HR in 90 Seconds - September 2019

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 16 September 2019
Lynsey Rainey
Issues covered:

This month HR has been busy and as an organisation we have been thinking about lots of things including reviewing the company handbook, how to start the process of better engagement with employees and the overall application of the policies and procedures throughout the orgnaisation as a whole. This means that I have done lots of reading and refreshing in these areas and I wanted to summarise my findings for anyone else who is possibly looking at these areas.

3 top things to read and learn from this month from Legal Island:

  1. Employee Engagement: where to start?;
  2. Prevent Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace; and
  3. Key Considerations in preparing a disciplinary/grievance outcome letter.

Olga Pollock brought us her first article from her new role as HR Manager with Firmus Energy and discusses the Employee Engagement journey – commencing with setting the objective for engagement and outlining methods to achieving this. The things that stood out from this article were:

  • Engagement is about creating workplaces where employees want and are able to give their best everyday;
  • It needs to be more than something that HR think is a good idea; and
  • Engagement needs to be a genuine commitment from the top to make your organisation a better place to work.

In addition to these key reminders Olga refers to a report from Engage for Success around the ‘4 enablers of employee engagement:  

  1. Strategic Narrative - Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.
  2. Engaging managers - engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people.
  3. Employee voice - Employee voice throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally. Employees are seen not as the problem, rather as central to the solution, to be involved, listened to, and invited to contribute their experience, expertise and ideas.
  4. Organisation integrity -values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours.

The engage for success website has lots of useful tools, videos and ideas and is well worth reviewing if you starting out the process for EE.

Another key article this month is from Leanne Armstrong looking at the legal obligations around preventing bullying and harassment and how you can build a policy to prevent bullying or harassment in your organisation. As always Leeanne’s article is really comprehensive and covers a lot of great information but I have summarised the main points.

Leeanne reminds us of the connection between the bullying and harassment and encourages us as organisations and HR Managers to consider shaping such a policy as a 'Promoting Dignity at Work Policy'. This can have the effect of a more positive approach towards promoting a working environment free from hostile behaviour.

Leeanne’s practical tips for implementing your policy include the following:

  1. Having a well drafted policy can help to define the parameters of what constitutes unacceptable behaviour in your workplace, and the steps that employees should take if they are concerned that they have been bullied or harassed.
  2. Ensuring your policy is kept updated, has visible senior support in your organisation and is clearly promoted is vital.
  3. Lines of communication that enable employees to raise concerns without fear of adverse impact are also important.
  4. Some employers may have a nominated Dignity at Work champion, to provide support and guidance for employees who have concerns about bullying and harassment.
  5. Training line managers on recognising signs of bullying or harassment and how to handle issues or complaints raised by members of their teams can help prevent issues escalating, and equip managers to deal with concerns which have been raised;
  6. Training employees helps to promote a culture where people feel able to raise issues, confident that the organisation will take their concerns seriously;
  7. Training employees also helps to prevent unacceptable behaviour from occurring, by educating your workforce about what type of conduct may be deemed unacceptable.

Leeanne also refers to some important cases and refers to s few key considerations for NI employers.

This years ‘Annual Review of Employment Law Conference’ brings a session on ’The TLT NI Guide to an Employee Handbook and Mercer’s Guide to Employee Well-being’. During this session Leeanne will take delegates through her essential elements of an employee handbook, valuable precedent wording and top tips on creating a handbook that works for employers and employees alike. Leeanne also covers how you might implement policies and procedures to provide maximum flexibility to make changes in the future without impacting on contractual rights.  PLUS – Simon Magee, Associate, Mercer March Benefits, will look at the future of reward and recognition benefits focusing on how employers can provide a more flexible, robust and attractive retention package for all staff in their organisations. Places are filling up fast, you can view the full programme and book your place here.

Other HR Items of Interest:

The A&L Goodbody video series kicks off again with Jill Gracey bringing us the key considerations for preparing a grievance/disciplinary outcome letter. Some of us will be doing these all the time but for those who have to produce them a bit less frequently Jill reminds us of a few key points:

  • HR’s input to this should focus on the policy and procedure’s
  • As HR you cannot alter the outcome
  • It is critical to remain fair and impartial and ground your policies with this
  • Ensure that the letter confirms all relevant evidence, the circumstances/allegations of the situation and the right of appeal.

The next webinar details are:

Employment Law at 11

Join Scott Alexander, Seamus McGranaghan, Hannah McGrath and up to 500 participants as they discuss your employment law queries live in our new series, “Employment Law at 11”.

Tell your HR colleagues and register individually or get your HR team around the computer whilst and use the webinars as monthly group learning opportunities. Ask any questions (on employment law) and hear the answers live or catch up later when we upload both a recording and transcript of the discussion.

Polls are the latest feature added to Employment Law at 11 webinar with participants able to engage with the conversation and see the results instantly.

Remember – ask questions during the live broadcast via the chat box, or email your question in advance to  Anonymity assured.

Register Now 

This article is correct at 16/09/2019

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Lynsey Rainey

The main content of this article was provided by Lynsey Rainey. Contact telephone number is +44 (0) 7821125293

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