Friday, 24 May 2013

Being "Fair" in HR Management

As HR specialists, Exclusive know that the respect and fairness with which employees are treated by their business is of paramount importance to them. Fairness in the workplace helps to determine their attitudes to the job, as well as having an effect on their productivity. Therefore, HR managers need to make sure they are doing everything they possibly can to provide a fair working environment for their employees. Here we show you how this can be achieved in your business using our expert knowledge in HR.
Diversity is about valuing your employees as individuals. It’s important to acknowledge that, although people have some things in common with one another, they are also different in many ways. A one-size-fits-all approach to HR management will not achieve fairness in the workplace because people have different personal needs, values and beliefs. A good HR manager will recognise that different approaches are required for different workers and will therefore be flexible in the management of their employees. There are a number of potential strategies to provide a diverse working environment:
  • When guiding new employees, pay closer attention to department culture and unwritten rules, as opposed to the explicit outlining of job responsibilities and expectations.
  • Be open-minded – accept that there are a number of different ways for employees to achieve the same goal and convey this belief to your staff so they can work according to their personal strengths.
  • Examine your business’ existing policies, practices and procedures to ensure that they do not differentially impact different groups. If so, make the appropriate changes.

Equality is about treating all your employees with the same level of respect, regardless of their differences. Whether it be age, gender, race or sexual orientation, it is important that none of these factors be used to judge employees as being superior or inferior to their colleagues.
Therefore, equality policies should be put in place:
  • Make sure all workers have the same equipment and peripherals to perform effectively.
  • You should not overlook one employee for a promotion in favour of another due to any non-professional justifications.
  • One of the most important equality practices a company should employ concerns wages. No employee should be paid more than any other who is performing the same amount and at the same level.
As well as implementing equality policies, as an HR manager it’s your job to always be seen to be treating your employees equally:
  • Respond to your employees’ needs and concerns promptly, regardless of their position in the company. A Caretaker’s question about his rota is just as important as a question from your Company Director.
  • Deal with any problems that arise objectively and not based on the employee involved. Of course you are going to enjoy some people’s company over others but you cannot let a fondness for someone dictate how you handle a situation.
  • Maintain a professional relationship with all of your workers. Do not discuss personal matters that are irrelevant to the business. You should keep relationships amicable but not overly friendly, so as to avoid any awkward misunderstandings.
  • Be honest with all of your workers. Do not give any one employee privileged information, but at the same time do not hide anything from an employee for good reason.
What are your thoughts on these issues of fairness in the workplace? Will you be implementing any of the strategies we discussed? Our HR experts can assist you with any HR-related queries you may have – get in touch.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

#HRHour Live Blog: Q&A - May 22nd

Q. #HRHour I'm in the process of taking on a Spanish employee - is there anything extra to consider with regards to employment of EU workers? (@mygenerationuk)

A. My understanding is that nationals of Spain can work in the UK without any restrictions.  You may like to review the UK Border Agency website which will detail exactly which workers from European countries can work in the UK without needing to obtain the UK Border Agency's permission, and explains how to check that other European workers have obtained the right to work here.

Q. Hi #HRHour, do you think changes to employment law make this a good time to be considering taking on a new permanent employee? Thanks! (@carpetstudiouk)

A. Anytime is a good time to be recruiting, as it can demonstrate that your business is moving from strength to strength at a time when businesses are facing a demanding economic period.  Employment law updates twice a year in April and October and so it is essential that you are aware of any amendments, so that you can ensure you are legally compliant in any recruitment & selection process you carry out and further more you are complaint with employment legislation for your current and future employees.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The Work/Life Equilibrium Step-by-Step

A recent study from global management consultancy Hay Group affirmed that a massive 39% of employees do not feel as though their professional and domestic lives are “balanced”. Furthermore, only half of employees feel their employer is “sensitive to the relationship between work and home”.
Mark Royal, Senior Principal at Hay Group, stated that "employees are working longer hours with more erratic schedules than ever before". In light of these statistics, Exclusive would like to provide you with 5 easy, manageable tweaks to make to your daily routine which should ultimately help you achieve this work/life equilibrium.

