Does discrimination employment law apply to recruitment in the UK?

If you are considering setting up a UK company, you might have some questions about UK law and recruitment. Whilst you might have some grasp of your legal obligations after you have taken on employees, it can be difficult to navigate what is required before the employment relationship is established. This post looks at some things recruiters should consider when setting up a UK company.

What is considered discrimination in recruitment? 

If you set up a company in the UK, your business has a responsibility to make sure that no unlawful discrimination takes place during the recruitment process. Unlawful discrimination means negative treatment of a candidate on the grounds of disability, age, gender reassignment, maternity and/or pregnancy, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief and sex or sexual orientation.

Can I refuse to give an interview on the grounds of a protected characteristic? 

No. Although the candidate may have simply given a CV or contacted you about the job, it is unlawful not to consider them for the job simply on the grounds of one of the protected characteristics listed above. You may, of course, refuse candidates with a protected characteristics if they are not suitable for the job, for example, if they do not have the qualifications or skills required.

Can I ask questions about a protected characteristic in an interview? 

Generally, you may not ask about protected characteristics in an interview. For example, you may not ask whether a candidate is married, has children or whether they plan to have children. You may, however, ask about a health condition or disability where there are job requirements that cannot be met by the candidate unless you make reasonable adjustment to the workplace or working practices, you are taking positive steps to recruit someone with a disability, or where you need to find out if the candidate needs assistance to attend another stage of the selection process.

What can I do if I am unsure? 

Goodwille has assisted hundreds of companies all over the world in understanding the law and recruitment practices of the countries we operate in. Contact us today to discover how we can help you.

We’re recruiting – HR Advisor

Goodwille is a forward-thinking, ambitious company dedicated to providing foreign businesses with the kind of professional services required to establish themselves and flourish in the UK. These include Corporate Legal, Finance, People Management, Payroll & Virtual Offices.

We are looking for a HR Advisor to provide our extensive international client base with a full spectrum of high quality and compliant UK employment law. Within your role you will be responsible for:

  • Delivering HR advice to clients directly and through colleagues
  • Acting as the HR advisor to some of Europe’s most exciting start-ups
  • Drafting & reviewing HR documentation and agreements
  • Covering HR issues including employee relations, organisation design, policies, procedures, implementation of contracts, benefits, benchmarking, recruitment & training solutions.
  • Ensuring quality standards & SLA’s are met
  • Supporting departments with adhoc requests

The applicant should be experienced working as part of a HR department, either as part of an inhouse team or outsourced advisor. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of, and involved in developing and expanding the offering of Goodwilles newest department.

Reporting to the HR Manager you will be expected to confidently provide HR advice independently, whilst covering for the HR Manager as required. Although an international language is not mandatory, being able to speak a Nordic language would be beneficial. In joining us, you will become part of a close-knit and growing HR team, and part of a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive organisation, capable of offering a stimulating environment for you to work in.

This is your chance to join #teamgoodwille – check us out on Instagram. When you join Goodwille you get access to a whole range of employee benefits, all designed to ensure an enjoyable work/life balance. Some benefits for all employees include:

  • Office fruit every week
  • Employee perks, rewards & benefits including discounts on supermarkets (Sainsburys, Tesco etc) high street stores (Topshop, John Lewis etc) & gyms.
  • Complimentary phone insurance, as we know how important it is to stay connected
  • Access to the well-being & lifestyle platform, including eating advice, exercise routines and yoga videos
  • Generous social budget, for team lunches, parties or for you to hang out with colleagues.
  • Yoga (London only by colleague

Job type: Permanent, full time
Location: Kensington, West London
Salary: Depending on experience/skill set

If you like the sound of this vacancy and all the features and benefits you get by being part of a team like Goodwille, then please contact jacqui.brown@goodwille.com
www.goodwille.com

Things to to consider when recruiting UK employees

Things to to consider when recruiting UK employees

The UK labour market has an international reputation for being flexible and employer-friendly, particularly in comparison with its European peers. However, there are a number of laws, customs and idiosyncrasies that it’s important to be aware of if you’re setting up in the country for the very first time. In this guide, we’ve outlined a few things that you should be aware of when you’re recruiting in the UK.

