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Embrace HR Aylesbury Recruitment Bias pexels-fauxels-3184398

When you are hiring new staff, your goal is to find the best employee you can, someone who will do a great job, progress within your company and become a successful team member.

Unconscious bias, can, however, influence your decision. It is not always easy to identify when this is happening, and it can be reflected in a workforce that is not as diverse as it should be.

Why do you need a diverse workforce you may ask? There are a number of reasons; it can enhance a company’s reputation, and make it a better place to work, which in turn can help to attract better candidates, and widen the pool of talent from which you can recruit. Having employees with diverse backgrounds and experience can also help increase creativity, employee engagement and even increase your bottom line [Independent: Businesses perform better when they have greater ethnic and gender diversity, study reveals 19/01/2018].

In the wake of Black Lives matter, perhaps what we should be looking at is something called Togetherism. According to UrbanDictionary.com: ‘Togetherism is when people do things together, the act of such an activity is togetherism. Maintaining a cohesive relationship and unity is togetherism.’

In the workplace we need to keep striving to make Togetherism a focus, to make places where ‘cohesive relationships and unity abound’. This means it doesn’t matter what your background is, where you come from, what you look like or indeed what your name is, you have an equal opportunity to succeed.

So, what better place to start than at the very beginning, when you employ someone. The time when you start your recruitment campaign. And as we step out of lockdown into a new normal, where many people’s lives have changed what better time to start it?

Here are six ways to ensure that your recruiting process is not affected by bias or prejudice and aims to create Togetherism in the workplace:

1. Teach recruiters about hiring bias

As we have said, recruiters can operate using ‘unconscious’ bias. You need to be able to make them aware of this by training those responsible for recruiting to identify bias, acknowledge how and why it is happening, and help them learn to change their behaviour.

2. Edit job descriptions

The language used in a job description can put off a number of good candidates. Avoid referring to gender or age and try to talk about the sort of skills you want a person to have, rather than being restrictive about their experience or ability to use a certain program. You could narrow down candidates so much that you miss out on the ideal person for the job.

3. Put on your blindfold!

Not literally, but if you are concerned that you or others involved in the hiring process use unconscious bias when hiring, take away the risk. Ensure that applications come to you after names, ages, ethnicity or other identifying details are deleted, so that you can instead concentrate on applicants’ skills and attitude. Make your first contact by telephone, not a Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp or other video call. By using the phone you will listen to the person and be less likely to make snap judgements on what they look like, or what they are wearing, or whether or not they have a tattoo that you like or dislike. You form an opinion on what you hear, how engaging they are, what questions they ask, how interested they sound. You get to know the person before you see them. And isn’t this how many relationships are formed these days on social media?

4. Create an interview standard

Ensure that each candidate gets the same interview experience. If you create a standard format for your interviews, with the same questions, you will help to remove any unconscious bias on the part of the interviewers. In fact, you should standardise the entire recruitment process to this end.

5. Ensure hiring is not based on interview alone

It may be easier, for example, for men to form a rapport with a male interviewer, allowing the bias to skew away from female candidates. If possible, ensure that you have more than one interviewer and make that panel as diverse as you can. However, by making sure that hiring decisions are not made entirely on the result of an interview – and instead is based on a skills test or an interview held while ‘on the job’- you take away another opportunity for bias to win through.

If you are aiming to make your company more inclusive and diverse, you will need to set goals, whether you want to have more BAME staff, increase the proportion of women, younger or older staff and so on. For some inspiration, the BBC’s reports and strategy on diversity and inclusion make fascinating reading.

In a small company, it can be hard to achieve this on your own and bringing in an expert in HR and recruitment can be hugely worthwhile if you are serious about making your workforce reflect your local community.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and find out how we could help you navigate diversity issues, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

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Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury adult at computer

People managers need to start considering how they will tackle this growing trend…

We often talk about developing careers and keeping employees engaged on our blog, but what do you do when alongside their career with your organisation, employees have a second job or small business?

Side hustle

It is a growing trend – with four in 10 working adults having some kind of ‘side hustle’ alongside their full-time job or career, according to Henley Business School’s white paper, The Side Hustle Economy.