1.   Leave Daily Reminders
We realise that it’s often difficult to keep any two areas of your life entirely separate, especially when there are stresses involved. Your work and home life are not mutually exclusive concepts, but there are ways to avoid having home anxieties running over into your time at work, and vice versa.
Start small: try documenting any necessary home reminders before you go work – this works both ways. It’s is an easy and effective way to find a divide between the two, leaving you completely focused on the job at hand, with the knowledge that other aspects of your life can be dealt with later at their allocated time. Whether the reminder is handwritten, digital or otherwise, make a note and then put it out of your mind until it can be the priority. If you make a habit of this, it will eventually become second-nature and you should feel as though you have a greater handle on the balancing act.
2.   Don’t Be a Martyr – Delegate
If you’re accepting more work than you can handle, you aren’t doing yourself any professional favours. In the likelihood that you’ll be unable to complete your current workload in the required timeframe, there’s no longer anything admirable in the acceptance of the work. Delegation is key. Each day, take a look at your current workload and have a think about how much can realistically be done by you alone. Anything surplus could, and indeed should, be delegated to someone else. Successfully completing a feasible amount of work is undoubtedly preferable to the failed completion of an impractically great number of assignments.
Not asking for help can be a symptom of pride or, conversely, lack of confidence. While there are no instant fixes for these issues, learning to concede that you’ve taken on more than you can handle is a great start. Breaking stubborn habits or summoning the courage to admit that things aren’t going well can be facilitated firstly by remembering to delegate whenever necessary.
3.   Practice Saying “No”
The concept of agreeing to everything you’re ever asked to do for fear of disappointing people is a universal one, don’t worry. No worldly amount of caffeine and/or adrenaline would enable you to get through the workload you’d have if you actually said “yes” every time – and we don’t advise that you test this theory. Employers will be infinitely more vexed by an employee taking on work that they’re already quite aware they can’t manage than an employee who declines what they know is too much. This particular tweak can mean breaking the habit of a lifetime, so as always, we begin with baby steps.
The next time your colleagues try to “donate” some of their work to you, resist your perpetual people-pleaser urges – don’t let them take advantage of your good nature. Say “no” (in a professional and courteous manner, of course). If you gradually introduce this word into your daily vocabulary, you should feel your workload become entirely manageable by comparison – this should result in you being regarded as a more reliable employee and esteemed colleague.
4.   Choose Efficiency Over Perfection
Perfection is rarely a realistic goal. There are certainly some cases where serious attention to detail must be paid, but more often than not, the priority is simply the effective completion of a task. Efficiency is the objective here, meaning that the time in which the work was done is of great importance. The recipe for a desirable employee includes both speed and effectiveness, so try to avoid making any sacrifices in that department. Reviewing your briefs regularly can be the first step to improved efficiency. Make sure you’ve done exactly what’s been asked and no more, unless you have solid justification to think they’d prefer the extra effort. Gradually cutting out wasted time will render you a more effective employee and ultimately improve the balance.
Another thing to bear in mind is that the extra time being dedicated to the pursuit of magnificence means later work will inevitably be compromised. The recognition you’ll receive for submitting perfect work rather than perfectly adequate work won’t be sufficient to justify the substandard specimens which follow – just get the job done.
5.   Do Something That’s Just for You
We’re giving you permission to be a little selfish. Indulge yourself – work time is for making your employers happy, this is for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s important or even worthwhile – however you spend this personal time, make sure to take it just as seriously as you take your job. General happiness is the unequivocal greatest influence on a positive work ethic and one of the few things that can help you find the ideal balance between work and life is reconnecting with your freedom, even if it’s only for a little while. Every day you should be doing at least one thing which qualifies as fun or self-indulgent, be this watching low-grade TV, having a long, hot anti-social bubble bath, engaging in a few cheeky drinks with friends, or whatever you so desire. Don’t forget.
If you keep these tips at the forefront of your mind every day, they should quickly become a habitual part of your routine. Just remember that your job satisfaction is entirely dependent on your life satisfaction, so look after yourself.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

