HR adviser

HR Adviser – How do you communicate values?


To follow on from our last blog, this blog will continue to discuss company values but most of all, how to communicate those values.

It can be hard to stick to company values within a business and this struggle more often than not comes from lack of communication. As we already know, values are very important as they form the basis of your company culture. So, it is important that you are always communicating them and involving them in everything your company does.

Take a look at the video below where I, as an HR adviser, describe in more detail how you can better communicate your company values.

There are some key areas in which you can instantly improve the communication of your company values. All you need to do is ask yourself the following questions.

  • Are your values clearly displayed on your website?
  • Do you recruit against your values?
  • Are you cross-referencing values when you are performance managing people?
  • Do you have a theme for your values?

However, the most important thing company values need in order to improve communication is a leader. As a business owner, you need to be living those values and constantly talking about them.

If you think you could benefit from an HR adviser on how to communicate your company values or any other people issues for that matter. Maybe you’ve got a question about a staff issue? Get in touch today and together we can help you stay safe, legal and compliant.


HR Advice

HR Advice – What are company values and why are they important?


HR Advice – Values within a company are becoming more and more important.

They help to compose the rules and boundaries within your business. They help tell employees, clients and the public what you truly believe in and how you work.

Company values not only tell people what you believe in, but they also communicate your company’s brand and personality. This will help you to shine from your competitors and most importantly, make you unique and recognisable to your employees and prospects.

Take a look at the video below where I offer my HR advice and discuss how you can set up your own company values to set you apart from your competitors.

But don’t just stop at values, together with your value’s behaviours you can take your company’s personality to the next level. We have our own values and behaviours here at JMann Associates. As an example, one of our values is “To do the right thing”.

We then have behaviours to go with this value which will tell our employees what behaviours are expected to go with this value. So, for our example value, we also have behaviours, which are,

  • “Go with your gut instinct”
  • “Say no if it’s not right for us or the client”
  • “Always be honest with each other and our clients”

To summarise, company values are important as everything you do within your company will need to be aligned with your company values. This can be anything from how you recruit people to how you manage and develop people. By doing this you will be able to create a great culture and business enabling you to stand out from your competitors.

If you need any HR advice and would like to learn more about company values simply get in touch today.



A Little Bit Of Legal Stuff


Employment Law changes 1st October 2016

Traditionally October is the month when employment legislation changes are announced. This October is no exception; however some implementation dates are still to be confirmed.

National Minimum Wage Increases – The changes apply on 1 October 2016.

Workers aged under 25 but at least 21 rises to £6.95 per hour.

Workers aged at least 18 but under 21 rises to £5.55 per hour;

Workers aged under 18 who are no longer of compulsory school age goes up to £4.00 per hour. Apprentice rate increases to £3.40 per hour.

The national living wage, the national minimum wage rate for workers aged 25 or above, is unaffected.

It is thought that future changes to the national minimum wage and the national living wage will take place at the same time in April each year, from April 2017.

Remember employers can face a large fine if they don’t pay national minimum wage.

Gender pay gap reporting

Employers with 250 employees or more will be required to publish details on gender pay and gender bonus gap every year.

It is the total headcount that should be counted, not the number of full-time equivalent posts. So each employee should be counted regardless of the number of hours they work. Apprentices must also be included in the head count.

Pay information will need to be based on payments made over the employer’s pay period every April, beginning in April 2017.  Any bonus information will need to cover the preceding 12-month period, beginning with the 12 months leading up to April 2017.

Changes to apprenticeships 

To protect the term ‘apprenticeship’ training providers won’t be unable to describe a course as an ‘apprenticeship’ if the course or training is not a statutory apprenticeship.

Tax- free childcare scheme

The scheme will apply to parents with children aged under 12.

If both parents work and each parent earns less than £100,000 per year, and a minimum weekly income at least equivalent to 16 hours at the rate of the national minimum wage, the Government will pay 20% of their yearly childcare costs (capped at £2,000 for each child).

The scheme is due to be introduced early in 2017 but a date has not yet been confirmed.

Employers’ Duties (Implementation) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 – Implementation 1st October 2016.

The regulations amend the scheduled dates for the planned increases in the minimum level of contribution for pension’s auto-enrolment, to align the increases with the beginning of the tax year. The planned increase in October 2017, to 5% minimum contribution (2% employer), will now take effect in April 2018. The planned increase in October 2018, to 8% (3% employer), will take effect in April 2019.

