presence making you more visible to new clients and prospective employers/employees.

For more information on how to enhance and optimise your LinkedIn profile contact our Recruitment Manager, Tracey Burke.

 

 

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Making Sure the Christmas Party doesn’t become the business’s hangover

The festive season is upon us and, as always, it’s that time of year when things start to get a little merrier for everyone, not least because of the up and coming parties, drinks receptions and dinners.  However, as we embark on the most sociable time of the year, Solve have a few helpful tips to ensure that Employers don’t end up with a business headache after the party.

Promoting Inclusivity

Christmas is all about celebrating, letting your hair down and enjoying this special time with friends, family and colleagues.  However, it is important for Employers to remember that not everybody celebrates Christmas and in organising social get-togethers and Christmas parties, Employers must not discriminate against other Employees of different religions or beliefs. Likewise there may be childcare issues that prevent some Employees from attending social events therefore Employers should act sensitively and take care that Employees do not feel excluded or uncomfortable by being obliged to attend.  If budget allows, perhaps celebrations can be split into a day and evening event, where Employees can choose to attend either, both or none of these events depending on their circumstances.

It would also be advisable for those Employers who do throw their Employees a big festive bash to adopt a sensible approach to the party. In order to do this, ensure that there is plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available to everyone. You may also wish to consider capping the level of free or discounted drinks. Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to their Employees and therefore you should also give some thought to ensuring that employees get home safely if you are aware that they are drinking. In particular, make sure that they do not drink and drive after a party.

Ensuring Appropriate Conduct and Behaviour

Co-worker ‘punch-ups’ and other threatening behaviour at office parties are the main offences committed that may require disciplinary action. Other offences relate to harassment, bullying and other types of discrimination on grounds of sex, race, sexuality, religion, disability or age.  Employers are potentially vicariously liable for the discriminatory acts or comments of their Employees, even when at social events. Therefore, Employers should remind all of their Employees of the need for acceptable behaviour.

However, despite best intentions, after a few sociable drinks, things can get heated and what would be seen as a flippant remark can be taken out of proportion. Should any trouble ensue it is best to act calmly, send Employees home and deal with things the following day. It might even be advisable to designate a manager who will not be drinking to deal with any unexpected displays of Christmas spirit.

Setting Expectations

You may also wish to forewarn Employees that disciplinary action will also be taken in the event of non-attendance at work the following day or if they attend work late or still under the influence, as a result of over indulgence. Obviously, if this is to happen, it is important to consider this approach across the board. However, be mindful of being discriminatory.  There may also be genuine reasons for absence, relating to illness or disability and therefore a fair and thorough investigation will need to be undertaken prior to any disciplinary action being taken.  You should use your existing policies relating to Absence and payment for absence as a point of reference, seeking advice as required.

Dealing with Complaints Effectively

It is essential that you ensure that you deal with all complaints received, speedily and fairly. Equally, if either yourself, or your Managers/Directors witness inappropriate behaviour or conduct you must deal with this swiftly. Any failure to act could result in claims for discrimination at an Employment Tribunal. It is also important to ensure that you adhere to fair procedures and that at the very least you follow your own internal disciplinary procedures. Failure to undertake an adequate investigatory and disciplinary process could further result in a claim for unfair dismissal.

Follow your own Policy and Processes

In advance of referring to them, it would be a good idea to check and update your current policies and procedures, particularly relating to Absence Management, Equal Opportunities, Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment, Drug and Alcohol misuse and Disciplinary and Grievance.

For more guidance contact Solve on 0131 300 0433

 

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The recent Budget’s impact on employers

Pensions, apprenticeships, employee expenses and benefits are some of the aspects of the 2014 Budget which will impact your business and HR

Last month’s budget dictated that income taxes and thresholds will increase this and next year. The personal tax allowance is expected to rise to £10,000 in 2014/2015 and up to £10,500 in 2015/2016 with the highest basic rate remaining at £31,865 this new tax year, slightly reducing to £31,785 in 2015/16. The highest rate tax threshold is expected to rise to £41,865 this April and by a further 1% in April 2015.  Apprenticeship Grants for Employers scheme is to be extended and will provide grants for employers to create an additional 100,000 apprenticeships by 2015/16. In relation to how this might affect Scotland, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has set out plans to extend the grant for small businesses in order to support 100,000 apprenticeships. Consequential to the power devolved into the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood will receive funding as a result.

There will be wide-ranging pension reforms taking place which will enable individuals to access Defined Contribution (DC) pension savings “as they wish from the point of retirement”. The DC scheme is a retirement plan in which the employer, employee or both make contributions on a regular basis where individual accounts are set up for participants and benefits are based on the amounts credited to these accounts. The government will introduce a new duty on both trust-based pension schemes and pension providers to offer a “guidance guarantee” which will offer members who retire with the DC pension scheme to have free and impartial face-to-face guidance on their choices when they reach retirement.

