Should you be monitoring your employees who are remote working?

As a freelance HR consultant offering expert HR solutions to small to medium-sized businesses throughout Essex and Suffolk, I have seen one issue becoming more prevalent in the last few years. This is the rise of remote working, and how businesses can effectively and ethically monitor employees who are working from home. The huge increase in people working from home began with COVID-19, but although for the most part society has gone back to ‘normal’, remote working is definitely here to stay. To highlight the shift in upper management’s view of remote working, former Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, informed employees that they could continue working from home “forever”. Although the official policy on this from Twitter may have changed since the recent acquisition of the company by Elon Musk! But it serves to show just how the perception of remote working has changed dramatically in just a few years.

Pros of remote working

Expert HR solutions, like the professional HR advice for small businesses offered by Blue Tree HR, should always look at every angle of issues like remote working, and offer advice accordingly. So let’s first look at the obvious pros of working from home. One of the main benefits of remote working is workers are no longer forced into stressful commutes, which have been proven to have a negative effect on a worker’s entire day. There is also the time saved in commuting, creating more personal time to spend with their family or friends, so when an employee starts their day they are fresher and more focused than if they had just finished a tedious commute. Remote working also offers flexibility in an employee’s working hours. They are not necessarily stuck to rigid breaks and lunch times, offering more freedom than if they were in the office. This all adds up to a more productive employee, which is the ultimate goal for businesses.

Cons of remote working 

As with most things in life that look great on paper, there is often a flip side to any coin (although not with my expert HR solutions!) Whilst there is a lot to be said about the benefits of remote working, you also need to consider the negatives. When employees work from home for a prolonged period, they lose the ability to interact with their coworkers in a face-to-face manner. This sense of isolation can be problematic for some. There is also the fact that it can be difficult for some to separate their home and work life, especially if they live in a busy household. It is easy to get distracted if there is a knock at the door, the phone rings, the family pet wants attention or the kids are running riot! And for a small majority of remote workers, working from home offers the chance to procrastinate at will, which clearly affects their overall work performance and productivity. It is this issue that has led many businesses to implement surveillance and monitoring techniques to ensure remote workers are actually working, and not binge-watching their favourite Netflix show!

This leads us to the topic of whether you should be monitoring employees who work from home, and if so, how?

Monitoring remote workers

When offering my expert HR solutions on topics such as monitoring remote workers, I will always tell my clients that legally, this is entirely at their discretion (so long as they make the employee aware that it is taking place). After all, if the worker was in the office then it would be entirely appropriate to ensure they are actually working and not spending hours of the company’s time scrolling through Facebook! There are some larger companies out there that employ spy software, known as “tattleware”. An example of this would be Sneek, which takes a picture every minute through an employee’s webcam and sends these to management. Whilst these types of software ensure a business’s management can keep constant tabs on remote workers, they do display a lack of trust in the employee, which in itself can be detrimental to their overall performance. My expert HR solutions for monitoring remote workers would suggest using this kind of software as a last resort for those employees whose work productivity significantly drops when working from home. In our opinion when offering my expert HR solutions, the best way to monitor employees working from home is ultimately through their performance. By setting targets and goals, and having regular catch-up meetings, (whether these are face-to-face or remotely), to discuss their work output, you should remove the need for more Orwellian methods. And should you feel that “tattleware” is the only option, ensure you are transparent about the reasons behind such a move.

Expert HR solutions

As shown above, my advice on expert HR solutions would be to give serious thought has to be given when considering monitoring remote workers. If you wish to discuss this further, as a freelance HR consultant I am always on hand for more bespoke advice. And if you have any other query that requires expert HR solutions, contact Blue Tree HR and I will be happy to help.

How to effectively manage sickness absence

As a freelance HR consultant, I am often asked to give expert HR advice regarding sickness absence and how best to manage this, especially at this time of year. Sickness absence is a serious issue for many companies, in fact, data from the Office of National Statistics show that nearly 150 million days were lost to either sickness or injury in the UK throughout 2021, equating to 4.6 days per person! And whilst covid helped to make these the highest figures ever recorded, it is still businesses that must bear the brunt of the lost hours. The bottom line is, both short and long-term staff absences hit businesses hard.

The cost of regular absence

There are obvious direct costs to sickness absence, such as lost man hours, statutory or occupational sick pay, and paying another person unexpected overtime to cover. But what of the more indirect effects, such as lowered morale among the workforce due to increased workloads? And when workers are having to cover fellow employees’ work there is an increased chance of mistakes being made, as others are becoming overworked. There is also the chance of lower productivity in the office, as constantly absent employees can lead to delayed projects and deadlines being missed, leading to lower motivation from the rest of the team.