Remember if you need help with the legal bits then give us a call 01980 622167 or email

The legal bits may be boring but getting it wrong can be very costly.  Purchase a HR Healthcheck from us and will review your current HR policies, employee handbook and employment contract. This will ensure your HR foundations are firm and not about to crumble around you!


Medical Health Questionnaires Jacqui Mann

Ban On Pre-Employment Health Questionnaires


The ban on Pre-Employment Health Questionnaires came into effect in October 2010 with the introduction of the Equality Act. This makes it illegal to ask a candidate to complete a health questionnaire before an offer of employment has been made.

I understand the reasons behind the ban. It is to ensure that everyone is properly considered to see if they can carry out the role, and not ruled out because of issues arising from their health. However I believe that this has serious consequences for some sectors.

The pre-employment ban also prevents you from asking the candidate questions to establish how many days of sickness absence they have accrued during previous employment prior to them being made a job offer. It also prevents you from asking these questions in a reference if an employment offer has not been made.

You may only ask about disability or health, before the offer of a job is made, where the question relates to a person’s ability to carry out a function that is intrinsic to that job. Where a disability or health-related question would determine whether a person can carry out this function with reasonable adjustments in place, then such a question is allowed. Download 41 Things Every Employer Needs To Know About Staff.

I recommend that you review your job descriptions to ensure that the “intrinsic functions” are specifically identified and where possible separated from other less important duties. You can then ask the candidates the following question.

‘Do you have any health condition which is likely to affect your ability to undertake the intrinsic functions of the job contained in the job description?’

The guidance from Equality & Human Rights Commission states that ‘intrinsic’ equates to ‘absolutely fundamental’.

You can ask people to complete a health questionnaire after you have made a job offer. If you then discover they have a health issue you would need to consider what reasonable adjustments you could make or present a justifiable business case as to why you could no longer employ the individual. This would involve asking for medical consent from the employee to contact their GP, and arranging a visit to an Occupational Health Advisor to give a professional opinion on whether the employee is fit for the role.   This of course can take a long time and is costly to the business owner. Unfortunately as the law stands if you don’t follow this procedure you could find yourself facing a claim of direct discrimination because of disability.

We don’t currently have information on what a court will class as intrinsic to the role. This will not be known until the first case goes to court and we see how the tribunals view the situation. Don’t forget to get your download here.


Abolition of Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS)


From 6 April 2014 any employer who pays Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will not be able to claim under the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS) for any SSP due after 6 April 2014. As an employer you will still be required to pay SSP.


The Government will be introducing later in the year, no date yet, a new service which will provide free occupational health advice and support for employees, employers and GPs to help people with a health condition to stay in or return to work. The Government expects that any financial losses experienced by businesses as a result of the end of the PTS will more than likely be offset by the reduction in lost working days that the new Health and Work Service will bring.

The new Health and Work Service will be funded through the abolition of the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS).

The new scheme will be made available to companies in England, Scotland and Wales with workers who have been absent due to illness, or are expected to be absent, for longer than four weeks.

The new Health & Work Service:

  • Referrals can be made either by the employer or by the employee’s GP. The service will not be compulsory, so employees will be able to refuse to be assessed or to follow any recommended treatment or course of action.
  • Employers, employees and GPs will be able to access advice through a phone line and a website.
  • Following an assessment, employees will receive a return to work plan with recommendations to help them to return to work more quickly and will provide information on how to get appropriate help and advice.

Sickness absence has a major impact on your business particularly because it is normally unforeseen and therefore cannot be planned for in advance. If your business is going to be affected by the abolition of the PTS then you need to really tighten up on absence in your business. Often sickness absence is allowed to continue because the manager does not deal with the problem as soon as it occurs. There may be various reasons for this but often it’s because they are unsure of how to deal with situation.

What you need to do:

  • Have a clear policy in place
  • Deal with all absences as soon as they occur.
  • Ensure staff understand the absence reporting procedures and the potential consequences for failing to report absence correctly.
  • Carry out return to work interviews
  • Train managers on how to deal with absence

Don’t leave it too late before you deal with the situation and if you’re unsure then seek help from people who can guide you through the process.