Employers have long been attempting to harness the knowledge, skills and abilities of their workforce to increase business performance and aid retention. The question often asked, is “What is Employee Engagement and how do we do this at a time of uncertainty for many organisations?”

According to the CIPD, Employee Engagement “is generally seen as an internal state of being – both physical, mental and emotional – that brings together earlier concepts of work effort, organisational commitment, job satisfaction and ‘flow’ (or optimal experience). Employee Engagement looks at discretionary effort, going the extra mile, feeling valued and passion for work.

A CIPD report outlined three dimensions to the definition of employee engagement:

–  Intellectual engagement – thinking hard about the job and how to do it better.

–  Affective engagement – Feeling positively about doing a good job.

–  Social engagement – Actively taking opportunities to discuss work-related improvements with others at work.

Employee Engagement is also an alternative way of looking at commitment, satisfaction and motivation, however as a hot topic of recent years it has been hugely beneficial to the implementation of good people management practices throughout organisations. It has given focus to what employers and employees want/need in order to foster long term working relationships.

Employee Engagement can be increased through simple inexpensive praise and recognition, which demonstrates an individual’s value to the organisation and can encourage discretionary effort.

Thomas International outline an Engagement Framework which highlights engagement across three critical work dimensions: Role, Reward and Relationship, which are made up of seven key drivers: Clarity, Challenge, Freedom, Recognition, Growth, Voice, Togetherness. The framework suggests providing clarity on what is expected of your employees and the purpose of their work by aligning objectives with organisational goals, will go a long way to increasing engagement. Many employees seek to be entrusted with the responsibility of contributing to the attainment of business goals and therefore by implementing the seven key drivers and managing the three critical work dimensions, employee engagement should flow easily throughout your organisation.

For more information on the Thomas International Employee Engagement Framework and implementing this to increase engagement across your business, please contact Solve.



The latest CIPD Employee Outlook survey has revealed that the majority of employees, regardless of organisation size, want a culture that has a ‘family feel’. They want to work for an organisation that is ‘held together by loyalty and tradition’.

Whilst the vast majority of employees stated that they wanted a ‘family feel’ just 26% of those questioned described their current culture in this way. This disparity between how employees perceive their organisation’s culture and the type of culture that they would prefer to work in can have significant implications for talent management and overall business success. This mismatch can result in low morale, poor employee retention and reduced productivity.

No matter what size your organisation is it is vital that you engage with your employees to understand how you can reinforce and evolve your organisational culture. A strong organisational culture can help you to stand out from the crowd giving you a competitive edge and a strong foundation for business growth. Not only will your existing employees be more engaged in growing the business but a well-defined organisational culture will also help you to attract and recruit the best talent.

If you are looking to gain a better understanding of your organisational culture then the best place to start is to identify your employees’ perception of the culture. At Solve we can create and distribute a bespoke employee engagement survey that will allow you to gain a better understanding of how your employees perceive the current culture and what type of culture they would prefer. One of our consultants would then work closely with you to help you understand and apply the survey findings helping you to create a culture that will improve employee engagement, retention, productivity and overall business success.

Click on the following link for the full CIPD Employee Outlook Survey 2015

On 12th and 14th May, Solve were delighted to host complimentary seminars in Glasgow and Edinburgh on an “Introduction to HR and Employment Law”.

Over the course of the two seminars, which were attended by around 23 of Solve’s clients and contacts, the Solve team, led by Director, Stephanie, covered topics such as:

• Recruitment, including the benefits of Thomas International PPA

• Contracts of Employment

• Disciplinary and Grievance

• Absence Management

• Employment Law

• And many more…

Attendees came from a cross section of industries and represented various roles within their respective businesses. Feedback from attendees on the day and since has been fantastic and everyone left with some ‘golden nuggets’ to take back to their business and ideas for how HR could benefit their bottom line.

Attendees were also offered the opportunity to complete a PPA profile to see how this exciting tool could be of benefit in their recruitment and selection, performance management and development processes. Uptake for the PPA has been great and Recruitment Manager, Tracey has been busy analysing the reports and feeding back to those who completed their questionnaires.

Given the success of our seminars, Solve will offer these on an on-going basis. Therefore, if you would like to be kept informed about the dates of our next seminars or have any ideas on subject matters that would be meaningful to you and your business, please contact us by e-mailing mail@solvehr.co.uk and putting Seminar in the subject bar. We look forward to seeing you at one of our seminars soon!

In a day and age where personality and organisational cultural fit is becoming more important employers are increasingly moving away from conventional interview methods in order to allow candidates’ true personalities to shine through. Organisations are adopting highly specialised, targeted methods at every level to ensure the best talent crosses the threshold. The workforce has changed rapidly over the past couple of decades, as has the nature of work. Employees are expected to be flexible, collaborative and innovative, therefore employers need to be a lot more innovative in their approach to recruitment.

At Solve. we recently worked in partnership with a high end hospitality client to develop an assessment day that would allow them to assess candidate suitability through practical assessments and an innovative interview technique. Our client wanted to recruit people who not only had the basic skills required for the role but also had a great personality so that they could engage with their customers and create a welcoming atmosphere.   There were a variety of different positions such as waiting staff, kitchen assistant and doorperson.

For the assessment centre groups of candidates were invited to attend at various times throughout the day. The type of role they applied for determined the assessment they were required to undertake. For example the waiting staff were asked to set up a table for an afternoon tea for two. Assessors watched as the candidates performed the tasks and scored them accordingly. Whilst the Doorperson candidates were asked to take part in a role play assessment to evaluate how they would deal with difficult customer situations.