Expert HR advice by Blue Tree HR Solutions

The top reasons for sickness absence

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development’s (CIPD) Health and Wellbeing report published in 2020 showed that both stress and mental ill-health are two of the main causes of long-term absence. The most common reasons for short-term absence are minor illnesses such as colds, flu, stomach bugs, headaches and migraines. The real issues begin when there is suspicion that an employee may not actually be sick at all, but is using sickness as an excuse for being absent from work. This is where managing sickness absence can get tricky and where it pays to have expert HR advice from an experienced team like Blue Tree HR!

So now that we know the main reasons for absence, and how this can affect the business, how can we effectively manage sickness absence? Here is my expert HR advice on how to effectively manage sickness absence in your business.

Use HR software to track all absences

The first piece of expert HR advice I would suggest to any business wanting to effectively manage sickness absence is to invest in HR software that will track all employee absences, whether it be due to sickness, annual holiday or any other reason. I would strongly advise using Breathe HR, which allows you to manage holiday requests, manage absences, expense tracking, document storing, automated reporting and so much more. If your business has less than 10 employees it is just £13 a month, or just £26 a month for up to 20 employees! This really is an amazing piece of HR software, and you can get started right away by following this link

Expert HR advice by Blue Tree HR Solutions

Ensure you have set policies and procedures for absence in place

It is essential that any business has clear policies and procedures in place documenting the exact steps and repercussions for continued absence. By following our expert HR advice we would suggest these should clearly be made aware to all employees, and be available for review by an employee at any time. By having such policies and procedures in place you ensure that there can be no legal fallout should, in the worst-case scenario, you have to let someone go over continued absence.

Reviewing the evidence and identifying the issue

Once you have the correct HR software in place you can review all absences and identify any trends, such as whether there is a particular individual who is always off sick on Mondays, or is there someone who always seems to be missing when there is an important deadline due? Perhaps an employee is regularly off with no real explanation or a series of different excuses? If you start to see a pattern then our expert HR advice would be that it is time to have a formal discussion with the employee. Likewise, it may be that you have evidence that the employee was not sick when they were supposed to be but was actually somewhere else having fun. Should this occur then the employee needs to be led through your official disciplinary procedures.

Holding return-to-work interviews are an excellent way to identify potential issues early on whilst ensuring that employees are aware that their sickness absence is being monitored and will be discussed with them.

For more expert HR advice contact the team

Unfortunately, at this time of year, there is always an increase in sickness absence. But by following our expert HR advice outlined above you will be better placed to decide whether the absence is genuine or may need investigating. We would love to discuss this in more detail, so for further expert HR advice, please contact our team.

Should your company take a public stand on political/social issues?

As an expert freelance HR consultant who works with clients across a range of industries offering both ad hoc HR and retained HR, one topic that often arises is that of social media and how a business’s views can affect its standing in the eyes of its customers. Ever since social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook exploded in popularity, it has never been easier to openly declare and spread your political beliefs to the world. This has proved to be as true for individuals as it has for businesses, especially those that are very active on social media. But as an expert freelance HR consultant, the question we would suggest you should ask yourself is this: Is taking a stand on political or social issues positive or detrimental to your brand?

Findings from recent research from Sprout Social shows that 66% of consumers say it is important to them that brands take social stands on political and social issues, with 58% of consumers open for brands to make their views clear on social media channels. You can see how some businesses could take statistics like these to mean they almost have to be vocal in some way on any of the current social or political issues that are trending. We have all seen endless brands offering their opinion on a topic that is receiving a lot of coverage, normally one that invites polarisation.

What stance should I take?

But is this the right approach? Business accounts are not the same as personal accounts, so should they be treated the same? Remember, any posts by your business will automatically indicate that these are the official views of your organisation. So, the question you need to ask yourself here is “Should my business be involved in political issues at all?” Whilst it is true that political posts can often get lots of interaction, the chances are very high that there will be people arguing for and against the point made. This is because when it comes to political or social commentary, you can almost guarantee that not everyone will agree with you. As an expert freelance HR consultant I would argue that there is a high chance that a political comment will spark a hostile response from those who have the opposite stance.

You could argue that all press is good press, but in fact, this is not always the case at all. All it takes to lose a long-term and previously loyal customer is just one bad political interaction. Why? Because political beliefs are very personal to a specific person and people are incredibly loyal to their chosen political beliefs and parties. If you are seen to be openly disagreeing with someone’s deeply held personal beliefs, when those beliefs have very little to do with your actual products or services, well then you risk losing that person as a customer forever.

