HR in 90 Seconds - March 2019

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 13 March 2019
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In this month’s ‘HR in 90 Seconds’ we talk about International Women’s Day and the impact that there might be as we see a consistent rise in the employment rates of females. We also discuss how organisations can create a sense of belonging for remote and home workers with some useful tips, how to deal with poor performance proactively, and The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018.

In order to mark International Women’s Day last week, we heard from Deirdre Crowley. As well as honouring all women who go about their daily activities at work and with friends and family Deirdre went on to comment on the General Scheme of the Gender Pay Gap. In a nutshell, the legislation will oblige employers, regardless of their sector, to report any gap between men and women in terms of pay.

It is hoped that the new reporting obligations on employers will reduce the current gender pay gap which is demonstrated in the chart below.

Gender Pay Gap in Ireland is 13.9%

Women are now working in a broader range of occupations and industries and inequalities and problems still persist. We need to ensure women achieve and maintain their proper place as full equals within the workforce. 

There are other interesting thought leaders in the area such as Josh Levs, the top global thought leader in creating inclusive workplaces by making advancement opportunities and work-life balance available equally to women and men. It was interesting to read recently a report from the US where ‘strategy+business’ on linked in reported that 73% of fathers said there’s little workplace support for them. They also report that work–life balance initiatives are a crucial part of building gender equality. Many people believe that these initiatives are there to support women in the workplace but an article by Levs give us cause to think about these initiatives being open to both men and women.

Surely it is important to recognise that ‘To level the playing field at the office, it is essential that companies promote work-life balance and family-friendly policies for all employees.’

It is very interesting to think about this from a different perspective, we have recommended articles by Josh Levs in previous emails. Levs famously launched a legal battle against his employer for fair parental leave, which got a great deal of attention. In the end, the company revolutionised its policies. It was a win-win. He also wrote a book, ‘All In’, about these issues. He now travels the world working with businesses and organisations on making work-life balance initiatives equally available to men. You can follow Josh Levs on Linked In where is frequently posts about making work-life balance options a reality for men, often talking about reducing the stigmas that surround it.

Levs reports that in recent years, some high-profile companies, including Netflix, Microsoft, and Amazon, have announced plans to create or expand paternity leave. This is definitely going to become more and more of a talked about subject as we continue to see the female employment rate steadily rising.

Moving forward and thinking about forms of flexible working we look at an article on remote workers. Changes in workplace cultures mean that home and remote working is becoming more and more common. One of the key areas that cause concern in this areas is how can we ensure that the growing number of remote workers feel connected to their work and their colleagues?

The best advice for making remote workers feel like they belong: Make their experience as similar as it can be to that of co-workers who see each other in person every day. From a management perspective, the following tips are especially helpful:

  • Once they’ve earned it, trust them. Because you don’t see them working, it’s easy to assume any lull in communication means remote workers are twiddling their thumbs. The nicest part of working remotely is that you can easily build blocks of uninterrupted, concentration time into your day. Set clear expectations for remote workers as to what communication best practices look like at the company, but don’t worry if you don’t get a ping from them every five minutes.
  • Be mindful of time zones. To help people in all time zones feel included, strive to delay decision-making until you’ve heard from everyone who should be involved. And if you occasionally need to ask a colleague to join a meeting outside of their normal work hours, we recommend skipping video. It’s much easier to jump on and participate if they aren’t expected to be camera-ready.
  • Send them physical packages! When Liz was working remotely as a consultant, one of her clients had a cake delivered to her apartment on her birthday. Another sent her pay checks in illustrated thank-you cards. When everything is digital, a physical package (think company swag, books, snacks, or handwritten notes) is delightful.
  • Help remote workers meet each other. This can be done by setting up virtual lunches, teatimes, or what Buffer terms “pair calls”. For pair calls, Buffer employees opt in to be randomly paired with someone else at the company once a week. Calls have no set agenda; co-workers get to know each other by talking about their families, hobbies, and favourite shows.

Creating belonging for remote workers doesn’t have to feel like a daunting task. It simply requires carving out small moments for employees to connect digitally on a personal level.

Other items of interest:

There were record numbers for this month’s webinar in association with the HR Suite. Caroline McEnery talked about dealing with poor performance proactively including what is performance management and the aim and benefits to using the probationary period.

In this month’s First Tuesday Q&A, Bríd Nic Suibhne from A&L Goodbody looks at The Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2018. The Act is intended to improve the security and predictability of working hours for employees on insecure contracts and those working variable hours. Bríd summarises the key changes as:

  • 5 Core terms in 5 Days - Written notification to employees of five core terms of employment within five days of commencement
  • Prohibition of  Zero Hours Contracts - Except in limited circumstances
  • Minimum Payments - For employees required to be available but not called into work or sent home early
  • Banded Hours Contract - To protect employees who consistently work more than their contracted hours
  • Anti-penalisation - Protection for employees who invoke their rights from detrimental treatment
This article is correct at 13/03/2019

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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