Tag: workplace relations advice (page 1 of 5)

Pros And Cons Of Zero Hour Contracts

Pros And Cons Of Zero Hour Contracts

HRwisdom looks at workforce-related issues around the world.

Today, HRwisdom contributor Joe Errington looks at the pros and cons of zero hour contracts in the UK.

Don’t forget to access all the latest free HRwisdom resources and special gifts – just click here.

Over to Joe . . .

Zero Hour Contracts Examined

New research claims that one million British workers are employed on zero hours contracts. Under these, they are not guaranteed hours and are only paid for the work they put in. Is this a fair system though? What are the benefits and drawbacks? Is there a better solution for businesses?

A zero hour contract is essentially a formal agreement of casual employment. As the name suggests, employees are given a proper contract but with no set hours. In difficult times, it is useful for employers to have this kind of flexibility, but it can be open to abuse.

Retailer Sports Direct has found itself thrown into the stoplight again following the revelations that 90% of its staff are employed this way. With many workers at Sports Direct’s beck and call, not knowing from one day to the next whether they will be working, many have been quick to point the finger and accuse them of exploitation.

So are workers being exploited, or is this an essential means of fighting unemployment? Here are the main arguments for and against the zero hour contract.

Flexibility

Zero hours contracts allow small and mediums sized companies to cope with varying demand. In consumer facing industries, you cannot know for sure how busy you will be tomorrow, and zero hour contracts are a way of reducing overheads and minimising risk.

It is this kind of flexibility that kept many people in jobs during the worst of the recession. Where full time contracts would have required redundancies, zero hours allows employers to shave a little time off everyone’s workload, reducing the wage bill without any drastic measures.

Motivation

Both employers and employees will relay their frustrations at lazy or unmotivated colleagues. In the same way that a zero hour is open to abuse from employers, full-time contracts can be abused by employees.

Unproductive workers cost companies thousands, and heap more pressure on their colleagues. As a result, many employers are reluctant to offer staff a full-time contract unless they are 100% sure they are right for the job. Another way which zero hour contracts help to minimise risk.

Better Than Casual

Most UK companies will need to employ casual labour at some point; whilst technically illegal, this is necessary and should be tolerated to a point.

The casual labour market costs the government millions in unpaid tax though. Zero hour contracts are a way of bringing this back above ground, recouping money for the government and helping to protect worker’s rights.

Exploitative

In times of economic hardship, more people are willing to take any job available to them. Many unscrupulous employers know this and use zero hours contracts as a way of reducing costs at the expense of their employees.

By employing people this way, they can get around many employee’s benefits which we now take for granted. Sick pay, holidays and pensions are all avoided, affecting the financial security of many workers.

Damages Economy

Workers who do not feel financially secure are less likely to spend money. The decision to buy a home for example, will be put back for a few more years, hindering our economic growth.

With the lack of quality, secure jobs available, there is little incentive for people to get back to work. Although living off benefits is not ideal, it is much more stable than a job with no guaranteed hours.

The Solution

Employers, unions and the government need to come together to reach an agreement that is in everyone’s best interests. There are ways in which a company can stay flexible, without compromising job security.

Flexible hours contracts allow employers tailor their rotas to meet varying demand, while at the same time offering their staff a guaranteed income. For smaller businesses, or those affected by seasonal changes, this can be an ideal way of reducing risk for both their employees and themselves.

For larger organisations, outsourcing peripheral parts of their business may be the answer. Specialist facilities management services can take care of tasks such as cleaning, catering and security, allowing companies to offload the risk and focus on their core functions.

HRwisdom

Joe Errington is a marketing executive for MITIE, a strategic outsourcing company who specialise in facilities management.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Voluntary Redundancy vs Forced Redundancy

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Voluntary Redundancy vs Forced Redundancy

With the world economy struggling and companies continuing to layoff staff, questions arise over the respective advantages and disadvantages of voluntary redundancy vs forced redundancy.

It is an emotionally-charged topic for all involved, including for the people making the decisions about who goes and who stays.

 

 

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Voluntary Redundancy vs Forced Redundancy

You may have already read the HRwisdom Blog post on how to fire someone.

