Employee Health and Wellbeing HR Under The Spotlight – Your 3 Minute October 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.”

October 2023. By Kimberly Bradshaw (CEO, Spotlight HR.)

As we hurtle towards Christmas – I can’t believe it’s November already – this month, we look at the impact of global war outbreaks on the workplace and how to defend against workplace burnout, which affects a staggering 50% of us! Discover how HR is winning SMEs’ stronger growth and a tribunal about how even tiny contractual errors can lead to significant financial headaches. As always, we keep things short and sweet so you can stay on top of these HR changes in just a few minutes.

How and why an HR strategic partnership can save your SME bacon – And save you money too!

Amid economic challenges, empowering HR with the tools to act on initiatives set at the C-suite table is crucial for business success and powering long-term growth.

HR is no longer a luxury; it’s a necessity for SMEs to thrive in a changing market. Strategic HR partnerships enable you to succeed and grow, and to:

  • Manage your workforce efficiently.
  • Ensure compliance with employment laws and regulations, reducing legal risks.
  • Attract and retain top talent even on limited budgets.
  • Develop and implement policies and procedures to maintain a positive workplace culture.
  • Assist in performance management to enhance employee productivity and motivation.
  • Manage benefits and compensation, ensuring cost-effective yet competitive packages.
  • Play a role in training and development, upskilling employees to adapt to evolving business needs.
  • Handling employee relations, resolving conflicts, and promoting a harmonious work environment.
  • Supporting strategic planning by aligning HR practices with your business objectives.
  • Fostering employee engagement and retention, reducing employee turnover and associated costs.

At Spotlight HR, we are strategic partners to many local businesses across East Sussex and the UK. We are also here if your in-house HR team need assistance or if you need to outsource your HR for a single discrepancy or on a more extended basis. We specialise in HR services for SME businesses – please get in touch.

The fallout of war on your workplace – how to best support your people

Following an attack in Israel on 7 October, the world has been on edge at the rising humanitarian crisis, with the conflict’s repercussions extending globally. In the UK, there has been a significant increase in hate crimes, with a 1,353% rise in antisemitic offences and a 140% increase in Islamophobic offences. To support their employees during this challenging time, businesses provide enhanced mental health support. Companies like the BBC are offering additional resources to staff covering the conflict. For further reading, you can find a great article here.

Here’s how your HR could play a crucial role in addressing these challenges now by promoting empathy:

  • Check in with impacted colleagues: Keep supportive lines of communication open with colleagues impacted by war.
  • Foster healthy communication: Encourage healthy and empathetic discussions among employees to address the emotional impact of war while fostering a workplace culture of respect and diverse perspectives.
  • Offer flexible working arrangements: Consider remote work or adjusted hours. Grief needs privacy.

In times of crisis, HR’s focus on employee well-being is vital. We are here for support and free advice. Drop us a line.

Through the HR lens – Unpacking Workplace Burnout: how to recognise, address and prevent it

 Shockingly, over 50% of UK employees experience burnout due to unmanaged workplace stress. As employee well-being becomes a priority, managers and HR leaders must address the fallout. Balancing well-being and performance is crucial. You can find a wealth of information on wellbeing at work from our previous Spotlight HR Blogs. However, today, we will take a closer look at Burnout.

Employee burnout is indiscriminate and lingering – it impacts all, regardless of age or status. Monitoring well-being is vital, yet middle managers, essential for organisational goals, often face significant burnout themselves.

Addressing burnout requires various strategies for a healthy, productive workforce – and not addressing burnout risks disengagement, low productivity, and absenteeism – and people may leave workplaces where burnout is ignored, impacting teams, and delivering an economic cost.

So, how best can burnout-prone employees, performance factors, and strategies for workplace harmony be implemented?

Spotlight HR’s top tips for managing workplace burnout:

To boost performance and mental well-being, it’s vital to create a thriving work culture. Here are some ideas on how we can all take the heat out of burnout:

  • Flexible work policies: supporting their people’s work-life balance can significantly improve well-being and role performance.
  • Ask employees how they feel: use engagement surveys, one-to-ones, and open-door policies to encourage honest feedback.
  • Ensure managers receive sufficient training in recognising burnout: use evaluation tools and clarify task expectations.
  • Have managers lead by example: Set clear boundaries, promote self-care, and model a healthy work-life balance.

Demonstrating your commitment to your team’s well-being will boost motivation and foster long-term commitment, and, importantly, safeguard your bottom line. Are you interested in exploring your options? Drop us a line.

Employment Tribunal in focus – How to avoid contractual breaches.

This month’s case, Cox vs Secretary of State  – is a cautionary tale about the dangers of altering employee terms without due process. In this scenario, eliminating a “check-off” facility for union members resulted in successful contract breach claims.

The High Court determined that these check-off arrangements were indeed part of employees’ contractual terms. The Court of Appeal upheld this decision, stressing that employers must provide clear evidence of employee acceptance of such changes. The Court criticised the employers for not engaging in consultation and failing to communicate that continued work indicated consent.

What is the take-home from this? This case underscores the necessity of ensuring transparent contracts and clear communication. If you make any (even tiny) contract changes, you MUST secure your employee’s agreement first – or risk costly legal bills. We are happy to advise you on all contractual matters – to protect both you and your people.

If you need HR advice or are affected by any of the issues discussed this month. We are here to help.