Meeting tax obligations for your employees

Unlike some other countries, most UK employees don’t have much responsibility for their own tax affairs. Instead, their employer deducts tax and some other items from their salary before it is paid for them. This will require you as their employer to work with HMRC to ensure that the correct amounts are paid and that you remit these sums to them on a regular basis. You’ll then have to give your employees a P60 form, which is an annual summary of the amount of tax that you have paid on their behalf.

Tax can be a complex business in the UK. VAT obligations vary significantly depending on your sector and the particular arrangement you have with HMRC. If you aren’t confident, it’s well worth getting an expert to look at your setup to make sure that you don’t get caught out.

Minimum wage legislation

The UK minimum wage is split into a number of bands depending on whether an employee is an apprentice and how old they are. That means that the wage ranges from £3.50 an hour for an apprentice to £7.50 an hour for an employee aged 25 or over (known as the National Living Wage). The government has begun naming and shaming companies who do not comply with minimum wage legislation, so it’s vital that you get this right. Make sure you’re aware of what counts towards hours worked. You may be required to pay employees when they’re travelling between assignments for instance.

As with any country, the UK has a number of rules and customs that make it different from other markets. Trying to apply a model that’s worked elsewhere to your UK operations could easily get you into trouble. Before you recruit your first UK employee, please ensure that you’re up to speed with your obligations, and get in touch with Goodwille today for further guidance.

Good manager vs. bad manager

When it comes to setting up and running a business, effective management and leadership is a key component for a company to succeed. Some people are privileged to work with the best bosses, but time and time again, many employees come across bad managers, too.

If you want to ensure that you are running your business effectively, then you need to make sure that you are managing your employees well. But what is a good manager, and how does this compare to a bad manager? While all managers have the same kinds of responsibilities in the workplace, there are definitive differences between a good boss and a bad boss.

A bad manager commands; a good manager asks

With all businesses, there are tasks that employees are required to complete in order to accommodate the needs of the company. While that is understandable, it is important to note that piling on an extremely heavy amount of workload isn’t the most effective way of getting your workers to complete tasks.

Assign tasks that are easily manageable, coach your colleagues and make sure that you communicate the aims and goals effectively in order to allow your workers to be productive and get the job done.

A bad manager says ‘I’; a good manager says ‘we’

Bad managers tend to be selfish and they’re less likely to be attentive to the needs of their employees. Clearly, this is a recipe for disaster in the world of business ownership because it’s important to care about your workers and show respect. Good managers recognise the importance of working together as a team and they understand that all contributions from workers are essential.

A bad manager plays the blame game; a good manager takes responsibility for their actions

Sometimes, things will go wrong. Unfortunately, that’s what happens in business – things don’t always work out, but handling the situation well is key. A bad manager will blame their workers for failures. A good manager will take full responsibility, come up with solutions, learn from their mistakes and move on.

A bad manager takes credit; a good manager gives credit

As the saying goes, ‘credit’s where credit’s due’. It’s imperative for bosses to give praise to their employees when it’s deserved. Praise is rewarding and it boosts confidence and morale.

Have you recently set up a UK company?  Get in touch with us regarding our HR services.

Human resources management tips

If you’re planning to set up a UK company or open a UK office to expand your overseas operations, getting the best from your workforce will be crucial to your success.

In fact, there are usually just two reasons why your employees aren’t performing consistently at their best:

1. They can’t
2. They simply don’t want to

Your staff either lack that essential something that prevents them from performing with excellence, or they never achieve what they are capable of because they simply have no desire to do so.

It’s important that managers think about these causes as separate issues, requiring different approaches and strategies to remedy them.

Employees who don’t perform because they can’t

Sometimes, irrespective of how much you ask, demand, instruct or cajole your staff for a certain level of performance, you just don’t get it, because they simply are not able to give it to you. Some employees are masters of the ‘can’t’ syndrome as an excuse for laziness and lack of motivation.

Tackle this by asking them one question: “What makes it difficult for you to do your job in the way I’m asking you to, with excellence, consistently?”

There are four legitimate barriers that could be the problem: physical barriers, time barriers, wherewithal barriers, and know-how barriers.

It’s a simple task to identify these barriers. If your staff are given an opportunity to communicate their issues without fear of recrimination, it will be easy enough to compile a list of problems.