A Guide to Standing out on Linkedin: Part Two

10 Tricks for Getting the Attention You Want on Linkedin

Are you desperate to attract the attention of a particular company or professional? Perhaps they are advertising exciting vacancies on the Exclusive site and you want to make contact. Networking on Linkedin is the most successful way to do this in the digital age, as 95% of recruiters use it.
There are 200 million people using Linkedin at the moment. You can see this in two ways: 200 million potential customers/employers or 200 million other people to compete with.
On Linkedin you exist virtually in a sea of data; you are searchable but easily lost. A good analogy would be if your CV or company profile was in a 200-million-sheet-tall pile of paper. This guide aims to show you how you can stand out and get the attention of your desired target.
The Basics
1. Personal Profile
The obvious place to start is with your profile. This is like your online CV. Although it is time consuming, fill in all of the required fields detailing absolutely all of the skills and experience you have that are relevant to the area in which you want to work. Relevant is key- you want to come across as a professional in your desired field, so avoid spreading your skills and experiences too thin across hobbies and jobs that aren’t relevant to the positions you want to apply for.
Make sure you complete each section of your profile, otherwise it will be advertised as incomplete.
2. Connections
Building up a network of connections is essential to success on Linkedin. It is recommended that you have at least 500 connections. If you have less than 100 connections then you are only likely to appear in 3% of the search results. Compare that to those with over 500 connections and there is significant rise- they appear in over 90% of search results.
The best way to achieve this is to start by adding friends, family and coworkers and then find the rest through the ‘people you may know’ section. Try to connect with people that your target connection is linked with or build links in a chain that leads to them.
3. Industry Groups
Industry groups are a key way to build connections but also enable you to get the attention of a specific person/ company. Go onto their profile and see which industry groups they belong to and try to join the same ones. This establishes a connection of shared interests and the enthusiasms between you and the person or company you are hoping to connect with.
4. Testimonials
Ask colleagues and friends to write you a testimonial to appear on your page. This can boost your credibility and establish you as someone your target connection would want to know.
5. Regular Updates
It is important to appear engaged online and this means updating your Linkedin at least every two weeks. It is worth noting that Linkedin is most active in the mornings so whatever you post is more likely to be read at this time. Keep your posts relevant and professional. Researching to uncover interesting articles that might catch the attention of your desired target is time well spent.

The Next Steps
6. Keywords
Linkedin’s search tool is almost completely driven by keywords. Therefore it is important to think about the keywords that you want to use on your profile. Without going overboard, your profile needs to be ‘keyword rich’.
Keywords can be your skills, specialisms, experience, location or personal qualities.
To make this work for you and your goal of getting the attention of specific person, you need to look at which keywords they use on their profile and what keywords you think they would be searching for, if looking for a candidate or business. Using this list, you can tailor your profile so that they are likely to find it.
7. Recommendations
Linkedin allows you to recommend other users, and in turn, they can recommend you. This is great way to boost your online presence and credibility. It is important to only recommend people you genuinely know.
If you can get a recommendation from one of your target’s connections, this could be a real asset. It is possible to achieve this through the posts below…
8. Answer Questions
Search the Forums for questions relating to your target connection’s interests and answer them. Answering questions is the perfect opportunity to demonstrate expertise.
If your target connection ever asks any questions or starts discussions, be sure to participate, as this could be your way in.
9. Start Polls/ Discussions
Show motivation and actively become engaged with other members by starting discussions on topics similar to your desired target’s area of expertise.
10. Link to Wordpress/Blog and Twitter
Linkedin can be used in isolation but there is a lot to be gained by building a well-rounded online presence through the use of blogs and twitter.
The more engaged you are online, the more likely it is your desired target will come to you.
The key to successful networking with a desired target is to research them and tailor your profile and output to suit them.
Browse potential employers in your sector on the Exclusive website today where you’ll find recruitment expertise, whatever your field. Team this with effective networking on Linkedin and your dream job should be within your reach.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