After the assessments the candidates were then asked to take part in a ‘speed interviewing’ process with a different set of assessors. Each candidate had just 10 minutes to answer 10 interview questions that were developed to gain a better understanding of their personality. So rather than using traditional competency based questions the questions used were quirkier such as ‘If you could meet any celebrity who would it be and why?’, ‘Tell me about a role model and why you look up to that person?’ and ‘If your best friends was sitting here, what would they say was the best thing about being your friend?’. The fast paced nature of the interview meant that candidates had to give rapid responses that could not be rehearsed allowing us to see how quickly they could think on their feet and gave us a true indication of their personality.

At the end of the day the various assessors met up to discuss their evaluation of each individual candidate. The assessment scores and feedback coupled with the interview information gave a well-rounded picture of each candidate and their suitability. Through this assessment centre process we were able to fill the majority of the roles.

It may not be suitable for every organisation or role but more and more organisations are adopting this innovative style of recruitment. It can not only allow you to get a truer impression of candidates but can also help to sell your organisation to potential candidates especially if you can make it fun and entertaining.

If you are looking to develop a more innovative approach to recruitment then please contact our Recruitment Manager, Tracey Burke.

At Solve we are delighted to now be able to offer behavioural assessments through our partnership with Thomas International.

Thomas’ behavioural assessment PPA provides an accurate insight into how people behave at work, giving you a greater level of certainty when recruiting, identifying where to maximise your learning and development budget, and understanding how to boost morale to avoid staff turnover.

It will also enable you to spend less time managing underperformers, letting you concentrate on those who will truly drive your business forward.

The straight forward PPA questionnaire takes only 8 minutes to complete. You are then provided with an initial profile detailing an individual’s strengths and limitations, their communication style, their value to the business, what motivates them, their basic fears and how they behave under pressure.

Once the PPA has been completed, there are 18 additional reports that can be obtained to enable you to match people to jobs, sift CVs, manage, coach, develop and train your people. It can even help you to identify leadership styles, advise on how to manage an individual effectively and provides tailored interview questions for individual candidates.

In addition to the PPA we also have access to Thomas’ vast database of online skills tests. These skills tests are particularly useful when recruiting for specific skills such as numeracy, literacy, customer service, administration, typing, IT etc.

If you are looking to gain a better understanding of potential or existing employee behaviours and abilities then contact our Recruitment Manager, Tracey Burke.

Do all your employee’s have contracts of employment? When certain types of work come to an end, some employees face redundancy. They may actually suit a fixed term position available within the company. Are you aware a new contract of employment would then be required? If you are unsure whether this may affect you or you have not followed correct procedure contact Solve who can help from the outset.

When an employee commences work, it should be made clear by the Employer what happens when work comes to an end.

If particular types of work become redundant, the employees who are involved then become at risk of layoff. They may actually have skills that could be useful to their employer and in this instance employers will be more willing to find substitute employment for some of the employees potentially facing redundancy. If this is the case, they should not jump to the conclusion that the employees in question will not be interested, just because the positions available are temporary and not permanent.

If an employee who was facing redundancy, was to show interest in a fixed term position e.g. a vacancy which will only last a few weeks or months until the project ends, the employee and employer could come to an agreement to defer the redundancy until the end of the available fixed term contract. If the employee was asked to work their notice within the new role, they would be less likely to agree to this arrangement. Payments in lieu, enhanced severance payments, retention bonuses etc., are some ways both the employee and employer could make a commercial deal to suit them both.

The right to turn down an offer of a fixed-term role is reasonable on the basis it is not ‘suitable alternative employment’. If an employee was to do this, the employer needs to make them aware that redundancy is anticipated if there is not another role that suits.

What happens if an employee takes a fixed term role that will end in a year?

If a fixed term contract expires and is not renewed, this will be taken as dismissal. If an employee has two years continuous service, they are eligible for protection from unfair dismissal. If you are an employer and are faced with this issue, you should follow a fair termination procedure and also look at the availability of other suitable employment. The Employee may accept another fixed term contract again, especially if they have already done so in the past.

Is an employee entitled to a redundancy payment when a fixed term contract ends?

It is all down to the individual circumstances. If an employee who has been employed to work on a project for a fixed period, and it comes to an end, and the employer has no need for the particular skills used to complete the job, and lastly there is no alternative employment, the employee will then be eligible for statutory redundancy payment. This is a classic redundancy situation to be faced with.

If an employee covers a job while another person is absent on leave; maternity, parental etc. will they be made redundant on their return to work?

This would not be classed as a redundancy. When the employee on leave returns to work there will still be a need for this work to be carried out. If an employee is faced with this situation, their employer should ask them to sign a new contract. This will state that the employment will end on the return to work of the absent employee they are providing cover for. There is no likelihood of any arguments arising over whether this is a redundancy or not if this position ends to allow the absent employee to return to work, procedure is followed correctly and the correct contracts are issued. The law shows this as dismissal for ‘some other substantial reason’, if a fair procedure is followed.

Solve would highly encourage employers to speak with the employee when commencing a fixed term contract. This allows the awareness of what exactly will happen at the end of it, even more so if it is an alternative to being made redundant. Should you require any help with contracts, redundancies or information on any of the above situations please get in touch.