GDPR AND SAFETY MANAGEMENT - VISITORS LOG

I read a post in a group today where the writer was expressing their exasperation at visitors books (paper) being non-GDPR compliant and that the world is going mad!

While that that may well be the case, let's pause for a minute.  

Does every visitor to an organisation need to have access to other visitors data?  Usually we sign in with our name, registration number of our vehicle, time in and out and who we are visiting. 

You may not have a problem with other visitors seeing this information, but others may.  It's an individualised concern.

For example, a business may have a virtual office where you visit your clients and if you are signing in on the same visitor book then it will be obvious that you don't work there permanently. Would you want your client to know that?  

Do you want other visitors or employees to know that you signed in early or late?  

Time to rethink.  

We don't need to write on paper to sign in.  It is an unwieldy system that doesn't add value to a business.  

There are plenty of electronic alternatives available - just google E-registration, electronic sign in systems, visitor management apps etc.  My doctors surgery has this made available to us so we don't have to queue.  These systems reset to a home screen so its impossible to see who signed in before you.  Data is securely held on a system (as long as the company is GDPR compliant which is another story) and Safety can have access to this essential data within seconds in case of emergency.  

In my opinion, GDPR is making people think about how they are conducting business and that cannot be a bad thing.  

Is the world going mad?  That's another story.....

27 JUNE 2016 - THE UK EU REFERENDUM IMPACT ON BUSINESS & HR - PART 2

I have been appalled at the social media reports on the attitude of some members of the public towards each other over the EU Referendum.  People from different ethnic background are suffering abuse, bullying, racist remarks.   

It is difficult to believe that I am really writing this.  The UK is a multi cultural country and has been for decades.  The majority of the country respect each others beliefs and values.  The minority, which, lets be honest, is present in most countries globally, show this horrendous side at times of stress.

Will this appear in your workplace?  And what to do if it does?  It is for businesses to stop this in its track at work.  But how?

  1. Give a clear message to employees that you understand that they may be finding the change difficult.
  2. Clearly state that any type of bullying or racist behaviour will not be tolerated by the company under any circumstances.
  3. Encourage employees who may be suffering any kind of abuse at work to let you know of the issues so that you can deal with them.  They should be able to feel safe if they wish to raise grievances and secure in the knowledge that you will deal with the issue fairly and promptly.
  4. Invoke your disciplinary procedure whenever it is needed - this will reiterate your messaging.

Hopefully, we will have calmer times ahead as people adjust, but please be vigilant.  

Feel free to call me if you have any queries.

24 JUNE 2016 - THE UK EU REFERENDUM IMPACT ON BUSINESS & HR - PART 1

What a strange day.  I never thought I would be writing a blog based on the UK exiting the European Union. 

Regardless of your views on the subject, we have to be practical moving forwards.  There are a number of questions that subsequently arise and due consideration of the impact this will have on the workplace - especially in relation to the movement of employees.

It is difficult to say exactly how it will impact us at this point in time as there are a number of uncertainties as to how it will play out.  However it is unlikely to have a huge impact on employment for approximately two years while the UK enters into "divorce" negotiations.

What actions do you need to take now?

  1. Communicate
    People will have questions over what it means for employees, whether they are migrant workers or not.  It is essential that you communicate with all your employees that nothing will change immediately (unless you have plans to do otherwise) and that you will keep them informed of any impact/change when it becomes clearer.  Either way consult and inform.
     
  2. Be aware and Care
    Be aware of your duty of care - this decision may well have a significant impact on your employees wellbeing - Occupational Health can help counsel employees and help them to cope with pressure.  
     
  3. Be informed
    Keep up to date with the latest news and the impact it has on your business through the gov.uk website.

I will be posting updates on this through my blog as well as the HRV newsletter. If you wish to subscribe then email me on info@hrvision.co.uk or through the Contact page on our website and we will add you to the list.

Feel free to give me a call if you have any immediate concerns. 

Karen

 

 

 

Are you confusing processes?

Its really important not to confuse processes.

A disciplinary investigation is a standalone. It may have other processes that need to complete before the disciplinary investigation can be finalised but it does not merge with others.

