Your organisation recently held a party to mark its 10th anniversary and you anticipate nothing more than a few sore heads the next day. Well this isn’t entirely true as an unwelcome reminder of the party has just landed on your desk and it appears to be serious.
Most of your employees attended the party a few days ago, and you felt a good time was had by all. The following week, however, an email arrives from a female employee, let’s call her Jane, alleging that a male senior manager, let’s call him John, made some inappropriate and unwelcome suggestions to her at the party. Jane alleges that John asked her to come back to his hotel room with him not once but four or five times. When Jane refused, she alleges that John said he was going to let everyone know that she was not a reliable employee and should definitely not be promoted, something Jane is keen for. As these allegations all took place quite late, at a party held off-site, and involved adults, you feel it’s nothing to do with you as an employer, and you plan to advise Jane that, whilst you’re sympathetic to her embarrassment, there’s nothing you can do.
This is unlikely to be sufficient however, and may actually land you in further hot water. As the event in question was a works party, it has a clear connection to the workplace, as opposed to, say, an impromptu evening at the pub attended by a few colleagues. The relationship between the two employees was forged at work and was one of senior manager and more junior colleague. It is likely that, should you choose to do nothing and Jane was to pursue a tribunal claim for constructive dismissal, your inaction would reflect badly on you and add substance to her claim that the mutual contractual obligation of trust and confidence had been broken.
Our advice therefore would be to investigate the grievance, just as you would for any other workplace grievance, and take any action deemed appropriate following the investigation. It may of course be that you don’t feel the investigation has shown there is a case for John to answer – the crucial thing is that you have thoroughly and impartially investigated the issue in a timely manner.
Annabel Innes, HRML, Unit 13 Twigworth Court Business Centre, Gloucester, GL2 9PG. 01452739000 firstname.lastname@example.org
Things go in peaks and troughs here at HRML towers…. Well it’s the time of year say those who know, you might expect a bit of a dip at Christmas, school holidays, Fridays, that sort of thing.
I wonder why that is though? I’m doubting you leave your accounts unmanaged, because it’s the winter, or take your eye off customer service because it somehow matters less. Is people management really something that you only do at certain times of the year?
Many organisations proudly state “our employees are our most important asset”, or grand words to that effect – but is this really the case? Can anyone honestly say they prioritise their people, their experiences whilst at work, and their wellbeing over anything else?
The thing is, to truly build a successful organisation that, crucially, keeps on being successful, we can’t afford to neglect the clear link between employee engagement and satisfaction at work, and improved organisational performance. Equally, can you really afford to ignore the potential consequences of an employee’s poor performance or inappropriate behaviour on the business or your other employees?
The key thing is, if you are spending time on people management, you ARE spending important time on your organisation’s performance and success. Numerous studies over many years have established a link, and you don’t need to know too much about it to work out that employees who are fulfilled, motivated and supported at work are likely to do a better job than those who aren’t.The good news is that no one is suggesting you have to throw loads of money around in order to achieve the end goal of motivated employees. Indeed, whilst a good salary is undoubtedly nice, it is very rarely the main motivator for people, who sometimes would just like their manager to say thank you now and again. What it will take is some time, and that is the point – people quickly get the message that they are not important if you frequently cancel time with them as something more “important” has arisen. Yes you may need to take your focus away from the practical running of the organisation for a short time, but time spent doing so will pay dividends when you get back to that practical operational work.
One of Oxfordshire’s leading independent recruitment consultancies, Allen Associates, has invested in a dedicated candidate resourcing team and appointed its first marketing and business development manager.
Allen Associates, which was established by Kate and Rob Allen in Oxford 19 years ago, has taken on four graduates whose main role is to research and identify suitable candidates for a wide range of administrative, PA, HR, marketing and finance roles at all levels on behalf of Oxfordshire-based clients.
Ben Horne, Kyran Pritchard, Marta Maroto Bueno and Nisha Khan make up Allen Associates’ new candidate resourcing team.
