Posts Tagged ‘people management’

What should companies look at when considering implementing a four-day work week?

Wednesday, July 21st, 2021

To know if a four-day work week is right for your organisation there are many advantages and disadvantages to be considered. Communication with your employees will be crucial throughout the process and its very important to scope out what a four-day week means for your organisation.

For many, they are looking at how pre-existing arrangement and contracted hour’s between the employer and employee can be worked and completed over a 4-day period rather than a 5-day period.

Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages companies are experiencing.

Advantages

  • Reduced costs

A four-day week can cut costs for everyone.

The obvious one is that, given the office would be closed for one extra day a week, running costs would see a significant drop.

Additionally, employees would be paying less to commute and would see cut costs in expenses like lunch and coffees during the day, too.

  • Happier employees

Having a three-day weekend leaves employees with more free time. Not many people will complain about that.

Having more time to do the things you love increases overall happiness and can help to increase loyalty to a company – it’s a win-win.

  • Increase in productivity levels

Discontent staff tend to distract their co-workers. The general theory behind a shorter week is that happier, more fulfilled employees are therefore more focused on their job when actually in the workplace.

Studies have found that 78% of employees could more effectively balance their work and home life. This was compared to 54% prior to the experiment.

  • Recruitment and retention

In the age of the millennial, being able to offer a more flexible work pattern is definitely a perk that persuades employees to stay at a company.

Knowing they’ll be getting a three-day weekend is one that keeps employees motivated week-on-week. It’s still a relatively rare offering and can be a great way to get the best talent through the door – and keep them engaged, too.

Disadvantages

  • It doesn’t suit every business model

Unfortunately, a four-day week model doesn’t suit every business. It’s an option that is only viable for companies who can re-adapt their whole business to a new way of working.

Adopting a different way of working is a big step, so you’ll need to consider whether or not a four-day week is right for your company. As mentioned communication will be vital during this stage. Ask your employees for their input and include them in the decision making process.

  • Longer hours and work-related stress

In reality, most employees on a four day week will most likely be expected to work the same number of hours, but in four days instead of five. In this case, shifts might be extended to 10 hours.

Longer days could have a significant effect on your employees’ stress levels and therefore their overall wellbeing and productivity.

  • Skipping Workdays Benefits Your Competition

The very possibility that an entire workday is now cut out from your schedule will seem extremely appealing to your competition. If they do not follow the trend themselves, they now have an entire day that they can dedicate to outperforming your organisation.

They may choose to contact your key clients and customers on a day where they won’t be able to get in touch with your employees.

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.

Designing the workplace of the future – A new guide for all employers

Tuesday, July 20th, 2021

The world of work was shaken to its core in March 2020 when the Covid-19 pandemic hit Ireland and hundreds of thousands of Irish workers had to suddenly work from home.

The slow and steady drive towards digitalisation accelerated sharply, and virtual meeting programmes such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams became commonplace. Now, 15 months on, and with the vaccination programme well underway, employers can begin to think about a return to the workplace – hopefully permanently. But the many lessons learned during the pandemic has had both employers and employees thinking about the future workplace – will we ever go back to the way it was? And do we want to?

Voltedge Management, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, have produced a new guide, ‘Emerging Through Covid-19 – The future of work, which aims to help business owners think about the positives and negatives from the last 15 months and to use these to build a sustainable business model for the future. With many employees welcoming the idea of remote working into the future, either full-time or for part of the week, is it time for employers to recognise the positives of remote working and tie it into their company policy on a permanent basis? And if so, how can they make it sustainable?

“This is a follow-on from last year’s Covid-19 employer guide; last year we looked at the health and safety aspects of returning to work, while the theme of this year’s guide is around the future of work,” explains Karen Hernández, Senior Executive, Client Management Development at Enterprise Ireland. “During Covid, the workplace has changed, the nature of work has changed for a lot of people, and what employees expect from their employers has changed. Our aim is for all companies to be prepared to put in place the right structures and practices that suit their business needs and also the needs of their employees.

“A large portion of our client base experienced the need to rush into remote working when Covid-19 hit Ireland in 2020. There have been some advantages and opportunities associated with this; some businesses found they’re as productive, if not more productive when working remotely. This guide aims to help companies take what’s worked well over the last 15 months and create some sustainable practices and processes that work for everybody.”

