HR in 90 Seconds - September 2019

Posted in : Supplementary Articles ROI on 16 September 2019
Lynsey Rainey
Issues covered:

This month HR has been busy and as an organisation we have been thinking about lots of things including reviewing the company handbook, how to start the process of better engagement with employees and the overall application of the policies and procedures throughout the organisation as a whole. This means that I have done lots of reading and refreshing in these areas and I wanted to summarise my findings for anyone else who is possibly looking at these areas.

3 top things to read and learn from this month from Legal Island:

  1. Employee Engagement: where to start?;
  2. Emotional Culture within organisations;
  3. A helpful checklist outlining key documents/information that an Employer will need to have available for the inspection.

Olga Pollock, a regular contributor to our NI site, brought us her first article from her new role as HR Manager with Firmus Energy and discusses the Employee Engagement journey – commencing with setting the objective for engagement and outlining methods to achieving this. The things that stood out from this article were:

  • Engagement is about creating workplaces where employees want and are able to give their best everyday;
  • It needs to be more than something that HR think is a good idea; and
  • Engagement needs to be a genuine commitment from the top to make your organisation a better place to work.

In addition to these key reminders Olga refers to a report from Engage for Success around the ‘4 enablers of employee engagement:  

  1. Strategic Narrative - Visible, empowering leadership providing a strong strategic narrative about the organisation, where it’s come from and where it’s going.
  2. Engaging managers - engaging managers who focus their people and give them scope, treat their people as individuals and coach and stretch their people.
  3. Employee voice - Employee voice throughout the organisation, for reinforcing and challenging views, between functions and externally. Employees are seen not as the problem, rather as central to the solution, to be involved, listened to, and invited to contribute their experience, expertise and ideas.
  4. Organisation integrity -values on the wall are reflected in day to day behaviours. 

The engage for success website has lots of useful tools, videos and ideas and is well worth reviewing if you are starting out the process for EE.

Caroline McEnery always brings a fresh insight into the area of HR, this month she talks about Organisational Culture – something that is at the forefront of my work at the present time. Caroline describes Organisational Culture as the combined summary of beliefs, customs and attitudes within the workplace. It is essential that all workplace cultures have a significant element of positivity and stability as a presence. Ongoing studies and research have demonstrated that the culture within an organisation can have a significant impact on the overall success of the business and bottom line.  For me the key standout point that Caroline makes is that it has a specific effect on the area of talent retention and the level of staff turnover.

The article discusses the attitude of employees in an organisation being a significant contributing factor to the culture in an organisation. While different industries may experience different styles of culture depending on the environment, it is essential that all workplace cultures have a significant element of positivity and stability as a presence. I think its important to highlight to managers that by ignoring ‘Emotional Culture’ they could be glossing over a vital part of what makes organisations tick. I will be emphasising the key points such as celebrating small wins, running team building events and encouraging everyone to carry out small acts of kindness towards others.

Caroline McEnery is speaking at this year's Annual Review of Employment Law Conferences – this is a ‘need to attend’ session on ‘What a Good Investigation Report Looks Like’. Caroline is a top trainer, expert investigator, mediator, WRC Adjudication Officer and MD of the HR Suite and sets out how to write a good, robust investigation report and set out findings.

Caroline considers:

  • Key challenges that occur during investigations (minutes, witnesses, representation)
  • Risk Management
  • Top Tips for proactive Investigations.
  • Relevant Case Law

Book your place now so you do not miss this key session.

Other HR Items of Interest

Ciara Ni Longaigh, Solicitor within Ronan Daly Jermyn’s Employment Group discusses what employers can expect from an inspection by the WRC and outlines how they can best prepare for same.  She has included a helpful checklist outlining key documents/information that an Employer will need to have available for the inspection.

Given the rising number of organisations found to be in breach of employment legislation, employers need to be more aware than ever of their statutory obligations in order to prepare for the possibility of an unannounced inspection. All employers, particularly those involved in the sectors listed above, should conduct a HR audit to ensure their organisation is ready for a WRC inspection.

There were a few key points in this article that I found to be useful reminders of the key facts around inspections:

  1. Targeted inspection campaigns will take place in sectors such as equine, fisheries, nail bars, car washes and specific professional sectors.
  2. Employers are required by law to maintain employee records for a period of three years;
  3. WRC inspectors have wide powers to enter premises and inspect records as well as take copies of relevant documents;
  4. Employers need to consider a balancing exercise between data protection principles on one hand retention of employment records involves and the employment legislative requirements on the other;
  5. The aim of WRC inspections is to monitor employment conditions;
  6. Employers are obliged to keep employment records at the place of employment and inspectors will generally assume that this will be the location of the inspection;
  7. WRC inspectors do have a wide range of enforcement powers at their disposal if needed.

The inspection process continues to be a pivotal mechanism for the WRC in ensuring compliance with employment legislation across Ireland; particularly those involved in the sectors listed above, should conduct a HR audit to ensure their organisation is ready for a WRC inspection.

Ciara's colleague Jennifer Cashman is speaking at this year's Annual Review of Employment Law conferences with a session called ‘Review of the Year’.  Jennifer delivers her annual round-up of the key employment law developments in 2019 not covered elsewhere in detail in the event programme.

Jennifer will focus on these areas:

  • Working Time Developments.
  • Retirement Ages and Auto Enrolment.
  • Flexible Working and Reasonable Accommodation in the Workplace.
  • Independent Contractor Arrangements.
  • Protective Leave Developments.

The next webinar details are:

[Free Webinar] Fostering a Dignity and Respect Culture & Potential Risks of Not Achieving Same

2pm - 2:30pm on Wednesday 25th September 2019

Caroline McEnery discusses fostering a dignity & respect culture in the workplace and the potential risks of not achieving it. In this 30-minute webinar, Caroline will cover the importance of having a company policy on dignity and respect, early interventions, the definition of bullying, the importance of a grievance procedure, the key principles applied to the disciplinary and investigation procedure, what creates a negative workplace and building a collaborative team.

Caroline is Managing Director of The HR Suite, a former member of the Low Pay Commission and is also an adjudicator in the Workplace Relations Commission.

Register Now

This article is correct at 16/09/2019

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.

Lynsey Rainey

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