For example, a case where there was potential gross misconduct resulting in an accident investigation. Through the disciplinary process, the employee may be suspended pending the outcome of the disciplinary investigation.

However the Accident investigation will need to be concluded and will likely be used as evidence in the disciplinary investigation.

The Accident Investigation is separate to the disciplinary process.

If you need to know more then do contact me.

Gibbs v Leeds United Football Club [2016] EWHC 960 (QB)

LUFC’s manager left and the claimant, as Assistant Manager was asked if he was interested in becoming head coach but the claimant declined.  He was happy to continue in his current post under a new manager.  After being excluded from various activities, LUFC advised the claimant that he was expected to work with the Youth Acadamy which was a distinct change from his contractual duties.  He resigned as a result of this demotion and change of duties and claimed he had been constructively dismissed.

LUFC suggested that as they were in negotiations the claimant was prepared to leave his employment and there was no breach of contract.  The High Court disagreed and said that LUFC was in breach as they had amended his contractual duties.  An award of £331K adjustable by bonus was ordered.

The lesson here is – where there is ambiguity about a person’s role in your organisation, whether you are in exit negotiations or not - do not change the contractual agreement or expect the employee to do different work other than his contractual work - it can become costly!

 

Time flies when you are having fun...

I am delighted to say that we have been very busy here at HR Vision, with clients needing assistance on a variety of subjects.

Expanding Business

Take for example the client who is exceptionally busy expanding his successful business, very much aware of the impact employee relations can have on the success of his business.  The people he employ are exceptionally hard workers.  He has HR on his to do list, yet does not have the bandwidth to do something about it.  I step in and help out as and when required - helping with employee relations, training employees in HR related activities and processes or helping him to bring on board a new HR employee.  

Employee Relations

Or the client who has an employee grievance or disciplinary to handle, who needs that impartial view during the investigation and assistance in making a decision on the outcome.   Because the case is so close to home it’s difficult for her to be impartial.   Not keeping in line with legislation in this area has an impact on Employment Tribunal claims (take a look at ACAS.ORG for more information in this area) - so I help to reduce the risk and ensure that processes are implemented and followed when difficulties arise.

Individuals

Or the individual client who has been treated poorly at work and has a grievance to raise but is scared to do so, needing advice on what the best action is.  Coaching the client through their somewhat traumatic experience using NLP techniques brings us both joy (which is a most unexpected and welcome outcome for the client).  Mediating between the company and the employee to bring about an outcome that is good for both parties is particularly gratifying. 

HR for HR

HR clients can be my favourites - we talk the same talk - what a joy it is to work with likeminded people.  They know what they need to be doing for their company, but do not have the bandwidth to manage it effectively.  So I get called in to help in a variety of ways - reorganisations, outplacement support, employee relations, policies, HR data.  The list is endless and I love it!

No time to spare?

Sometimes of course, companies just can't help themselves.  They want to grow, but they are too busy doing just that to do anything about HR or Health & Safety.  This is when businesses start to struggle and experience all sorts of issues - HSE visits, ET claims etc. 

Without the investment (I am talking about people and time investment here, not £££s) then it is difficult to know how to help them.  Processes and policies can be put in place but if the company doesn't live and breathe them they can get into all kinds of trouble - having a policy or process that makes promises that are not kept in reality is somewhat worse than having no policy at all. 

So I try to ensure that policies and processes are written for that specific company.  Of course it means an investment in time getting to know the organisation.  But implementing a policy or process that is tailored to the business is so much more effective and real to management and employees than having a standard legal document that is probably difficult to understand.

Helping businesses and individuals to "do the right thing" for the company and the employee is important to me, brings me joy and is why I chose to set up HR Vision in 2001 and why it is still here 14 years later and for a few more years to come! 

Fire Strike Saturday 19 October

Once again the Fire Brigade are striking - only this time its a Saturday.  If you have employees working on Saturday then this definitely applies to you - however it is common sense to take precautions anyway.

As before, businesses need to ensure that their fire risk assessment is up to date.  If you have employees working on Saturday then measures reducing the risk of fire need to be put in place and emergency plan to ensure evacuation without the need for the Fire Brigade.

Ensure you know who is working this Saturday and that you have considered their safety, delaying activities that have increased risk of fire, rescheduling deliveries of flammable substances, reducing inventories of flammable or toxic items.


