21 Mar 2023

Focus on: our Human Resources Services

At Monahans, our HR team works with a broad array of businesses, with headcounts anywhere between five and one hundred. Some are retained monthly, whilst others access our services on an ad hoc basis. This is a cost-effective way for businesses to supplement HR teams without the cost of hiring someone full or part-time.

We provide a wide range of services that can be shaped to the unique needs of any organisation. For example, for smaller businesses, we can act as an extension of the team – giving HR advice and even attending meetings.

Some may not have any HR support or lack the senior figures necessary to carry out certain HR procedures. If a team is going through a disciplinary process, for example, several team members are required for various tasks/activities – we can fill the gap by being the additional resource.

What are the issues you’re helping clients with?
At this time of year, we’re helping clients to refresh their company handbooks and update guidelines. Over the last 12 months, increasing numbers of clients are formulating more formal working from home policies, putting hybrid policies in writing rather than being verbal. More recently we’re also seeing an uptick in those looking to implement menopause policies.

Recruitment is a key area of focus for our clients, as many are struggling to attract talent in the current market. Candidates are still demanding flexibility in their working hours and are eager to find a hybrid working set-up, so those companies hoping to employee people in the office full-time are struggling to recruit.

We offer advice about making positions as attractive as possible and consult with the client to see if there is any room for compromise. For candidates, salary, location and flexibility are top of the priority list, so it is within a client's interest to try and meet them halfway where possible.

Ensuring the candidate’s experience is kept front and centre of clients’ hiring processes is also crucial. Maintaining a consistent flow of communication throughout the process may seem simple but for a candidate it might be the deciding factor in accepting a role. According to research 46 per cent of candidates lose interest in the company if there is no status update from one to two weeks after the interview. We advise clients to give candidates a time frame – even if it’s vague – on when they will hear back and send a follow-up email after the interview. Not only will it give a good impression of your organisation but also reduce the risk of the candidate being snapped up by a competitor.

Employee retainment
Just as crucial as recruitment is employee retainment. Your staff are your most important asset, so we help you to ensure they feel supported, invested in, and that they stick around. This requires clients to regularly review their employee offering to ensure that it is still fit for purpose.

With that in mind we will always encourage clients to find mediative ways through HR issues, avoiding unnecessary upset wherever possible. For example, when it comes to disciplinary processes, we will exhaust every option before dismissal is ever discussed – retaining staff should always be the aim and losing them the last resort.

This means letting them know what the policy is and what the expectations are. Sick leave, in particular, requires a balance between setting those boundaries whilst also being a supportive and approachable manager.

If a manager can build up a good working relationship with their team, it’s more likely that staff will come to them with any concerns before they worsen. Rather than pursuing a disciplinary procedure because someone has taken too much leave, take one step back and conduct a welfare meeting. Consider if there is a wellness action plan that can be put in place to increase their wellbeing before going down capability routes. We need to be aware that people may have additional worries on top of work, for example financial concerns about the rising cost of living, so a sympathetic and patient approach is required to make them feel valued and listened to.

The same goes for performance appraisals – if staff are not performing, employers shouldn’t assume that they know the reason why. Instead, a meeting should be arranged in order to chat through the issue and find a potential solution, finding out why they think they’re struggling and seeing if there are any areas where the company can help. There will be occasions where a team member has the right attitude but hasn’t got either the skills or experience necessary to complete the task to the necessary standard. Therefore, by initiating open conversation and providing training they have the chance to improve, rather than simply writing off someone who has the potential to be a great asset.

That said, there will be occasions where clients need to take a harder line – and one area where we provide support is helping our clients to stick to their policies. For example, we often see employers being overly generous and paying employees full pay when they shouldn’t be according to their policy, just to help them out. Whilst there is no problem with this in principle, it then sets a precedent going forwards and might not be something they can sustain. There's a fine line between being a supportive employer and tripping yourself up by being too generous. I would always advise them to stick to their policies, otherwise, it can cause more problems down the line.

Confidence is key
The majority of our clients are highly experienced and can manage their day-to-day HR requirements, but still benefit from a second pair of eyes and the reassurance that the policies they have in place are within the law. From a business perspective, the service we offer works to avoid potential claims, ensuring that all of the correct processes are adhered to and that everything is being done right by the employee.

Why Monahans?
According to client feedback, our greatest strengths lie in our personal service and efficiency. Clients always receive a response on the same day, if not within the hour, as an acknowledgement that their query is being dealt with.

We always provide a timeline so that clients know exactly what to expect and when to expect it. This is an invaluable benefit, as for many busy businesses, HR considerations can fall to the bottom of their list, and needing to chase someone external is the last thing they need to be doing with their precious time.

Having someone at the end of the phone with your best interests at heart provides invaluable reassurance when times might be stressful. No matter what level of support you might need we can help, get in touch today.

Juliet Mellues