Fun times at our Summer Volunteer Day!

Jessica Freeman HR was proud to support Rockinghorse Children’s Charity at The Hickstead Derby for our summer Volunteer Day, so much so we came back to do it all again on Sunday!  The weather definitely helped….

It is a fantastic charity supporting children’s hospitals and neo-natal units in Brighton and Sussex providing life saving state of the art equipment and essential patient support.

Giving employees time off to volunteer, as part of a company’s Corporate Social Responsibility policy (CSR), can be incredibly rewarding both for the person but also your company.  There are many studies around the psychological contract that determine the reciprocated bond and loyalty a company will receive when non-financial rewards are given (Kotter 1973, Guest 2007) including time away from the office.   In reality, employees with a good psychological contract, will complete their workload more efficiently to ensure they can take any time away for CSR.

https://www.rockinghorse.org.uk/

“Presenteeism” – what is it and why is it back?

I first came across “presenteeism” in the late 90’s early 00’s. I was working in the new and emerging area of digital music and content which was going through rapid changes and many booms and busts. Job security was low, tech was moving fast and if you missed a day because you were sick you might have missed the next big thing fueling the rise of FOMO (fear of missing out)!

And so “presenteeism” became a thing. As the direct opposite of absenteeism, employees would come into work when, in reality, they were too sick to be there. Not only does this slow the recovery process and contribute to additional stress, but spreads viruses to the rest of the office. It showed up again around 2008 during the banking crisis and it looks like it’s back.

In the attached article by the BBC, a recent survey shows the “presenteeism” is on the rise again. We can’t get away from the fact that the lack of certainty around Brexit has contributed to job losses and had an affect on the growth of the country. But could this also be contributing to a workforce to scared to take a day off?

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47911210?ns_campaign=bbcnews&ns_source=facebook&ocid=socialflow_facebook&ns_mchannel=social&fbclid=IwAR0QYnUUE04-EoLywcJLNSZQTJ4Gnxy_NM0XuKEpQCTWTe2Rm3LSPYBcvjs

We just can’t ignore the “B” word anymore!

It’s been very challenging recently with so many questions around the “B” word….yes, Brexit! In the past few weeks it’s been more “what if?” and “do you know what will happen….?” around employment and changes away from European law.

But now we are dealing with the direct impact of this political chaos and uncertainty. Irrespective of how you feel about it, the current situation has affected the economy with less spending and low commitment to projects until after Brexit…..whenever that is!

Which has led to the difficult decision of companies needing to downsize.

We have found some creative solutions to try and protect jobs long term but clients are sadly moving towards redundancies.

And there seems no simple answer or clarity to the situation with more and more businesses being affected. The diagram pictured from the BBC is one of the best I’ve seen so far to explain what can happen next which could help people to try and make some sort of plan….

Straight white male wins discrimination case…….yes really!

It’s not often that a successful discrimination tribunal makes national headlines but this one has for all the right or wrong reasons, depending on how you look at it, as the claimant is a straight white male.

The article explains that due to a poor use of positive discrimination in the recruitment process the straight white male wasn’t offered a job with the Cheshire Police Force, despite passing all the tests, due to a biased selection process.

And he was absolutely right to go to tribunal. Legally he was unfairly discriminated against and, as the first case of it’s kind, this is a landmark ruling. But should we stop to think about how many successful discrimination cases made by someone with a protected characteristic don’t make it to the national news. Or worse, why don’t we read about the many times those with a protected characteristics are discriminated against in the same way but don’t have the means or confidence to challenge it.

Which ever way you look at it, this case has highlighted the difficulties when adopting a positive discrimination policy to attract diversity. It also has the potential to open the debate of how organisations look at the way they attract candidates as whole.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/police-white-heterosexual-male-discrimination-job-cheshire-matthew-furlong-a8793331.html%3famp

Roses are red…Violets are blue…Well this is awkward….As I work with you!

It’s hard to miss that it is Valentines Day and although receiving gifts and cards from loved ones is lovely, it can be very challenging when there is unwanted attention from a colleague or consultant at work.

Sexual harassment has rightly been brought firmly to our attention in the media through high profile cases but it can also be the unwanted subtle comments and gestures that need to be addressed.

Many actions are dismissed as “office banter” and “just jokes” which in many cases are used as a defence in grievance complaints but these can have a huge impact making someone feel very uncomfortable in the workplace.

So what can be done? Businesses could use Valentines Day as a team bonding or reward by providing cakes or chocolates for the office as a whole rather than individuals bringing gifts. However, education as a whole is incredibly important. Having open conversations in the office about what is appropriate can really set the tone not just for Valentines Day. It may also be necessary to have a formal harassment in the workplace policy or section in your handbook or Ts&Cs. By creating an open environment to discuss these issues, those that receive unwanted attention will feel confident to speak up.

Dealing with any complaints quickly is essential and should prevent any further unwanted attention, however professional advice should be sort if you are unsure of how to proceed.

When clients say great things……..

It really has been a fantastic year for Jessica Freeman HR and, whilst catching up with a few clients, I’ve had some brilliant new testimonials including this one from Elena Collins, Managing Director of MyCharleston;

‘Jessica has been a joy to work with this past year. She has helped us with a variety of pieces of work and has done so with great professionalism. Even if you just need a bit of advice, she is always happy to chat things through with you’

MyCharleston is a rapidly expanding dance company providing courses in various locations across the South, bespoke performances and extra special tea dances……a great company to be working with and so lovely to get such great feedback.

2019 is going to bring some new exciting ventures and I hope to continue to support clients new and old in the new year.

Penalties, Waistcoats and Harry Kane Hugs…..we all have the World Cup bug!

It has united a nation and created a feeling of euphoria across the country.  It’s even got this rugby girl enthusiastic about a different shaped ball. Love it or hate it, there is no denying that football is on everyone’s mind this week.

Articles, like the one previously shared, really only hypothesize about England actually being successful and so preparations or an event policy at work hardly ever become a reality.

But win or lose, the nation will come to a halt on Wednesday night, and potentially again on Sunday, leaving us all to potentially deal with two mornings after!

If you’ve not done so already I would highly recommend you have a think about whether you can effectively deal with the inevitable sick days or are you going to come up with a strategy beforehand.  Losing a couple hours of productivity could prevent full work days being lost. It could also boost morale and work output of your staff.

Maybe you could open up two hours later, or have a company footie debrief breakfast before getting on with work?  You could try and offer incentives to make people think twice about calling in……..but whatever you do it needs to be fair.  There are many studies that show that employees believe being valued and treated fairly is more important than financial reward so be mindful that there may be those who won’t be watching so any incentives should be offered to all.

And let’s hope it’s coming home………..

World Cup “Fever” is a genuine illness – honest!!!

The London Olympic Games in 2012 changed employers perception of large sporting events from an irritation and loss of productivity to an opportunity to reward employees.  But how do you deal with large events like the World Cup, that fall into working hours, in a fair way. How can you prevent that well known medical condition of World Cup “Fever” and what about those who just aren’t that bothered!

This article can provide some help…….https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/world-cup-2018-six-goals-for-employers/