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HR News Round-Up August 2018

Posted On: 31/07/2018

It’s been an interesting summer so far. The World Cup brought much excitement, the relaxed dress codes to suit the hot weather has raised many eyebrows in the workplace and we witnessed mixed emotions over Trump’s visit to the UK.

Let’s look at how our individual choices and beliefs can affect the workplace. We finish this round-up by talking buzzwords – see how many you recognise.

Differences in opinion

Donald Trump’s visit to the UK was always going to be eventful. And, his visit has certainly put company policies to the test. [1]

This story starts in Canada, but the ripple effect has been felt in all countries. A Canadian restaurant manager recently refused to serve a customer because he was wearing a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap. So, the question is ‘on what grounds can you legally refuse to serve a customer?’

Companies throughout the UK need to ensure that their policies are clear when it comes to core values and beliefs and how best to represent the brand.

A business and its employees are allowed to refuse service to a customer, in particular, if the customer is disruptive, causes harassment or distress. A company cannot refuse to deal with a person for reasons such as age, race, sexual orientation, religion or political beliefs – if an employee takes matters into their own hands then the business risks being sued for discrimination.  

Feeling hot, hot, hot

It’s true we all feel better when the sun is out; moods lift – and so can the hemline! Here are some tips to ensure your employees know what the standards are for their workplace, but still feel valued. [2]

  1. It’s a misconception held by many employees that there is a maximum workplace temperature. There isn’t.
  1. Health & Safety regulations require workplace temperatures to be ‘reasonable’. So, how does an employer identify a temperature as being reasonable? It’s best practice to undertake a risk assessment, consider if the work is being carried out indoors or outdoors, and ask for expert guidance if in doubt. Asking your employees for their opinions on comfort goes a long way too.
  1. As we’re all unique, our comfort levels differ too. Never dismiss any grumblings as these can turn into serious grievances. Small steps can make a big difference – invest in desk fans or move colleagues away from the air conditioning units.
  1. Relaxing the dress code in hot weather should help the workforce feel more comfortable, so long as the employer sets out expectations of what is acceptable and what is not.
  1. Recognise that you appreciate your workforce working in hot conditions – treat them to an ice-cream or a cold drink. Or maybe introduce an incentive such as meeting certain targets to earn an early finish.

Can we learn from football teams?

There were moments in the 2018 World Cup that can only be described as stressful. The penalty shoot-outs are an example of when stress meets vulnerability. [3]

Harnessing positive stress response is hugely useful in sport and the workplace alike. Recent studies have proved that positive stress can be trained and developed in individuals.

The basic principle of training and improving the positive stress response is to be challenged in areas where you are vulnerable – for footballers in the World Cup, this was practising penalty shoot-outs. Carrying out these activities can trigger unpleasant mental reactions because it may remind you of negative past events where you failed and gave-up. A typical programme to improve a positive stress response starts with a downscaled version of the task which is repeated until you feel confident with your own performance.

Corporate speak – love it or loath it

One of the most annoying things about working in an office can be the use of language. Some employees thrive off buzzwords, whilst many find its use ‘toe-curling’. [4]

This month, a Glassdoor survey revealed the most hated buzzwords of 2018. See if you can identify with any of these:

  1. Touch base
  2. No brainer
  3. Punch a puppy
  4. Game changer
  5. Pick it up and run with it
  6. Mission statement
  7. We’re on a journey
  8. If you don’t like it get off the bus
  9. Run this up the flagpole
  10. Lipstick on a pig
  11. I want to leverage your synergies
  12. Let’s reverse engineer
  13. Let’s get our ducks in a row

The top most hated phrases are:

  1. To agility and beyond
  2. Put a record on and see who dances
  3. Rubber meets the road
  4. Here are the general specifics

We hope some of these put a smile on your faces, some really are awful, aren’t they?

On a serious note, be mindful of how your communication style comes across and if you are guilty of over-using these buzzwords and phrases try to simplify your language to reflect your workplace culture.

If you’d like to discuss any issues raised in this blog; employee engagement, policies and procedures or workplace culture, please call our friendly team on 0161 941 2426

[1] Personnel Today


[3] HR Magazine

[4] HR News

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