And these side hustles form an important part of the economy too – their income adding up to a not-so-inconsiderable £72bn for the UK economy in 2017.

HR policy

Does your organisation have any policy in place for these kinds of activities? It won’t be surprising if not as, in a recent survey, around half of the companies asked had no such policies in place.

With the trend on the increase – figures are expected to double in the next 10 or so years – it is an issue that anyone involved in human resources should be seriously considering.

According to the School’s Dr Charmi Patel, associate professor in international human resource management: “A key issue is compliance; if staff are working flexible hours, from home or virtually, the control might not be there, on whether they are conducting their own business on company time and using company property, resources and data to do so,” she said.

Open for business

But while it is important to have these policies in place, organisations should otherwise be open to the idea of employees running a separate business or job on the side. Often these kinds of activities are creative and involve the employee’s passion – and perhaps one that cannot be fulfilled at work. Of course, there is the risk that they eventually may become so successful that they are able to leave to pursue their dream full-time but, in many cases, it is the key to your employee feeling fulfilled and successful, and becoming someone who will carry that success into their full-time job as well.

Organisations that seek to restrict or control side hustles are likely to see employee engagement slide – and in turn well-being and hence productivity dip.

Where human resources may need to keep a careful eye is on people burning the candles at both ends to keep up with both their career and their extra-curricular business. And of course, you will want to ensue that it is not going to conflict with your own business.

A life balance, which enables staff to manage their job and their side hustle, is the ideal, and maintaining that equilibrium is something that people managers need to focus on.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR Limited.

T: 07767 308717 or contact us here.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Image credit: Career Employer

Embrace HR Aylesbury Satisfied employees

From a rather way out suggestion from a Swedish politician, to some rather more reserved suggestions – there are plenty of ways you can make your workplace a happier place!

HR professionals must have been left reeling in Sweden after a politician suggested that sex breaks in the workplace would be good for the physical and mental health of employees! The vote on his proposal is due in the spring, so we will look forward to seeing the results…

In the meantime, it is worth looking at how you can keep your employees happy in more conventional ways. After all, we all know how ensuring your workforce is content can result in better productivity for any company. It also encourages your people to stay with you, cutting back on time and resources spent on recruiting and training new staff.

Work/Life Balance

We are certainly not suggesting that you introduce conjugal breaks, but ensuring that your staff have a healthy work/life balance will help them maintain healthy relationships outside of work. And people who are in happy, healthy relationships tend to work better and be more focused, which can only be of benefit for your organisation. Considering policies that allow flexible working and discouraging a workplace culture of outside-hours working will also help.

When it comes to relationships at work, you need to consider whether you have some sort of Romance Policy in place, and what needs to happen should romances between colleagues flourish – according to reports around 15% of people meet partners at work, so it’s something that needs to be addressed by HR. I have written about this subject before.

Employee Benefits

A study in the Journal of Labor Economics in October 2015 found that happy employees generated about 12% more work than others, so it really is worth spending the time to ensure your staff are content, especially if you consider that research by employee benefits and perks company Perkbox found that 30% (that’s 6.5 million!) of UK workers are unhappy at work and would move jobs for better benefits.

A massive 69% said company perks and benefits were important to their overall satisfaction and more than a quarter pointed out that lack of reward and recognition for good work was their main grievance at work.

Recognition & Praise

Recognising and acknowledging good work and effort is not hard to do – encourage your managers to praise on a daily basis where it is due – and make sure that it is widely known that recognition can come in several forms, whether verbally, by email or for more major achievements using a more public vehicle such as company newsletter or intranet.

Holiday Entitlement

Finally, while it is still summer – though we think someone may have forgotten to tell the weather – do remember that it is vitally important to have a break. Managers should not only encourage their staff to take at least one long break, rather than lots of odd days, but should also plan in advance for cover and ensure there is a sufficient handover. This will help your staff to go away without fear of being contacted while they are on holiday – and also ensure that the remaining staff members don’t end up doing two jobs while their colleague is away. More advice on this here.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send an email.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR Limited supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Generation Z

When it comes to managing HR, you need to understand your market, and while you may have got a handle on the Millennials – those who reached young adulthood around the year 2000 – do you know about what’s coming next?