As an experienced freelance HR consultant, I would always advise my clients to consider the bigger picture when thinking about political posts. For example, imagine that you have done research on a particular political issue that you agree with and all data points to 90% of the population having the same opinion. This seems like a very safe bet, doesn’t it? But what of the 10% who do not agree with this opinion? You might have pleased 90% of your customer base, but how will this shared agreement of a specific issue actually relate in terms of increased revenue for the business? Now let’s look at this 10% who did not agree.

As mentioned above, issues such as political stances are much more likely to lose you customers, so you could potentially have lost 10% of your customer base, without increasing revenue from the remaining 90%. So as your local expert freelance HR consultants we would suggest before posting anything politically driven ask yourself this: Do I really want to take that risk?

Of course, there are always exceptions. Some businesses thrive on driving debate amongst their customer base and actually include these strategies in their marketing plans. But for any business that uses social media as a way of showcasing its products or services, interacting with customers and general brand awareness, as a freelance HR consultant I would ask is it really is worth seriously considering the ramifications of political posts before sharing them on business social media channels.

Expert freelance HR consultant

We hope you found this helpful, and if you have any queries relating to HR advice and guidance, feel free to contact our experienced team. We will be happy to offer the very best freelance HR consultant advice on any HR-related subject and offer both ad hoc HR and retained HR packages for all HR requirements.

How the best HR support Essex has to offer can help your small business save money!

As the best HR support Essex has to offer, which includes both ad hoc HR and retained HR packages, how can Blue Tree HR Solutions help save your business money? The past 3 years have not been easy for anybody, especially small business owners, making quality HR support for small businesses more important than ever. With the pandemic, the impact of Brexit and now the cost of living crisis, many small businesses are reportedly worried about the future of their company and its stability. While keeping on top of every aspect of running a business is already tricky at the best of times, the impact of recent global issues has made a bad situation worse. More than 1 in 10 small businesses in the UK are expected to close shop in 2023 due to revenue-related issues.

Thankfully, there are expert HR services that can offer the constant support and advice you need. From avoiding costly situations to making your business more efficient, there are plenty of ways quality HR support for small businesses can help them cut down on unnecessary spending.

Here’s how Blue Tree HR Solutions can benefit your small business with the best HR support Essex can offer.

We’re here to help you save

As the best provider of HR support Essex can offer, we are aware that the biggest worry of all for small businesses across the UK right now is money. If there’s a way to help save on your costs, then it can only be a positive option. 

In the HR world, prevention is better than the cure. By embracing HR as a benefit instead of a cost, you’ll start to see how your business can save money by running more efficiently. One way to do this is by putting in place formal HR systems and processes. 

Absence management policy and systems

The average employee uses £570 worth of sick pay every year. If your business has just 5 employees, that’s over £2,500 on sick pay every year. By having formal absence reporting and management systems, employees are less likely to call in an absence for minor reasons. When absences are recorded and kept on file, absence levels decrease. By reducing absence levels, you can minimise the impact absence has on your business earnings.

Blue Tree HR Solutions not only offer the best HR support for small businesses like yours, but we also offer expert HR software that will set up these systems and processes for you so that you can start saving money where it doesn’t need to be lost.  Just another reason Blue Tree HR Solutions deliver the best HR support Essex can offer.

Disciplinary / grievance policy

As a business owner and employer, it is your responsibility to demonstrate that a formal disciplinary and grievance procedure has been clearly communicated to all employees. If this is not the case, any employee you take action against can be deemed automatically unfair and you may be ordered to pay a reward, which can result in your business getting hurt. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for small businesses to not have these policies and procedures in place to protect themselves. With our expert HR support Essex businesses can get professional help to set these policies set up and communicate them across your company with all the correct legislation. 

Employment law and access to HR

Employee legislation is constantly changing and evolving in order to better protect you, your business and your employees. While this is in your favour, it can be hard to keep up to date with every new or updated detail, especially if you are a small business. Your employees should also have access to an HR representative so that they can check their own rights and laws if they feel they have a problem at work. If you do not have an HR team, they will come to you to find this information out. 

If you have employees it is your responsibility to know employment law and HR practices. If you do not know employment law, or you make a minor mistake, it could lead to you losing a claim made against you.

Unfortunately, many business owners simply don’t have the time to keep up to date with this crucial information when trying to run a business. This is where the best HR support Essex offers, Blue Tree HR Solutions, can help.

By gaining this kind of expert HR support for small businesses as early as possible, you can relax knowing the tricky legal part of running your business is taken care of. Blue Tree HR Solutions will not only always be here to offer credible and accurate guidance and advice on any employment law matters, but it is our duty to ensure all internal processes, policies and future paperwork follow the most recent legislation correctly. By opting for the best HR support Essex can offer your small businesse, it could save you thousands of pounds in tribunal rewards and lost productivity. 

