The biggest HR issues affecting employers today (and how to manage them)

  • Business Advice
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Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Staff challenges and business management go hand in hand. But for HR, certain types of challenges can be seriously disruptive and costly for your business if left unchecked.

So with International HR Day coming up, our experts unpack the top three issues affecting you and give you some handy HR tips and tools to help tackle them...

1.      Absences

Employees get ill and miss work. It happens.

But while some sickness absences are nothing to worry about, employees who frequently miss work may halt production and create big problems for you.

According to the Office for National Statistics, the sickness absence rate for businesses rose to 2.6% in 2022. This is the highest record since 2004.

So, what makes an employee keep taking time off? Well, aside from physical sickness which is unavoidable, there are a few other reasons. Stress, burnout, or mental health issues often play a part…

HSE found that stress, depression, and anxiety were actually the main reasons why most people were off work sick in 2021/2022.

There’s also no legal limit to how many sick days someone can take. So if a business doesn’t have written rules or procedures for dealing with absence, staff may feel more comfortable taking more time off than they necessarily need.

So, how can HR solve this?

First, you can help control absences in your workplace by having a:

Having a policy ensures you follow an official procedure when dealing with staff absence. This makes it easier to monitor absences and helps you identify any recurring or unusual patterns of behaviour. So, you can pull your employees up on it if you need to.

In your policy, you should outline the rules for staff taking sick leave and how to report any last minute absences. You may also want to include details about return to work interviews and when you will require a fit note.

Having a policy not only establishes rules for staff taking sick leave, but also may deter the chances of any employees faking sickness if they know there’s a process they have to follow. It’s harder to lie about sickness in a face to face meeting after all.

You can also help to better support your workforce by setting up an:

An EAP service is a great asset for staff. If your employee is dealing with a mental health or personal issue, it’s tough trying to voice that to their employer or manager. So, they might become increasingly absent from work if they don’t know how to handle the issue or help themselves.

But an EAP service gives your staff access to free third-party counselling and support. Meaning, they can get help from qualified professionals who are experts in their field. These experts are external to the business and confidential, which makes them less intimating to approach. And it means you don’t have to manage problems you may feel underqualified to deal with.

When your staff have access to the expert support they need, they may feel less of a need to take time off.

2.      Poor performance

When you hire an employee, you expect them to live up to a certain standard. And if they don’t, it’s disappointing – especially when you’ve spent a lot of money on their recruitment.

What’s even worse is when you have to let go of an underperforming employee and replace them. Which is an even bigger drain on your costs…

According to research, it’s because of these recruitment struggles, and the skills gap that poor performance seems to be a growing trend.

But even if this is the case, you should never ignore poor performance. Because that’s what leads to low productivity, low morale, and employees leaving prematurely.

So, how can HR solve this?

Whatever the reason for the poor performance, there are steps you should take to help your employee improve, like:

·       Having regular performance reviews and creating an improvement plan

If you notice your employee’s quality or delivery of work isn’t up to scratch, the first thing to do is pull them aside for a chat.

This shouldn’t be a negative conversation. It’s just a chance to address the issue and find out what support your employee might need to do their best work. Whether it’s more flexibility, more breaks, or more training, you can only find out by having a discussion.

In this meeting, you can also create an improvement plan. This gives you a chance to establish what you expect of your employee and give them achievable goals to work towards.

Having regular performance reviews are important in helping your employee to grow in their role. It allows you to identify the tasks they enjoy and don’t enjoy and help them play to their strengths. Communication is key. And in the long run, this should help your employee improve.

If not, that’s when you may need to consider a capability procedure.

3.      Retention

Out with the ‘Great Resignation’ and in with the ‘Great Retention’ seems to be on the agenda for employers in 2023.

Why? Well, employees leaving jobs is a massive drain on company expenses. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recorded 4.2 million resignations from November 2022.

It’s a lot of time, money and training to invest in an employee only for them to hand in their notice before they’ve even hit the ground running.

So, how can HR solve this?

While there are lots of reasons why employees leave a company, studies have shown that onboarding plays a leading role.

Shrm found that 69% of employees will stay with a company for three years if they have a great onboarding experience. So, this one is pretty self-explanatory:

·       Have a strong onboarding process

Many businesses will lose talent if their onboarding isn’t up to scratch. Employees are looking to progress and if they don’t see a clear path with you, they’ll try and find it elsewhere.

That’s why onboarding doesn’t just last for the first week on the job. It needs to continue for months afterwards. You need to integrate your employee and help them grow long after they sign their contract.

Which means you need to go beyond having a solid induction plan and be ready to have regular check-ins and performance reviews. This is how you help your employee hit the ground running and keep them going in the direction they want to go (which is up, hopefully).

No more HR issues with Peninsula

Keeping employees happy and healthy is a full-time job for HR.

That’s why over 44,000 UK businesses leave their HR tasks to Peninsula. And more than 99% of them rate us Excellent or Good on Trustpilot.

So, if they’re ever dealing with poor performance, absence or retention issues, they can turn to Peninsula for:

  • 24/7 unlimited advice – Peninsula experts are on hand 24/7 to answer any HR queries about staff conduct, to look after their employees and take the right steps to stay legally safe.
  • Leave their documentation to us – Peninsula will craft legally watertight policies and contracts for them, to help keep their staff in line and cover the business against risk.
  • Look after staff wellbeing with EAP –Businesses can offer their staff free expert support through Peninsula EAP service to help their workers conquer their greatest challenges and boost their performance.

To give you a taste of unlimited HR support, you can also try Peninsula for free. Just click below to get a free advice call with an expert on any issue that’s affecting you, and some free policy samples.

Click here to sample HR support for free.

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