Jeni McCabe

Jeni McCabe

Monday, 14 March 2016 15:57

You can't do that!

You can't do that!


If only I had a pound for every time someone has said "you can't do that" to me, I would be a very rich woman today!  


It's common that when staff think they can get away with things, they may be a little bit upset when you start to lay down the law.  This is even more common when you have policies and processes in place that just aren't being following by some department managers.  


So how can you change that?  Easily!  


First of all, send the offending managers on refresher training to remind them of HR policies, why the exist and how to apply them.  Then, simply remind all staff that there are policies in place that need to be applied consistently throughout the company.  You can re-issue key policies or post a summary of them on the notice board with reference on where to access the full policy.  Give it a couple of weeks to make sure that everyone has had enough time to review the policies ask any questions.  Then start following the processes.  


For example, if you want to crack down on multiple short-term absences, follow the process above then start having return to work meetings and stage 1 absence meetings with staff as required.  When you tell them that you will be making a record of the meeting that will be kept on file and any further absences may lead to disciplinary action, you may well hear them say "you can't do that".  This is when you politely remind them that you can in fact to that and you will if need be.  Refer them to the policy for review and offer to answer any queries regarding the policy that they may have.  


Remember, you have the right to manage your staff and it is important that all department managers follow the same processes and apply them consistently.  


Monday, 08 February 2016 12:43

How can you improve performance at work?

How can you improve performance at work?


While I was watching TV last week, a programme about performance and productivity at work caught my attention.  Maybe you saw it too?  Tonight – Shirkers or Workers.

Basically, they sent a performance expert in to a business and he showed them how they could improve productivity and performance at work while cutting working hours at the same time.  Impossible?  No, very possible. 

In fact, SCRSolutions has also helped companies to improve their performance using some of the same techniques that were demonstrated on the programme.  And the results can be doubled if you tackle absence management at the same time. 

The fact is, employees are normally your largest cost and your largest asset.  Now, more than ever, it’s important to make sure you get the best from your staff in terms of productivity and performance.  

To show you how to do this, I’m holding a free seminar in partnership with 'Dundee Business Week 2016' on Friday 26th February. 


So the only question is.. do you want to save money and boost productivity in your business?  Yes?  Then this seminar will show you how to do it. Click here for more details and to book your place. 


During the seminar I will show you how you can improve performance at work immediately by taking some simple steps and how to manage long-term performance.  We will look at the key areas of HR that your business needs to make sure your staff are motivated and engaged at work and we will give you practical top HR tips to help you manage your staff effectively and get the best from them in return.


Places are very limited so please click here to register as soon as possible.


Event details:

How to improve performance at work

Friday 26th February 2016

12.00pm – 2.00pm - lunch is provided

Business Gateway

27-28 Camperdown Street

City Quay Business Centre



Free to attend – places are limited - click here to register


Personal IT privacy at work


A recent case regarding privacy at work has been resolved at the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).


The case:

The employee was using Yhaoo Messenger during work hours to send and receive personal and professional emails.  This was a direct breach of the company policy which clearly stated that it was strictly forbidden to use computer and other office equipment for personal purposes.  The company followed full investigation and disciplinary procedures and dismissed the employee for failure to comply with company policies.  The employee argued that the company had breached his human rights to privacy.


The ECtHR view:

The ECtHR found that as the employer had been checking on work related activities and subsequently discovered the personal activities, they had not breached the employees’ rights.  However, they did deem it be a proportionate interference.  They also made it very clear that employers do not have the right to access employees personal emails and that policies should be clear on what personal use is allowed and what monitoring will be conducted. 



Following this outcome, employers are urged to review their IT and Social Media policies to ensure they are not in breach of privacy rights.  The policies must clearly state how much personal use is acceptable and what monitoring will be carried out. 


How we can help:

Our dedicated team of HR professionals and employment law experts can quickly review your current policy and update it where required to give you sound peace of mind.  If you don’t have IT and Social Media policies, we can easily create them for you to suit the needs of your business.  Contact us on 01382 250333 to see how we can protect you from future claims. 


The full case can be reviewed here - CASE OF BĂRBULESCU v. ROMANIA


Monday, 11 January 2016 09:56

Back to normal?

Normally after the Christmas break, we want to get back into routine at work.  But this year has been exceptionally difficult due to the widespread flooding during the first week of the working year.  However, things are looking better!


So are you back to normal yet?  There are several issues to consider due to the adverse weather in relation to staff attending work. 


  1. How do you handle staff absences due to them not being able to get to work because of road closures?   You could give them unpaid time off, or allow them to use holidays at short notice.  January is not a good time for any of us to have a lower wage!  You can also allow them to work the time back at a later date, maybe within the month.
  2. Some staff may require compassionate leave if their homes have been flooded.  This can be very traumatic and they may need extra time to clean up and come to terms with the extent of the damage.
  3. If your staff care for someone who has been adversely affected by the floods, they may be entitled to emergency dependents leave.  For example, if their child’s school has been closed or if they are the main carer for an elderly relative.  Emergency dependents leave is unpaid and the amount of leave granted is normally a couple of days to allow for alternative arrangements to be made.  Again, you could offer some flexibility with relaxing the holiday request process and granting holidays at short notice or allowing flexi-time for a while. 
  4. If your business has been closed due to flooding and you tell your staff not to attend work, you still have to pay them for the hours that they would have normally been working.  However, you may want to look into a ‘short-term lay-off’ period which would mean that you only have to pay them the statutory minimum payment.  There are very strict rules surrounding this process.  Please see the ACAS advice leaflet – Lay-offs and Short-time Working.  Our consultants can also offer advice and support on this process. 
  5. Don’t forget about health & safety!  You should advise your staff to keep an eye on the local travel warnings and only make the journey to work if it is safe to do so.  You don’t want to encourage staff to take unnecessary risks. 