 

Is your Business ready for the Fire Brigade's planned strike this coming Wednesday?

The Fire Brigades Union are likely to be striking this Wednesday in relation to a row over Pensions.  This presents an increased risk to your business in the event of Fire.

The London Fire Brigade have issued advise and checklists summarized below:

Businesses should ensure that a suitable and sufficient fire risk assessment is up to date, measures reducing the risk of fire are in place, emergency plan in situ ensuring evacuation without the need for brigade, all staff have received appropriate training.

Taking additional measures such as delaying activities where possible that have increased risk of fire, rescheduling deliveries of flammable substances, reducing inventories of flammable or toxic items.

For more information:

http://www.london-fire.gov.uk/contingency-plan.asp 

 

Recruiting for HR - Raising the standard of CVs

I've had an interesting time of late while recruiting a HR Director for a client of ours.   It has been a very enjoyable process and I have spoken with and interviewed a large number of extremely competent and professional HR people.

What surprised me most is the quality and content of some of the CVs.  Yes, everyone is different.  Yes everyone has lots of experience that they want to display.  Some have fabulous strong written skills, others not so much.  

But was the CV succinct?  Did it reflect the professional skills of the individual?  This was not always the case and this is what surprised me.   I had to lower the criteria of what I expected to see in a CV produced by a HR professional and conduct telephone screenings in order to ensure that the people that were shortlisted for interview were of the correct calibre.  

What were my criteria?  

  • Did the applicant provide a cover letter when this had been requested?
  • Was the information requested by me provided in the cover letter?
  • Did the cover letter show that the candidate had researched the organisation and its people?
  • Was the CV presented well?
  • Did the CV flow?
  • Was the professional experience structured in such a way that it was easy to read?
  • Did the candidate provide relevant professional experience to the role? (e.g. was the CV tailored to the Advert/Job Description to reflect the relevant experience?)
  • Did the CV provide enough information to make me want to follow up by telephone, or too little information (one page bullet points) or conversely did it provide too much information (6+ pages of text)?
  • If there were rapid job changes were these explained?  Likewise with gaps in employment.
  • Could I locate Academic/Professional Qualifications easily - if the individual was a Chartered Member/Fellow of the CIPD was this apparent?
  • Did the CV have spelling errors?

Don't get me wrong - I'm certainly not a perfectionist.  It can be confusing when there is so much advice around on how to write your CV, with everyone offering differing views on how it is best to produce them.  

If we can’t (or don't have the time) to write the CV ourselves then we can consult with experts in the matter who can help (HR Vision are happy to help here!).  

There really isn't a right way or a wrong way but there's no real excuse for us in HR.

But for me, (and please ignore the grammatical error of starting a sentence with "but") the question remains - if we in HR don't get our CV "right" - especially with regards to the basics - explaining any gaps in employment etc (which we are expected to investigate when recruiting people for our organisations) and providing potential employers with a good viewpoint on what our skillset is -  then how can we defend having such exacting standards when reviewing applicants' CVs ourselves?

So my call to action for the HR community is: let us in HR raise the standards by writing CVs that meet the criteria that we would expect to see when shortlisting candidates for a role we are recruiting for.

Tips to help us do this: 

  • Spend time researching the organisation that you are applying for a role with
  • Ensure that you write a good cover letter that reflects the research you have conducted. 
  • Show in your cover letter how your experience matches the needs of the organisation
  • Tailor your CV to reflect your experience that is relevant to the role you are applying for.
  • Explain any gaps in employment or rapid moves
  • And conduct a spell check!
  • Once you have written your CV then leave it for 24 hours before applying for the role - by looking at the CV objectively alongside the role profile (as if you are the hiring manager) you will be able to tell if you have tailored it sufficiently or not.

Right..  I'm off to look at my master CV and Cover Letter just to check that I practice what I preach...... 

Good luck!  Remember - if you need help drafting or updating your CV then please do get in touch, we are more than happy to help.   

 

 

Collective Consultation - Redundancies

Collective Consultation obligations are changing

As a result of a ruling at the Employment Appeal Hearing (EAT) (Usdaw v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration); Usdaw and another v WW Realisation 1 Limited and others) if you are proposing to make 20 or more redundancies across your organisation within a period of 90 days or less you will now trigger the collective consultation obligations.

