Posts

1. Save Money

You can save considerable sums of money through outsourcing your HR department and in turn improve employee relations as Managers and employees are driven closer together and need to find ways of overcoming obstacles. Costs saved can include monthly salaries and benefits of any HR staff but also agency fees and legal fees.

2. Drives innovation

Employees and Managers can feel ‘freer’ to motivate and inspire employees without the feeling someone is watching them to make sure they ‘stick to the rules’. Sometimes managers fear that HR may veto or look down upon a more innovative employee engagement initiative which stops their execution of an idea.

3. Creates a culture of trust

Ironically and against the best of HR professionals intentions, the HR Department can often be perceived as the ‘police’ or those that are there to sack you. Most employees are aware that HR is employed by the business and that can subconsciously or consciously mean that they make the connection that HR are there to do the ‘boss’s bidding’- no HR, no problem!

4. Improves Managers abilities and knowledge

Managers are there to manage! Shock horror, revolutionary I hear you say! However, often Managers who lack in confidence can shelter behind their HR colleagues and/or use HR as the scapegoat for changes they are seeking to make in the Company or team. Managers should be encouraged to develop strong relations with employees and a ‘training and development culture’ can still be encouraged through senior leadership initiatives without the need for a HR department necessarily. Managers’ knowledge and abilities can be improved through experience.

5. Drives efficiencies through processes

Not having one point of contact in the business means you need/should detail how managers process starters, leavers and handle the usual employee day-to-day activities. This can improve productivity, cut down on things like getting contracts of employment issued and put the emphasis on getting payroll information correct, because it rests with the Manager, but there is a process or HR System to support them in doing this.

6. Best practice through knowledge across multiple industries

Through engaging with an outsourced HR business to support on an ad hoc basis rather than retain in-house HR, you bring a wider knowledge base. You then engage individuals who can bring multiple perspectives and vast experience of practising HR in different environments who can suggest approaches and changes to HR and Employee engagement that you may not have otherwise tried.

There will be occasions where employers reasonably suspect that their employees are misusing company time or assets. Given that all employees have a right to privacy under Article 8, is it appropriate for employers to employ covert surveillance to prove their suspicions?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently held that in some circumstances covert surveillance can be appropriate.

In the recent case of City and County of Swansea v Gayle, Mr Gayle was dismissed after his employer recorded him playing squash at a gym when he was purporting to be at work.

At first instance, the Employment Tribunal accepted that Mr Gayle had defrauded his employer by playing squash when he should have been at work; however, it was held that the covert monitoring rendered the dismissal unfair. The EAT overturned this decision. In holding the dismissal as fair, it took account of the fact that the covert monitoring took place in a public place. The EAT also held that fraudsters in general could not reasonably expect that their fraudulent activities would be “private” from their employer.

This case should not be viewed as a green light for employers to initiate covert surveillance. There are occasions where covert surveillance may be appropriate, however, employers should be cautious before embarking on any monitoring behaviour.

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.

With all the recent press regarding ‘no fault dismissals’ and ‘Settlement Agreements’, it is no wonder employers are confused with regards to what they can and can’t do when it’s time to part ways with an employee.

Fundamentally, reasonableness and due process should remain at the heart of what we do, however, there comes a time when even the most patient of employers says enough is enough.  When resolving any employer/employee dispute, it is important for employers to recognise that no action is without risk.  Even the most carefully executed process will not prevent a motivated ex-employee from raising tribunal proceedings and potentially being successful.

However, we all know that the riskiest business of all are dismissals that come as a result of an ‘off the record’ conversation, often held on what an employer thinks is a ‘without prejudice’ basis.  So when is the right time to have such a conversation and on what basis?  Whilst the Government has shelved plans to allow so called, ‘no fault dismissals’, which were tabled as part of the Employment Law Review, this summer, it is expected that we will see the introduction of ‘Settlement Agreements’, an updated version of what we have all come to know as ‘Compromise Agreements’, through which an employer can gain protection from unfair dismissal claims.  These ‘Settlement Agreements’, will come at the end of a process that will begin with a proposal to end the employment relationship which can be tabled by either the employer or indeed the employee.

Using standard templates and ACAS code of practice, employers will be guided end to end through the process.  Whilst all this sounds favourable for the employer, it is important to note that this process will only offer protection in unfair dismissal claims.  Claims that include other breaches such as discrimination, evidence of automatic unfair dismissal, e.g. Whistleblowing, or where there is evidence of ‘improper behaviour’, such as coercion will not be protected. It is also important to note that any conversations held prior to obtaining a signed ‘Settlement Agreement’, can still be admissible in Employment Tribunal proceedings, unless held on a ‘without prejudice’ basis.

The rules for such a conversation are that they should be only be held in ‘a genuine attempt to settle a dispute’ and both parties should be aware of exactly what that means.  This suggests that employers should explain fully what ‘without prejudice’ means, prior to the commencement of such discussions, preferably in writing; and should remind the employee of the same at the start of any face to face or telephone discussions.

Whilst Solve. welcome the Governments plans to ease the ending of fractious employment relationships, it is clear that this particular process is not black and white.  Therefore, even if you believe that you have a straightforward case of unfair dismissal, we would suggest that you review any proposals for ending the employment relationship with a specialist HR and Employment Law practitioner.

If you have any questions or would like some more advice please contact us on mail@solvehr.co.uk