The guide was developed in partnership with Fredericka Sheppard and Joyce Rigby-Jones of Voltedge, a highly regarded HR consultancy based in Dublin. “The objective with the guide is that it gives you a framework to start developing your own plan for the return to the office,” explains Fredericka. “All organisations are going to have their own dynamic, their own set of circumstances, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this. Our aim was to identify key pillars for organisations to use to develop structure and a suitable framework for their business.”

The importance of asking questions

A huge emphasis is placed on the need for communication with employees when making these decisions. “Employers need to engage with and actively listen to their employees, while also driving their business forward,” says Joyce. “This is intended as a broad guide, where employers can pick and choose the relevant pieces to them.”

“It’s very important that employees feel that they’re being heard,” adds Fredericka. “However, decisions need to be made based on a number of factors, and employee input is just one of those factors. Obviously it’s really important to manage expectations and sometimes it’s just down to how you ask the questions. Give them some context from a business point of view. It’s not just about the employees’ wish-list, it’s also about creating a sustainable workplace for the future.”

Managing remote workers

Many employers are looking at keeping some sort of remote or flexible working practices in place – and offering this flexibility can be very positive when it comes to attracting talent. “Almost two-thirds of our client base are saying they find it hard to attract, engage and retain talent,” says Karen. “Companies need to consult and stay close to their employees and ask them what they want – and include aspects like flexibility as part of a value proposition to attract candidates.

“Many companies that we are working with are looking at some sort of hybrid model, where employees combine time working in the office and time spent working remotely, at home or in co-working spaces. There are huge upsides, such as accessing skills from different parts of the country that they never would have before – offering remote, flexible or hybrid working is attractive to employees.

However, this can be difficult to manage, and companies need to consider what works for the team as a whole as well as what’s right for individuals within those teams.”

“There’s a big need for management support and training, especially for middle and line managers and supervisors who are dealing with a remote workforce,” explains Joyce. “It’s difficult for them, but it’s important that they get it right. Ensuring your managers are confident in what they do, and in their engagement with their teams. We are hearing that companies are looking to bring their employees into the office more, but it’s about getting that blend right between remote working and the office. One aspect that we emphasised in the guide is the need to make sure you are not discriminating against employees who are not in the office environment.”

Identifying and managing issues such as burn-out and isolation is essential if companies are to offer some sort of remote working policy. “Companies that have regular check-ins and meetings with staff and use different methods of communication, such as video calls, emails and direct messaging are more likely to keep employees engaged when working remotely.  It’s also important for employees to have individual focus time, where they are able to detach from colleagues and concentrate on getting their work done without interruption”, says Karen.  “Long term, we don’t know enough about hybrid working for a definite ‘best practice’ but instead companies should pilot different ways of working – for instance, we have some companies who are trialling a ‘team days’ concept – having the whole team in for certain days of the week, then for the rest of the week, they’re working from home.”

Piloting the new workplace

The aim of the guide is to pose those broad questions that will help employers in every sector decide on the right workplace for the future of their business – but there is no need to rush into a decision. “The biggest challenge for employers is making the decision as to how you’re going to handle this working environment,” says Joyce. “Are you going to fully return, are you going for a hybrid, can you facilitate a full return in the workspace that you have? Employers need to make very big decisions, and very strategic, long-term decisions, so we’re suggesting that they talk to their employees about what they want and then piloting whatever they plan to do before they make any strategic decisions that will impact on the business going forward.”

Covid-19 has had a huge effect on how we work – but now is the time to use what we have learned since March 2020 to create a more inclusive, sustainable business model, one that pushes the business forward while creating a culture that values employees and their health and wellbeing more than ever before. This can only be a positive thing.

To download the guide, ‘Emerging Through Covid-19 – The future of work’click here.

What Will the New Proposed Bill on Gender Pay Mean for Companies in Ireland?

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

What’s in the Gender Pay Gap (GPG) Information Bill?

The Bill does not itself contain gender pay gap reporting obligations but creates a power to make Regulations mandating employers to report on their gender pay gaps. As such, the Bill is relatively light on detail and we can expect a consultation on draft Regulations quite soon after it becomes law. The Regulations are expected to provide clarity for employers on what will be required (see below), although there is the potential for delay because they will need to properly implement the requirements of the proposed EU pay transparency directive.

