Employee Onboarding – 5 Best Practices to Improve Retention

What is an onboarding process?

Onboarding is the procedure an employer should use to help a new employee acquire the knowledge and skills needed to become a successful member of the team. Onboarding should cover the following steps:

• Preparations prior to the start date;
• An introduction to tools used;
• Orientation of the office culture;
• A chance to meet the rest of the team;
• An evaluation of the full process afterwards.

Why is employee onboarding important?

SME business owners should view onboarding as an opportunity to ensure all new starts hit the ground running and grow to become loyal satisfied members of the team.

After all, you put a lot of management time and effort into finding the perfect candidate for the job. So, you should not stop there, employers should then put as much effort into ensuring that their new employee succeeds in their new position.

Communicate often and before the employment begins

Once you have selected the right candidate for the job, and before the employment commences, there are a few steps you can take to ensure the onboarding process runs smoothly and successful:

(1) Get the employees personal information; for example, the candidates name, title, national insurance number, proof of right to work in the UK etc;
(2) Notify all relevant departments; inform your HR support, payroll, IT and anyone else that may need the new employee’s personal details. Ensure that you follow up with all relevant departments and confirm they are prepared ahead of time for the new arrival.

It is advised that employers begin the welcome process before the employee arrives. The more information that your new employee has on your company and your plan for their first few weeks, the less nervous they will be on their first day. Before an employee starts, they should be aware of the following pieces of information:

(1) The companies dress code;
(2) Office hours;
(3) What time they should arrive on their first day;
(4) The schedule for their first week.

Introduce them to the team

Generally, the first day of employment will be filled with training and paperwork. If this is the case, you are missing the chance to really welcome someone to your team. Employers should:

(1) Give the new employee a proper tour of the office;
(2) Introduce the new employee to their colleagues (remember it is not easy being the new kid at school);
(3) Ensure their workspace is stocked, organised and ready for use.

Once the employment has started – set achievable goals

Give your new employee direction and realistic goals right from the offset. By setting easy-to-reach goals, your new employee will find instant success and feel motivated about their decision to join your business.

Explain the companies long term goals

You should explain to the new employee your future goals and vision for the company and let them know where they fit in that picture. Making your employee aware of their role in the company’s long-term goals will provide them with job security and an understanding of the mission that you and your team are working to achieve.

Arrange one-to-one time each week

At Employment Law Services (ELS), we recommend that employers put aside 10-15 minutes each week for the first 2-3 months of a new employee’s employment. This will keep you informed of any potential challenges they may be facing and provide you both with some time to stay connected and engaged and provide each other with feedback.

Employer considerations

Implementing a thorough and consisted onboarding plan takes time and effort. There are a few critical errors that employers should recognise and attempt to avoid ensuring a new employees induction period runs smoothly.

(1) Avoid overloading a new employee with too much information too soon; the first few weeks in a new job can be daunting for any employee. Therefore, you do not want to give them excessive amounts of work before they are ready.
(2) Don’t assume new employees will understand everything right away; it is important that employers remember that even new employees with lots of industry experience should be given the opportunity to properly digest any additional information they are given.
(3) Don’t forget to evaluate the full process; measuring the outcome of your onboarding process should be the key to improving it. Assess your metrics and take note of any improvements you find in employee performance, increased retention and time to proficiency. Once you have the answers to this, you should consider how to improve the value of a better onboarded employee.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?

It’s all very well having an employee who is qualified and experienced for the job, but if you want to get the most out of that employee an efficient onboarding process is key. If you are an employer who has any issues or concerns about the topics raised in this blog, give us a call today for your free consultation: 0370 218 5662.

5 Reasons for a fair dismissal

Dismissal occurs when an employer decides to terminate the employment relationship. And, since the Supreme Court ruled that tribunal fees were a barrier to justice, claims against employers have increased by 90%. It is important to note that the average pay out for an unfair dismissal in the tribunal is £30,000.

Terminating an employee’s employment will never be an easy decision. However, at one point it may be the right decision for you and your business. So, when you do need to do this, ensure you have one of the following 5 reasons for a fair dismissal.

(1) Conduct
You can dismiss an employee if:

• They are incapable of doing their job to the required standard
• They are capable, but unwilling to do their job
• They’ve committed some form of misconduct
“Conduct” covers a variety of different acts, from not following instructions, to theft. It is therefore recommended that employers have policies in place that detail examples of what will be classed as misconduct, as well as what will be viewed as gross misconduct.

(2) Capability
Capability is defined in the Employment Rights Act 1996 by reference to the skills, aptitude, health or any other mental trait of the employee.
However, before dismissing an employee on the grounds of capability, employers should offer the employee support and extra training to help them reach the standard expected.

(3) Redundancy
Redundancies are another form of dismissal and can happen when an employee’s job no longer exists. This may be due to the employer needing to reduce its workforce, close the business, or certain work is no longer required.
Whatever the situation, it is important employers consider these key points:

• Employees have the right to not be unfairly selected for redundancy
• Employees may be entitled to a statutory redundancy payment and notice
• Redundancies can be compulsory or voluntary

(4) Statutory illegality
This form of dismissal is not used often but would occur if an employer continued to employ someone that resulted in them breaking the law. For example, you employ a lorry driver and they lose their licence and you have no other alternative (legal) role to place them in.