HR support Essex 

Looking for HR support for small businesses can save your business money when it matters most. Blue Tree HR Solutions offer the best HR support Essex has and are equipped with deep industry knowledge, and the latest technology to give you the best results and is highly recommended by many. We have every tool to help you avoid high costs and save you money. If you are looking for the best HR support Essex can offer, get in touch with our friendly team. We are experts at offering quality HR support for small businesses like yours through our ad hoc HR and retained HR packages.

Additional Bank Holiday

The extra bank holiday next is raising a few questions, so I thought I would email you to clarify the situation.

Sometimes additional public holidays are granted by Royal Proclamation. There is an additional bank holiday on 19 September 2022 for Queen Elizabeth II‘s funeral. There was also another in June 2022 for the Queen’s platinum jubilee.

Employers need to decide how they will approach these upcoming additional days off. This will be determined to some extent by the wording in the contract. Where the contract entitles employees to take as paid leave “all bank and public holidays”, the employer will have no choice but to grant the extra day in the usual way or negotiate otherwise.

Where the contract requires workers to work on “all bank holidays”, the employer can require them to work on an additional day. If they are paid a higher rate for working on a bank holiday and the contract does not limit the number of bank holidays to which the higher rate applies, the employer must pay that rate for the additional day.

However, where the contract limits entitlement to a day off work (or to a higher rate of pay where bank holidays are worked) to the “usual eight” bank holidays,  or your contract may state the employee is entitled to 28 days of holiday and this is inclusive of bank holidays, the employer will need to decide its policy in relation to the additional day.

Giving Employees the Day Off

If the employer chooses to give its workers the day off as an extra day’s paid holiday (or pay them a higher rate if they work on that day), it should express this as being a non-contractual discretionary measure that applies only during the year in question. Otherwise, workers may, in the future, have grounds to argue that time off (or the higher rate of pay) on additional bank holidays is a contractual right, implied by custom and practice.

If workers will be required to take the additional day off out of their existing holiday entitlement, the employer will need to plan ahead to ensure that it gives them the requisite notice.

If some or all workers will be required to work on the additional public holiday, the employer may wish to consider a one-off discretionary day off in lieu, as a gesture of goodwill. Where workers will be treated differently, for example, one receptionist out of three is required to work but the other two can take the extra holiday days as leave, the employer should have objective criteria for this requirement and the choice of who will work, to minimise the risks of a discrimination claim (for example because of sex or race). In this scenario, the receptionist who works on the bank holiday must be compensated either by being paid or being granted a day off in lieu.

Keeping staff happy with your bank holiday policy

Employees would have heard that there is an extra bank holiday and may assume they are entitled to a paid day off. An alternative would be to ask staff to come in and perhaps allow those that are interested an extended lunch break to watch the proceeding on a screen.

Expert HR advice for small businesses

We hope that you found this blog informative. And remember, if you require expert HR advice for small businesses, or larger concerns, our experienced and professional HR team are always on hand to help. We offer both ad hoc HR and retained HR packages to suit any HR requirements. Contact our friendly team to learn more.

Flexible Working and Managing Flexible Work Requests

Before the pandemic struck the world by a storm in 2020, flexible working arrangements were a nice-to-have perk. Remote employees were the minority, and most business leaders believed they could only nurture a productive workforce in the office. 

But everything changed overnight, and those working on-site were suddenly only essential workers. Even though the COVID-19 crisis is ending in most countries, including the United Kingdom, flexible work isn’t going anywhere. 

Employees Prioritize Flexibility

According to Statista, 4.27 million UK employees have employment contracts that allow flexible hours, making it the most common practice in 2022. Contrary to what employers thought, people like the post-pandemic workplace arrangements and wouldn’t return to strict schedules and solely office work. 

Another report found that the demand for flexible work is increasing, with 8.7 million full-time workers yearning for flexibility. Moreover, the younger generations would likely decline jobs with rigid working hours. 

For instance, 75 per cent of Gen-Z see flexible work as the number one employee benefit. Here’s why this arrangement is also beneficial for companies. 

Four-Day Working Week & Flexible Working

Top 3 Benefits of Flexible Work

1. Enhances Employee Retention

Today, flexible schedules are among the most sought-after employee perks and benefits. Many people would choose flexibility over a prestigious title or additional time off. 

Meeting employees’ needs and expectations is necessary for cultivating loyalty. Companies can retain workers and attract top talent by offering flexible schedules and remote work. 