An organisation’s GPG will be significant when it comes to its reputation, recruitment and retention of staff, and client expectations.  Where GPG reporting will likely be a recurring annual requirement, with possible publicity around each year’s figures, an employer’s approach to its GPG and the measures it takes to narrow any gap must be considered.

Who will be affected?

The Bill currently provides that the Regulations will initially only apply to those organisations employing 250 or more, before reducing to 150 after two years and 50 after three years.

What must be reported?

As currently drafted, the Bill requires in-scope employers, including public body employers, to report on the difference in male and female remuneration as follows:

  • Mean and median hourly remuneration for full-time and part-time
  • Mean and median bonus remuneration
  • Percentage of all employees who have received a bonus or benefits in kind.

The Bill also indicates that additional regulations may be enacted to provide further clarity on:

  • The class of employer, employee and pay to which the regulations apply
  • How the remuneration of employees is to be calculated
  • The form, manner and frequency in which information is to be published

Unlike the similar UK legislation, affected employers will also be required to provide a narrative to accompany the reported figures in order to explain, in their opinion, the reasons for the gaps identified in their report and, significantly, to outline the measures that employer will take to reduce the GPG identified.

It is likely that the information will have to be published annually on both an employer’s own website and a publicly accessible government website (similar to the UK approach).

Will there be consequences for failure to comply?

Yes. The text of the Bill provides for sanctions for non-compliance with the appointment of “designated officers” empowered to investigate and prepare a report on how an employer prepared its calculations and reporting of final figures. These officers will be able to enter the business premises and seek copies of relevant information.

In addition, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission (IHREC) will have the ability to apply to the Circuit Court for an order directing compliance with the regulations. The revised Bill proposes to further extend IHREC powers allow applications to the High Court for enforcement orders.

Further, an employee may take a claim to the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) where his/her employer is alleged to have not complied with the mandatory reporting obligation. The WRC can order a specified course of action to ensure compliance. Currently the Bill does not provide for any monetary sanctions for breaches, although it is notable that the Minister has referred to strengthening the enforcement mechanisms within the upcoming draft legislation.

How can employers get ready?

There are a number of proactive steps that employers can take in advance of GPG reporting coming into law.

  • Trial run – identify the relevant employee groupings (quartiles) across the business and collate and analyse the payroll data attached to each quartile
  • Technology – assess whether the business has the necessary software and/or hardware to process the calculations required
  • Training – consider what types of training, ranging from payroll staff to HR teams and management, may be appropriate
  • Policies – review existing HR policies around recruitment and promotion.  Evaluate the business’ approach to remuneration and compensation to establish whether such policies indicate any unintentional gender bias. The implementation of a comprehensive flexible/agile working policy will be a core element in facilitating increased female representation in the labour market
  • Invest – explore ways to invest in your staff talent through upskilling and reskilling with a focus on gender diversity – in particular diversifying the leadership pool and implementing innovative methods around talent development and integration
  • Expert Advice – obtain legal advice to ensure appropriate compliance with the regulations (i.e. what elements of a remuneration package should fall within the definition of “pay”; what data protection issues arise; how can issues of equal pay or discrimination be best addressed)
  • Build your Team – identify the key stakeholders within the business that need to be brought together to comply with the reporting obligation and tackle the GPG identified. Input from and cross-collaboration between Finance, HR, Legal and Public Relations is advisable
  • Communication – while mandatory reporting specifies the information to be published, employers must be mindful of the internal and external messaging of both the existence of its GPG and the measures to reduce it, to minimise scope for employee grievances or claims

Separately, employers should consider who the key stakeholders in the business are likely to be. In order to be done properly, gender pay gap reporting normally requires the involvement of a team of people from across the business. These include: payroll (to obtain the pay data), HR analysts (to collect the people data); more senior level HR/ER (to understand the initiatives that can be created or which may already exist to reduce any gaps); and PR/comms (to assist with writing the report).

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.