In addition, Allen Associates has recruited Jane Digby to the newly-created role of marketing and business development manager. With over 25 years’ marketing experience behind her, Jane’s most recent role was as proposition marketing manager at RM Education based at Milton Park. She said: “I’m very much looking forward to capitalising on Allen Associates’ excellent reputation for marrying up client and candidates’ needs by enhancing our presence in the market, both locally and further afield. I will also be focusing on developing our relationships with current and new customers to gain a deeper understanding of their needs now and in the future.”
Commenting on the move, Kate Allen, managing director at Allen Associates, said: “Our business has seen significant growth in recent years as we’ve continued to invest in the highest calibre of recruitment consultants and ongoing training to ensure our clients and candidates receive the best possible service. The addition of a dedicated resourcing team and the creation of a dedicated marketing role are testament to our continuing investment in the client and candidate experience.
“As most employers know, the recruitment market in Oxfordshire is incredibly competitive. We want to do everything we can to tap into the talent that is out there, not just locally but across the Thames Valley and in London, and take proactive steps to match these quality candidates with the exciting roles we have on offer.
“The appointment of an experienced marketing manager marks the start of a new chapter for us as we look to capitalise on fresh opportunities and further explore our growth potential, in existing as well as new markets.”
The first recruitment agency in Oxfordshire to achieve the coveted Investors in People Gold status, Allen Associates now employs a team of 20 people and is dedicated to meeting the temporary and permanent resourcing needs of thriving businesses, charities and educational organisations.
A family lawyer with a passion for freshwater angling has joined Royds Withy King in Oxford as a partner.
Andrew Nellist specialises in complex divorce cases, acting for clients with significant assets which often include businesses, trusts, investments, properties and pensions in the UK and abroad.
He joins Royds Withy King from Hedges Law, also based in Oxfordshire.
Andrew said: “My aim is to find pragmatic solutions and achieve the best possible outcomes for my clients. I am looking forward to becoming part of a progressive firm with a very positive culture and a clear vision for the future. I am keen to play my part in helping to make Royds Withy King’s Family team the ‘go to’ lawyers in Oxford, not just for divorce work, but for cases involving children and the raft of other family-related issues we deal with.”
Andrew is a member of Resolution, the Solicitors Family Law Association, whose members are committed to trying to resolve disputes in a non-confrontational way. His expertise in family law, finances and pensions is recognised through his Resolution accreditations.
Royds Withy King is a full-service UK Top 100 law firm with robust commercial, private client, personal injury and clinical negligence practices. It has the combined expertise of 450 staff across offices in Bath, London, Oxford and Wiltshire and is a founding member of the international network of independent law firms, Interleges.
Royds Withy King uses its experience to put clients ahead of the curve and places client relationships at the core of everything it does. Royds Withy King achieved eight top tier rankings in The Legal 500 2016 and 37 lawyers were ranked as ‘Leaders in their Field’ in Chambers & Partners UK 2017, both leading guides to law. The firm is also proud to be ranked for the last four years as a Sunday Times 100 Best Mid-Size Company to Work For and to have received a three star ‘extraordinary’ accreditation from Best Companies.For further information about Royds Withy King, visit roydswithyking.com
WCD Group, based at Gloucester Business Park announced that company founder, Freddie Cairns Palmer has been appointed as the new CEO for the Group. As the company restructures for intensive growth and expansion, this move also sees current operations director and co-founder, Peter Glanville become managing director. Adrian Prockter, finance controller, is also welcomed to the Group Board now as finance director having joined the company in 2014.
The WCD Group, experts in the supply of hot and cold hydration products to homes and offices, has experienced tremendous growth in the past couple of years; 2016 revenue was 20% up in a tough uncertain economy. As a result, the company is expanding its headquarters in Gloucestershire with a second office on the prestigious Gloucester Business Park.
Freddie founded the company in 2004 and brings with him a wealth of experience within organisations, driving change in a growth environment, having previously held sales and management positions in retail and B2B corporates.
Co-founding partner and former Gloucester Rugby player and captain, Peter Glanville will take over the day to day running of the business as he moves up to the role of managing director of the firm that now employs 50 members of staff.
Chairman Alan Barclay commented: “I am delighted that Fred has accepted this role allowing him to focus on developing the e-commerce trading business that is crucial for the Group’s brands and portals, and to lead us through our next period of growth. Freddie has a deep understanding of the hydration markets and our core values to ensure we deliver the highest standards to our customers. I am excited about the future of the WCD Group and working closely with the team on the next stage of our hydration and wellbeing evolution.”
