Fintan O'Toole's Blog

Observations on the world of HR

Expressions of interest please

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We are looking to partner with an organisation that can assist our clients over the coming months through auto enrolment.

The HR Dept South London has over one hundred clients, the vast majority of which will be affected by auto enrolment over the coming years. Whilst we have only one that falls within the current confirmed timetable, many of them are now asking us for guidance on the way forward.

Typically our clients have between 20 and 80 employees and cover a range of sectors including, Charities, Professionals, Services, Publishing and Hospitality

It is our intention to appoint a partner organisation to work with us to assist our clients through the process. We are therefore seeking expressions of interest from organisations that would like to be considered for that role.

In the first instance you should write to me with details of the way in which you intend support organisations such as our clients over the coming years. We are interested to know the level of support that you would be able to offer and the resource that you would be able to commit. As you are aware we regularly present seminars on employment topics and we would be keen to start the ball rolling at our seminar in October that we will dedicate to pensions. It is not our objective to seek to earn a direct commission from this exercise. Our primary objective is to find a partner who we can trust to deliver the highest standards of customer service, reliability and integrity that our clients expect from us. We will also take into consideration the likelihood of any arrangement being two way with reciprocal referrals from a established base of clients.

The HR Dept is a franchised based business and I will introduce our partner to the other licensees in the South East and beyond, if appropriate.

We intend to shortlist two or three organisations by the end of August and we will ask them to make a more detailed presentation to us in early September. If you would like to join us on this venture, please could you send me an expression of interest by the end of July.

Written by fintanotoole

July 25, 2012 at 11:40 am

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Unhelpful dithering is not helpful to small business.

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Small businesses thrive best when left alone. Current changes to employment law, retirement legislation and the bribery act are all welcome but last minute changes and trailed policies do little other than to add to the confusion.

Businesses should expect clear guidance on what they can and can’t do with their workforce.

Written by fintanotoole

February 16, 2011 at 4:52 pm

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Retirement review

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It appears that the Government is going to extend the date at which retirement legislation will come into effect from September to April next year. This may well give a wider window to employers who will be able to give between 6 and 12 months notice from April this year when the law is due to come into effect.

Written by fintanotoole

February 16, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Appraisals – Ten PLUS ONE tips to help develop staff

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A recent survey found that 30% of employees left their job because they were unhappy with the way they were managed.

· 25% felt they received no respect for good work

· 20% complained of limited opportunities for advancement

A staggering 75%!!

Ten PLUS ONE tips:

  1. Appraise regularly – at least once a year and preferably every six months
  2. Don’t appraise at salary review time  – this becomes a bargaining session rather than a review
  3. Give consideration to training managers and staff on appraisals to agree a common framework
  4. Select and use a consistent set of documents for support
  5. Leave plenty of time for the session – and be prepared to reschedule if there is more to be said
  6. Encourage preparation – give time for self evaluation prior to the meeting
  7. Build on positives – draw out areas of good performance
  8. Don’t shy away from direct feedback.  If you have been communicating well during the year there will be no surprises.
  9. Agree positive actions and SMART objectives
  10. Arrange a time for review

PLUS ONE  Distinguish between appraisal and performance review.  The latter should be done frequently and relates to the performance of tasks.  Appraisal is about development and longer term goal setting.  It is a chance to have an indepth look at the working relationship.

Use the HR Dept Appraisal System to help you manage your staff effectively.

You can:

  • Discuss performance issues with your employees
  • Give feedback and recognition
  • Understand your employees own goals and ambitions
  • Develop plans for the future
  • Set performance targets.

The HR Appraisal system gives you all the tools that you need to set up and run an effective feedback scheme for your company. Take advantage of our special summer offer and introduce the scheme now.

It includes:

  • Appraisal forms for managers and employees
  • Guidance notes for managers
  • Guidance notes for staff
  • Personal Development Plan
  •  Onsite training for managers and staff*

All for an inclusive price of only £450 plus VAT

Don’t become a statistic – prevent people problems now.

Contact us now on 0845 6349169 or email and we’ll set up an appointment.