(5) Some other substantial reason (SOSR)
There is no legal definition of dismissals in this category and some would suggest that this is a “dust bin” category.
Some typical examples include:
• Conflicts of interest
• When a client refuses to work with your employee and you have no other work for them to carry out
• Personality clashes
• Where the mutual trust and confidence has been broken

Please note, that even where a dismissal is potentially fair “for some other substantial reason” the employer must ensure that they have followed procedure and have acted reasonably when dismissing the employee.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?
If you are an employer who requires assistance with any of the issues raised in this blog contact us today for your free consultation 0370 218 5662.

Know when to outsource a HR function

As a small business owner, how many times have you gone into the office early to find mountains of paperwork that you just never seem to get through?

Most employers will understand the frustration of spending more time than necessary on non-revenue generating activities. Therefore, outsourcing a HR function can make the business more profitable and productive.

What size is the business?
Generally, employers with fewer than 80 employees tend not to have an in-house HR function. Instead, managers deal with any HR or employment issues that arise. However, with the business growing each day, staying compliant becomes a growing concern.

What services do SME’s require?
The nature of the work carried out by an employment law and HR specialist varies and is usually determined on the nature of the organisation and the roles carried out by its employees.

With regard to Employment Law Services (ELS), we work with employers who have no HR function to ensure their business consistently meets all of its legal requirements in terms of HR policies and employment contracts. As well as this, the team are qualified to advise and support business owners and managers who are faced with discrimination claims, redundancy issues, settlement agreements and dismissals.

How much does it cost to outsource?
At Employment Law Services (ELS) we keep our price structure simple. Our clients benefit from a cost-effective solution that saves them extensive amounts of time. Which in turn allows them to focus on the core business activities.

(1) Ad hoc Service

The team at Employment Law Services (ELS) provide UK employers of all sizes with employment law advice, support and representation on an ad hoc basis. Ad hoc work was initially established to help smaller start-up companies draft employment contracts and policies, ensuring new employers are complying with complex employment legislation whilst protecting their business.

(2) Annual Retainer Service

Our fixed-fee annual employment law and HR retainer service is provided by our specialist team of fully qualified employment law practitioners who understand how to balance compliance with UK employment legislation with the practicalities of successful people management in an operational environment where organisational objectives need to be met.
This helps employers manage their employees across all aspects of their employment from offer letters and contracts of employment, to managing absence, poor performance, disciplinaries, grievances and terminations.

Benefits of HR outsourcing 

  • Reduced cost
  • Increased efficiency
  • Access to improved HR IT systems
  • Improved management information (including human capital metrics)
  • Access to HR expertise not available internally
  • Increased flexibility and speed of response
  • Reduced risk

Employer considerations

Employers should consider the following factors when deciding to outsource:

  • Are you spending too much time on activities that do not generate profits or competitive success?
  • Are you carrying out jobs that waste valuable time and energy?
  • Do you have temporary tasks that arise, yet recur in cycles?
  • Do you require skills that are so specialised, but it would be impractical for you or management to do it?

If you are a business owner who employs people and you are not sure what to do next, contact us today for your free consultation. 0370 218 5662.

Get a Free Trial of Essential Training Courses for Directors, Managers and Employees

Employers have a number of implied duties in the employment contract including a duty to provide a safe and suitable working environment, a duty not to destroy mutual trust and confidence, and a duty to provide redress of grievances.

In many cases the acts of an individual employee during the course of their employment can be treated as having also been done by the employer meaning the employer could be found “vicariously liable” for acts committed by an employee that are in breach of current employment laws.

There is a defence available to an employer if it can show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the employee from acting in breach of the law such as ensuring the existence of effective HR policies however, in of itself this is not enough. Employers should also provide appropriate training for Directors, Managers and Employees to ensure they are aware of, and able to meet their legal responsibilities.

Employment Law Services (ELS) offer accredited e-learning training courses that are designed to provide businesses of all types and sizes the opportunity to ensure compliance with their legal obligations.

Check out our range of e-learning courses here – FREE TRIAL

Time off for dependants: advice for employers

From the first day of employment all employees have the right to time off to care for a dependant. Under s57a and s57b of the Employment Rights Act, all employees are entitled to a “reasonable” amount of unpaid leave. However, what is deemed as reasonable can be fact specific.

Who is a dependant?
A dependant is someone who relies on the employee for care, which can vary from a spouse, partner, child, parent or someone who depends on the employee, for example an elderly neighbour.

When can time off be taken?
• When a dependant falls ill, gives birth, is injured or assaulted;
• To make care arrangements for a dependant who has fallen ill or is injured;
• In consequence of the death of a dependant;
• To deal with an incident that concerns a child of the employee whilst in care of an educational establishment.

How much time off can an employee take?
An employee will be entitled to a reasonable amount of time off to deal with the emergency, but there is no set amount of time as it depends on the situation.
For example, if a dependant falls ill, an employee can take time off to take that child to the doctors and make care arrangements. An employer may then ask the employee to take parental or annual leave if they wished to stay off with the child for longer.

Does the employee have to give notice?
The employee does not need to give notice; however, they should provide the employer with a reason for the absence as early as possible and when they anticipate their return to work.

Should the employee be paid for this time off?
No, an employer does not have a statutory obligation to pay employees for time off to care for dependants.

An employer must not:
• Treat employees unfairly for taking time off, for example refusing them training or promotion;
• Dismiss an employee or choose them for redundancy because they asked for time off for a dependant;
• Refuse an employee reasonable time off.

How can Employment Law Services (ELS) help?
If you are an employer who requires assistance with any of the issues raised in this blog contact us today for your free consultation 0370 218 5662.