Is your HR team proactive?

Top tips to ensure proactive success:

  • Have in place well designed policies and procedures to cover all business needs and eventualities and ensure every part of your business is operating like a well-oiled machine.
  • Prepare comprehensive job descriptions for every employee and evaluate regularly.
  • Set objectives / targets to provide focus for all parties on what needs to be achieved both short and long term and give feedback regularly.
  • Give praise for work well done and deal with instances of poor performance before they become a major issue.
  • Keep up to date with the latest employment legislation? And, always ensure you are exercising your duty of care towards the welfare and development of your employees.
  • Communicate with your employees and keep them informed, engaged and focussed on your strategic goals. Also, take a bottom-up approach that allows employees to voice their concerns and ideas.
  • Provide opportunities for training and career progression wherever possible.

Employment Law Update

A number of employment law changes that could impact your business came into force this month. Firstly, The Government has increased the rate of Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP), Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay to £135.45 from £128.73. For more information please go to

Secondly, The qualifying period for unfair dismissal has gone up from one year to two years, meaning employees whose contract commence on or after the 6th April must have completed a continuous period of two years in their employment before they are eligible.

Thirdly, there have been two important new changes to Income Tax and National Insurance.  The lower earnings limit for national insurance contributions has increased from £102 to £107 (go to for more information) and the income tax personal allowance threshold has increased by £630, bringing it to £8,105. For more information please go to the HM Treasury website.

Unfair Dismissal ? the latest legal developments

On 6th April a simple but highly controversial change in unfair dismissal law came into force.  From this date, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal went up from one year to two years, meaning that until an employee has completed a continuous period of two years in their employment they will not be able to bring a case of unfair dismissal.

However, it is important also to note that this only applies to employees whose contracts commenced on or after 6 April 2012.  Anyone employed before that date will qualify for unfair dismissal after a single year of continuous service.

Please update your disciplinary and grievance procedures to reflect these changes.

Top Tips for Conducting a Successful Appraisal

Performance appraisals are a fundamental part good performance management.  It is important for the success of your business that your employees feel appreciated and that they are progressing in their careers.   Likewise, it is important that any issues with performance are managed effectively with the aim of eliminating any long term problem.

  1. Always ensure the conversation is free flowing with views expressed by both parties
  2. Ask open and probing questions
  3. Don’t interrupt or inhibit the flow of conversation
  4. Pay attention to non-verbal communication such as body language
  5. Evaluate performance, not personality
  6. Give feedback based on facts not subjective opinion
  7. Positively reinforce the good
  8. In the case of underperformance discuss corrective action
  9. Tailor your approach to each individual
  10. Be prepared to handle negative or defensive reactions
  11. Set specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely objectives
  12. Give deadlines/timelines for improvement
  13. Consider potential development opportunities
  14. Empower employees to come up with solutions for themselves
  15. Document each appraisal whilst it is fresh in your mind.