There will be a new £500 tax exemption for employer-funded medical treatments for employees applying from October 2014. The employer will not have to go through a formal process to claim the exemption which will be available to all employees.

In terms of employee expenses and benefits, a consultation will take place in 2015 on a package of four simplifications of the system.  Some of these proposed simplifications will allow employers to payroll certain benefits and expenses voluntarily and replace the expenses dispensation scheme with a Reimbursed Expenses Exemption. Company car benefits will increase by 2% in 2017-18 and to a maximum of 37% in 2018-19. Completely tax-free childcare will be introduced from 2015 encouraging more parents back to work, with existing relief from tax and NIC workplace nurseries continuing unaffected. PAYE regulations published before the Budget are expected to have an effect on employers with a few employees being able to report PAYE information on the last pay day in the tax month rather than on the date of each payment as well as RTI reporting being applied to certain employees who deduct tax and NIC from their own employment.

In addition, there will also be an increase in the threshold for small loans exemption from £5,000 to £10,000 for employer provided benefits and from April 2014 the maximum monthly limit that an employee can contribute to a Save-As-You-Earn scheme (SAYE) will increase from £250 to £500.

For further advice please contact Solve.

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Recruit Right: Social Recruiting

You may or may not be familiar with the term social recruiting but it’s important both business owners and HR professionals are aware of and can make use of this ever increasing trend.

What is social recruiting?

Social recruiting is the concept of combining social media and recruitment.  It involves using social media platforms, online forums, online communities and other online channels to find, attract, contact and recruit talent.

There a two different forms of social recruiting: Internet Sourcing and Social Distribution.

Internet Sourcing, which is commonly used by recruiters, involves finding and searching for candidate data online on social media platforms like LinkedIn and specific recruiting online communities like Monster.  Business owners and HR professionals should capitalise on online candidate information on professional and recruitment sites when considering candidates for interview as it allows recruiters to establish a deeper understanding of their suitability for the role.

Social Distribution describes the process of using social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+) to distribute vacancies.  This may through HR vendors or crowdsourcing where job seekers and other influencers share vacancies on their social media profiles.

What are some of the benefits from using social recruiting?

One of the key benefits to businesses is the reduction of the cost as you move away from the more traditional recruitment advertising which is more expensive.

Also, with social recruiting you can immediately publish job opportunities to your social media channels reaching potential candidates quicker than ever before.  And when your customers, employees, partners and followers are encouraged to partake in social distribution across their personal or business profiles, your vacancy can be seen by thousands of people!

Recent figures indicate 62% of people on social media are of a ‘professional’ age so its vital businesses and HR professionals look to include social media platforms in their recruiting strategy to access the pool of talent out there.  If your business currently does not have a presence on social media then you must look to create and build a network online before implementing social recruiting in order to reap the benefits.

What are some of the downfalls from using social recruiting?

From an internet sourcing point of view, it could cause a negative image of the business is potential candidates are harassed online by representatives of your business.  Ensure you set up a tracking process to ensure anyone involves in sourcing can check if that person has been contacted before and what the outcome was. Equally as important is ensuring the employees carrying out sourcing are trained on building and maintaining relationships.

For social distribution, you must consider the resource required to respond to real time conversations and questions by candidates, and to ensure that your social media profiles are up-to-date. If the candidate asks a questions online and it’s not answered in a timely fashion, not only will that candidate, but other potential candidates, clients or partners viewing your social media channels will be turned off of your business by the lack of ineffectiveness.

Social recruitment has started to extend to candidates profiling businesses.  Candidates can now have access to information about the internal workings of a business before they apply for the vacancy. The online community GlassDoor, popular in the US and emerging quickly in the UK, allows candidates to view reviews of the company written by existing and previous employees. (There are of course guidelines of what is published and all information is given anonymously.)

When you do decide to implement or review your social recruiting strategy you should consider reviewing all information about your business online.  To be viewed as an employer of choice and therefore attract the right talent it’s essential that you keep up with the trends and ensure your online reputation is excellent.

Solve. are experts in recruitment. We’re here to give you advice and guidance on your recruitment strategy.

Call our team now on 0844 567 6156 or email us at: mail@solvehr.co.uk

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Our Social Media Survey Results

After attending the CIPD Scotland Centenary Conference in Glasgow and listening to the cases of social media successes and failures, Solve. were interested to find out if social media is viewed as a risk or a valuable communication tool by Business Owners, HR Professionals and Managers across Scotland.

We have also seen a rise in the number of enquiries to our team about supporting social media challenges and there have been many cases recently that highlight the perils of social media, such as employees being dismissed on the grounds of bullying and harassment for making inappropriate and disparaging comments on Facebook and cases involving the sharing of sensitive company information on sites such as LinkedIn.

All that got us thinking, how many businesses are integrating social media into their communication and engagement strategy and how secure are business policies on social media usage and the consequences?  We also wanted to know if HR teams were implementing social media strategies and if so were they purely about mitigating risk to the business or was it about being proactive and adopting social media as a communication and engagement tool.

