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These Kids Today

Has it?

As we work our way up the ladder to a position of workplace seniority, there are landmark moments we can all recognise. The day we realise we’re not the new kid any more and we actually know what we’re doing. The day other people start asking our advice. The first time we get promoted. The first time we recruit for new staff.

That last one is big. Bringing new people in, perhaps to do a job we once did ourselves, is a serious responsibility. We may wish to be seen as a mentor, a wise elder by this newcomer. How should we react when they not only reject our wisdom but set out their stall for a better offer than we were planning to make, and a far better offer than we ever got?

Some people react less equitably than others.

Doing this at all is questionable; it may encourage realism in future applicants but it’s hardly likely to spark enthusiasm. The real issue, though, was how personally the hiring manager was taking it and how subjectively he was judging the application.

He requested to be paid $40 an hour to which I replied, ‘The most I pay anyone initially is $20 until I can trust them

When I was 24, I worked 20-40 hours a week as an intern with no pay.

The applicant chose not to pursue things any further, and the recruiter was wounded. Perhaps he wanted to take this talented young person under his wing, show him the value of trust and experience and finally give him the career path and the money he sought. But he wanted to give it as his gift and the applicant believed their talent merited it as a […]

Partners In Progress

Yesterday saw the 100th anniversary of partial voting rights being granted to British women. Fate decreed that it would also be a day to discuss the gender pay gap that still faces them. In 1997 the difference between male and female earnings in the UK was 27.5%. By 2017 the disparity was down to 18.4%. While this represents progress, it’s coming at a rate that suggests we may have to wait another 40 years for parity.

Tesco is widely regarded as a fair, supportive employer, so yesterday’s news that thousands of the retail giant’s female staff are mounting a legal challenge for back pay raised eyebrows. These women are claiming pay parity with men in similarly demanding roles, and Leigh Day, the law firm acting on their behalf, are making a persuasive case. It’s been revealed that the most common hourly rate for female employees is £8 while the equivalent for men is £11. Arguments that the physical demands of warehouse work justifies significantly better may not stand up; if we take that thought to its logical conclusion then pickers and packers in retailer warehouses might claim the right to higher wages than white collar workers who never break a sweat.

 

This hard-hitting review of Tesco policy was followed yesterday morning by a softer-hitting investigation on a BBC current affairs show revealing that female contestants on the latest series of “Love Island” were paid less for subsequent promotional work than their male co-stars. Some might argue that there are worthier standard bearers for equality of opportunity. Others might wonder why anyone would choose to employ a Love Island alumnus of either sex. But if we’re serious about pay parity then we can’t just stand up for […]

Money For Nothing

It’s customary to expect them to actually work there, though. This week Nottingham Prison has come under fire for keeping a local man on the payroll for a year, despite him never having worked a single day there. In December 2016 a pub worker accepted a job at the Category B men’s prison but deferred his start date when his wife became ill. At the end of the month he received a payment equal to two weeks’ wages, and throughout 2017 he received monthly payments of between £1200 and £1600.

By the time his wife had recovered the man, whose identity is being kept secret, had changed his mind about the move. It’s difficult to blame him. As novel as it may be to receive thousands of pounds you haven’t earned, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in an employer to see them making the same glaring mistake over and over again. And anyone sympathising with the Sherwood-based prison should know that the man they kept paying had no intention of robbing from the rich. He emailed the prison repeatedly, offering evidence that he didn’t work for them and asking them to cease the payments.

Payroll mistakes aren’t usually this howling but any instance of underpayment, overpayment or mis-payment is a cause for concern. Staff morale and collective confidence can be fragile and when employers lose the trust of their people, job performances can slip sharply downhill.

The answer? There’s no substitute for attention to detail. There’s no substitute for HMRC accreditation, scalability for any number of users, unlimited pension scheme definitions, payroll runs of any frequency and customisable reports for any requirement.

There’s no substitute for a Jane System.

