Managing employees celebrating religious celebrations

Managing employees celebrating religious celebrations

Embracing our multicultural society and workforce is the norm and a good number of our employees will celebrate religious events throughout the year. Depending on the business these days can fall at busy times and I have been asked the question, ‘do we have to accept this time off as it is a religious celebration?’  

In short, there is no right in law to time off to celebrate or take part in religious ceremonies or celebrations.  However, I would suggest you look to try and accommodate employees’ religion and practices that result from their ethnic background wherever possible and always ensure you treat everyone fairly.

From a practical point of view, productivity from those celebrating, depending on the event, might be lower because of the extra activities they are involved in which may impact on sleep.  Fasting may be part of the activities which again may impact on participation at work.

Furthermore, and generally speaking for all requests to take time off, if this is ignored without fair consideration, there may be an additional lack of motivation and negativity.

I would always recommend that these conversations are held early so that you can both prepare, encourage staff to talk to you and explain what they would like and the options. 

Depending on the time needed, and in an ideal world you would agree with the employees that they can either take holiday or authorised unpaid leave, however alternative ways to support could be if you run a shift pattern you might be able to alternate shifts or swap them for a later time. You might wish to consider temporarily delaying start or finish times to allow more time for those that need it.

As in most cases early communication is key as this allows time to plan and prepare.

For guidance and support, please feel free to contact me.

Until then all the best!

How do we encourage our staff to stay?

How do we encourage our staff to stay?

I am a firm believer of the usefulness of exit interviews and how we can use the information to help improve what we do as an employer in order to retain our staff. However, there is an element of ‘shutting the gate after the horse has bolted’ in that it is perhaps a little too late when we ask these questions to always get a true picture.

Because of this and for many years, I have used ‘first impression interviews’ with new recruits – where at three months you carry out a review with your new starts to see how they are getting on and how well they feel integrated into the business. From this you can really use the information coming back and if needed make the adjustments in order to keep staff.  Ultimately this is looking at your company culture and its values.

A step further on from this, is to carry out a ‘Stay Interview’.  Similar to the first impressions interview as previously mentioned, these interviews can be completed in 15 minutes and can either be carried out annually tagged on to the back of annual reviews or it may be more effective to undertake them 2-4 times per year and that way you can tackle any issues sooner.  The key is to keep the avenues of communication open.

Typical questions to ask:

  • what employees like and dislike each day?
  • would they recommend the company to others?
  • what would make them want to leave?
  • what would improve their role?
  • what skills are they not using in their current role?
  • why do you stay with the company – what are the best bits?
  • how would they like to be recognised and valued?

A note of warning – once you start this process it is really important that you feedback, take action and be prepared to making positive changes. An outcome will be expected and if you do not deliver the whole exercise will have a negative impact, with staff feeling like their contributions are not valued. Where changes are decided against, a clear explanation should be communicated to the team.

In short, a simple process that could really add value – which could be seen as a necessity where good staff are in short supply!

Happy to have a discussion and help support your own ‘stay interview’ process.  Please call me on 07841 568 637 or drop me an email:

Until then all the best!

I Am Not Sure What Type Of Contract My Employees Should Be On?

I Am Not Sure What Type Of Contract My Employees Should Be On?

Planning who you need in the business is crucial.

Straightforward questions like:-

Can we afford to employ staff?

Number of staff?

For how long?

Can really will impact your bottom line if staff are not productive or are working excessive hours and attracting overtime payments.

Depending on the type of role you are looking to fill, thinking about the type of contract which should be put in place is vital.

Prior to entering into discussions regarding the contractual terms, (so before you have even interviewed….!), employers need to consider if they are looking to recruit a permanent or temporary employee.

Full time, part time, annualised or zero hour working,.

And whether there is anything about the role which may require a bespoke contract, for example, if you are recruiting an apprentice.

Considering your current staff and their contractual terms should also be considered within this process.

Examples of this might be:-

  • Are you paying the going rate/national living wage as an example?
  • Are you being fair to staff and paying equal pay for equal work carried out?  

Lastly, legislation changes and is updated regularly as case law is agreed.

Content of your contract is also an area that must be reviewed to ensure you are compliant.

As an example holiday payments are now calculated on a 52 week average and not 12 week.