The easiest way to eliminate all these barriers to performance is to listen to your workers. Most people will offer a solution to their problems given the chance; you might often hear them say, “If I was in charge of this department, I’d …” Ask your staff for their ideas and give them the power to implement the solutions. If the solution doesn’t work, give them another chance and praise them publicly when success is achieved.

Employees who just don’t want to

Having removed all the barriers to excellence, you have effectively left nothing for the lazy to hide behind. Once the “can’ts” have been removed, what’s left are those who excel, and those who clearly need replacing.

It’s never easy to replace staff but it can be a necessary evil. Staff members who perform to a high level will not tolerate lazy co-workers who they have to carry and may eventually become resentful or even leave for fear of not being appreciated. Therefore, getting rid of slackers is a necessary part of managing excellence; in doing so you raise the bar for everyone and reward those who have been carrying the dead-wood.

The first step…

Set your employees up for success by removing barriers and listening to their challenges and you will find the mystery of HR management simply disappears. For more expert HR advice, contact Goodwille.

Are you a good boss?

When you take the big decision to set up a UK company, you will be managing a diverse range of workers from many different backgrounds. So, what makes a good boss?

Lead by example
Employees have far greater respect for a boss who walks the walk rather than merely just talks the talk. After all, where’s your credibility if your staff feel unable to ask you for guidance and help in times of crisis. Always seek to lead by example.

Honesty and integrity
No one likes working for a boss who misleads clients and tries to rip them off. Always demonstrate honesty and integrity in all your dealings with customers and staff. This will gain the trust and respect of your workers who will treat you and your company in the same way.

Listen and ask
Two-way communication is vital for a good staff/management relationship. Ask your employees what they think about new projects, software systems or product design.

Inclusion in management decisions and research enhances an individual’s sense of value to the company and you may well receive some extremely useful and constructive feedback. Make sure that you keep everyone in the loop about new developments, changes in company policy and the like. Employees do not like being kept in the dark about matters concerning their future!

Empower your workers
No-one likes to feel powerless; a good boss allows his staff a little discretion and flexibility. Be prepared to step in with discreet correction if necessary and avoid being heavy handed with your directions and instructions. Allow your staff a little scope to make decisions and solve problems and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much they appreciate the freedom.

The right toolkit
No-one can perform a role to their absolute best if they don’t have the right tools for the job. It’s vital that staff have the correct procedures in place such as the right software and systems, appropriate hardware and training. Being adequately equipped helps to build confidence which can only improve performance and boost staff morale.

Give and take
If you allow your staff a degree of flexibility and understanding when you deal with domestic emergencies and personal issues, they will repay you with loyalty a thousand times over. On that occasion when you need to ask them to work late to meet an important order, they won’t hesitate to help you out because you did the same for them.

Help your business achieve success
Ask yourself: if I were looking for a job, would I want one with this company working for this boss? If the honest answer to that is ‘yes’, you’re on the right lines. However, if you’re looking for help with your people management, contact us at Goodwille. We’re here to help with a range of services for those looking to set up a UK company or to help their business achieve expansion success.

3 essential tips for managing difficult people

In management, we all have to deal with difficult people. Some people are quite happy to help themselves, help us, and help others. Others seem to be hellbent on making life as difficult as possible for all involved. As a manager, you don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing who you manage and who you leave to fend for themselves. It’s your responsibility to effectively manage all of your employees, even the difficult ones. Here are three essential tips for managing difficult people…

1. Accept the complexities of management

First things first; don’t fight the madness. While some people genuinely don’t realise how difficult they are being, others are fully aware of it and either don’t care, or don’t know how to be any different. Trying to deny that certain people are more difficult to deal with is a waste of your valuable time and mental bandwidth. The sooner you accept the fact that you have a troublesome person to contend with, the swifter and more effective you will be at finding a good solution.

Take a moment to recognise that they are frustrating and cause difficult situations to arise. Acknowledge that part of your role as a manager, and the reason your salary is higher than your subordinates, is that it is part of your responsibility to tackle difficult issues like this one.