You may have read about how to build a resilient workforce.

You may have seen our recommended employment document software programs to create customised termination letters and other HR documents.

Now is probably a good time to listen to our very popular interview which looks at the different aspects of the difficult process of managing redundancies in the workplace. voluntary redundancy vs forced redundancy

The interview on how to manage redundancies is divided into small, bite-sized pieces.

In the first part of the interview, we take a look at:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of offering voluntary redundancies vs conducting forced redundancies/involuntary redundancies?

In the other sections, there is good advice on how to manage the redundancy process. This includes:

  • What are the steps involved in the staff redundancy process?
  • How to select employees for involuntary redundancy?
  • How to communicate during the redundancy process?
  • Should you walk someone out immediately when making them redundant?
  • How can you manage redundancies without destroying all employee goodwill?
  • A case study.

To access this excellent interview (it’s free, of course), just log-in using the form over on the right hand side.

Then click on the link called:

How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Employee Goodwill

HRwisdom

Good Advice On Workforce Productivity

Major new research and advice on workforce productivity by global consulting firm Ernst & Young has added weight to the seven step high performance process outlined in a recent HRwisdom workforce productivity presentation. Advice on Workforce Productivity

The free presentation (click here to see the: high performance team presentation) was conducted by the lead consultant from an award-winning human resources consulting firm in Brisbane.

The Ernst & Young data was recently published as the ‘Australian Productivity Pulse’ (we’ve put the link to the report in our Free Resources area – just log in now for free using the login form over on the right hand side).

Workforce Productivity Report

The Australian Productivity Pulse suggested that around $109 billion in wages is wasted every year due to poor productivity issues. 

The report found that, at an individual employee level, work done that adds ‘real value’ equals 58% of the working day whilst activities such as personal development & networking account for 24%.

Eighteen per cent of the average working day is spent doing work that ‘wastes time and effort’ – an astonishing figure.

Other Resources You Might Like:

Financial Awareness Staff Training Module (Free Use For 1 Week)

How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Employee Goodwill

Recommended HR Consulting Firms in Australia

Areas Of Workplace Productivity To Improve

The Australian Productivity Pulse identifies four main areas to improve:

  • People management issues: developing and utilising the full talents and capabilities of human capital.
  • Organisation structure, design and operating model: removing all wasteful, bureaucratic, and non-value work and outputs.
  • Innovation: being deliberate and audacious with an innovation agenda.
  • Technology: being more ambitious and effective in process automation and technological change.

Of interest were also the Pulse’s findings that thirty-two percent of employees are planning to leave their organisation in the next 12 months.

Advice on Workforce Productivity

A further thirty-five per cent of staff are already pursuing external opportunities.

50% of the employees surveyed felt that a lack of career direction inside their organisation was forcing them to look elsewhere to achieve their career goals.

To read the report, just log in to the free HRwisdom resources area now (use the form over on the right hand side).

Get More Good Advice On Workforce Productivity Here

Don’t forget to watch the excellent free HRwisdom presentation: The 7 Things That Set High Performing Organisations Apart.

The free staff management presentation provides excellent advice on workforce productivity.

During this free on-demand webinar presentation, you’ll get:

  • Practical insights into the important things that set high performing organisations apart.
  • The seven things that make them high performers.
  • Five simple steps to take action on this powerful information.

You can see the presentation here: Good Advice on Workforce Productivity Presentation

HRwisdom

 

 

Recent Job Losses In Australia [Plus Free Interview On Managing Redundancies]

It’s been a rough few weeks for redundancies and job losses in the Australian labour market. Job Losses Image

Today we’re looking at the recent announcements.

We’re also sharing another helpful free HRwisdom resource on the right way to handle redundancies.

Before we get started, you may also be interested in these other HRwisdom articles (they will open in a new window):

Bizarre – Why Did They Fire This Punctual, Top Performing Employee?

Free Information Sessions On Workplace Law For Employers

How To Really Freak Out Your Workforce

Recent Job Losses

This week, it was announced that the national cleaning company Swan Services was going into administration with the loss of nearly 2500 jobs.

Nine hundred of those job losses were in NSW and 578 were in Victoria.