Watch Webinar Recording ‘Emerging Through Covid-19: The future of work’ in partnership with Enterprise Ireland

Tuesday, July 13th, 2021

Voltedge Management hosted, in partnership with Enterprise Ireland, the webinar ‘Emerging Through Covid-19: The future of work’. The webinar discusses how Covid-19 has impacted the world of work,  how the changes brought about by Covid-19 impact your company and how you manage your employees, the practices you need to implement to continue to attract, engage and develop your employees in a post Covid-19 era.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to watch the recording. 

You can also download the webinar slides here

Coinciding with the webinar, Voltedge and Enterprise Ireland have also developed the guide of the same name. Click HERE to download the guide, ‘Emerging Through Covid-19: The future of work’.

What do I do if employees don’t like the new workplace layout and their workstation set-up?

Tuesday, July 6th, 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.

What do I do if employees don’t like the new workplace layout and their workstation set-up?

When you are planning your new workplace, get the views and inputs from your employees early on so that they feel consulted and that their voice is heard. Continuous communication is key. Consider the logistics of the workplace both from an operational perspective as well as from an employee experience viewpoint. Make sure that employees are involved at all stages of the planning process and that they know what to expect when they return to the workplace. Regular meetings and updates about the new workplace layout could be a useful tool here. Remember that creating stimulating and pleasant workplaces will contribute to how employees work and how they perform.

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.

Watch Webinar Recording ‘Tips For Employers Managing Remote Workers’ with Fredericka Sheppard

Tuesday, June 29th, 2021

In case you missed the webinar ‘Tips For Employers Managing Remote Workers’ with Voltedge Co-Founder and Managing Director Fredericka Sheppard, in partnership with AccountantOnline, you can access the recording on the link below.

Some of us are experiencing working from home for the first time so there are still some considerations we need to make. Isolation, distractions, and lack of supervision are a real concern for some employees, and as a business owner, it may be your responsibility to promote a good remote working culture.

We recognise that many businesses are managing (newly) remote employees and so, this webinar will help you address your challenges with managing remote workers and highlight the opportunities within your organisation. The webinar provides tips and best practices to improve the engagement and productivity of remote employees.

Topics Covered

1) Remote Working – what does that really mean for companies

2) Employer responsibilities and the need to build a good Remote Working Culture

3) Addressing Diversity & Inclusion in a virtual workplace

4) A review of the expected regulations on the Right to Disconnect and the Right to request to Work Remotely

5) Challenges and opportunities for companies and managers

6) Developing your own toolkit for a remote working strategy

Click HERE to watch the recording.

As an employer can I insist that an employee returns to the workplace if they do not want to?

Tuesday, June 29th, 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.

As an employer can I insist that an employee returns to the workplace if they do not want to?

Firstly they will need to complete the Return to Work form where they can state if they have a valid reason not to return, such as a vulnerable relative living with them or a health condition that would make them at risk.

You will then need to discuss this with the employee to understand any potential risks and what action might be taken to minimise these. It would be advised at this point to carry out a full risk assessment and, if necessary, consult with a medical professional, before making any decision.

As an employer, you are obliged to provide a safe working environment that complies with government health and safety regulations and in doing so the current advice is that you can ask an employee to return to the workplace on that basis.

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.

Reimagining Ireland’s Talent Seminar CIPD Ireland

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2021

Join CIPD Ireland on 23 June for a half day of collaborative dialogue, as they explore the need to build momentum to develop the capabilities and roles required for the future, support access to work and reduce inequalities post Covid-19. Voltedge Co-Managing Director Joyce Rigby-Jones will be one of the speakers.

As the economy starts to reopen, we in the people profession need to start thinking and addressing:

  • how jobs and roles are changing
  • the skills required for the future
  • what steps need to be taken to further develop the labour force, so it is ready for the future, and
  • how can we influence the value proposition of Ireland to attract talent

Leading on from our annual conference, this dynamic and collaborative seminar, which is FREE to all active members and conference delegates, is designed to further support the learning in the new changing world for our members and wider community

The sessions will discuss:

  • How good is Ireland at attracting the talent we need?
  • What are the labour market challenges post-Covid-19?
  • How are jobs changing and evolving?
  • How do we ensure that we are building the skills required for the future?
  • How can inclusion enable the delivery of your talent strategy and culture?
  • How can the people profession deliver on these issues at a national and organisational level?
  • Where do we, as a profession and a nation, go from here?