A Guide to Standing Out on LinkedIn: Part One

How LinkedIn Could Help you Find your Dream Job

Whether you’re a graduate fresh on the market or a seasoned professional with time-tested skills to offer an employer, it's getting tougher and tougher to secure a job. The sad truth is that it is no longer enough to be capable, skilled and work-willing to guarantee the position you want.
Over the years the number of channels you can trawl to find vacancies has increased. The internet has opened up a number of doors and you can search the Exclusive Recruitment website for a huge range of employment opportunities. To improve your chances of bagging that dream job it is also wise to make use of other online channels.
Take LinkedIn, for example, the business social network. Here you can network with business connections, promote yourself, keep watch for that golden opportunity and connect with potential employers that you come across on the Exclusive website.

So what’s so great about LinkedIn, and how can it help you bag your dream job?
Networking - Firstly it's a useful place to make new connections. It can be a daunting environment at first, but like any other social network, start slow. Find your friends and former colleagues initially and have a look through their connections. If they know someone in the same industry as you (or the one you want to get into) you can ask your friend to make an introduction and act as a mediator between you and the contact.
Groups - Groups on LinkedIn are becoming increasingly important. If you have a particular company that you want to work for or have an idea as to the kind of area you’d like to work in then have a search of the “groups” section. Sign up to a few, get social with the members and network as much as you can. This is a great way to get your face seen by prospective employers and to show your passion and interest in that sector.
Job Search - LinkedIn can also be used as a regular job site. Work up your profile, upload your CV and let your future-employer come to you. Vacant positions are posted on the network too, so check out the Jobs tab at the top of the page.
Profile - The Profile on LinkedIn is surprisingly comprehensive. As well as the standard “education” and “employment” fields, you can talk about projects, awards, general interests, and there is plenty of free space for you to give a flavour of your personality. Oh, and you can have a profile picture too, so it’s best to use your most professional image of yourself.
Newsfeed - All LinkedIn users have a newsfeed, similar to the configuration on Facebook. You can post status updates but be careful to keep it clean and topical; after all, your audience could be your colleagues someday. If you see an article that interests you in a career or business sense, post it. If you've written a new blog post or have been published somewhere, post it. If you have something relevant to say that you think your future boss would love to read, post it!
So what are you waiting for? LinkedIn is a fun, accessible and useful job search and employment tool. Your next job is out there waiting for you, so browse the wealth of employment opportunities on the Exclusive website and start building your LinkedIn profile for the best possible start to your next career move.

#HRHour Live Blog: Q&A - May 8th

Q. Hi #HRHour. I'm just back home after travelling & looking for work. How can I make my CV look good and account for 6 months away? (@MacKirst)

A. I do hope you enjoyed your travels and saw some wonderful places.  I would always advise that honesty is the best policy, therefore detail your 6 months travel on your CV and you can perhaps mention where you travelled and what additional skills you may have gained during this time?

Q. #HRHour What's the most important aspect when booking #training for the HR Manager? (@Trainers_Assc)

A. I would suggest that with any training, the most important aspect is the relevance to the trainee, so will the course content hit the spot and enhance skills, knowledge and understanding?  Following on from this, the other considerations will be timings, durations, location and costs with regards to the training being offered.

Q. #HRHour Any advice on how to establish some ground rules for my staff? It's a new, small team & want to set some up early on. Thanks (@GNT_Media)

A. Oh that's really encouraging to hear that you would like to put some solid building blocks in place to help to support your business and your team.  My advice would be to introduce a basic company handbook to establish some policies and procedures within your team so that all your staff have a reference manual to help them to understand the 'ground rules'.  With such guidelines in place it will ensure that all staff are treat fairly and consistently and that your organisation is legally compliant.

Q. #HRHour I'm attending a course on Performance Management. I don't know much about it - where can I find out more about the topic beforehand? (@NETweeps)

A. Performance Management can be very positive and proactive within an organisation and is certainly an essential tool for motivating staff and encouraging staff retention.  Your course provider may be able to give you some additional course content information before the course starts. Alternatively if you are a CIPD member you will have access to the CIPD on line library or you may wish to refer to who often have informative documents on line.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Entering Leadership and Management - A Beginner's Guide

You’ve worked hard to get where you are today and now you’ve decided it’s time for you to take the next step up the career ladder into a management role. You may find this prospect daunting at first but don’t panic, Exclusive Ltd can provide you with all the help and guidance you’ll need for getting that first management job.