Written by fintanotoole

July 9, 2010 at 5:32 am

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Dress down dilemma

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Summer dress codes: advice for employers

Summer’s here, dress codes are feeling the heat and employers may be getting added pressure to relax dress standards. A dress code at work is as much about your business culture as your public image. Suits, ties, shoulder pads and blouses have been replaced in some businesses with jumpers, open shirts and leggings. But it has to fit your business and rules must be enforced with everyone. Summer naturally means everyone feels more hot and flustered but coming in flip flops, board shorts or a bikini just may not be appropriate for a work environment. It’s important to consider that a drastically relaxed dress code coupled with vague standards, may also cause employees to relax their approach to dealing with coworkers, customers and the public at large. That puts your public image at risk and exposes you to perceptions of discrimination and harassment.

It’s vital that the employer’s dress code policy should be clear as this will be important when taking action against an employee whose fashion sense leaves much to be desired. An employer is perfectly within their rights to insist on a standard of dress or uniform. A quiet, sensitive word about dress codes is usually the first step to resolve any issue.

Care must be taken to ensure that a dress code policy is fair to all employees. For example, a similar standard of formality should be expected from both male and female workers. Other relevant areas of discrimination are race, religion and belief or even age. Over half of employees (55%) polled by YouGov said that women ‘get away’ with more casual clothing than men to keep cool. Employers must be sensitive to religious beliefs and care must be taken to ensure that these are not breached or offended e.g. slogans on t-shirts.  If employers wish to allow more flexibility to one group of staff but not to another, they must be able to show the business reason for doing so.

The HR Dept South London specialise in advising small and medium sized businesses on
all employment and HR issues.

Written by fintanotoole

June 24, 2010 at 12:14 pm

HR Manager Vacancy

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We are looking to recruit an HR Manager for Greenlight – a search engine marketing agency specialising in SEO and PPC solutions. Their clients include leading brands in insurance, travel and communications.

At up to £35,000, this job calls for an experienced generalist. The HR Manager will be responsible for managing day to day HR matters including recruitment, contracts, appraisals, dispute resolution etc. The company uses the HR Toolkit as its personnel management system and the HR Manager will become a controller of the system and will work with line management on issues such as absence management.

On appointment, the HR Manager will work with the HR Dept to draw up an HR review for presentation to the board.

It is envisaged that Greenlight will continue to use the Advice Line and work with the HR Dept on project work.

Greenlight are based in the City at The Broadgate Tower which is a prestigious location near to Liverpool St Station. The company has enjoyed rapid growth and is a recognised Market Leader in this sector. A major challenge to be addressed is how the company deals with issues such as communication and motivation as it grows. They are great fun to work with and I’ve really enjoyed working along side them as they have grown.

The HR Manager will initially have a dotted line report to the HR Dept.

You must know someone who fits the bill – CV’s to me by the end of next week please – with a view to an appointment in July.

Written by fintanotoole

June 23, 2010 at 11:56 am

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Suttons biggest ever business networking event

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I am fundraising on behalf of my sister-in-law who has developed Smouldering Myeloma which is the asymptomatic form of Myeloma – an incurable cancer. I’m not brilliant at cake making or moon walking but I am good at business networking. So I am doing this for her and them – and you. I am thrilled that the Holiday Inn and Sutton Chamber have both agreed to host:

Sutton’s Super Business Networking Evening

Yes, it’s confirmed – Sutton’s super networking evening is in the diary for
Thursday June 10th at 18.00 at the Holiday Inn
Over 600 businesses and other organisations are invited to participate in this unique event. All of the local networking organisations have been invited. Renew old acquaintances and make new contacts in the business community in and around Sutton.

The Objectives
1. The Holiday Inn is launching an impressive new look makeover
2. Sutton Chamber are organising a structured networking event
3. Fundraising in aid of Myeloma UK

Free for all comers – there will be an opportunity to participate in a Champagne prize draw for £10.00

As well as networking activities there will be an opportunity for winning businesses to make a pitch to over 100 Sutton businesses.
or if you are able to make a donation
Sponsor me ( I’m taking part in the Yorkshire 3 Peaks in July)
Pledge a gift for the prize draw.

Written by fintanotoole

May 27, 2010 at 10:21 am

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