A further 583 people lost their jobs in Queensland, 184 in Western Australia, 156 in South Australia and 64 in the ACT.

Job Losses Australia

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the union was now involved:

[quote] The national president of the union United Voice, Michael Crosby, yesterday said Swan had been one of the five biggest cleaning businesses in the country, and its woes followed a string of collapses in the industry. “Swan Services could potentially owe cleaners hundreds of thousands of dollars in entitlements, including annual leave, sick leave, unpaid wages, superannuation and we want to ensure they are protected,” Mr Crosby said.[/quote]

To add to these woes, Ford Australia announced major job losses in its Victorian operations. 

The Age summarised the job losses in this media report

[quote]Ford Australia has announced it will slash jobs — and production — at its Broadmeadows and Geelong plants by almost a third as slow sales of its Falcon large family car bite hard. The company today announced up to 440 workers, mainly from its factories, would be offered voluntary redundancies as part of a massive restructure of its workforce taking place over the next three months.[/quote] 

The public sector isn’t safe either, it would seem according to the Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott in his recent Budget reply speech (although he says it will happen through natural attrition):

[quote]”We’ve announced that we’ll reduce by at least 12,000, through natural attrition, the size of the Commonwealth public sector that’s now 20,000 bureaucrats bigger than in 2007.” [/quote]

Difficult times indeed.

The Right Way To Handle Redundancies

For any employer seeking advice on how to handle redundancies and job losses, we recommend you listen to our excellent redundancies information interview.

The interview is free and it provides you with thoughtful insights into how to manage redundancies without destroying all employee goodwill.

HRwisdom

Australian Government Gives $20 Million To Combat Workplace Bullying [So Here’s Your Free Workplace Bullying E-Learning Module]

Workplace Bullying is a major problem in all economies. Workplace Bullying E-Learning

The Australian Government estimates that workplace bullying costs the national economy over $36 million dollars per year in lost productivity.

As a result, the recent Federal Budget allocated over $20 million dollars to the Fair Work Commission so that it could do more in this troublesome area.

Free Workplace Bullying E-Learning Module

HRwisdom has a special limited-time bonus: One week of free E-learning for employers.

Please Note: This special bonus is only available within Australia.

HRwisdom has arranged for you to get one free week’s use of one of Savv-e’s popular compliance training modules, including the excellent module on workplace bullying.

Obviously, this bonus will only be available for a very limited time.

We suggest you grab the workplace bullying module right now.

Get Your Free Workplace Bullying E-Learning Now

Workplace Bullying E-Learning

If you would like one week’s free use of one of the online compliance modules we have chosen for HRwisdom, fill in the form below

This bonus will only be available for a very limited time so we suggest you grab it now.

Feel free to forward this message on to your friends and colleagues.

To request the free trial, please put your contact details and your preferred training module in the box below.

Request Your Special 1 Week Free E-Learning Module Now 


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How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Staff Goodwill [Audio Interview]

HRwisdom asked one of its contributors, Jacqui Alder, what was her advice for businesses on how to manage redundancies without destroying all employ goodwill? 

How To Manage Redundancies

Jacqui Alder is a consultant with extensive and diverse experience across Human Resources, change management, organisational development and industrial relations.

Jacqui’s experience has been gained across a variety of industry sectors.

 The sectors include:

How To Manage Redundancies

  • Resources
  • Manufacturing
  • Transport
  • Government
  • Defence

Jacqui has had significant achievements across a range of areas, with projects including:

  • Organisational change
  • Culture change
  • Organisational redesign
  • Systems implementation
  • Workforce reform
  • Cost improvement

We asked Jacqui to share her expertise in different aspects of the difficult process of managing redundancies in the workplace.

How To Manage Redundancies

In the redundancies interview, we will take a look at:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of offering voluntary redundancies versus conducting forced redundancies/involuntary redundancies?
  • What are the steps involved in the redundancy process?
  • How to select people for involuntary redundancy?
  • How to communicate throughout the redundancy process?
  • Should you march someone out immediately when making them redundant?
  • How can you implement redundancies without destroying all employee goodwill?
  • A case study.

