The Pulse – May 2023

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Your monthly HR newsletter for busy business owners

3 ways the cost-of-living crisis is affecting your team 

Six stacks of coins in increasing height next to a piggy bank with a coin being inserted into it.
Employees and the cost of living crisis

The cost-of-living crisis is affecting most of us in one way or another. And your employees are no different. In fact, our teams are more stressed than ever, and that’s going to have a knock-on effect on your business.

How? There are 3 main ways you’re going to notice the impact:

Employee’s health and wellbeing

Everyone experiences stress in their lives, but at a time when there’s so much to worry about, we’re seeing more employees struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Reduced productivity

When your people are struggling with poor mental health, they have less focus for the job at hand. That means they’re doing less, so your productivity levels take a tumble.

Increased absenteeism

Stress is the most common cause of long-term absenteeism, so it’s easy to understand why you may see an increase in people taking sick leave throughout this crisis.

As well as wanting to help your employees avoid these issues, you’ll need to protect your business from the impact of the cost-of-living crisis too. 

If your business can’t increase employees’ pay right now, you need to look at what else you can do to help ease this burden. And placing a focus on mental health and wellbeing is just the way to do that. 

There are lots of effective ways to encourage better mental health and wellbeing at work. And because we spend a lot of our lives in the workplace, it’s important that you make sure your employees are taking the time to stay healthy, both mentally and physically. 

Here are 3 simple ways you can help your people relieve or avoid additional stress:

  1. Talk to them

Yes, it sounds basic, but talking to your people, asking them how they are, and an open and honest conversation can be a huge help for your people. Once they realise that it’s ok to talk about things that may be bothering them, it’ll be easier for you all to help them work through any worries and provide useful solutions or support.

  1. Encourage them to take breaks

You know just how easy it is to hit burnout when you’re working hard and have constant worries on top of that. One of the most simple ways to avoid this is by taking a break. That means you should be making your employees take their regular breaks during the working day, but also making sure they use their annual leave, even if they’re not going away.

  1. Look at other ways to boost happiness

That makes it sound simple, and of course it isn’t that easy to make everyone happy! But look at the small tweaks you could make to create a big impact. Think about offering better flexibility, wellness programmes, or running stress management workshops.

If you’d like a hand dealing with increased stress in your business, give us a call to see how we can help. 

Latest news

More businesses are favouring a casual dress code at work 

According to research, more job ads are specifying a casual dress code than they have in the past 4 years. 

Almost 80% of job adverts promoted casual attire, which may be thanks to the rise in remote and hybrid working, or possibly because of a shift in workplace cultures. 

What’s your dress code like today, and how has it changed since 2020? 

Employees worked a massive £26 billion in unpaid overtime last year

3.5 million people in the UK put in overtime last year, and weren’t paid for it, according to research. That equates to 7.4 hours of unpaid time each week. And it means employers benefitted from £26 billion worth of free labour.

Of course, some employees don’t mind putting in extra hours, but some employers are relying on this work, which makes it exploitation. 

The side effects of long working hours can be increased stress, sickness, and burnout.

6 in 10 employers say they would consider hiring ex-offenders this year. However, a fifth said they would only look to ex-offenders if the role had been open for six months or more. 23% of employers said they wouldn’t trust these employees to behave appropriately at work.

The ultimate guide to probationary periods

Welcome on board: A bouyancy ring on a white painted wooden surface.

Hiring new employees is always a risk… 

No matter how well someone comes across in an interview, or how vast their experience is, until they start working for you, you have no idea how it will all work out. 

That’s why most companies offer a probationary period- It gives you time to make sure they’re right for the job and it gives the employee time to make sure it’s right for them too. 

It’s a trial period – typically between one and three months – where certain contractual benefits don’t apply, but where, crucially, the notice period to end employment is much shorter than in a traditional contract of employment. Usually, around a week. 

That means, should your new hire not live up to expectations, you don’t have to go through a long process of performance reviews and disciplinaries to end the relationship. 

And while there are no employment laws to dictate exactly how a probationary period should be handled, there are still some things you must do to give your new employee the best chance of success, and to keep your business protected from any claims of unfair treatment. 

As with most things HR, a little careful planning can go a long way! 

That’s why we’ve created a new ultimate guide to probationary periods. It answers every question you may have ever had about the process and gives you a step-by-step guide to managing it the right way.

Would you like a free copy? Download it here. 


My employee has informed me they are pregnant, what do I do next?

First, offer your congratulations! Arrange a meeting to discuss dates – due date, maternity leave, appointments, return to work etc. – and plan a risk assessment to make sure working conditions are still suitable. Make sure your employee knows what they need to provide and what to expect from you. 

What is Shared Parental Leave? 

Shared Parental Leave allows a new mother to share a portion of their maternity leave with their partner. Parents can share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay in the first year from birth. 

Do I need to conduct return to work interviews after sickness?

Ideally, yes, regardless of the reason for absence. Not only is it a good way to welcome back an employee and tell them what they’ve missed, but it helps you keep track of absence and spot if there are any underlying issues not being mentioned. 

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

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