2. Boosts Productivity

Employers often hold back from introducing flexible working because they fear it would affect productivity as they wouldn’t be able to monitor employees. But according to Gartner, 43% of workers are more productive if allowed flexibility.  Moreover, this work arrangement enables people to relax and focus on their assignments without office pressure. Many employees feel less productive on-site due to managerial micromanagement and team competition.

3. Improves Employee Engagement

Empowered employees are more engaged, and what’s a better way of empowering them than responding to their needs and ensuring they can choose a work arrangement that stimulates their creativity? Flexible working also shows companies respect and care about their workers.

People want to know their employers trust them to work outside the office and get the work done just as efficiently. That boosts their engagement and helps them enjoy their tasks.

How to Manage Flexible Work Requests

Acas 2021 survey found over 55 per cent of employers expect an increase in flexible work requests, as people wish to split their time between home and office. Even though companies have the right to decline, they should consider the benefits of flexibility and discuss it with their workers in more depth. 

They should be fair and objective, as most employees have reason to ask for flexible working, such as restoring work-life balance or preventing burnout. Employers can ask for a written flexible work request and discuss why the worker would prefer this arrangement. 

However, they should be clear about flexibility policies and what flexible work consists of in their companies. If employers have no relevant regulations, they should consider introducing them and providing all employees equal access to flexible working. 

Making flexibility a part of the company culture helps attract high-quality candidates and retain employees, especially working parents, students, minorities, and people from diverse groups. Whether you approve the flexible work request or not, it shouldn’t take a long time, and it might alter your employee’s contract. 

Flexible work has numerous advantages for companies and employees, but employers are often reluctant to introduce this work arrangement. Although business leaders often fear flexibility would impact productivity, loyalty, and commitment, people with access to this benefit are more engaged and motivated. 

Hence, before declining a flexible work request, consider the benefits. Besides improving employees’ work-life balance, it also helps instill trust and nurture lasting retention.  

How HR Consultants at Blue Tree HR Solutions can help with Flexible working

Flexible working requests and considering offering hybrid working and a more flexible working arrangement to staff and new recruits may seem like another headache for employers.  At Blue Tree HR Solutions we can help you implement a policy and support you during flexible work requests and help you find ways to make working hours convenient and beneficial for employers and employees.

If you require expert HR advice for small businesses then take a look at our ad hoc HR and retained HR packages. Feel free to contact our friendly team for more information. 

Will our expert freelance HR services help your business retain its best employees? The answer is yes!

What if freelance HR services Essex could help you retain your star employees?

Employee retention is a fundamental quality of a successful business. It is easier for long-term employees who are familiar with their roles to become specialised and better at their jobs compared to newer, or short-term, employees.

There are many aspects that can impact employee retention and different steps can be taken to reduce your staff turnover. In this blog, we will explain how the expert freelance hr services Essex has available to you can help you retain your best employees!

Freelance HR Services Essex

Communication is key

Like many other things in life, it all comes down to good communication. Communication underpins all strategies for a happy, successful company. Thankfully, here at Blue Tree HR, good communication is our speciality and an important aspect of the expert HR solutions we provide.

Performance management

Effective communication is integral when it comes to successful productivity and performance management. Setting objectives and reviewing performance is important, however, it is equally, if not more, important how these processes are conducted and how the information is used.

Blue Tree HR provides expert HR advice on developing objectives, motivating, and engaging employees in the most effective way – so that you and your managers are able to more successfully manage performance within the company.

But how does this relate to retaining employees?

There can be friction between managers and employees because of how performance reviews are conducted and/or handled. Employees who feel scrutinised, or unchallenged, are likely to seek positions elsewhere. So, by improving performance management, you reduce employee turnover and retain your best employees!

Improve Performance Reviews | HR Services Essex

Disciplinaries, grievances and concerns

Dealing with disciplinaries and grievances is often seen as something to be avoided at all costs. And of course, every company should do their best to reduce the number of grievances and disciplinaries, however, when they do arise, it is important to handle them in the most constructive manner (and not to avoid them).

This is best achieved when you consult the best freelance HR services Essex can offer, like Blue Tree HR, who are able to provide expert HR solutions to any disciplinaries and grievances as an unbiased third party. Contact us today for more information.

Disciplinaries and grievances are signs that something is not working properly- whether for the employer or the employee (and sometimes both). As the best provider of HR services Essex can offer, Blue Tree HR Solutions opens a channel of constructive communication and provides expert HR solutions so that everyone involved is able to move forward in the best way possible.