After two decades at the cutting edge of payroll software services, […]

No Fairy Tale

Like many leaders in retail and distribution, Amazon rely on temporary, seasonal staff. People taken on to cover the busy Christmas period know very well that their employment comes with an expiry date. The disputes we’ve seen this week centred on how much human consideration, if any, is given when that date comes up.

Reports in national newspapers gave unpleasant examples of temp staff at Amazon distribution centres being sacked part of the way through night shifts and ordered off the premises at midnight. In addition to being given zero notice and no opportunity to line up alternative employment, some have told of being left to wait outside warehouses in the biting cold for up to six hours until public transport services were available again.

At the time of these people’s sackings their seasonal employment contracts, via an intermediary recruitment agency, still had a month still to run. The agency has attracted as much criticism as Amazon, who stated in their defence that when staff are let go outside public transport hours, they are prepared to offer bus and taxi transport to get them home.

When a major employer sets up shop at a new site, optimism and expectation among the local workforce is often very high. Sometimes it’s difficult to maintain those levels of positivity, but there are steps we can all take to maintain goodwill. Firstly and obviously, we can communicate.

If contracts are about to come to an end a month early, then surely employers and agencies can communicate with each other and with staff in a way that gives notice and softens the blow. If transport is available to get people safely home instead of literally leaving them out in the cold, then surely […]

Through The Keyhole

With many of us spending as much time at work as at home, is the office now a place for creature comforts?

We personalize desks.

We arrange furniture for comfort and familiarity.

Some of us even bring our pets to work.

When we look through the keyhole into the modern British workplace, what do we learn about individuals and the organisations they serve?

Commercial property specialists LondonOffices.com have researched 2018 trends and the results give us plenty of clues.

We’re prioritising adaptability and collaboration, with flexible office set-ups that encourage colleagues to interact, share ideas and create a motivation culture.

We’re not only aware of the need to be tech-savvy, we’re eager to keep our organisations on the cutting edge of sector-specific developments

The concern for employee well-being is real, and it’s being actioned in measurable ways.

For those of us whose working lives have included spells in miserable, claustrophobic cubicles this is a welcome development. As a graduate I worked at the Head Office of a major retail plc and saw both sides of corporate life. When I had to deliver a report to directors, I took the elevator to a higher floor with plush carpets I was not permitted to walk on and penthouse-like offices where I was not permitted to sit. Descending back to my own floor, I would contort myself into a cubicle the size of a large dog kennel and settle down for a day’s work that might feature little or no human contact.

According to LondonOffices.com the fashionable 2018 office will free us from any sense of confinement by bathing us in sunlight, it will encourage interaction with open plan seating and support remote working to accommodate our lifestyle choices.

At Jane Systems we have high hopes […]

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Knowing Me, Knowing You

There are many things a recruiter looks for in a job applicant, and one thing that consistently impresses interviewers is evidence that the person in front of them has done their homework. Not just on the specifics of a job role but also on the wider organisation.

And, frankly, it’s negligent when they don’t.

In a sense, every job is a customer service job and every employee is an ambassador for the organisation that pays their wages. It’s a lot easier to positively represent your employer when you understand what they do, where they are heading and how they plan to get there.

It’s also a lot easier to motivate and engage a workforce when you understand what makes them tick. A thorough recruitment process will paint a useful picture of the person you’re hiring, not just the skillset they bring. Following through with smooth onboarding and tailored training and development brings your people closer to the heart of your business. It brings them closer not just to understanding your core values but embodying them.

Jane Systems take pride in knowing our clients and our markets. Last month we carried out a survey of target clients in the public and private sectors; organisations we don’t currently work with but hope to be supporting in 2018.

73% of employees didn’t know what was in their employer’s mission statement, or if they had one

55% of employees weren’t able to name three of their employer’s core values

42% of employees didn’t know if their organisation had offices in other countries

68% of managers didn’t know for sure what motivated the people in their teams, either personally or professionally

61% of managers didn’t consider reviewing the skills of internal candidates before placing a vacancy with a […]

Back To School

But do they deserve £1.5 million a month? One Lincolnshire school employee was almost given that very pleasant surprise earlier this year when their outsourced payroll service delivered a string of errors. If overpaying some people to the tune of a lottery win is embarrassing, failing to pay others at all is shockingly negligent. With Britain’s teachers putting in typical working weeks of 55-65 hours, the idea of dedicated professionals somehow being forgotten on payday doesn’t bear thinking about.