Make sure you approach delicate employees, troublesome teammates, and their respective issues in the most positive manner possible. Think of it as an intriguing challenge, a puzzle that needs solving. Never try to bulldoze your way through the conflict, or avoid it. You want to tackle the issue with an even and direct hand. Your instincts may tell you to avoid conflict, however, the most effective managers are neither avoiders, nor bulldozers of conflict; they don’t look the other way, or pull rank.

Always remember that you will need to keep working with these people once the immediate problem has been resolved. Always be as constructive as possible, looking for the best solution rather than simply forcing people to do things your way.

2. See it their way

Leading on from this, it’s important to see things their way as well as your own. This isn’t as simple as it sounds; however, there are usually reasons people are behaving in a particular way, especially if that way is awkward. Have they always been this difficult? Are there new situations or external forces influencing their behaviour? Are you doing anything to inadvertently trigger their troublesome attitude, such as micromanaging, criticising, overburdening, or withholding praise, bonuses, and/or promotion?

Try to take the most holistic view of the situation possible. It will help you to gain insight into the problem and the reasons motivating the behaviour of all the players. This will ensure you find a plan that constructively solves all issues, and not simply the issue of someone not doing as you say.

3. Ask for help when needed

This is easily done, but often avoided, due to the perception that managers should be capable of dealing with everything. You also have to take into account your personal pride, which may often feel bruised when you try to ask for help.

The reality is, when you work in a business, be it large or small, help is always at hand. It’s important to gain the perspectives of other like-minded individuals, peers, and employees. Gaining perspectives from a range of people in your organisation, and impartial outside observers, can greatly improve your managerial skills. In addition, the ability to ask for additional help when you need it is vital. Otherwise you will end up struggling and failing to complete everything to the standard you are capable of achieving, which is no help to anybody.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness but rather of sensible judgement. For more information on how Goodwille  can help look after your HR, don’t hesitate to contact us.

11 essential HR tips and tricks

HR is an extremely competitive business. It can be tricky to stay ahead of the game and achieve excellence, but if you’re willing to go the extra mile it’s perfectly possible. Here are 11 essential tips and tricks that will ensure you’re leading the charge in HR.

1. Your HR speciality
Whether you’re a jack of all trades or a generalist in the field of HR, you still need to ensure you’re the absolute master of one specific area. You need a speciality. A speciality is the one thing that makes you utterly unique and propels you to the head of the pack.

2. Relationships over results
In HR, your performance and ability to deliver results are vital. They are the tools that help you gain recognition, attract attention, and earn promotions and rewards. It’s easy to get tunnel vision and become obsessed with your results, but they only matter to a point. Of far greater importance in HR, especially when it comes to ranking in the leadership stakes, are the relationships you forge. The higher up the ladder you get, the truer this becomes – results will always be important, but your relationships within your organisation, and with other HR specialists, carry even more weight.

3. Your team is your talent
If you’re a leader in HR, nothing speaks more to your talent than your team. Hire the people who are, at the very least, your equal. Where possible, hire people who are a bit better than you. Stocking your team with B and even C players will not only ruin your department – it will leave your leadership reputation in tatters.

4. Stay current
Staying current and at the top of your HR game is essential. This business is a rat race, and the pace is only getting faster!

5. Street cred
You likely spend a lot of time composing elevator pitches to ensure you always have the perfect thing to say about yourself. The thing is, what other people say about your reputation in HR carries a lot more weight than anything you say yourself. Nurture your reputation.

6. Healthy pipes
The most successful HR pros have a lot of different projects in the pipeline. Make sure you keep your options open with different paths that have the potential to skyrocket your career.

7. Feedback
Getting regular feedback is vital. Set up face-to-face meetings on a regular basis to ensure you have the chance to clarify your feedback, and really drill down to the core of any feedback you’ve received.

8. Monofocus
Multi-tasking is not your friend. Have laser focus on one thing at a time, and make it your most important task.

9. Career hour
You will often get so caught up doing your job that you forget to spend time on your career. Set aside one career hour per week, and spend it doing things that will actively further your HR career.

10. Ego
It’s easy to let your ego get out of control, especially when you’re doing well and compliments are coming at you from all angles. Keep your ego in check!

11. Blog
If you really want to stand out from the crowd and distinguish yourself, start a blog. Position yourself as an HR thought leader and blog consistently – you may only post once a month (blogging is time-consuming!) but consistency and quality are more important than quantity. Get you thoughts and views out there!

