As we welcome in the New Year, the focus shifts to a fresh start and an opportunity to review our workplaces. There are several things that employers will need to be mindful of as the complexity of managing employees only seems to be increasing.

As the world of work continues to evolve, here are some areas that employers will need to focus on and prepare for this year.

Investing in talent and retaining skilled employees

Identifying and retaining skilled employees is becoming a common business priority, especially as we approach Brexit. If an organisation intends to be competitive in a time of uncertainty, then it will have to be equipped to deal with the rapidly changing environment. As a result, it is becoming more important to invest in your employees to take the right steps to retain them and this can be done in several ways:

    • Ensure they have the right tools to do the job
      Investing in the development of your employees is no longer a desirable, it is essential, and this is irrespective of their position within the company. This is of benefit to both the employee and the business as it allows both to develop and effectively handle the changes that the business faces.

      Over recent years, the main focus for organisations has been around line manager capability, yet it is rarely seen as a priority. It is important to remember that managers are not just in charge of delegating tasks, now there is an expectation to effectively manage incredibly difficult situations such as managing conflict, performance management and supporting employee wellbeing which can be a legal minefield, potentially exposing the business to risks.

      Can your managers handle the pressure of change? If the answer to this is that you don’t think they are, then it may be a good place to start.

      Our next Management Essentials open course takes place on 28th February 2019 at our Rugby office, to book your place or to find out more click here.

    • Invest in employee wellbeing
      Whilst this is not a new topic, many employers are now realising that the days of employees “leaving their problems at the door” are well and truly over. There are many benefits to investing in your employee’s wellbeing, such as reduced absence and increased productivity.

      Wellbeing goes beyond a corporate gym membership or Employee Assistance Programme, whilst both of these things are great, now there is a much deeper emphasis upon supporting positive mental health at work and employee financial wellbeing to minimise stress.

      AHR are pleased to introduce our new open course; Resilience and Wellbeing. The open course takes place on 12th February 2019 at our Rugby office, to book your place or to find out more click here. Additionally, if you require advice on supporting employees with stress or absence, please contact us to see how we can help you.

  • Work-life balance
    With employees having the ability to work remotely, and flexible working becoming more common, having a good work-life balance is also a tool that can be used to attract new employees to your business. A good work-life balance is one of the main things that candidates look for when considering a new employer, but it is also important for retention as well.

Embracing diversity and inclusion

Diversity within workplaces will continue to be a priority to many organisations this year. Whilst the topic of diversity and inclusion is not a new one,  interest in the subject has increased significantly, especially with high-profile initiatives such as gender pay gap reporting and the widespread reporting of sexual harassment in the film industry.

Our next Equality & Discrimination and Difficult Conversations course takes place on 7th February 2019 at our Rugby office, to book your place or to find out more click here.

Brexit

Brexit will most certainly be at the top of many organisations’ agendas and whilst we don’t know what the impact will be, one thing that is obvious is the level of uncertainty that comes with it.

Organisations should be considering the potential impact upon their business operations, if there are any at all. Additionally, there could be resourcing issues, particularly around the provision of visas. However, the impact of Brexit remains full of “what if” scenarios, so until we know exactly what it looks like, it could be a waste of resources if we over plan every scenario. In the meantime, it is possible to take steps to manage uncertainty, by recognising those in your organisation that could be affected you can seek ways to help support them.

Employment law changes

Here are some key dates for employment law changes that it will be worth keeping an eye on:

  • 28th January 2019 – In April 2018 The Home Office Right to Work Checking Service was launched. It is free to use and enables UK employers to check the current right to work of a person. Currently employers still need to request paper documents alongside using the online service. On 13th December 2018, the Immigration (Restrictions on Employment) (Code of Practice and Miscellaneous Amendments) Order 2018 was laid before Parliament together with a revised Code of practice on preventing illegal working. This provides that employers will be able to rely solely on the online check from 28th January 2019, where a prospective employee has an immigration status that can be checked using the service.
  • 31st January 2019 – the Government consultation on the tribunal system closes. In September 2018, the Law Commission began consulting on Employment Law Hearing Structures to consider how cases are handled and if there are ways to improve the current system. It is expected that the results of this consultation will be published later this year.
  • 29th March 2019 – Brexit day; with this there are no changes to employment law. However, once the UK leaves the European Union, there may be a review of some employment laws, such as TUPE and the Agency Worker Regulations.
  • 1st April 2019 – the statutory rates will increase which includes the National Living Wage which rises from £7.83 to £8.21.
  • 4th April 2019 – employers of 250 or more employees are required to publish their gender pay gap data. This is the second report that employers are required to publish so there will be further information released once the data is analysed.

We will be sending out details to all our clients relating to changes in employment legislation as and when they occur, but if you require more detailed information, please call us on 0345 076 2288.