Generation Z (sometimes called the Post-Millennials) are the first generation to have grown up in a truly digital world. They are often referred to as the ‘always-on’ generation. They won’t remember a world without smartphones, and find the idea of being unable to be connected to friends, family and indeed the rest of the world by phone and internet completely alien.

So, have you thought about how you might be planning to attract, recruit and retain this new influx of workers?

The UK also has a severe digital skills shortage, so these young people, with their in-built digital skills are going to be hugely valuable in the workplace. But you need to be aware that their attitudes and expectations around the working environment could be vastly different to the previous generation.

Report Findings

The findings of the Amaze Generation: digital me report which has studied 10 to 15-year-olds over the past five years, are intriguing. It revealed that these young people have developed processes and strategies to deal with the digital world around them, in every aspect of their life from relationships, self-esteem and careers to education, pastimes and shopping.

They are not, as you might have first thought, digital slaves obsessed with taking selfies, instead they are shaping and moulding the digital world around them. See the video here.  They are already digital strategists and content editors – though they may not realise it yet – they edit their own personae online and create their own personal brands. They want constant communication, but in a form of their own – they want intimate networks, not intrusion.

What this means to an organisation

As they come into the workplace, Generation Z will already be able to manage their own lives from a smartphone, and be capable of dealing with the latest technologies or new trends quickly. They will be surprised if their workplace cannot do the same.

They won’t be scared of new technologies and processes, they will be able to work around them, not be scared that a new development will take their job away.

You can expect them to challenge communication technologies and processes, as well as ways of remote working – and coming up with their own, probably improved methods of working.

And for HR…

As HR professionals, we will have to be aware that they are used to getting almost instant feedback and will want their working lives to offer positive experiences. They will be looking for the freedom and flexibility to be creative, and will expect to work in an atmosphere where they feel valued and where they can achieve their potential.

So how can you attract these Post-Milennials to your organisation? Well, make sure they know that they can have an input into the way the company works, and that their ideas will be appreciated. You need to ensure they feel like they will have a future with your organisation – managers should have genuine conversations with them, recognise their good work, and offer decent benefits and salaries.

If you commit to investing in these young employees, allow them the freedom to grow and thrive and they will reward you with their loyalty and their talent.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send a message.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Election 2017

From political discussions in the office to what the election result could mean to you, here’s what you need to know…

One of the first issues when a general election is called is the matter of politics within the workplace.

Of course, you can’t ban any talk of politics or the general election – it will be uppermost in many people’s minds and on the news constantly. But you are entitled to stop political campaigning at work, which might cause disruption or upset to your staff or customers – and of course if they try to use work equipment for their campaigning, for instance, using the photocopier to produces masses of leaflets.

You are also entitled to stop any political symbols being worn at work. Do you have a dress code or a policy on political activities in the workplace? Use these to let your staff know about your expectations. And with Brexit being at the fore of all parties campaigning in the run-up to the election, any comments that could be construed as harassment, particularly towards other nationalities, is a strict no-go area. HR departments may need to be prepared for conflict on this matter.

So, onto the election and the policies that could affect those of us working in HR.

Conservative Plans

It is expected that Theresa May is planning to protect workers’ rights, as she is said to want to create a fairer, equal society and to aid social mobility. The Conservatives said they would ‘protect and enhance’ workers’ rights in the Brexit White Paper – which would include the three million EU nationals living in the UK, as well as UK citizens in the EU.

Most parties want to keep the employment rights we already enjoy under the EU, so hopefully most of these won’t be changed much, whoever wins the election.

Hopefully May will also stay firm to her promise to help to end the stigma of mental health in the workplace, and the Tories have already promised to back legislation on the gender pay gap – so let’s hope that won’t change either.

Labour Plans

If Labour come to power, Jeremy Corbyn has promised that they would raise the minimum wage for all to a minimum of £10 an hour by 2020. Good news for employees, although there may be some companies questioning if they could afford it. Labour also want to add another four bank holidays to the calendar – these could be especially significant for companies that work with counterparts overseas who don’t have the same days off.