Here we share our top tips on making the transition:

Find Out What Managers Do

Watch the managers in your company to see what they do and how they do it. Ask them lots of questions. Reading books on management and leadership is also really useful – you’ll get hints and tips from top industry experts in these. It’s important to do your research to make sure management is for you and so you know what will be expected from you as a manager.

Show Initiative

Initiative is an essential skill for any manager. You must have the ability to act on your own ideas and make decisions without help or advice from anyone else. Demonstrate this by acting on something useful at work without specifically being told to do so. Show your boss you have imagination by thinking of ways you could improve something within the business.

Develop Interpersonal Skills

If you’re a manager, employees need to feel they can approach you with any problems. Give your undivided attention to co-workers when they are talking to you. Show an interest in them and value their opinions even if you don’t agree with them. Encourage and praise your colleagues whenever you can but do this sincerely – nobody likes phoniness!


Don’t wait around for a promotion to just fall on your lap – approach your boss and tell them you would like to follow their example and move into management. If your boss knows you are interested in such a role, they can start delegating larger tasks to you to see how you get on. If this goes well, it may lead to a supervisor or management position. Also make sure you check your company’s job bulletin regularly so you can apply for any management level jobs that crop up.

If you think you’ve got all these pointers sussed, you should be ready for your first job in management. How exciting! To find the right managerial role for you, register online with Exclusive Ltd. We offer vacancies across a range of different business sectors in the North East, Yorkshire and Scotland.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

#HRHour Live Blog: Q&A - May 1st

Q: Hi, I'd love to get into HR but not sure what qualifications I need. Is it possible to work your way up, or is a degree vital? (@grassatori)

A: You need both the practical experience to gain the hands on HR skills but this must be supported by a degree for you to be able to progress, ideally the CIPD. Good luck and feel free to ring if you would like to chat about HR career options, I will gladly offer support where I can.

Q: #HRHour I want to help my staff set some long term goals. Haven't done it before - advice on how to come up with something they'll buy into? (@InsideLTL)

A: I would always advise managers to involve their staff from the start of any process. If you have an appraisal system in place, that would be the ideal place to start having discussions with them about the long term goals for their roles, the department and the organisation as a whole. If you don't have such a formal process in place then you can simply involve the staff members in this 'project' from the start through open conversations and informal meetings, as involvement and communication is the key to gaining buy in with any initiative.

Q: #HRhour 1 question I would like to ask; As HR and #employeebenefits administrators, what is it you look for in a health cash plan provider? (@5eanFoster)

A: I would suggest that those who are looking for health cash plan providers would require an offering which is available (somebody to talk to quickly and easily if they have a query), flexible (to increase or decrease needs to suit family changes), reasonable (price considerate) and perhaps one that simply goes that extra mile by offering something a little different or an additional benefit from their competitors.

Q: #HRHour I'm employing my first members of staff. Where can I find out how to set up a sickness policy? (@GNT_Media)

A: It's great to hear you are considering introducing policies and procedures into your business and well done on expanding your team! You may like to consider the introduction of an Absence Management Policy, this will then cover absences for more reasons than sickness, such as time off for emergencies, hospital or doctors appointments, authorised and unauthorised absence, short term and long term sickness, adverse weather absences and so on. Such a policy will make employees aware of the rules and regulations that you require them to adhere to but will also make employees aware of the support you offer as an employer in such situations.

Q: #HRHour I want to hire an apprentice, how do salaries work for them? Is there a salary structure I should be aware of? (@NETweeps)

A: Glad to hear there are employers looking for apprentices! Apprentices are paid from the first day of their apprenticeship and they're entitled to the National Minimum Wage. The current minimum wage rate for an apprentice is £2.65 per hour for apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those aged
19 or over who are in their first year. Apprentices aged 19 or over who have completed their first year must be paid at least the minimum wage rate for their age.