Commenting on the senior management changes, new CEO Freddie Cairns Palmer, said: “We have a strong reputation in the markets we are currently operating in and I am delighted to take on the challenge to deliver our next stage of growth for our retail and trade divisions, across hot and cold water products, focusing on strategy and affiliate partnerships. Having moved the business from a start up to a medium sized business the WCD Group has achieved success and product portfolio expansion, more recently in to the sphere of health and wellbeing with an air purifier range. We have become a strong name behind the leading hydration and air brands. I am looking forward to working with Alan, Pete, Adrian and the rest of our great team to drive the business in the next stage of growth.”
The WCD Group is an award-winning leading drinking water solutions company working with the industry’s biggest equipment manufacturers and supplying some of the largest blue chip companies in the UK with hot and cold drinking water coolers, boilers and instant hot taps. The company also provides hot taps and coolers to the domestic market.
Next month plans for a new product showroom (located on the business park) aimed at the vast local design and build market will be unveiled; together with a powerful new trade portal for logistics, facilities management and distributor companies will be launched.
The WCD Group is all about health and wellbeing in the boardroom, the workplace and the home and comprises 5 brands: watercoolersdirect.com; waterboilersdirect.com, tradecoolersdirect.com, airandwaterdirect.com and its fast-growing kettletaps.com site.www.watercoolersdirect.com
Whitley Stimpson, one of the largest independent accountancy firms in the area, announces partnership with Husky Finance, the responsible workplace pensions service provider. The partnership is set to provide small and micro employers with a range of solutions to meet their auto-enrolment deadline.
2017 marks a significant deadline for small business owners with an estimated 700,000 UK businesses that employ staff being required by law to offer their eligible workers and pay contributions into a pension scheme in a process known as auto-enrolment (automatic enrolment).
The government’s auto-enrolment legislation was rolled out in October 2012 with the largest companies enrolling staff first and all existing UK companies enrolled by April 2018. Auto-enrolment is now a reality for many businesses but can initially appear daunting, especially if you’ve not set up and operated a workplace pension scheme before.
Husky Finance’s workplace pension service is designed specifically for small and micro size employers. The service allows businesses to compare pension providers based on their specific needs and is designed to make the process of choosing, setting up and managing a workplace pension simple.
Val Buzzard, director at Whitley Stimpson explains: “Auto-enrolment is one of the biggest changes in the workplace for many years and is aimed at ensuring that more employees are saving for retirement and have a pension. The Husky Finance partnership provides a perfect solution for our clients, enabling them to set up a scheme that is not just compliant, but affordable and one that is the right fit for their business and staff. I am confident that working together with Husky we will significantly strengthen our offering to small and micro employers in the coming year.”
Brendan Shanks, CEO of Husky Finance, said: “With increasing non-compliance and mounting fines for businesses, we are delighted to be working with a firm who are proactively assisting their clients through the complicated auto-enrolment process. By offering clients a choice of good and appropriate pension schemes, businesses get a solution that best meets their needs. I’m confident that together we’ll make the process of workplace pension compliance an easy and positive experience for Whitley Stimpson’s clients.”
Hazlewoods, the Gloucestershire based accountants and business advisers, have appointed a new partner.
Lucie Hammond joined the firm on 3 April 2017 as part of the Farms and Estates team, based in their Staverton office.
Lucie advises owner-managed businesses, private clients and trustees on business and taxation matters. The majority of Lucie’s clients are rural businesses including farms, landed estates and equestrian businesses.
Lucie’s interest in the Farms and Estates sector is not limited to her professional life, outside of work her passion is horses and specifically show jumping, most weekends are spent supporting family with their equestrian activities.
Lucie spent the first 24 years of her career in general practice in Gloucestershire and, after spending six years based in Hereford and Swindon, is delighted to return.
Nick Dee, head of the Farms and Estates team, said “We are delighted that Lucie has joined us as Partner, she has a wealth of experience that will benefit our clients and a fresh outlook that will help us progress as a team as well.”
“We have a strong reputation within the rural community and adding Lucie to our team will enable us to build on this.”