The key thing here is that you are understanding of the extenuating circumstances and be as flexible as you can be.  In return, you will gain respect and dedication from your staff. 


Should you have any queries regarding any of the points above, our dedicated HR consultants are on hand to help.  Call us on 01382 250333 or click here to contact us.  

Tuesday, 08 December 2015 12:08

Christmas Party Survival Guide

We are now in full swing of the Christmas party season. Who can forget the Christmas party scenes from Bridget Jones’s Diary; Bridget’s off key karaoke sessions, Daniel Cleaver harassing his female colleagues, Mark Darcy’s infamous reindeer jumper and of course Bridget’s mother serving mini-gherkins. I think we have all witnessed similar occurrences at Christmas parties over the years.

In the knowledge that the countdown to your Christmas party has probably begun, here are my top 5 tips on how best to survive the office Christmas party this year.

1. Never forget that whilst you are attending a party, it is a work related party and actions have consequences. Your behaviour is governed by a disciplinary procedure which, if violated, can threaten not only your job but also your personal record. If you want to go far, try to avoid the bar.

2. Open bar? Remember, everything in moderation. It is nice to have an eggnog or glass of mulled wine during the festive season but try not to drink excessively. When we drink we lose our inhibitions and pose the risk of acting inappropriately. Can you imagine the embarrassment of knowing that you rocked the room with an off key karaoke version of ‘All I want for Christmas is you’ dedicated to your boss. Cringe!

3. In the words of Aretha Franklin have a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T for your colleagues by keeping your thoughts to yourself during the party.  Now is not the time to express anger, harsh opinions, malicious gossip or confront your less than favourite co-worker. Instead, count to ten and bite your tongue.

4. Refrain from doing a Daniel Cleaver. Don’t harass the object of your desire at the office party unless you know the feeling to be mutual. Harassment is a serious offence which results in disciplinary action; don’t risk losing your job or your dignity.

5. Finally, remember to enjoy yourself. Tis’ the season to be jolly, after all. None of these guidelines are designed to oppress your evening, they are designed to make it even better. Put on your novelty Christmas jumper, dance awkwardly to Band Aid, make new friends, remember to laugh and don’t forget to bring your camera, create memories that will last a lifetime.

On a more serious note, if you are an employer reading these guidelines and perhaps fear that some of the actions mentioned in the post pose an actual risk at this year’s Christmas party, ensure you have some official guidelines in place.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Thanks to Natalie Cook for her input on today’s HR blog post.   

Merry Christmas!


The Case:

Mr R was employed by the Department of Transport and spent a lot of time out on the road.  He had a company credit card to pay for hire cars and company related expenses.  He was not allowed to use the credit card for personal expenses. 


The Investigation:

Mr R was investigated for excessive use of the credit card including high petrol use and a hire car for personal use. 


The initial investigation reported that Mr R had been misusing the credit card but stated that it was not deliberate and his reasons were consistent and plausible.  The report recommended an outcome of misconduct and a final written warning. 


HR’s Influence:

A member of the HR team reviewed the report and over a significant period of time, comments and amendments were made which included the removal of some favourable comments.  The final report then recommended that Mr R be found guilty of gross misconduct and summarily dismissed.  This action was carried out by the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing. 


Employment Tribunal:

Mr R raised an employment tribunal against the company but lost his case. 


Employment Appeal Tribunal:

Mr R then appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).  The EAT held that the report of an investigating officer must be the product of their own investigations. Although a dismissing or investigating officer is entitled to seek guidance from HR, such advice should be limited to matters of employment law and procedure (as opposed to matters of culpability). HR is allowed to assist the investigating officer in the presentation of their report, but only for example by ensuring that all necessary matters have been addressed and to achieve clarity.  All decisions must be made by the investigation officer and the chairperson of the disciplinary hearing.  Mr R won his case. 


What you should do:

When you seek advice from our HR consultants, we will advise you on the disciplinary procedures that need to be followed, letter writing to ensure all details are correct, suitable outcomes and any potential problem areas.  We will always highlight any employment law concerns and clarification can be sought from our employment lawyer if required.  The final decision on any dismissal will be made by you, the employer. 


Wednesday, 14 October 2015 10:46


It's a real bug bearer of mine when I receive and poorly written application.  It might be by email or letter but either way, all job applications are formal communications.  So please don't send in an application like this....

As a work shop enginner for a 11 years.which I reline brake shoes clutches.working shortblaster air tools.I live in brechin now so just asking if there is any jobs . house number is XXX  thank u


If you are applying for job or even just enqiring about any vacancies, make sure you use proper English and grammar.  This is the first impression that a company will have of you and it has to be a good one.  

Wednesday, 14 October 2015 10:26

Our first HR blog post

Welcome to our first ever HR blog post. 


We'll try to keep our blogs short and informative.  If you have a burning issue that you would like some advice on, why not email us and we'll post a blog about it with some helpful hints and tips.  


With our HR blog, you can comment on posts, rate them, share them on social media and search our archive to find what you're looking for.  It's friendly and easy to use!  


Stay posted for regular HR updates and discussions.

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