Recruiting staff is just the start of your journey as an employer.  Finding the right candidate is the first step, developing them and keeping them engaged and happy is equally important but perhaps not always given as much focus.  In this article, we’ll take you through the basics of what your employees will expect from you and what you can do to create a culture that encourages the top candidates to stay loyal and engaged.

Legal requirements

Whenever you take on staff it is important that you are aware of their statutory rights as an employee, and therefore, your statutory obligations towards them.  Some of the key rights that you’ll need to know about are;

The right to written terms of employment
In other words, your employees have the right to a written contract which lays out all the terms of their employment such as their expected hours of work, their salary and their holiday entitlement.

The right to a payslip
This should be itemised, showing both all forms of pay and deductions.

The right to be paid at least the national minimum wage
The actual amount of minimum pay depends on factors such as your employee’s age and the type of role that they’re doing.  For example, an apprentice will be entitled to a smaller amount than others.

The right to paid holiday
A full time worker has the right to 28 days of paid leave.  As an employer, you can choose to include Bank Holidays as part of this paid leave.

A workplace pension
By 2018 all employers will be expected to provide a workplace pension for their eligible employees.  At least 1% of your staff’s ‘qualified earnings’ must be paid into their workplace pension.

These are just a few of the obligations that you will have towards your staff as an employer.  Don’t feel overwhelmed.  There’s a lot to know but there’s also a lot of support out there.  For more information visit Gov.uk  or visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Staff onboarding

Recruitment can be a lengthy and often costly process so once you find the right person, they should be considered as an investment to be nurtured and protected.  Making a good first impression can make the difference between inspiring someone to being a loyal and hardworking employee or a frustrated staff member who lacks motivation and quickly moves elsewhere.  So what steps can you take to make sure that your new employees settle in well?  Here are a few ideas:

Create an induction plan

Don’t leave anything to chance.  Create a detailed induction programme for your new starters which includes;

  • Introductions to key people they will be working with
  • A tour of any buildings or offices that they will be working in
  • Any key health and safety points
  • Information about your business, including its culture and working practices

Set Clear Expectations

As a new starter, they should hopefully already have a reasonable idea of what their role will involve but the first few days are the perfect opportunity to go over this and answer any questions.  Ensure that you make it clear up front what you expect.  This will avoid nasty surprises on either side later on.

Ensure they have the tools they need to do their role

There’s nothing more frustrating than starting a new job, keen to get on and make an impression, only to find that you haven’t got any log in details, or you don’t have a laptop yet, or even a desk to sit at.  Make sure that your new starters have everything they need to do their roles from day 1.  The longer the delay, the more likely it is that they will lose enthusiasm and become disillusioned.

Get feedback

Once your new staff has settled in, speak to them about their experience.  What went well? What would they have changed?  This way, you can make changes and improvements to your onboarding process for future new starters.”

Staff retention

While your salary and benefit package will play a big part in attracting people to your business, there is much more involved when it comes to keeping them.  In fact, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, which lays out the basics of what motivates humans, places physiological needs such as money at the bottom of the pile. Things like a sense of belonging and self-esteem rank much higher.  Here are some key ways that you can increase your employee engagement and therefore loyalty and retention.

Staff development

While this may not be the case with all staff members, people generally want to progress in their careers and so will expect their employer to help them with this.  It may be through on the job experience, in-house training or even sponsorship through external qualifications.  However, this works within your business, staff development will play an important part in both morale and performance.

Culture

People spend a significant time at work and so it’s important that while they’re there, they feel happy and as at home as possible.  This means creating a culture where it is expected that staff will treat each other with respect.  It means creating a culture where your employees feel safe to be themselves (within professional boundaries of course) without fear of negative reaction.  A good culture will also embrace failure rather than point blame.  By encouraging staff to try new things, fail fast and learn from it, your employees will feel empowered rather than frustrated and frightened to be innovative or creative.

Recognition

Who doesn’t want their good work to be acknowledged?  Recognition can play a huge role in keeping staff motivated and passionate about what they do.  It can come in many forms.  You might create a recognition scheme which gives monthly or annual rewards to high performers.  But recognition doesn’t need to be this formalised.  Often just a simple thank you for a job well done is all that people need to feel satisfaction in their role.”

Staff discipline and termination

“Of course, not all members of staff that you recruit will work out the way you hope and you may find yourself needing to take disciplinary action, or even to terminate their employment.  At this point it is key to have a good understanding of what your employees’ rights are and what the correct processes are to follow.

Disciplinary action

Make sure that you have set standard for performance and conduct which are made known to all staff.  It’s important to set expectations up front in this way so that your employees know what is and isn’t acceptable behaviour.  Minor issues can generally be dealt with on an informal basis but once formal action is needed, it must be done in a reasonable and consistent way.

Formal Disciplinary procedures must follow the Acas Code of Practice  so make sure you familiarise yourself with this before embarking on disciplinary action.

For further information, visit Acas or Gov.uk.

Dismissal

In order for a dismissal to be ‘fair’ there are a number of factors that you will need to consider;

  • You must have a valid reason to dismiss a member of staff.  These will generally be down to either their capability, their conduct or redundancy.
  • You must act reasonably during the dismissal process.  For example, carrying out appropriate investigations, giving the employee due warning and listening to their views.
  • You must have written disciplinary and dismissal procedures.

For more information, visit Acas or Gov.uk

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