Keep your valued employees by giving them a stake in the business

employees employment Jul 04, 2022

The numbers of employee-owned businesses have more than doubled in a year, according to the Employee Ownership Association (EOA).

There are now more than 1,000 Employee Owned businesses in the UK, it says, compared with 500 in 2020.

As trading conditions become increasingly difficult thanks to a combination of factors, including the war in Ukraine, post-Covid supply chain disruption and the difficulty in recruiting skilled people, employers have turned to EOTs (Employee Owned Trusts) as a way of both spreading the risks in business and in keeping and rewarding staff for loyalty during the pandemic.

There are also tax benefits from turning a business into an EOT.

But there are a number of things to consider in structuring and formalising an EOT and it is important to understand exactly what a business is getting into.

The questions, according to accountants Price Bailey include:

  • What is the commercial purpose of an EOT?
  • Is it suitable for my business?
  • Who will be the controlling...
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Are there situations where process automation produces a worse result?

A shortage of candidates amid a high demand for staff has for some time been a complaint made by businesses.

The competition for suitable people has led to their offering higher starting salaries for new staff.

But the question has to be asked: how are they going about the recruitment process?

For several years now, candidates have been assessed using AI (Artificial Intelligence).

This method has become increasingly sophisticated as candidates are now being asked to answer standard interview questions in front of a camera while the software behind it notes thousands of barely perceptible changes to posture, facial expression, vocal tone and word choice.

Some companies selling AI recruitment tools even offer a reactive, AI-powered chatbot that will conduct the entire interview process.

But there have been examples of eminently qualified people being rejected at the first hurdle by these methods and in one recently-reported case and employee with a long track record of work with...

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Taking the longer view

employees Apr 29, 2022

Could taking on apprentices be a better business solution to the staffing crisis during the current economic uncertainty?

It is understandable that following the easing of all the Covid pandemic restrictions businesses should be keen to go all-out for growth and therefore recruiting qualified staff.

But recruitment itself is currently a problem and in the face of all the other pressures including supply chain issues, rising energy prices and of course the Ukraine war, perhaps a slower, steadier approach would be more sensible.

Consolidating the current business and planning ahead would ease some of the pressure and this is where taking on apprentices may be a better way forward.

For businesses that are below the threshold of a £3 million payroll there is no apprenticeship levy and there is financial help for both taking on and training apprentices. There is a £1000 incentive payment for taking on an apprentice.

Then, depending on the size of your business, you pay just...

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The post-Covid restrictions dilemma for bosses and employees

covid-19 employees Apr 22, 2022

Restrictions may have been lifted but Covid levels in the community are still high and this can cause problems for both employer and their employees.

If someone contracts Covid the advice still is to self-isolate for at least five days.

However, this could result in employees losing three days of the statutory sick pay available from the Government, leaving them with just two days sick pay if they abide by the rules. SSP in the UK is just £96.35 per week.

To make matters worse, lateral flow tests are no longer free, so there is also a risk that someone with mild symptoms that are similar to a cold may not test themselves at all, carrying on working and risking spread of the illness to other colleagues.

In a previous post we advised employers to complete a health and safety risk assessment that includes the risk from COVID-19, provide adequate ventilation, clean more often and to ask people with COVID-19 or any of the main COVID-19 symptoms to stay away and enable them to work...

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Can your business handle a four-day week?

employees small business Feb 11, 2022

The UK is launching a four-day workweek trial from June to December 2022 (a six-month period where participating employees will see no loss of pay.

It has also been reported that 30 UK businesses had already started a trial of four-day weeks from January 2022.

But is it a practicable proposition for your business?

The results of the trials that have been carried out so far in other countries have shown that it improves workers’ quality of life, giving them more time for other priorities.

They have also, so far, shown that there was no loss of productivity and in some cases businesses have increased sales, reduced absences from illness and improved employee retention.

There is also an argument that the system could have environmental benefits from reduced commuting and traffic congestion.