And does your contract reflect this?

Contracts do not have to be cumbersome, but they do have to be compliant – if you need support I have over 20 years of HR experience you can tap into to ensure what you issue is fit for your business. 

Until then all the best!

Marie Speight


T: 01630 638580M:  07841 568637 , email:

Why Do My Employees Need A Contract?

Why Do My Employees Need A Contract?

In some organisations and especially if you have long standing employees, you may wonder why you need to bother with an employment contract ?

Your staff know what they are doing.

They come to work on time and they don’t need a bit of paper telling them this.

All well and good, BUT, what is important to know is that as of the 6th of April 2020, regulations were introduced, confirming that all workers are entitled to a written statement of particulars (or contract) as a right from day one of employment.

Itemising their basic terms and conditions and specifying probationary periods and family leave.

In other words it is the law to provide it and if you do not you could face claims.

Aside from the legal aspects, a contract sets out what is required from the employee and in most cases will protect you, the employer in regard to the legalities of employing staff as well as helping to manage them during employment.

In short, both employees and employers must stick to a contract until it ends.

(e.g. by an employer or employee giving notice or an employee being dismissed).

Or until the terms are changed (usually by agreement between the employee and employer).

If you are wondering where to start when it comes to Employee Contracts for your business, why not book a free consultation with me & I’ll be happy to offer you some of my 20+ years experience on the matter!

Until then, all the best!

Marie Speight


T: 01630 638580M:  07841 568637 , email:

The Need To Carry Out Appraisals With Your Team

The Need To Carry Out Appraisals With Your Team

For some of us, the thought of having an appraisal one to one meeting, can seem daunting, a waste of time and counterproductive when everyone is busy.  

Some of us may have had the ‘appraisal from hell’ which was perhaps soul destroying or where you felt that you had not been listened to.

However, when appraisals are carried out effectively, it can align the efforts of every employee with the overall company goals.

This ensures that everyone plays their part or at least understands their role in the company’s overall success.

HR can support you to develop a process that fits with the business needs and which is easy to follow and understand.

These meetings ensure that employees have the appropriate training and development in order to be effective and make it easier for them to do their jobs.

It can be said, that smaller businesses have the advantage of being able to keep systems flexible while focusing on four key goals:

  • Align employee activity to the goals and strategies of the business.
  • Encourages two-way communication between managers and staff.
  • Highlights any training requirements ensuring they have the appropriate skills to do their job.
  • Identifies employees who add value to the business and target them for future opportunities.

If you are wondering where to start when it comes to Team Appraisals for your business, why not book a free consultation with me & I’ll be happy to offer you some of my 20+ years experience on the matter!

Until then, all the best!


Marie Speight

Recruiting Staff

Recruiting Staff

Recruiting the ‘right’ people is one of the top challenges for any business.

Stiff competition, a limited pool of skilled candidates and perhaps the inability to offer a competitive salary are some of the common constraints for small businesses to contend with.

While many growing businesses are forced to focus on sales and profit, they can sometimes neglect employee issues.

This includes having the time to recruit the best and then manage the new recruits to the business.

Whilst writing a job description may be seen as time consuming, having the right role specification in place is imperative.

It will not only support the need to recruit as you will define what is required work wise, but it will help recruit the right person, help you manage staff once in place by detailing what is required and what they are responsible for.

Considerations when you are thinking about taking on staff are required –  

  • the need to recruit – can your role be filled internally, or do you need to look externally?
  • how you recruit – do you advertise or use an agency?
  • how you advertise – via the job centre, job website or local press? and
  • interviewing for the role – asking appropriate questions, checking skills and qualifications and ensuring it is lawful and not considered to be discriminatory.

Once you have the right person for the role – it is important that they start in the best way possible and have a smooth transition to the business.

An offer letter and contract should be issued on day one at the latest, induction planned, and they are introduced to the business and role, with a probation period that is meaningful with the employee passing it at the end.

HR support can ensure that you remain compliant throughout the recruitment process as well as offer guidance on the best means of recruiting staff to your business.

If you are wondering where to start when it comes to HR support for your business, why not book a free consultation with me & I’ll be happy to offer you some of my 20+ years experience on the matter!

Until then, all the best!


Marie Speight