We decided to send out a social media survey to over 100 CIPD Scotland Centenary Conference delegates from a cross section of business sectors.

The results demonstrated that whilst most survey participants used sites such as LinkedIn (92%) and Facebook (80%) for personal usage, only 20% of businesses use it to engage and communicate with employees.  However, our social media survey found that 72% of participants rated Social Media highly as a tool to be embraced by businesses to engage and communicate. This highlights a fantastic opportunity for HR professionals and Business Owners alike.

The few that do utilise social media as a communication tool mainly use Facebook and LinkedIn with Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Mail being the most popular features.

For the businesses that don’t use social media (72%) there were a variety of different reasons stated for not using it to engage with employees such as: organisation being too small, viewed as inappropriate, prefer to keep personal and work lives separate, preferring other internal forms of communication such as emails, meetings, intranet, etc.  Others, however, did state that they simply hadn’t implemented it yet as they were still unsure of the whys and hows, but could see the benefits of using it to engage with their employees.

As an external communication tool social media appears to be positively embraced as 84% of our survey participants use social media to engage with customers with the most commonly used being Twitter (85%), Facebook (70%), LinkedIn (65%) and YouTube (25%).

Over a third of the survey’s participants had dealt with issues within the workplace caused by social media.  There were a variety of issues raised such as inappropriate messages and photos being shared in the workplace, disparaging comments being made on Facebook about employees or the company and personal relationships becoming public.  There was one instance where and entire team’s dynamic was upset as a result of inappropriate photos and comments being posted after a team social event, this resulted in friction within the team and subsequently affected productivity.

Overall the survey’s participants’ main concerns around social media were that there is a lack of control, can damage reputations, misuse of company time, commercial risks, bullying and harassment and an increase in ER issues.  One participant commented that “the whole thing is a minefield” as it is hard to police efficiently.  The need, therefore, for the implementation of a robust social media policy has become more apparent.  When asked if they have an appropriate social media policy 76% of the survey’s participants stated that they had one in place with around half of those having a policy that covers usage in and out of the workplace.  Less than a third felt fully confident about handling a social media complaint.  Again highlighting the need for a robust social media policy within the workplace.

What’s clear is that social media is here to stay! Whether you view it as a risk or a valuable tool one thing is certain: it needs to be managed and controlled effectively.  Businesses need to consider the implications that social media can have on the working environment, HR function and employee performance.

The team at Solve are here to offer help and advice on any of the issues highlighted in this blog. Contact Us

If you would like a FREE copy of the social media report please email lindsey.mcghie@solvehr.co.uk

Solve. have a number of blogs in the Ideas & News.

 

 

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Social Media: Friend or Foe?

As Mr Teggart, a former employee of TeleTech Ltd recently found out, an individual can legitimately be dismissed from employment, where they have been found to be Bullying and Harassing a fellow employee via social media, even when this occurs outside of the workplace.  In this case, Mr Teggart, made offensive comments about a fellow employee on his Facebook page, at home, on his private computer.  Having seen his comments, fellow employees or Facebook friends made the individual aware of the comments and someone even reported them to the employer.

Upon investigating the claims, TeleTech, took the decision to dismiss Mr Teggart for Bullying and Harassment and bringing the Company into disrepute.  Mr Teggart, believing that this action was unfair and a breach of his Human Rights, launched tribunal proceedings against the Company.  Whilst the tribunal dismissed the Company’s claim of them being brought into disrepute as a result of their former employee’s actions, they upheld the Bullying and Harassment claim, stating that his actions had caused the individual about whom the comments were made, to have to take time of work and had violated her dignity by creating a degrading working environment.

Whilst this judgement serves as a warning to employees about how they behave on Facebook and other Social Media, it also sends a clear message to employers about ensuring that they take Social Media seriously and consider its place within their Company.  As a basic, all Companies should have a policy on Social Media, ensure that policy is up to date, reflective of best practice and that the consequences of breaching the policy are clearly communicated.

However, many Companies are taking this even further by looking at how they can take the power of Social Media into their own hands, using it as a tool to increase communication and engagement.  Eastern Western Motor Group are one of a number of Companies who have created their own Facebook page to be used by both the Company and its employees to share news and information on the Company itself and the brands they represent.  Further, it allows the Company to gather the thoughts and views of their employees, almost instantaneously, ensuring they have their finger on the pulse when it comes to making decisions that affect their people.

Here at Solve. we believe that forewarned is forearmed, therefore, whether you view Social Media as friend or foe, it is important to be aware of its continued popularity, its presence, in even the smallest of workplaces and how it can be used to your advantage.

Do you need help creating a Social Media Policy? Perhaps you need advice on how to make Social Media work for you and your employees?  Whatever your needs Solve. are here to help. Free Consultation. mail@solvehr.co.uk

When Solve. heard about this case at the CIPD Conference in Glasgow we wanted to find out how people feel about Social Media in the workplace.  Look out for our survey coming later this month.