By providing a clear, open channel for communicating grievances and disciplinary actions, you avoid the build-up of resentment from one party to another. Instead, a constructive environment is created to solve any issues and move forward without bitterness or grudges.

HR Services Essex

How does this help retain the best employees?

Believe it or not, many employees, even the best ones, have grievances or concerns at some point in their careers. It is how these are handled that determines their future employment status with the company. By consulting the best expert freelance HR services Essex can offer, you can make sure grievances and concerns are handled in the best way possible and hold onto the employees that you value most.

With an open channel of communication, you are also more likely to prevent any official grievances and/or disciplinaries. Employees will feel more comfortable communicating difficulties, giving employers a chance to improve practices before becoming an official grievance. This can help prevent accidental discrimination and encourages company growth by introducing effective strategies and practices into the workplace.

The best expert freelance HR services Essex can offer will give advice on allowing your employees to voice their concerns and see positive changes that make their job more enjoyable. This is the most effective way to make your employees feel valued and remain at your company.

What kind of concerns might some of our best employees have?

Work-life balance

A very common concern for employees is maintaining a healthy work-life balance. It can be difficult for employees to go to their boss and discuss their mental/physical health, and how their work-life balance impacts it.

Often this can lead to an employee feeling overwhelmed and eventually feeling the need to leave their role. Having an impartial party to discuss things confidentially makes it easier for people to voice any struggles they may be having and help managers and employers implement better processes and/or practices to solve the problem. Take a look at our previous blog to learn more about ensuring your company supports mental health within the workplace.

The expert HR services Essex has available to you makes all the difference when it comes to retaining your best employees

As you can see, there are a number of ways that the expert HR services Essex has available, like Blue Tree HR, can help you retain your star employees! And if you’re looking for expert HR advice, you’ve come to the right place. Blue Tree HR is proud to offer, professional, impartial and compassionate HR services. We will work alongside you and your team to help your organisation develop a dynamic, professional, and happy workplace

For the best HR services Essex can offer, including both retained HR and ad hoc HR packages, get in touch with the Blue Tree HR team today!

How Can HR Consultancy Advice Save Your Business Stress In The Long Term?

HR consultancy advice can not only improve the climate of your current workplace, but it can also proactively reduce stress in the long term by recognising and reacting to problems early before they become serious issues. As experts in HR advice and guidance, Blue Tree HR Solutions has everything you need to avoid unnecessary stress, so that you can put your energy into improving your business and taking care of your employees. Here are 3 common issues that, if not resolved correctly, can put a strain on your business and how HR consultancy advice can help before it becomes something more serious.


Preempting issues before they escalate

As a business owner, you have a responsibility to manage your employees and take action where needed. For some business owners, it can sometimes be easier to let things slide and not take action, especially if they have 10 other pushing priorities to attend to. Instead of tackling the problem immediately (and therefore creating more work for themselves), owners or managers will sometimes ignore an issue until the issue becomes critical. Unfortunately, this approach will nearly always end with more “work” than they would have had in the first place, as now that issue has become a serious one.

These types of situations are more common instances where an employee’s bad behaviour has not been addressed, even though it has been reported by other employees, and has now worsened to the extent that they have cost the business money, time and even upset other staff and customers. Issues left to worsen almost always come back to affect you worse than if the issue had been addressed quickly and in the proper manner.

As experts in HR advice and guidance, Blue Tree HR Solutions can help. The best way to combat the unnecessary stress of employee wrongdoings is to make sure all problems are dealt with in line with the correct policies, within the correct timeframes. Professional HR consultancy advice from Blue Tree HR Solutions can help with finding what works best for your business. As professionals in HR advice and guidance, we can also help to alleviate some of the weight on the owner’s shoulders by helping to deal with issues. This can be done by setting up a detailed step-by-step process on how to manage a specific situation correctly, conducting investigation meetings on your behalf to free up more time in your day, and can even attend your workplace and provide advice so that you can make sure any issues are dealt with in the best possible way. Avoid unnecessary stress by not letting problems drag out.

HR consultancy advice

Safeguarding critical information

Business owners all have their own way of storing important data. This is down to what they find easiest to organize and what feels most secure to them. Popular options include keeping important data down on paper or opting for a clunky HR system. While these may feel safe and secure, the risks to these ways of storing data are never ending and can cause significant amounts of stress if something was to ever go wrong.

Not only does Blue Tree HR Solutions offer expert HR solutions and HR consultancy advice, but we also offer unique, secure HR software that completely cuts out any chance of a data leak. With our easy-to-use cloud-based HR system, you never have to worry about the risk of misplacing information, leaking data or system crashes, as everything is backed up and stored securely. This not only diminishes the risk of unnecessary data loss but gives you more time to focus on your company and its hard workers, rather than endless admin. This way, you are not only avoiding unnecessary stress in the long run but giving yourself more time to focus on your goals.

