The Pulse – April 2022

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Your monthly HR newsletter for busy business owners

Here’s another thing you can thank COVID for…

No, we haven’t yet exhausted the array of problems the pandemic caused!

We’re busy scribbling ‘Making our policies out of date’ to the bottom of the list at the moment.

But along with the problems has actually come a great deal of good too.

We’ve all become so much more flexible in the way that we do things; working remotely, holding video meetings instead of face-to-face, cutting down on commuting. We’ve even become more open about discussing our physical and mental health.

But of course, now that a lot of this change has become permanent, there are things that we as business owners need to do to keep both our and our employees’ best interests at heart, and of course protect ourselves if things should go wrong.

And that means creating and updating policies.

It’s one of those jobs that seems totally overwhelming. There’s a lot of research to do if HR isn’t your forte. Then there’s the paperwork to create, and of course, employment laws to comply with. It’s enough to put you off before you’ve even started.

But it’s really important that you have all of this covered. So, for that reason, I’ve been busy creating a new checklist that should make sure you have the most important policies and procedures in place in your business.

Oh, and did I mention I’m giving it away for free? Send me an email today and I will be happy to share it.

Latest news

ALERT: National Minimum Wage has now increased!

From 1st April, National Minimum Wage has gone up. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to make sure your employees’ salaries have increased in line with the new rates:

Age 23 & over – £9.50 per hour (Note this used to apply to only those aged 25 and over)

21 and 22 year olds – £9.18 per hour

18 – 20 year olds – £6.83 per hour

Under 18s – £4.81 per hour

The apprentice rate will rise to £4.81 per hour

A recent survey found that just 38% of senior business positions are occupied by women

A survey conducted by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), found that just 38% of senior business positions are occupied by women. Considering that 46% of the workforce is women, the number of women in senior positions is still disproportionate.

Why is this bad? Male dominated workplace culture not only alienates talented women, but can also reinforce harmful stereotypes that can also affect all employees. This can create an unhappy workplace. And an unhappy workplace can cause all types of different problems.

Balance is key and as a business owner you need to look at every stage of your employee lifecycle, from recruitment through to promotion to encourage fair opportunity for everyone, regardless of their sex.

Employees don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers

Statistics from exit interviews have shown that a large number of employees leave because they are unhappy with their managers and their management style.

According to Glassdoor, the average company spends around £4000 onboarding a new employee and another £1500 on training. The average employee turnover rate is 20%. These costs and turnover rates are incredibly high, which is why it’s important for your business to retain good employees.

If you have a high staff turnover, it would be a good idea to conduct exit interviews and anonymous surveys to highlight possible issues with members of staff or management style. Allowing you to put the correct training in place to improve your team’s happiness and retention.

Another approach is ‘stay interviews’ – heard of them? Give me a call if you want to find out more!

With rising inflation and living costs, do you need to give your team a pay rise? 

The cost of inflation and living have already rocketed this year. In fact, after decades of low UK inflation and wage increases, the rise of 5.4% in December was a shock – it’s the highest rise in 30 years.

And although this month the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage increased, this rise isn’t enough to absorb the cost of living – especially considering the National Insurance increase of 1.25%.

And what do you do if your employees already earn more than National Minimum Wage?

There’s a chance that if you don’t acknowledge the increased cost of living and consider pay rises for your people, you risk losing them. And since it’s a candidate’s job market at the moment, the usual fears that come with leaving a job are increased.

If you don’t already, hold regular pay reviews with all employees. A good time to do this is during appraisals or 121s.

It doesn’t mean you need to increase everyone’s salaries right away, but instead it opens lines of communication with your team about the possibility of a pay rise.

Set each member of the team a series of goals or targets they have to meet in a specific time frame. If they meet these targets, then they’re on track for a pay increase. Not only is this a good way to improve performance within the business, but it also gives you an insight into how your people wish to progress at work.

You may also be able to set training goals and link this to a pay increase too.

When the subject of a pay rise is approached in the right way, it really can work out well for everyone.

If you’d like more help or guidance in dealing with pay rise requests, we’d love to assist you. Just give our team a call.


What can I do if an employee is really annoying?

Speak to the employee to make them aware of the issue. Be kind, but direct. Make sure you don’t gossip or complain about the behaviour to colleagues, and if it doesn’t improve, you’ll need to tune it out!

Can we stop Covid restrictions and go back to normal? 

In England, restrictions have now ended, though it is your responsibility to ensure people are  being safe and protecting others. Check for the latest advice. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland still have some restrictions in place.

What can I do if my employee isn’t up to the job?

Talk to your employee about your concerns and work together to create a plan to help them improve their performance. This may include additional training, as well as creating a set of targets they must meet.

That’s all for now!

We hope you found the newsletter informative, look out or the next one in May. If you’d like to download a copy for your managers click here

Keep in touch and have a great month.