Do you have any great HR tips? Share them below, we’d love to hear them! If you need help and support with UK HR help, then feel free to get in touch with our HR department.

HR tips: how to manage your remote employees

With over four million UK workers now regularly working for home, it seems businesses are slowly coming round to the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely. But, with distractions aplenty, no pressure to be productive and a lack of supervision, how do you ensure flexibility works out for both the staff and the business?

Here are four top tips for managing your remote workers:

1. Set overarching goals
When employees are present in the office, it’s easy to keep an eye on their workflow and what they’re achieving, whether that’s through regular meetings or informal conversations. Forbes recently reported that 93% of employees are at their most productive when they work from home, but how do you translate this into trackable achievements?

It’s important to set goals to ensure things are getting done, whether on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, but try not to micromanage. After all, if you can’t trust the person to do their job, what are you letting them work from home for?

2. Make use of technology
There are a plethora of online tools and software applications out there to track where people are up to with tasks and to communicate what needs to be done, so use them!

Whether it’s a ticketing system to allow you to know when a job has been completed, a fully-integrated project management system or simply Skype, communication regarding work doesn’t have to stop just because staff aren’t in the office.

3. Be flexible
In an office, 9 to 5 is the norm and is often unavoidable, but such strict scheduling isn’t always necessary when someone is working from their home office.

If employees are required to be online at these times, make it clear to them, but also outline that hours are flexible if other things need to be prioritised. Your employees will appreciate your acknowledgement that a work/life balance needs to be maintained.

4. Be open
Remote working can be isolating. As well as encouraging staff to make use of co-working spaces and the like, ensure you let them know that you’re approachable and there to listen to any questions or concerns they may have. If possible, set up regular face-to-face meetings or ‘office days’ so workers can meet up and talk things through.

At Goodwille, we can act as HR advisers to keep you up to date with current UK best practice. If you need help and advice on how to manage your remote employees, get in touch with us today.

Here’s why your foreign employment contract will not protect you in the UK

Without stating the obvious, employment contracts are written to follow the laws within the country they are drafted. There are vast differences between employment laws around the world, so we strongly advise using locally drafted employment contracts.

Choosing to use an employment contract which is drafted for a foreign market leaves you vulnerable as an employer and employee in case of future disputes. Where everything might seem good to begin with, it does not always end up that way.

Here are three differences between UK & international employment contracts you need to consider:

1) Disciplinary & Grievance
It is mandatory for UK employment contracts to have clauses that refer directly to the disciplinary and grievance policy, i.e. you must state that you have a policy and where it can be found, also that the disciplinary and grievance policy does not form part of any contractual agreement. It may seem direct to address this issue when your employee has only just joined, but this is a legal requirement for the UK and the employee is likely to expect it to be part of their agreement.

The disciplinary and grievance policy must be fair & clear, but stored separately to the contract of employment.

2) Absences
Holiday allowance varies from country-to-country when it comes to statutory holiday and public holidays. Also the way that holiday is treated, i.e. if it is accrued during the year or paid in advance is another international variance. Sickness also varies when it comes to statutory sick pay and statutory sick leave. Using an employment contract which is not drafted for UK law is therefore likely to not only contain incorrect information, but risk leaving the employee with the incorrect holiday and sickness entitlement, which could also land you in hot water as the employer.

3) Notice period
If an employee is not performing, and the decision is made to terminate the agreement then a non-UK employment contract may leave you vulnerable should the employee raise a dispute. The garden leave and PILON (payment in lieu of notice) process varies from country-to-country and without the correct clauses you are likely to be left exposed. It is not uncommon for UK employees to seek legal advice when faced with a termination of their contract, so getting it right from the off is vital for all involved.

Typically international employment contracts can be just a couple of pages long, whilst UK employment contracts are in excess of fifteen pages and contain clauses and appendices – the agreement will then be underpinned by a staff handbook which contains information about company policies and procedures.

Employment contracts are designed to protect both the employer and the employee in case of future disputes. To ensure you are covered, or to review your existing employment contracts, please contact Anni or Jacqui in our HR Team: hr.support@goodwille.com