Business HR Under The Spotlight – Your 3 Minute August Roundup

“Welcome to Spotlight HR’s monthly ‘bite-size’ look at the latest HR news and important legal changes affecting small to medium-sized businesses across the UK today.”

AUGUST 2022. By Kimberly Bradshaw (CEO, Spotlight HR.)

Small businesses & the Cost of Living Crisis – More stressful than the pandemic

As the world lurches from one crisis to another, the future of small businesses and the people they employ becomes increasingly complex. The quagmire of how we deal with this added stress and financial burden is a hot topic right now, with headlines such as these to consider:

  • ‘TUC is setting out a roadmap for a £15 minimum wage to end ‘low pay Britain.’’
  • ‘Pay rises are falling behind the actual cost of living.’
  • ‘More than a million key worker children to reach poverty in 2023.’

This all makes for grim reading. But what actually can we do to protect our people and stay afloat through this Cost of Living Crisis?

Through the HR lens – how can small businesses provide support during a Cost of Living Crisis?

We recognise this is the most challenging time for UK’s small businesses – with the latest Cost of Living Crisis falling on top of Brexit, a global pandemic and biblical energy increases due to the conflict in Europe. Studies show that this latest squeeze is even more stressful than the pandemic.

We can all only hope that the new Prime Minister has a white rabbit to pull from the Westminster top hat and that greater financial protection will be awarded to struggling businesses. But with employers unable to provide pay rises that compete with the projected 11% recession-inducing inflation rates – as small businesses, we need to stay nimble if we want to ride this storm.

The good news is that as small businesses, we are better poised than larger organisations to be agile – and from an HR perspective, keeping employees motivated and feeling valued comes in more forms than pay rises alone.

The key is maintaining an open dialogue and explaining the company’s financial pressures, building trust and promoting the idea of sticking together and helping each other through tough times. Offering practical support and putting schemes in place that problem solve and help employees help themselves is proven to work.  It’s a cost-effective way of protecting mental health, productivity and retaining staff – without a pay rise – which for many small businesses is off the table right now in any case.

Spotlight HR’s low-cost hints and tips for businesses who can’t afford pay rises:

Free daily meal – this adds real employee value at a fraction of the cost of a wage increase.

Free workshops – Workshops explaining finance and budgeting offered during lunch hours could greatly benefit those struggling.

Employee Assistance Programmes – This employer-paid scheme supports employees confidentially to discuss and problem-solve issues troubling them – from mental health and financial concerns to workplace worries.

Car sharing – Encourage or set up a car-sharing scheme for those living in the same area to save on petrol costs.

Open door policy – Letting employees know their management team cares and will listen to their issues creates a positive workplace.

At Spotlight HR, we understand what a worrying time this is. Get in touch for a FREE chat to see how we can help you.

Employment Tribunal in focus – CV fraudsters made to payback

Adding fictional roles, responsibilities, inaccurate length of service and qualification exaggerations – are not uncommon for some unscrupulous job seekers. However, the latest  Supreme Court ruling in August challenges this, with CV fraudsters now liable to pay back at least some of their wages if they are caught falsifying their qualifications or employment history.

This high-profile case considered Mr Andrews, a former NHS chief executive, who was found to have fibbed about his PhD and experience to get a leading role. Citing the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, the Supreme Court hearing decided, despite Mr Andrews having carried out his role satisfactorily, that he should repay the difference between the salary he was given and the pay grade he would have been on had the fraud not taken place. This amounted to £97,000 of the £643,000 salary he had received during his tenure.

For advice on hiring and candidate vetting – get in touch. This is our specialism.

 Spotlight HR –  Dependable HR advice that you can rely on.