Don’t miss out on your chance to contribute to championing a better future and register now!

Note: Conference delegates will be notified directly

Please Note

Cancellations MUST be notified in writing.

A cancellation fee of 25% of the full fee will apply to cancellations received up to 16 June 2021. No refund can be made for cancellations received after 16 June 2021. A substitution may be made at any time.

CIPD reserves the right to cancel or reschedule the event or change its associated programme or substitute a speaker. In the event of cancellation, liability is limited to the amount of registration only.

For your security and peace of mind, CIPD and its subsidiaries will not supply your details to any organisation for marketing purposes. By submitting this request you confirm that you agree to the use of your information as set out in CIPD’s privacy policy. We reserve the right to include your name in a list of delegates at the event.

Non-members may click here to sign up to receive our e-newsletters which will keep you up-to-date with HR news in Ireland as well as CIPD Ireland events and survey research.

Professional photography and video production may be taking place at the event and these images may be used on future promotional materials for CIPD. Please note that by attending the event, you are giving your consent for your image to be used on any CIPD promotional materials.

Please click here to register.

Workers to get at least 10 days paid sick leave phased in between now and 2025

Sunday, May 30th, 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.

Workers to get at least 10 days paid sick leave phased in between now and 2025. What you need to know as an employer.

 

  1. The government’s statutory sick pay scheme will be phased in over a four-year period, starting with three days per year in 2022, rising to five days payable in 2023 and seven days payable in 2024.
  2. Employers will eventually cover the cost of 10 sick days per year in 2025. The statutory days a minimum level of sick pay a company must provide but they have the freedom to offer more.
  3. Sick pay will be paid by employers at a rate of 70% of an employee’s wage, subject to a daily threshold of €110. The daily earnings threshold of €110 is based on 2019 mean weekly earnings of €786.33 and equates to an annual salary of €40,889.16.
  4. An employee will have to obtain a medical certificate to avail of statutory sick pay, and the entitlement is subject to the employee having worked for their employer for a minimum of six months.
  5. Once entitlement to sick pay from their employer ends, employees who need to take more time off may qualify for illness benefit from the Department of Social Protection subject to PRSI contributions.
  6. In regard to the requirement that a doctor’s cert, employers can “choose” to trust their employees and not require one but that it is “reasonable” to include it in the Statutory requirement.
  7. The legislation will expressly state that this does not prevent employers offering better terms or stop unions negotiating for more through a collective agreement, including agreements already in place.
  8. The new sick pay legislation follows similar measures already introduced to enhance employment rights including paternity benefit, parental leave benefit, enhanced maternity benefit, treatment benefit, and the extension of social insurance benefits to the self-employed.

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.

Voltedge CMD Joyce Rigby-Jones speaking at the CIPD Ireland Employment Law Seminar

Saturday, March 20th, 2021

Voltedge Co-Managing Director Joyce Rigby-Jones FCIPD, M Inst D will be speaking at the CIPD Ireland Employment Law Seminar this Thursday 25th of March.

Designed to bring you up to speed with the latest legal developments, topics will include remote and blended working, returning to the workplace, equality and discrimination risks, the future workplace, data protection and the raft of proposed upcoming legal developments.

Voltedge CMD Joyce Rigby-Jones will be part of a panel of experts at ‘StartUp 2021’

Monday, February 22nd, 2021

Voltedge Co-Managing Director Joyce Rigby-Jones FCIPD, M Inst D will be part of a panel of experts at ‘StartUp 2021’. The event will help Irish founders in the early stages of building a business with sessions on raising funds, mastering digital marketing, making sales, exporting and more.

Voltedge CMD Fredericka Sheppard talks about the importance of switching off on The Business RTÉ Radio 1 RTE

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Liam Geraghty and Voltedge Co-Managing Director Fredericka Sheppard talk about the importance of switching off on The Business RTÉ Radio 1 RTE.

“All the services show that productivity has been up during #Covid19 but it’s not sustainable long term. Establishing some good practices where you’re actually giving employees permission but also actively encouraging them to take time off, step away from their work station, make sure that they have sufficient rest time and that they’re taking their annual leave will enable people to come back refreshed, with more creativity and a clearer mind.”

Listen to more tips from Fredericka Sheppard here.