Whether your business has one staff member or thousands, it’s absolutely essential that you maintain a content workforce to guarantee the high levels of productivity and brilliant customer service that generate your business’ income. But with so many different responsibilities, few business owners fail to give the necessary amount of thought and support to their staff members to be truly considered good employers. So, if you’ve neglected your staff a little and are looking to start making changes to this, where should you start? Not to worry. That’s where we come in to help. Here are a few areas of employee care that you need to begin focusing on.
First things first, if an individual is working for you on a consistent basis, it’s important that you offer them the opportunity to become a full or part time employee, as opposed to being self-employed. Of course, bringing in self employed people for one off jobs is absolutely fine and some individuals simply prefer being self employed. But if these people are working for you most days, then the offer of becoming an employee will go down well. Contracted hours (which go hand in hand with a steady and regular income) will give them a sense of loyalty towards your brand, boosting their efforts to do an effective job.
By law, all employees should be paid the minimum wage. This goes without saying. But how about offering your staff base a good living wage? This may take a little out of your own profits, but it will draw the best individuals towards your brand and will also ensure that your staff have sufficient cash flow to maintain a good quality of life. This will mean less stresses at home, which means better efforts in the workplace. If your staff are stressed with money worries, their mind is often going to stray from their work, they are less likely to get a good night’s sleep before their shift and they won’t have the positive mindset required to deliver friendly customer service.
Staff should be allowed a certain amount of time off from work each year. They can take this in one large chunk or individual days. Try to be as lenient as possible with holidays. Remember that not everyone will want to take a solid week off for a getaway holiday. They may have familial commitments which will mean taking one or two days off for a wedding here and a couple of days for a birthday celebration there. The more lenient you are with negotiating leave, the more likely your staff are to have a stress free time off, rejuvenating themselves and returning to work happy and enthusiastic.
If employees are too ill to work they can claim statutory sick pay of £89.35 per week. You are obliged to pay this for up to 28 weeks. This is not negotiable and is required by law. However, you are entirely in your right to request sick notes from a doctor as proof that the member of staff is too ill to work. If you receive an appropriate sick note, refrain from acting in an unprofessional or harsh manner to the employee: they are unwell and it is their right to be helped through this time. Remember that stress can enhance and accentuate existing illness, so undue stress for the employee is only likely to prolong the issue.
Needless to say, bereavement leave is an extremely sensitive topic. Surprisingly, many employers lack empathy when negotiating this with their staff. It is essential to remember that staff who are requesting bereavement leave may not be in the best state of mind and you do not want to add to their troubles and worries. Consult the employers bereavement leave guide if you have any concerns or questions.
Maternity and Paternity Leave
Paid maternity leave is standard practice in the U.K. and law has developed to also allocate paid paternity leave too. This allows both parents of a child, regardless of their gender, to spend necessary bonding hours with their child as they enter the world. Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks: ordinary maternity leave of 24 weeks and additional maternity leave of 26 weeks. Not all new mothers will necessarily wish to take the entire time off, but it should at least be offered. It is recommended that new mothers take at least two weeks off following their child’s birth (four weeks if they are working in a factory). Statutory paternity leave is only two weeks paid leave, however, further paid time off can be issued at your own discretion.
Once all of these areas have been talked through with your employee and outlined in their contract, it’s time to get them to work. Before setting them to the job, encourage them to undertake a training process which will endow them with all of the essential information required to excel in their position. A staff member who is confident in their job role, what is expected of them and how to deliver the best performance are going to be a much better asset to your workforce than someone who is feeling lost and as though they are faking their way through each day.
These are just a few areas of employee care that you should prioritise. Remember that your workforce is the backbone of your company and without them you wouldn’t be able to thrive or make the turnover that you are used to. So treat your employees in the best manner possible. Workers who feel appreciated will take extra steps to ensure that they are providing the best quality work for what they are being paid. Appreciation also encourages staff loyalty, ensuring that professionals stay within your company rather than taking their skills to competitors. Maintaining the same staff members for extended periods of time also saves you from having to take on new staff. This means less cash paid out in advertising positions or using recruitment agencies, less time spent training new members of the team, staff members to bond more effectively and allows you a better understanding of your workforce as a whole.