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Five top HR tips for 2016

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Employers rights and obligations with social media

1. Holiday requests

With most companies operating a leave year from January to December this is a common issue which crops up when staff return after the Christmas break.

This can be a particular problem for small businesses where as little as two members of staff being absent at the same time can have a significant impact on the service you deliver to your customers.

Employers should have an annual leave policy to make things clear for staff. In the absence of this, the simplest way is to handle requests is on a first come first serve basis, however if this does not work in practice you may wish to set up a holiday rota.

If you know that your business will be particularly busy in a certain month then it is possible to prevent the employees from taking leave during that period. However you should only do this when absolutely necessary and ensure that the policy applies to all staff equally.

2. Employee benefits

Take a minute to put yourselves in the shoes of your staff.  Are you a good employer to work for? How do your employees’ pay and benefits compare with those your competitors are offering? Could you offer more?

Whilst offering additional benefits may cost you more money in the short term, it will inevitably boost morale amongst staff and hopefully lead to increased long term productivity.

In addition, it makes your business a more attractive proposition for those in the job market potentially enabling you to attract a better calibre of candidate.

Get some quotes from health and dental care provider and take time to weigh up the cost and associated benefit of implementing any additional benefit.

3. Business Goals

Set clear business goals for the year and where appropriate share them with your team.

Arrange a meeting in January with each member of staff and put clear targets in place so the team member knows the scope of their role. This will enable the individual team member to be clear on how their efforts contribute to the overall success of the team whilst at the same time giving them an increased sense of belonging which in turn will make it easier for you to achieve the long term goals.

4. Employment law changes in 2016

As we know employment law and legislation is constantly evolving. If you've not got an eye on what changes are coming in 2016 then you risk getting left behind.

For example, did you know that the national living wage is set to be introduced in April 2016? If you plan in advance then you can adapt and comply accordingly. Get the key dates in your diary now!

Finally and perhaps most importantly....

5. Undertake a review your contracts of employment and policies.

As highlighted above employment legislation is constantly changing. As such, the policies that you created a couple years ago are likely to be out of date and non-compliant with the current legislation.

If managers are following these out of date policies then you could find yourself on the wrong end of the employment tribunal claim.

The start of the year is a great time to dust off that company handbook and make sure it is fully up to date.

We can offer assistance with a review of your contracts and handbooks as part of the range of HR products we have available.

If you would like to know more contact a member of the team who would be happy to discuss this with you further.

By trainee solicitor, Stephen Woodhouse