Before this ruling if the employees were across different sites and were less than 20 then the collective consultation obligations did not apply.

Apart from the consultation requirements you will also need to inform the Insolvency Service Redundancy Payments Service at the start of the consultation period - otherwise there can be a fine up to £5000 and a criminal record. 

If you need further information on what your consultation obligations are then get in touch.

 

Asbestos (Proper planning can reduce risk and save money)

While looking at some statistics on the HSE website yesterday, it brought to mind a situation where work had to stop due to lack of Asbestos Awareness training.  

Some refurbishment work was being conducted in an old building at work and I happened to be walking past the skip and saw what looked to be a fibrous board that appeared suspiciously like Asbestos.  I immediately stopped the work and had the material tested and discovered that it was indeed Asbestos.  

After evacuating the area I then had to conduct widespread air testing to detect any fibre released in the air - mainly to reassure employees.

This resulted in a tremendous amount of disruption to the business because after evacuating the building we then brought in a specialist 'licenced' contractor to remove the asbestos properly.  Additionally, as the need was urgent, the contractor cost was double their usual rate.

We had to reassure all employees that there had been minimal exposure as only a very small amount of Asbestos had been found.  To ensure that the employees understood how minimal their exposure had been, we brought in counsellors to convey this message through face to face meetings.

Asbestosis has a latency period of around 20 to 30 years after exposure - it is currently unclear as to how much Asbestos constitutes a level significant enough to lead to Asbestosis,

Work recommenced some two weeks after I sighted the Asbestos.  However the matter did not stop there.

On further investigation it was found that the Asbestos was not recorded on the Asbestos Register and this led to us having to repeat a site-wide Asbestos Survey at additional cost.

We also ascertained that a number of contractors had not been properly educated as to how to recognise asbestos and what to do when discovering it. 

This led to an intensive Asbestos Awareness Training Workshop which all contractors were required to attend prior to conducting any further work. 

My point?  With a small amount of forethought and the right kind of education and processes in place none of the above would have occurred.  

So review your processes, check your employees/contractors have had appropriate Asbestos Awareness training (which needs to be refreshed every year) and if not, give HR Vision a call on 01635255202 as we hold Asbestos Awareness training on a regular basis and can educate your staff on how to recognise Asbestos and how to conduct themselves if they discover it. 

Outplacement/Redundancy Support

While considering a redundancy exercise a client is going through, the doom and gloom of the economy, more and more people being made redundant, businesses closing down, banks not financing businesses etc - it occurred to me that while everyone focuses on the negative, it is so hard to look at the positive side of redundancy.  Change.

While change is scary at times, it has another side that makes people sit up straight and look around, evaluate where they are at present, are they on track with their life plan or not?  Do they want to be doing something else?  Are they happy doing what they do?   

Instead of sitting still and accepting the status quo, it becomes a time for action, self-evaluation, learning and movement.

That to me, is exciting stuff because we all get stuck in ruts.  And forget to stop and smell the roses because we are so busy smelling the manure.

We help people to embrace these changes through our outplacement support services and career development coaching.  The feedback we get from these makes it worthwhile and makes me proud of the fact that we do make a positive difference to peoples lives.

Working at Height

While revising our Working at Height Training Programme, it occurred to me that managing safety while working at height does not have to be complicated or onerous.

Although working at height can be a risky business and you may well require a permit to If you are faced with regular working at height for your employees, rather than have to issue permits everytime they work at height you can control this aspect by having an Process Safety Instruction (PSI). 

This system involves developing your employees to be competent in working at height so you will only need to issue a work at height permit for the most hazardous tasks. Also the same system can be adopted into a Safety at Height System (SAHS) if you have a large amount of contractors on site.  However you would be wise to ensure the calibre of contractor prior to accepting them on the scheme.

A permit to work at height certificate is generally issued as working at height can involve serious risk to health. 

It is recommended that annual refresher training be given to employees, whilst a contractor should receive refresher training every 6 months.

We discuss this and more at our  1/2 day training session - find out more here http://hrvision.co.uk/working-at-height