Friday, 08 April 2022 15:45

The Usual Suspects

Regular readers of our blogs and e-mails will know that we strive to remain as current and up to date as possible in the topics that we write about and share with you. Because of the services that we provide, we are very much at the coalface when it comes to the challenges faced by UK businesses, most of which will have some link to HR and Employment Law.

Looking back at our articles and blogs over the years however, we can see a number of recurring themes that bubble up to the surface on a regular basis. As a business that’s been immersed in the world of HR and Employment Law for over 20 years now, we could be forgiven for thinking that we’ve already told you everything you need to know. However, we recognise that we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that the businesses we serve are constantly evolving and growing and the people within them are constantly changing; as are the rules of Law and best practice, to which we must adhere.

Therefore, we decided that this week it would be interesting to have a look at what those recurring themes are. We don’t have the room to provide any solutions for them here, but we do challenge you to look at each one in turn, and determine if it is an issue for you, either personally or within your organisation. If it is, then we recommend implementing a plan or strategy to fix it to try and keep it off the list for good. So, in no particular order:

Holding Difficult Conversations: Or, more accurately failing to hold them. Problems and issues won’t get fixed if you just ignore them and don’t talk about them. It’s very rare that they simply go away. We find mostly that it’s the fear of conflict or embarrassment that hold people back from holding the conversations they ought to be having. Through training, we can suggest tactics and strategies to help you break the fear; or, if you really need to, you could ask us to do them for you.

Workforce/Talent planning: We’ve been talking a lot about this recently, particularly as we are currently at a record number of vacancies in the UK. However, I found an article we had written about this from eight years ago. Any businesses that took note back in 2014 are likely to be in pretty good shape with their workforce right now. For those that didn’t, you probably don’t want to be reading an article like this eight years from now and wished that you had. Start a plan today.

Contracts and Handbooks: Despite Government interventions such as The Good Work Plan, we still come across businesses that have no documentation in place or documents that are so out of date they are potentially discriminatory. Contracts and Handbooks lay out the terms by which your employees work for you. Without them you can’t hold staff accountable. Allow a budget to have them reviewed regularly to keep them current and legal. Think of it like an annual or bi-annual service.

Holidays and Sickness Absence: Most issues that arise where absence is concerned can be fixed with clear policies that are applied, evenly, fairly and consistently. We’re always happy to help you out with a holiday or sickness calculation, especially where it’s a little tricky like for part-time workers, but mostly it’s just about sticking to the rules.

Mental Health and Wellbeing: Covid has really shaken this one up over the last few years but again, we’ve been talking about it for ages. You wouldn’t put the physical health of your employees at risk and so their mental health should get equal treatment. Your workplace environment should be a place where individuals feel safe and welcome. Helping your employees to help themselves is a good strategy through awareness training and non-judgemental support.

Flexible Working: This mostly used to be about changes to working hours where employees wanted to move to working part time or compressed hours. But now, since Covid gave so many a taste of working from home, variations to working terms has become much more prevalent. Make sure you handle any such variations fairly and properly to avoid any come-back at a later stage. Keeping things relaxed and flexible is OK for a while but making any changes official puts some rules in place to which individuals are accountable.

Disciplinary and Grievance Process: The keyword here is “process”. Problems arise when businesses take shortcuts in their disciplinary procedures. It may feel unnecessary and cumbersome but there are just too many opportunities to get caught out of you don’t follow the recognised stages of the process. The expensive pay-outs you read about in the papers can usually be attributed to a failure to follow process.

How did you do? Have you got all of your bases covered or is there room for improvement in some areas? Of course we talk about these topics (among others) because it’s what we do. So if there is anything you need support and guidance with, we’re here to help on 01452 331331 and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 945 times Last modified on Friday, 08 April 2022 15:59


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  





We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.