HR consultancy advice

Keeping up to date with the necessary paperwork

For some business owners, new ones especially, dealing with documentation can seem like an intimidating process. Unfortunately, if every little detail is not 100% correct and in line with the right procedures, and compliant with current Employment Law, your business can end up in big trouble. Up-to-date paperwork is required to both cover yourself and your employees, to make sure you are both protected and that there’s evidence of all the right procedures being met and followed. This is the case for the recruitment process, disciplinary process, termination of contract process, maternity leave, sick leave and so much more. All of these processes require different sets of paperwork to be completed correctly, to ensure all procedures have been complied with in the correct manner.

Thankfully, Blue Tree HR Solutions is able to offer expert HR consultancy advice to help you along with this process. Not only can we provide the correct documentation, but we can advise and review existing ones to make sure everything is correctly done and nothing is missed out. This way, you can sleep soundly knowing nothing has been left to chance.


Expert HR consultancy advice

If you are looking for expert HR solutions and expert HR consultancy advice from an experienced HR consultancy advice and guidance specialist then Blue Tree HR Solutions is just a call away. Get in touch today so we can discuss how our expert HR advice and HR consultancy advice can help take some of the stress out of your working day.

Why is HR advice for small businesses important?

There are many reasons to consider HR advice for small businesses. A key reason is that human resources (HR) management is key to the growth of your company. Understanding why and how HR advice for small businesses can help your organization is vitally important. It can be the difference between a smooth-running workplace and a chaotic one!

Here are some of the key functions that HR professionals employ to help support and sustain happy and healthy businesses and why you should consider expert HR advice for small businesses.

Expert HR advice for small businesses – keeping you out of trouble!

To run a company effectively, there are certain laws and regulations set in place that must be followed correctly. If you do not understand the legislation you can land yourself in hot bother. These laws and regulations are put in place to protect employees’ rights and fight against workplace harassment, discrimination, and other situations. Without these laws, employees are vulnerable to inequality and wage/hour wrongdoings. Non-compliance from employers can lead to financial loss, license revocations, and even imprisonment. Having a professional in HR you can go to for support and advice is essential. The smallest mistake can be costly.

Ditch the paper! 

Organization is a huge factor in how successful your company is. Keeping sensitive documents and employee information safe and secure is a standard for all companies. Opting for a paperless system, like Blue Tree HR Solutions specialist HR software, reduces the risk of document and information loss. Being accurate, efficient, and secure with data is a standard in any company. The consequences of a data leak can land you in hefty fines. 

We believe this is one of the most important pieces of HR advice for small businesses we can offer. Small and growing companies do not have the time/manpower to spend on internal admin. Owners often end up constantly buried in spreadsheets. This is where mistakes get made. 

Turning to HR software not only keeps you and your employees protected, but it is also a faster, more secure, and more effective solution. Allowing an HR professional to step in and help will mean more time for owners to focus on company goals and build healthy employee relationships. What’s more, it’s environmentally friendly!

Hire help! 

Small businesses can sometimes make the mistake of hiring too quickly. Suppose you find yourself stuck, needing to hire a replacement or extra staff urgently to ensure the smooth running of your company. In some cases, you can fall into the trap of hiring out of urgency and later regretting your decision. 

Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions, we can help with job descriptions, job advertisements, interview questions, and follow-up documents. Ensure you are finding the right candidate for your job role.   

On the contrary, if you do in fact need to start thinking about the difficult decision of firing people or making redundancies, specialist HR advice for small businesses proves helpful for these situations. For many small companies, making redundancies is not a common issue. If you do not know the procedures to follow, HR professionals can help advise and support you on the best ways forward. Make it as easy for you and your staff as possible and ensure legal compliance. 

You support them, but who supports you? 

Hiring an HR professional is one of the best ways to protect your company and employees. While having an HR team is standard for large organizations, small companies often do not have the resources for this. Hiring a professional in HR advice for small businesses, like Blue Tree HR Solutions, is a way to ensure your company and employees always have the correct HR help and support you need, while not breaking the bank. 

Hiring an HR professional can save you both time and money, and sustain valuable employees. These all contribute to the success and growth of your small business. The HR world is a tricky one to navigate and that’s why Blue Tree HR Solutions are here to help. Please get in touch now to find out how we can help your company bloom with our expert HR advice. 



How expert HR advice and guidance can help resolve potential issues before they escalate.