Log In Here To Listen To The Interview [For Free]

To listen to HRwisdom’s excellent free audio interview series on how to manage redundancies, just log in in using the following free form. 

Email My Invitation To The Interview Series:

“How To Manage Redundancies Without Destroying All Employee Goodwill.”

 

HRwisdom

Managing Work Stress – Part 2

The issue of managing work stress is an important one for employers.

Work StressApart from the financial costs to the business, there are obvious impacts on individuals and work teams.

Following on from his previous article on managing work stress, regular HRwisdom contributor Weng Chio Fan explains how innovation can help your employees to cope better with work stress.

Over to Weng . . .

Managing Work Stress. How does innovation help?

One way to think about job stress is to see it as an outcome between job demands and job resources.

Stress results when the demands exceed available resources.

Therefore, the negative consequences of demanding work conditions can be offset by increasing available resources.

In this regards, organisational support for innovation can be a resource.

This is because an innovative culture gives individuals the latitude they need to develop novel methods, processes or schedules that increase their efficiency.

These innovative working methods allow employees to better cope with the demands of their jobs and hence counteract the negative consequences of work demands.

Not only does an innovative culture increase employee efficiency, organisations are also more likely to develop new products and services. 

This helps the organisations to be more efficient, productive and flexible to the changing needs and contexts of customers and clients, helping organisations to stay in the lead of the market competition.  

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Think again

Organisations that demand a great deal from their employees often hesitate to support innovation because they have low tolerance on deviations or changes from the work processes and procedures.

Yet, it does not come cheap.

On the other hand, those that support innovation will reap the fruit of having less stressful employees. 

HRwisdom

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Bring Your Own Device To Work – Is It A Good Idea?

Today HRwisdom contributor Victor Daily looks at: Bring Your Own Device To Work and asks – is it a good idea?

Over to Victor . . .

Bring Your Own Device To Work (BYOD)

In the environment of IT services, change is the biggest constant. Along with the advent and growth of cloud computing, the concept of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is forcing all sizes of companies to deal with the many challenges and opportunities that this innovation presents.

With over 700 million smartphones and several hundred million tablets shipped in 2012, the world now has more smart devices in the market than employees.

Bring Your Own Device To WorkWith an increasingly mobile and wired working force and population, many businesses realise that their employees are working from a multitude of devices, not just company-supplied appliances.

However, these businesses are grappling with a multitude of items related to this changing environment, including:

  • Device security
  • Data privacy and security
  • Compatibility
  • Software and hardware integration
  • Network access and service levels
  • Backup and disaster recovery
  • Human resources and retention compliance issue.

In fact, the Bring Your Own Device issue has moved out of the realm of being controlled by the MIS and IT departments. The complexities, with a range of pros and cons, are involving all levels of corporate staff and planning.

The Non-Technical Issues

For example, in just the area of human resources, the BYOD discussion now includes such thing as:

  • How free is a company to monitor such dual-use devices? With a personal ownership and use, there are limits on the ability to check all the applications and data transmitted on a device.
  • The possibility of claims for compensation for use of the device and off-the-clock work time claims.
  • Potential tax and related financial consequences of a benefit of employment.
  • Work place confidentiality is a major issue, particularly in the event of voluntary or involuntary separation of the employee. Policies for retaining work records, resetting passwords and the like are all hurdles being addressed by employers.

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FREE WORKPLACE LAW BRIEFINGS: See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

The Dollar Issues

From an accounting perspective, new rules and regulations are necessary to deal with issues such as:

  • Shared cost of the device and usage fees
  • Billing issues and disputes
  • Dealing with multitudes of service providers
  • Sharing costs of convenience versus usage for business.
  • Responsibilities for maintenance and upgrades

Back to the IT Issues

In the end, however, the ultimate issue of BYOD comes down to the IT constraints. Regardless of all other benefits and advantages, any system that allows significant threats to data and the IT infrastructure requires extremely careful scrutiny and diligence.

The many opportunities for conflict with established IT protocols have many tech managers extremely concerned. It is not merely an issue of turf in this case. These individuals responsible to maintain system integrity and prevent breaches point out the near impossibility of doing so with such a variety of equipment and version, platform, configurations and incompatible features. The challenge of providing and monitoring access rights and protocols compounds the issues into a literal security nightmare.

