Posts Tagged ‘hr advice’

Are There Signs of Improvement for Employee Wellbeing and Engagement?

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

The pandemic has had an extraordinarily impact on employee wellbeing with daily stress and daily worries presenting themselves in so many diverse ways.

Employee wellbeing has always been a core focus for HR, but it has become vividly important during the pandemic. Fostering employee wellbeing can help prevent stress and create positive working environments where individuals and organisations can thrive.

There are many impactful ways managers can support employee wellbeing and they don’t all need big budgets.


  1. Involve employees in dialogue and decision-making

When employees feel involved and well informed about what’s happening in the organisation, it increases motivation and helps individuals understand how their role fits into the bigger picture.


  1. Build social cohesion and support

Employers and managers should look for ways to build social cohesion and support – for example through team building and good leadership.

If you want to take positive actions to make the workplace a mutually supportive environment where good work relationships thrive:

  • promote positive behaviours to avoid conflict and ensure fairness
  • ensure policies on bullying and harassment are in place
  • encourage exercise and regular social events to boost staff health, team work and mental wellbeing


  1. A culture of openness

Speak regularly with team members to check how they’re doing and to reflect on what might be causing them stress. Don’t be afraid to show your human side and openness to speak about personal mental health and wellbeing.


  1. Pay attention to work-life balance

Working long hours can have a major influence on employees’ wellbeing, and in a digital age there is a real risk individuals feel they have to always be connected. Sustained pressure and a poor work-life balance can quickly lead to stress and burnout, reduced productivity, creativity and morale.

Employers must keep this in check to protect their employees’ mental health. Empower your employees and give them autonomy so that they control their work methods and schedule. Not only to encourage a culture of taking time out when you need it and disconnecting when their work is done, but nurture that practice also and make it an acceptable way of working.


  1. Better support for people working from home

Just under three-quarters of organisations (72%) are providing new or better support for people working from home (CIPD Ireland).

Employers must encourage more responsible use of digital technologies and acknowledge that regular movement breaks and time away from screens are essential for good health and wellbeing.


  1. Remind employees to take care of themselves

To grow your wellbeing though, you need to invest in yourself, which is something that many individuals do not feel they have time, space or perhaps permission to do.

Employers need to remind their employees that there are many different things that they can do to improve their wellbeing, as presented below.


Smart employers know that organisations perform better when staff are healthy, motivated and focused. By supporting employee wellbeing, they reap the benefits through enhanced productivity, profitability, morale, loyalty, commitment and innovation.

For more on this topic read our article Wellbeing From the Top Down. You can also join several events and fundraisers, such as Darkness Into Light from Pieta House, as they are great opportunities for companies to come together and raise awareness of various mental health issues.

What is discrimination in the workplace and what can we do to prevent it?

Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Employment equality is essential in every workplace.

Failing to treat your employees fairly can lead to serious consequences, such as resignations or even costly claims in the Workplace Relations Commission.

Additionally – an open, harmonious workplace that values equality and diversity will ensure a much happier and productive work environment.

What is discrimination in the workplace?

Discrimination in the workplace is where one person is treated less favourabley than another person.. Employment equality legislation sets out nine grounds for discrimination in Ireland.

  • Gender
  • Civil status.
  • Family status.
  • Sexual orientation.
  • Religious beliefs.
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Race
  • Membership of the Traveller community.

The Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 is the primary anti-discrimination act in Ireland. This act prohibits discrimination under the above nine specific grounds.

Under employment equality legislation, your business must adhere to the specific anti-discrimination provisions set out in the statute. This means that not all forms of discrimination are covered under the employment equality acts.

Part-time and fixed-term employees also have legal protections from discrimination under the Protection of Employees (Part-Time Work) Act 2001 and the Protection of Employees (Fixed Term Work) Act 2003, respectively.

Types of discrimination

There are different types of discrimination and some types of discrimination are harder to identify than others. There are several types that may happen, sometimes unintentionally.

Direct discrimination tends to be easier to identify as it will involve a clear case of different treatment.

Direct: When an individual receives blatant different treatment based on any of the nine grounds.

Indirect discrimination occurs when a policy that appears to treat all employees equally in fact excludes certain people from accessing employment or enjoying employment rights that others enjoy.

Indirect: This is a practice or policy that accidentally treats an individual less favourably.

So familiarising yourself with these to ensure you have policies in place that celebrate diversity and encourage fairness between colleagues will ensure that you are not at risk of discrimination.

If  discrimination occurs, it can result in a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission — legal costs, management time and a negative reputation for your business are the potential risks and costs that you may incur.

There is also positive discrimination where a business shows favourable treatment towards a minority group within one of the nine grounds. Positive discrimination generally consists of employers taking steps that promote equality for all their employees. Employers have no legal obligation to implement positive anti-discrimination measures.

How to Prevent Workplace Discrimination?

Here are a few tips we suggest to prevent workplace discrimination:

  1. Develop a written policy that clearly defines the company policies and procedures.

Creating a clearly written policy is the first step toward preventing discrimination at work. This is just one of the reasons it is important to develop an employee handbook. Every handbook should include a policy on discrimination that every employee receives and signs an acknowledgment of receipt. Your policy should cover a broad range of potential discriminatory acts and include a protocol that outlines how discrimination complaints are submitted, handled, and resolved.