At the moment, the Taylor Review is looking into modern employment practices, including the gig economy and zero hour contracts – so it is hoped that this does not get forgotten amongst all the political campaigning – and its findings overlooked. Read more on the review here.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send a message.

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury Planning Ahead

This is the last time that we will see a Spring Budget – the main budget will be seen in the Autumn from now on – so the way businesses plan their year may also change in response to this.

These are the main points that concern HR and human resources departments:

Self-employment

The announced plan to increase NI rates of the self-employed was met by uproar, especially as the present government has made a pledge to support the small business. As a result, Chancellor Philip Hammond had to make a U-turn on this in the days that followed the announcement. Good news for the moment for the ever-increasing gig economy.  Read our previous blogs on the Gig Economy here.

The initial decision was intended to help even up the tax benefits between employed and self-employed people, with Hammond stating that there was around a £4,000 disparity between the tax paid by an employed and self-employed person each earning £32,000. However, as critics have stated, the self-employed don’t benefit from the likes of sick pay, holiday pay and maternity pay to name just a few.

But as more people diversify in their working lives, experts say that this has only served to highlight that issues with taxation will become ever more complex – and could be a threat to the gig economy if people can no longer afford to freelance.

Back to work

An interesting development for those of us in HR is the promise to support those returning to work after a career break. A total of £5 million has been set aside to help these people, which will of course include many women coming back into the workforce after having children.

Business rate

Business rates are set to be capped, so that they will not rise by more than £50 a month. A £300m discretionary fund will go to local authorities to enable them to help businesses with their rates where they see fit.

National Living Wage

As we know from the Autumn Statement, the National Living Wage is set to increase to £7.50 this month. The personal tax allowance rises to £11,500 and the higher tax rate now starts at £45,000.

Educations, skills and training

Technical skills come into focus, with the launch of T-Levels, for those training in the sector from age 16-19, while the number of technical courses available will be cut in order to raise the quality of the remaining ones. £40 million will be ploughed into the Department of Education to test and pilot a number of lifelong learning projects. Increasing STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths) in schools is also going to be a priority.

 

And finally, you should have heard from the Pensions Adviser or someone in your organisation who may have information about your staging date. Most payroll companies use the auto-enrolment software and can set up the scheme, but if you have any queries please contact us at admin@embracehr.co.uk.

If you would like to discuss this subject further and how it may affect your business, please contact Cecily Lalloo at Embrace HR.

T: 07767 308717 or send a message.

 

Based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Embrace HR supports business owners who do not have their own HR department or those that do but need help from time to time. We also work across the Home Counties of Oxfordshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, and also SMEs based in London.

Embrace HR Aylesbury payment

As always, April sees a number of changes in financial matters and the big change for 2016 is the introduction of the National Living Wage – rates for many other payments, however, have been frozen. Here’s a snapshot of the current situation:

National Living Wage

The headline-grabbing change for this April is the introduction of the compulsory National Living Wage (NLW). From 6 April 2016, this mandatory payment will apply to all workers aged 25 and over.

Initially set at £7.20 an hour, it will run alongside the current National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates (see table – rates are likely to change again on 1 October 2016) and is expected to rise to more than £9 by 2020.

National Minimum Wage

The Government is also targeting employers who fail to pay the correct rates for NMW. An increase in the penalty for underpayment is also on the cards, under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015. The fine of 100% of the underpayment owed to each worker will be doubled to 200% up to £20,000 per worker.

Statutory Rates

Generally, the rates of Statutory Pay increase in April in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI), however as this fell by 0.1% in the year to September 2015, the rates for 2016/2017 have been frozen. Employees must earn at least £112 a week to be entitled to these payments – this amount has also been frozen for 2016/17.

 

Compensation Payments

Laws that will see employer face financial penalties if they fail to pay tribunal awards or Acas settlement sums are expected to come into effect in April 2016. Employers will be forced to pay 50% of the unpaid award – maximum and minimum amounts will apply – and there will be reductions for prompt payment.

 

For help with your human resources requirements, issues and activities, please contact us for a no obligation discussion. Embrace HR, based in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, helps SMEs who do not have their own HR departments, or those who need HR support from time to time.  Email us at cecily.lalloo@embracehr.co.uk or phone Cecily on 07767 308 717.