However, it is questionable whether the four-day week can be applied in all businesses, not only because of the primary consideration of their customer’s needs but also because of the...

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Do you really need all your employees to return to the office?

cash flow employees Feb 04, 2022

The guidance to work from home was one of the restrictions that was recently lifted along with several others that had been introduced to try to control the spread of Covid 19 infections.

The signs are that many have resumed the road or rail commute to the office as traffic numbers are steadily rising.

Was this a knee-jerk reaction by businesses desperate to return to normal? Or was it actually necessary?

Did they ask themselves whether they really needed all their employees to return to work in their centralised office locations?

Given that the economy of the country, and by extension of many businesses, is facing severe pressures as they seek to recover from the damage of the pandemic it will be crucial for businesses to keep a tight control on costs.

There are two factors in particular that are important to assessing whether a return to office-based working is actually necessary.

They are levels of productivity and business expenditure.

The LSE (London School of Economics)...

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Are you a good employer?

It may not be high on your list of priorities with Furlough ending and the struggle to survive and return to peak activity foremost in your mind.

Even if you have had to make some people redundant your reputation as an employer matters.

As your business hopefully returns to more normal levels of activity there may come a time when you will need to recruit more people, and that is going to be a challenge when there is a shortage of workers in many sectors.

While redundancy may feel like a brutal process to those on the receiving end, how it has been handled can make all the difference to your business reputation. 

Did you keep staff fully informed? Did you follow all the correct procedures? Did those affected feel that you cared about them and their concerns?

K2 explained how to do it properly in this article:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/planning-redundancies-after-furlough-discontinued-tony-groom/?trackingId=YDCO8nDCs6wYlCRNM2wlKw%3D%3D

But we were reminded that there...

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How will work patterns change once Coronavirus restrictions have eased?

When working life resumes properly once Coronavirus restrictions have eased people may find that their work patterns are substantially different from previously.

While, sadly, some SMEs will not have survived others may find that their agility and perhaps new innovations introduced during lockdown will have given their businesses a new lease of life for the future.

Those who have shown consideration for their employees, suppliers and customers will have built up a level of goodwill that will stand them in good stead for the future.

I shall examine in another blog those businesses, sectors and processes that may benefit from the changed landscape but in this blog I am focusing on the likely changes to business work patterns and the relationships between employers and their stakeholders.

Because, of course, employers are also people, they will have discovered that they and their families are no more immune to the health risks of the pandemic than any of their employees.

This may well...

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How to manage an efficient online conference

As we all adjust to the new realities of working remotely while we self-isolate during the Coronavirus pandemic, we still need to maintain contact with staff, clients, suppliers and others where online conference calls and video meetings are proving much better than the phone.

But how do you avoid an online conference descending into anarchy with people talking over each other?

There are some simple rules that are not so different from those we adopt during face-to-face meetings.

One of the meeting platforms that is becoming increasingly popular during the pandemic has been Zoom, but there are plenty of others such as Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and even WhatsApp. Security is an issue and all are constantly improving their security measures following concerns about uninvited intruders, in particular for Zoom which seems to have become the most popular platform.

It is important that the chair should host (convene) and be familiar with the technology since each platform has...

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In a crisis it is crucial that SMEs keep staff updated, especially those working at home

In the current Coronavirus-induced crisis people are understandably worried and frightened, for their jobs, their families and their health so it is crucial for SME employers to communicate changes as quickly and sympathetically as possible.

After all, while you as SME owners are currently facing unprecedented challenges to your business and feeling bleak if not panic ridden about your prospects for survival, at some point this crisis will come to an end and you will hope to still have a business.

With all the financial support measures recently announced by the Government, most SMEs do not need to close their businesses or dispense with staff.

I have posted the latest information with advice for SMEs on how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic on onlineturnaroundguru.com and will update as the details become clearer.

While in the short term SMEs may have had to ‘furlough workers’ (see the above advice link for what this means) but eventually staff will be needed back...

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