Reading material to inspire

At our recent People About People meeting we shared some reading and watching material that may be of use to others, these may help, inspire and guide you –

Simon Sinek talking about “The Why” 

Mike Bowden Understanding The Mirror

The Chimp Paradox, Steve Peters

E Squared, Pam Grout

The Winner Effect, Ian H Robertson

Amy Cuddy, Social Psychologist

If you require any coaching support, please contact us

27 Harvine Walk, Norton, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 3BQ

Tel: 01384 823835


Changes in zero hours contracts

Exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts are now unenforceable. Legislation came into force on 26 May making clauses that prohibit a worker on zero hours contracts from carrying out work for another employer unenforceable.

Zero-hours contracts are not all bad and can suit people who want occasional earnings and are able to be flexible about when they work.. They work well for seasonal work such as gardening businesses or in the hospitality or retail trade.

However, the unpredictable nature of working times means that they won’t be for everyone. If you are considering taking on people on a zero-hours basis, it’s important to be aware of your responsibilities as an employer and to set out the terms of any contract clearly.

If you need any support with this issue, please contact us

27 Harvine Walk, Norton, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 3BQ

Tel: 01384 823835

Employees warm to organisations with family feel

Regardless of how large or small the organisation they work for, the great majority of employees want to work for one that has a “family feel” and is “held together by loyalty and tradition”.

This is according to the Employee Outlook 2015 (Spring) survey, published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), which reveals a clear mismatch between how employees currently see the culture of their organisation and how they would like it to operate.

While just 26% feel that they are currently working in a “family feel” organisation, more than twice as many (55%) would prefer to do so.

Here at Acorn Support we never tire of talking about how looking after your employees and helping them achieve that illusive work life balance helps to create happy and loyal employees. We are also very lucky to work with many family run businesses who are proactive with offering flexibility to their employees and creating that family feel to their business – but could you do more?

The UK’s leading work-life balance organisation — Working Families — has named this year’s shortlist for its “Top Employers for Working Families Special Awards”. Celebrating and showcasing the policies and practices of employers who offer exceptional flexible and family-friendly workplaces, the UK-wide awards will be contested by organisations from a wide range of sectors and sizes.Do you think your organization is good enough to make the short list?

 If you want support that can help your organisation to develop policies to be a family-friendly employer of choice then please get in touch.

27 Harvine Walk, Norton, Stourbridge, West Midlands, DY8 3BQ

Tel: 01384 823835

Banter in the workplace

We were interested to read about the outcome of this employment tribunal when it popped into our inbox last week. Whilst this is most definitely an example of an extreme case it is always beneficial to stop and think how your colleagues might perceive what you are saying to them.

A good atmosphere in the workplace is undeniably a good thing. It helps communication between team members and helps to promote trust and understanding of each other. For many individuals, “banter” in the form of gentle ribbing is part and parcel of two people getting on but can it also be a precursor to something more sinister?

An award of £3.2 million has just been made to an employee whose victimisation was said to have begun with banter. The victim was said to have been described as, among other things, “bonkers”. Not the most mature word perhaps but certainly one which is often used between friends as affectionate ribbing. Generally, we assume that no offence is meant and no adverse comment really being made on our mental health.

However, even a word as innocuous as “bonkers”, when used by friends, can perhaps become irritating and then offensive when being used repeatedly by an individual with whom you do not have a friendship, and perhaps the tone of voice can add a dimension that is threatening and insulting.

The findings of the employment tribunal in the case above was that, however this had begun, whether or not it started out as banter that could be perceived by some as innocuous, it became deliberate bullying that progressed to sexual harassment. Additionally, the company, a bank, was found to be at fault, having not investigated the victim’s complaints and having not disciplined the perpetrator who, the tribunal found, should have been dismissed for gross misconduct.

Given that banter exists in some form in most companies and that none of us want to end up in employment tribunals, what lessons can be learnt from this case?

We certainly don’t advocate a zero tolerance approach to banter in the workplace but we do need to remember that different people interpret things differently. Someone may interpret something as intangible as your tone of voice or the way you look at him or her in a way that it was not intentioned.

Teasing, in its gentlest form, and joke telling are part and parcel of how many people relate to each other. It is a part of how we get to know each other, both in our personal lives and getting to know our colleagues. After all we regularly spend more of our wakeful hours with our work colleagues than our loved ones and banter can make our working days more bearable.Therefore you need to ensure that any banter that does exist is never permitted to get out of hand by ensuring that it is always appropriate to the culture of the company.

Are your policies and procedures around Equal Opportunity, Bullying and Harassment as up to date as they can be? Do you offer an open door if anyone has any concern? Do you promote good practice from the top of the organisation down

Always remember, you don’t know what sort of day someone is having, what stresses they may have on and how they are going to react. However, the reward of a happy team in which any banter remains genuinely affectionate banter is surely worthwhile.

If we can help support you in any of the issues raised, please contact us

Tel: 01562 881019