As experts in HR advice and guidance, we here at Blue Tree HR Solutions believe the way forward is through a proactive approach in HR instead of a reactive one. We believe being proactive in HR saves the company money and time and gives you the tools to stop problems from developing and arising. In turn, this means lower stress levels for your employees and more time for productivity.
Sadly, many companies struggle to make the switch from a reactive strategy to a proactive one. This is mainly down to businesses and management not having the tools and knowledge to recognize problems before they occur. This leaves them stuck in a cycle of putting out one fire, only for another to catch light straight after. Luckily, Blue Tree HR Solutions are here to offer some expert HR advice and guidance to help you develop proactive HR strategies and tackle issues before they escalate.

Here are a few examples of when an issue may arise in the workplace, and how a proactive approach can help your company tackle these issues in the most effective way possible.

Suspicious sick leave pattern

If somebody seems to have a habit of being ‘sick’ on a certain day of the week, it may appear to be a small problem, but it could quite easily escalate. The remaining staff may get frustrated and have increased stress levels if they are having to pick up the slack in order to keep the company running smoothly. Staff may be annoyed that management is overlooking the ‘skiving’ employee and not dealing with the issue. This can also leave employees feeling like they’re not valued if they’re continuously expected to be overworked and will create negative feelings towards management for not addressing the problem, this could result in increased staff turnover.

A proactive approach to this scenario would be to track absences efficiently by keeping absence records detailed and up to date, which you can do easily by using the HR software found on our HR Software page. This gives you the power to spot any trends or patterns and address these before it causes an issue for other employees. Having Return to Work interviews following any sickness absence will mean there is a record. Then, depending on the circumstances, you can consider performance management or offer extra support to the employee.

This is also an opportunity to step back and make sure that, if one employee was to suddenly leave, your company has all the resources to manage until a replacement is found. If an employee’s sick leave is causing issues among other staff, this could be a sign that more measures need to be put in place to make sure all staff are supported if this issue did occur, either by recruiting extra staff or offering more training to existing staff.

Maternity leave

A member of staff is pregnant and is due to go on maternity leave. She has given you six months’ notice of her maternity leave. This gives you time to plan and prepare for her absence, by perhaps offering additional support and training to other staff or by recruiting maternity cover.
This is a proactive HR approach as you have communicated with the employee, figured out the best solution for both you and other employees, and put this into action so that when the employee does go on maternity leave, there are no issues to address.

Manage the small things, before they turn into big things.

A common problem among managers is ignoring warning signs or not wanting to deal with small, insignificant issues that aren’t considered serious. Here at Blue Tree HR Solutions, we know that the small things almost always escalate into big problems.
If an employee is acting out or keeps making questionable mistakes or decisions but nothing is addressed, this will inevitably make your life and all employees around them harder in the long run.

For example:

Week 1 – Employee A was caught on CCTV sleeping – nothing was addressed.
Week 2 – Employee A left work an hour early without telling anyone – nothing was addressed, although the line manager is aware.
Week 3 – Employee A was watching a film on his phone instead of doing his work. He was caught by a visitor, and it was reported to his line manager.

Watching a film at work may not constitute gross misconduct and instead, may only warrant a warning. He could not be dismissed fairly based on this one instance alone.
At this point, the employee does not know what he is doing wrong as he has not been pulled up on his behaviour, management is not impressed with his behaviour and wants to replace him, and other staff will be growing frustrated with his bad behaviour, as it may be disrupting their own work.
A proactive approach would be to have managed his performance using the disciplinary process from week one. If he had been given a 1 written warning at week one, then a second written warning at week 2 – he could be dismissed (depending on your policy) at week 3. Alternatively, after his first warning, he may have changed his behaviour and shown that he is an effective member of the team.
Unfortunately, as this situation was responded to in a reactive HR approach, it means his behaviour was ignored and not addressed until it caused a significant issue. This could have been avoided.

Prepare for the future with our HR advice and guidance

It’s inevitable that issues will arise in the workplace, but recognizing these before they occur is fundamental.
Being prepared and dealing with issues right to the source when they do occur, to assure they will not re-appear, is key.
The best way to plan for the future is to make sure that you are working in line with Employment Law, have all the correct policies in place, and assuring all of those in management positions are trained in people management.
Having HR advice and guidance ready and prepared means you can offer the correct support needed in any situation to assure the best outcome. This gives everyone the confidence that every situation’s process is fair and legally compliant.

Are you ready for some healthy HR?

There are countless benefits in how changing your HR approach can benefit you and your company. If you would like to get more expert HR advice and guidance, or you would like to give your company’s HR a refresh, get in touch with Blue Tree HR Solutions for the best HR advice and guidance for your business.