At the heart of the issue is privacy and security. This applies to workers as well as the companies that employ them. It is a two-way street where the company may have access to personal data, and the employee opening the door to secured company applications and data.

As an example, the question becomes one of the proper actions if a personal device is lost or stolen. Will the company have the right to reach out and erase all data on the device? Will that mean automatic installation of such remote software for any personal BYOD item? What steps are to protect the individual’s private data in such a situation?

Another, more frightening situation for the individual is culpability for a major corporate security breach. With some recent security issues causing damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars, this is no small concern to any company or employee.

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FREE WORKPLACE LAW BRIEFINGS: See available session times here: Free Workplace Law Briefings For Employers [/box]

The BYOD issue has already seen some companies stepping back from an early and full adoption of its advantages. There is no question, however, that the world of BYOD is here to stay in some form. The issues will absorb a lot of management attention and focus in the coming months.

About Victor Daily

Victor Daily is a business consultant and writer. He currently writes about the newest trends in business and human resources. He is also a consultant for Apply Direct in Australia.

Workplace Sexual Harassment [Powerful Video]

A major issue for any employer is how to prevent workplace bullying and sexual harassment.

Under Occupational Health and Safety and anti-discrimination law, employers have a legal responsibility to provide a safe workplace.

This short video explains:

  • What is workplace sexual harassment.
  • The social and economic effects
  • What employers should do.

Feel free to share the video with friends and colleagues using the sharing buttons below.

 

 

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Workplace Sexual Harassment Video

 

Remember, it is important to be proactive when it comes to this area.

The Australian Human Rights Commission explains:

[quote] Employers have a duty of care for employee health and well-being whilst at work. Any employer that allows bullying to occur in the workplace is not meeting this responsibility.  Workplace bullying is verbal, physical, social or psychological abuse by your employer (or manager), another person or group of people at work. Workplace bullying can happen in any type of workplace, from offices to shops, cafes, restaurants, workshops, community groups and government organisations. Workplace bullying can happen to volunteers, work experience students, interns, apprentices, casual and permanent employees. Some types of workplace bullying are criminal offences. [/quote]

For more information, click here to download a government resource for employers.

The resource aims to assist small, medium and large employers to understand and meet their legal obligations under the Sex Discrimination Act. It also provides practical guidance on how employers can prevent sexual harassment and how to respond effectively when it occurs. In addition, the resource discusses recent legal developments concerning workplace sexual harassment and canvasses some of the new and innovative approaches to addressing sexual harassment.

Managing Work Stress Through Innovation – Part 1

The issue of managing work stress is an important one for employers.

Work StressApart from the financial costs to the business, there are obvious impacts on individuals and work teams.

Regular HRwisdom contributor Weng Chio Fan is taking a look at this issue.

Over to Weng . . .

Work Stress: Can You Afford To Overload Your Employees?

A recent news report showed that, job stress accounts for at least 10% of the compensation claim across the public service, with an average $251,000 payout.

Besides, demanding work can also lead to absenteeism, performance decline, increased turnover and burn-out. All of these cost organisations millions of dollars in poor productivity performance. In fact, research shows that even an average level of work demands negatively impact on organisations’ performance.

However, with increasing globalization, rapidly shifting technologies and the ever-changing economic environment, organisations are trapped in the dilemma where their employees have to cope with numerous job demands to keep them stay in the business, yet, they have to find ways to alleviate job demands so that their workers can performance at their peak.  

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The Way Out: Innovation

Recent research by leading organisational psychologists found that supporting innovation among employees is an effective strategy to alleviate the stress of  job demands.

Innovation can mean introducing new or improved products, services or business processes into the business.

It can be a single major breakthrough or it can be a series of small, incremental changes.

In a nut shell, it involves two components: creation of new ideas and their implementation.

The study found that organisations that encourage and support the production and implementation of creative ideas perform better than those that don’t.

To find out how innovation can help your employees to cope better with their job demands, click here to see the next article in this short review of managing work stress.

HRwisdom

 

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