Posts Tagged ‘HR Support’

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 info@voltedge.ie 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.

SMART Goals

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 info@voltedge.ie or call our office on 01 5252914.

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 info@voltedge.ie.

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 info@voltedge.ie or ring our offices at 01 525 2914.

Project Management Services – “On Time and Within Budget”

Monday, July 16th, 2018

Organisations at any time can have a variety of in-house projects underway that require management and support.  Depending on the industry and business the process may vary. However, the overarching goal relates to the outcome that needs to be achieved. Whether it is bringing a new product to market, changing a process, solving a problem or introducing some new technology or process to achieve business efficiencies and provide better more informed data for management decisions – how the project is scoped, planned and managed is critical to the success of the outcomes.

Project Management

 

Voltedge Management has formed a team of expert Project Managers to support our clients with these needs to:

– Assist you with defining your project charter and mentor your in-house project team

– Develop your project plan and agree the project scope

– Outline the work to be performed

– Identify the resources needed and calculate a budget and schedule if required.

Essentially the Project Manager takes on the task of ensuring project success, delivering on time and within budget to the agreed charter. We are excellent at planning, executing and closing projects – by accurately defining the project scope, building a comprehensive work plan and managing the budget and milestones throughout.

We understand Stakeholder Management and Leadership, are capable decision makers and problem solvers, and can deal with risk and control – that’s why we add value to the process and ensure it gets delivered.

 

Whether it is project managing the introduction of a new Time and Attendance system, upgrading your HRIS, rolling out a new Project  Management Process, leading your GDPR Compliance Journey, or just supporting an In-house Project Management Team, our Project Managers have a broad range of knowledge and extensive experience across a number of industries and can bring real value to your inhouse projects success.

If you need a strategic thinker, with exceptional judgement, the ability to make sound decisions and be creative in developing alternative solutions in a fast-paced environment, and able to anticipate needs, balance the big picture with attention to detail, then get in touch and we can arrange an initial consultation with one of our Project Managers to explore best options for you and your business needs.

Email: info@voltedge.ie or call 00353 15252914

Workplace Investigations – Getting it Right!

Monday, June 18th, 2018

There has been plenty of high profile cases over the past 12-18 months, where employees are raising formal grievances on workplace issues or the behaviour of colleagues at work related events.

We have seen an increase in workplace grievances which can present significant challenges for organisations, especially for a small to medium size who may not have a dedicated HR function in place, or with limited expertise in conducting workplace investigations. Claims raised formally or informally under the company grievance procedure or claims under the equality and dignity in the workplace procedures, harassment, or bullying procedures, all require comprehensive management from the outset.

There is considerable case law in this area which can be a good reference for employees and employers, highlighting the importance of due process and fair procedure. The expectation is that an employer must ensure an investigation is conducted in a fair, reasonable, and transparent manner, providing all parties with an opportunity to put forward their views and respond to claims made during the investigation.

Here is a sample of some of the cases that have gone before the WRC and Labour Court:

“ The Employment Appeals Tribunal has awarded £7,000 to a former gardener under the Unfair Dismissals Acts, pointing that even where the facts are clear, an employer has a duty to follow due process before dismissing an employee….

A hotel reservation agency has been ordered to pay €5,000 to a former employee after the Equality Tribunal concluded that the firm discriminated against her on the grounds of her gender in the manner in which it handled her allegations of sexual harassment by a co-worker.

The Labour Court has proposed the use of an external investigator to assess a case in which a worker complained that his employer did not carry out a proper investigation of his bullying claimant.

The Employment Appeals Tribunal has ruled that the leading Irish betting chain, Boylesports, should pay €7,000 in compensation to one of its former employees after it concluded that he was unfairly dismissed following a two day hearing. “

Very often these cases that end up in front of WRC or Labour Court result in the employer being told that that their process was flawed or that the company procedure was not followed objectivity, fairly or consistently.

It can be very beneficial to engage the services of an external party to conduct an investigation, ensuring it is independent and unbiased, and providing the employer with an opportunity to be removed from the details of the investigation and thus in a position to objectively review the investigators report and make an informed decision as to the appropriate course of action.

Voltedge Management has considerable experience of conducting workplace investigations, whether it is in an advisory capacity, or providing an independent investigator or supporting an informal process.

For a confidential discussion on related matter, please contact our Operations Manager Ingrid O’Sullivan at info@voltedge.ie or call the office on 01 525 2914 to speak to one of our senior consultants.