So how can it be happening?

In April 2015 Lincolnshire County Council awarded a £70 million contract to a single HR and finance systems provider. The contract holder, an outsource giant with a global turnover in excess of £3 billion, seemed to have ample experience and resource for the task. But a succession of business-critical failures led to them marking the first anniversary of the partnership by issuing the Council with a £1.2 million service credit.

Such a costly embarrassment in year one should have provided the motivation to get things right, but years two and three don’t seem to have gone much better. Thousands of employees whose hard work keeps the lights on and the engines running for the county’s public services can’t be sure they’ll be paid accurately, if at all.

 

When an interactive HR system encourages people to take responsibility for their careers and have confidence in their professional development, just watch how quickly they begin to feel more valued.

When HR and payroll software meets every legislative standard and smooths the path towards accurate administration from recruitment to retirement, just watch your productivity rise and your staff turnover fall

When your system automates complex processes and allows you to run monthly, fortnightly and weekly payrolls with guaranteed […]

Everything Costs Something

When a fee-paying scheme was introduced for UK employment tribunals in 2013, it led to an estimated 70% cut in the number of cases. If that statistic was predictable, then it’s hardly a surprise that the recent decision to abolish those fees is set to open the floodgates.

What’s the emotional and professional cost to an individual of nursing a grievance? Even when a tribunal gives someone the opportunity to make themselves heard and gain compensation, restitution or closure, the road to that outcome can be hard and damaging. It’s difficult not to wonder what’s gone so badly wrong with HR procedure and practice that this is the long-drawn-out result.

Sometimes people and organisations just don’t fit, and the sooner they part ways the better it is for all concerned. But how often do relations between good employees and good employers reach breaking point for avoidable reasons?

In HR, as in all things, good practice is good business. When line managers are well versed in your company policies and procedures and follow them because they believe in them, results will follow.

Make those policies understandable and transparently fair. Not just following the letter of employment law but the spirit. Let your people know they really are your people, and see how that impacts on their loyalty and performance.

And have a system in place that smoothly converts your good intentions into good practice.

How much easier would it be for you to build on your people’s skills and motivation if their training needs could be logged via appraisals, business plans, project workflows or direct requests, and the training itself could be monitored at every stage, enabling you to audit and evaluate its […]

The Payroll Jungle

I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here 2017 features one or two genuinely accomplished people, but there’s also a somebody’s father, a somebody’s wife, a somebody-from-Coronation-Street, a somebody-from-Hollyoaks, a footballer-who-was-quite-famous-20 years-ago and the usual quota of people appearing in a reality TV show who became famous by appearing in other reality TV shows.

This year’s most controversial jungle dweller may well be Kezia Dugdale, a Scottish politician who served as leader of the Labour Party in Scotland from August 2015 to August 2017. Controversial because some voters and political opponents have criticised her decision to seek TV fame while serving as a member of the Scottish Parliament. In fairness Dugdale has pledged to donate her TV fee to charity but it still begs the question, should a politician use their position as a platform to seek personal fame?

Appearing on a reality TV show is far from the worst thing a British politician can do to jeopardise public trust. When details of MP expenses claims were leaked in 2009, real anger swept the country over taxpayer money being used frivolously and fraudulently. Rebuilding public confidence was crucial to the newly formed Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). IPSA was given three major objectives: to regulate MPs expenses, to administer and pay those expenses and to pay the salaries of MPs and their staff. They needed to get things right. They needed to show people that things worked.

That’s why they turned to Jane Systems.

Since 2010, Jane HR and payroll software has managed the complexity of central government requirements, delivered accuracy and transparency and been a key element in rebuilding confidence. The bottom line? IPSA considers Jane a partner they can trust […]

By |November 22nd, 2017|News, Payroll|0 Comments|