  1. Establish a consistent process for resolving discrimination issues.

Resolving issues quickly and fairly is incredibly important—even if your business isn’t in legal jeopardy, a lingering workplace discrimination issue can lead to losing trust and credibility with your employees. Consistency in how you address and resolve issues shows that you expect everyone to be treated fairly and by the same standards regarding discrimination. While there is no single “right” procedure for workplace discrimination, it is important to establish a process that fits your organisation’s size, structure, and resources.

  1. Continually educate employees on their role in preventing discrimination.

For most businesses, addressing the issue in the employee handbook and onboarding process isn’t enough. It is important to ensure that employees are aware of your policies and procedures and know how to report allegations. It is also recommended that you conduct a separate or enhanced program for supervisory or managerial employees, as they are often your first line of defence in preventing workplace discrimination.

Our Team at Voltedge Management is here to help, we frequently run Dignity at Work workshops with our clients – for management teams and teams of employees. We also advise on policies and practices to ensure employers are compliant with the law and that there are good processes internally to support an open, harmonious workplace that values equality and diversity. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on or call our office on 01 5252914.

Tips for SMART Goal Setting to Kick Off the New Year

Friday, January 14th, 2022

This is an ideal time to get your team onboard and focused on what’s important for the year ahead. Setting SMART goals will help align employees with the company objectives and targets.

January is a great time to start talking to employees about the ambitions and priorities for the year ahead. It’s also a powerful way to energise and empower your team to understand fully the opportunity, the trust and control you are giving them to deliver and why they are important to organisation.

Giving employees sight of the company/department/team goals and creating opportunities to come together to map out opportunities for collaboration with others, define individual responsibilities, as well as explore areas for development and support so people can achieve success and perform to their potential.

Why set goals:

  • To deliver business performance
  • To stretch and challenge individuals
  • To link an individual’s performance to the achievements of higher business goals
  • To provide a means for measuring progress
  • To focus behaviours
  • To motivate and develop the individual

Clearly scripted and defined SMART goals agreed between an employee and their manager, will give a greater sense of clarity and ownership as to the performance standard needed to be successful. Making the goals SMART means the feedback conversations will be more meaningful and honest for both the employee and the manager.


Specific in language

Measurable in quantifiable terms

Achievable with a reasonable effort

Results oriented, not activity oriented

Time bound

Remember, if a goal cannot be measured, attainment can never be known. What gets measured gets done!

Measurement checklist

  • Are the goals realistic?
  • Can each goal be assessed individually?
  • Has personal bias been avoided?
  • Have circumstances beyond anyone’s control been considered?
  • Can evidence be provided to support performance rating for each goal?
  • Has objectivity been maximised?

Providing ongoing and regular feedback through coaching conversations is very important and can be the difference between effective performance achievement and mis-communication between the employee and manager.

Objectives of giving feedback

  • Positive feedback
  • Reinforces achievements
  • Motivates the individual
  • Acknowledges effort
  • Development feedback
  • Gives the individual an opportunity to change their behaviour
  • Helps resolve issues before they escalate to bigger problems

Guidelines for giving feedback:

  • Check your motivation for giving someone feedback.
  • Give feedback as immediately as possible.
  • Respect people’s needs for private discussions.
  • Be honest and upfront.
  • Recognise the positive aspects of a person’s performance.
  • Focus on specific performance examples, relating to things which actually happened in people’s jobs.
  • Make your discussions two way, ask questions, check reactions etc.
  • Vary your style according to the needs of the individual and situation.
  • Focus on helping to move someone’s performance forward.
  • Be tentative about information which is not completely clear.

Our team of skilled and experienced HR Consultants are available to discuss any related matter that this article highlights for you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on or call our office on 01 5252914.

Budget 2022 – What you need to know as an Employer

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Covid supports

The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme will remain in place, in a graduated format, until 30 April, 2022 – the scheme will close to new employers from 1 January, 2022.

While there will be no change to the current four rates of EWSS payments over the course of October and November, a two-rate structure of €151.50 and €203.00 will apply from December until the end of February, bringing it back into line with what was set up in September last year to replace the so-called Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS).

For companies availing of the scheme that means a €151.50 subsidy for employees earning gross weekly amounts of between €151.50 and €202.99, while a €203.00 amount will apply to those earning between €203.00 and €1,462. Weekly salaries below €150.50 and above €1,462 are not subsidised.

Childcare and Family

Maternity benefit and parental leave payments to be increased by €5 per week.

Parent’s Benefit will increase to €250 from January and in line with the EU Directive, it will be paid for 7 weeks from July 2022, an increase of 2 weeks. Each parent can avail of the seven weeks of benefit during the first two years after their baby is born or adopted.


