At this time of year our helpdesk always gets busier. Here are some tips taken from all the queries we have answered in December for the past 3 years.

H – Holiday rules. We get lots of questions about this. The main issues are Annual leave entitlements, Employees fighting over holiday dates and Holiday approval disputes. All much more easily resolved if you have a clear policy and HR system in place to manage it. Harassment claims do rear their heads around now and are to be treated seriously.

A – Arguments just seem to increase about now. Do try and resolve informally and listen to both parties. A is also for Adults and that is generally how we want people to behave; but if you feel further investigation is needed, do one. Alcohol is something that needs managing especially if you are offering it to your staff. Provide alternatives as well and food to soak it up.

P – Pregnancy is wonderful! It leads to the creation of little humans and is to be celebrated regardless of gender. Take a festive look at your parental policies.  P is also for Promotion. Remember that a talented employee remains talented regardless of any assumption you might make about their ambitions because they are about to become a parent.

P – PARTY TIME!  Christmas party for the office can be lots of fun but also might cause a few problems; also, from the effects of attending too many! Decide what your approach is going to be by the culture you want to create.

Y – Young People under 25 are often in need of a bit more guidance at this time of year.  Unplanned absence is often a problem. Help them understand what is OK and what they must avoid.

C – Coughs and colds are rife. There are a lot of germs around at this time of year so manage absence according to any policy you have but remember no-one can prevent the lurgy. Having the goodwill of your staff is everything but so is being fair and consistent.

H – Home is a good place to be and fine for staff to be based there or work remotely. Think about whether this could become more of a thing for you in 2020. In a positive way rather than putting energy into stopping it.

R – Reward time for all that hard work. It’s the season of good will so thank whoever has helped you. Don’t forget the contractors and consultants. Everyone is a worker in your business. Resolutions to make changes at work often happen about now. Make sure you go one step further and get a plan in place.

I – Icy outside so take care and make sure avoid anyone having an accident on your premises. However, don’t stray into giving staff too much advice about how to handle ice and snow.  Other than to enjoy it! Decide what your position is if there is a snow day before you have a snow day! I is also for Image.

S –  Self-care is king. If you feel someone is frazzled or stressed and hasn’t booked holiday or isn’t looking after themselves intervene! Great companies help their staff. S is also for Stay interviews. The opposite of Exit Interviews. Do these for the people you want to keep whilst you still have them. Shutting the door after the horse is bolted is not where you want to be. To be called in and told you are part of the future is powerful.

T – Tribunals are actually quite rare. Don’t overreact if someone mentions one. It’s to trigger you into offering a settlement often. Just take good advice from a professional that doesn’t benefit from going to an ET, follow a process, know your rights and obligations.

M – Mince pies are delicious. However every day from now until Christmas Eve might just be making your workforce feel slow sluggish. Get the Satsumas in!

A – Ameliorate –meaning ‘to better or improve’ your performance review process. Lots of tech solutions out there but often un-needed. Just think about how you can have regular supportive conversations with your teams. That are two way.

S – SAR’s requests. Sorry but they spring up like mushrooms at this time of year. Often deliberately timed to run over the Christmas period. Don’t panic – you can ask for an extension but also, we really like this company who can help the process. It’s the redaction and GDPR that take time. S is also for Single. Remember that some staff struggle at this time of year which is very geared towards couple and families.

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