The minimum wage will increase by 30 cent to €10.50 per hour from 1st January 2022. This increase will also mean that those working under certain conditions, under the age of 18, 19 and 20, will receive a corresponding increase in their pay, as they are entitled to a percentage of the full minimum wage rate. The increase in the nominal minimum wage in Ireland to €10.50 will move Ireland from having the third highest nominal minimum wage rate of the 21 EU member states that have national minimum wages to having the second highest. In 2021, Ireland’s rate was 6th in the rankings, when adjusted for purchasing power standards.

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Income tax deduction amounting to 30% of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband incurred while working from home. This will apply for those days that they are working from home only, and can be claimed if their employer is not paying the tax-free €3.20 a day discretionary payment. Bills for heating and lighting homes are expected to rise by between €500 and €800 this year as a raft of price rises have been announced. Home workers have to wait until the end of the financial year to submit a claim to Revenue, and they have to upload the relevant bills.

Are employers in Ireland legally obliged to provide a pension scheme for employees?

Tuesday, September 21st, 2021

Managing HR is challenging at the best of times! We are here to answer your queries and provide up to date HR advice on what is impacting businesses today.

Welcome to our weekly Q&A – if you have a question email us at

Are employers in Ireland legally obliged to provide a pension scheme for employees?

Currently in Ireland there is no requirement, however employers are obliged to provide employees access to a PRSA – Personal Retirement Savings Account. Employers must facilitate this through payroll enabling employees to pay into their own personal pension.

The introduction of automatic enrolment is on the cards however it has been delayed until at least 2023. When this is eventually introduced, it will mean that both employers and employees will be required by law to make contributions to a workplace pension scheme.

Details of the scheme are still being ironed out by Government and it is hoped it won’t be delayed further.

This week is Pensions Awareness Week. You can join them for free financial information to help you invest in and secure your financial future.


Need more help? Voltedge Management team can help you to get advice on all aspects of human resources and management. Email Ingrid at or ring our offices at 01 525 2914.

Tips for a Healthy Happy Festive Season With a Difference

Tuesday, December 15th, 2020

Looking back at the tips from previous years, it makes it even more apparent how different this Christmas is.  No office parties, big lunch or dinner engagements; no big family get togethers; no big social outings.  The word BIG is one of the big differences this year and very often it is the big events around Christmas that can cause us the most stress.  Worrying about how to manage the excesses and overindulgences, the sometimes-fraught nature of too many people in one place, the social anxiety that can ruin a work event, family tension, are all the things we have highlighted in the past as areas to mind yourself over Christmas.

This year most of these potential stresses are not going to be there!! Everything had got very BIG around Christmas with the financial pressures adding a further burden to stretched households.  This year will be very different.  There is no doubt we will miss a lot of the BIG occasions however this time may give us an opportunity to understand what really is important in our lives and help us to realign our focus for the future.

That in itself is a challenge, we have been catapulted into an existence we did not prepare for and minding ourselves, our family, friends and colleagues over the Christmas season will be more important than ever this year.

Loneliness and Isolation

Unfortunately, many people will be feeling isolated this Christmas. It is particularly important, as employers, to have insight into your employees’ circumstances around this time.  Are they unable to travel home, are they in any way compromised and unable to be with family or friends? Be mindful of anyone in these circumstances, reach out and let them know they are not alone and have points of contact throughout the holiday period. A colleague calling for a chat, walk or even a phone call could make a huge impact on that person’s self-esteem.


We may not be out socialising as much as previous festive seasons, however temptation is not far away with shop shelves laden down with tasty treats “hey it’s Christmas”! And yes, we do all deserve to overdo it a little but the key message here is MODERATION.  If we are spending more time at home, there is the temptation to graze continually. Think about what and how much you are eating, enjoy it and savour it and then hit the Stop button.

The same message applies to alcohol. We all enjoy a few tipples particularly around Christmas time, but as we won’t be out socialising as much as before there is the temptation as with food to graze at home.   Be mindful of how much you are drinking, particularly if you are alone and feeling in any way low.  Feelings are magnified with alcohol and can become overwhelming. Reach out to friends and family for support and mind yourself.


Getting out in the fresh air will lift anyone’s mood, help shift those extra pounds and is an opportunity to safely meet up with family and friends.  Make sure to get out every day even for a short walk, the impact this has on our wellbeing is huge.  Arrange to walk and talk, bring along a coffee and explore new places together. Kids love nothing more than going for a ramble, wrap up but on the boots and get mucky!!


This has been a year like no other and no one has been shielded from the stress it has brought upon us.  No matter what our personal circumstances, it is important to take a step back and rest, both our minds and bodies.  Keeping Christmas simple this year will help in easing some of the stress and tension.  Be mindful of your mental health and that of those around you, and don’t be afraid to ask for support and help.  There are some fantastic supports available on including a Family Wellbeing Toolkit, Mindful Moments, a Recharge Worksheet and many more.

Voltedge has also developed a series of wellbeing webinars which can be offered to employees to help them Realign & Recharge and manage working in a COVID-19 environment. Contact us 01 5252914 for more details on our webinars and to discuss your specific requirements.

Finally have some fun

Introduce some new Christmas traditions, dust off the old boardgames, plan adventures, plan for the COVID-19 free future and finally nurture all those around you.









Ingrid O’Sullivan, Operations Manager