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FAQs as a result of the UK voting to leave EU

Paul Beesley : June 26, 2016 11:54 am : Blog, Employee Engagement, Leadership

Brexit logoAt times like these, employee engagement takes on the greatest of significance. At Beyond Theory we have developed FAQs from a briefing that I have received from the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD). The CIPD is the ‘go to place’ for advice and best practice of people management and development.

These FAQs will help you with deal with any concerns that you or your people may have regarding the immediate impact of the vote to leave the EU and employment. 

Glossary of terms used in the FAQs:

EU: European Union. Countries in EU are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

EEA: European Economic Area. The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market. Switzerland is neither a EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market – this means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. What does a ‘vote leave’ mean immediately for my employees?

The biggest immediate challenge is likely to be trying to reassure your employees that any significant changes in employment rights and rights to work in the UK are highly unlikely to happen in the short-to-medium term. It will be important to communicate clearly to your employees. Stress that there will be no imminent changes and that your business will keep everyone closely informed as the negotiation over the UK’s future relationship with the EU progresses.

Any major change can create uncertainty, stress and anxiety, which means all employers should be extra mindful of their duty of care to employees and ensure that appropriate support is available for those that are worried or are struggling to cope with stress. A key part of any response needs to be very clear and consistent communication about changes happening in the business. Also managers at all levels need to be equipped with the right information and where necessary provided with guidance and support to ensure they can respond appropriately to employee concerns.

2. What will it mean for the EEA nationals that I currently employ?

There is no significant threat to the rights of EEA workers already in the UK to live and work here so you should reassure your existing EU workers that they don’t face any risk to their job security. CIPD believes that it is likely that there will be a worker registration scheme introduced in the future for EEA nationals that are already in the UK to protect their right to continue to live and work in the UK. However, it is uncertain whether people from the EEA who enter the UK between now and the UK’s formal separation from the EU will have a permanent right to live and work in the UK.

The Government is likely to tread cautiously as any move against another country’s citizens would need to be carefully thought through and managed to avoid tit-for-tat measures, for example against British citizens enjoying retirement in Spain.

Looking further ahead, EEA workers that would like to come to the UK to live and work in the future are likely to be subject to the requirements of a points-based visa system that is likely to reduce their employment opportunities. See 5. below.

3. What are the implications for employees living and working outside the UK?

The ‘leave’ vote will have little or no implication for employees living or working outside the UK in the short-term. Subject to future negotiations over the UK’s relationship with the EU, there could be restrictions on UK nationals’ ability to live and work in the EU. Any changes will not happen quickly and even then, there are likely to be transitional arrangements.

4. Will there be big changes to employment law and/or workers’ rights?

A significant body of employment law in the UK derives from the EU, and over the past decades this has affected workers’ rights across the economy. In theory the leave vote could allow the Government to amend employment law if it could gain Parliamentary approval. The reality is that the legal framework under which EU-derived employment law is transposed into UK law is complex and will not be straightforward to dismantle. The future of EU-derived employment law will depend on the political and economic relationship that the UK negotiates with the EU.

Trade agreements such as the European Free Trade Area (EFTA) or joining the EEA could require the UK to still accept the majority of EU regulations. One point to bear in mind is that the UK already has more flexibility than is sometimes realised over employment law.

5. What is likely to happen to immigration policy?

The Vote Leave campaign pledged that the new immigration system would end the automatic right of all EU citizens to come to live and work in the UK. Following negotiations over the future relationship between the UK and the EU, the CIPD believes that it is highly probable that employers will in the future no longer benefit from free movement of labour within the EEA. It is also possible that EU citizens that enter the UK between now and the formal separation will not have a permanent right to live and work in the UK. These negotiations will take time so any changes to the status quo are unlikely in the short-to-medium-term.

The Vote Leave campaign advocated the benefits of an Australian-style points-based system and so it is possible a similar system will be introduced in the UK at some point. One option is for the Government to adapt the existing points-based immigration system for non-EEA workers and extend it to cover all migrants. Under the existing arrangements, entry to work for non-EEA nationals is limited to people identified to be of value to the UK economy, such as skilled workers in “shortage occupations”. Migrants with sought-after skills gain more points towards their visa. Under this system, employers have to register as sponsors and pay various costs that will include a new immigration skills surcharge from April 2017. In addition, employers are subject to a rigorous compliance regime.

The current points-based system comprises several routes. Employers are primarily concerned with the Tier 2 Visa route, through which employers recruit skilled non-EU migrants because they cannot find people with the right skills and experience from the resident labour market. Points are awarded on the basis of age, earnings, work experience and qualifications.

One option is for the Government to activate the Tier 3 Visa route for un-skilled workers, which has not been used to-date because of the strong labour supply from EEA countries, to allow employers to fill specific temporary or seasonal labour shortages.

Another option available to the Government is to adopt Australia’s General Skilled Migration (GSM) approach. This system allows prospective migrants to lodge an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the Department of Immigration and Border Protect (DIBP’s) ‘SkillSelect’ system. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Be under 50 years of age at time of invitation
  • Have at least ‘competent’ level of English
  • Plan to work in an occupation from the relevant skilled occupation list
  • Have obtained sufficiently positive skills assessment for their nominated occupation.

A key difference between the current UK points-based system for non-EU workers and the Australian immigration system is that in Australia you do not need sponsorship from an employer, meaning you can find a job when you arrive.

6. What does a vote to leave the EU mean for other areas of UK employment and skills policy?

Aside from employment law and immigration policy, there are no expected changes to existing employment and skills policies that will be coming into force, such as the National Living Wage and the Apprenticeship Levy.

7. Where can I find out further information?

Our Government is expected to be making useful information available for employers so checking the Government website www.Gov.uk is highly recommended.

Source: Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development

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Case Study – The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Paul Beesley : June 17, 2016 12:23 pm : Blog, Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Leadership
Ouch to Wow! Customer Service Excellence Graphic

GH logo October 2015In the past couple of weeks The Gonville Hotel received recognition by achieving number one status for hotel accommodation on Trip Advisor for Cambridge. This blog is the story of our contribution to the Gonville Hotel’s success.

We have been working with The Gonville Hotel since October 2013. We were originally approached to deliver recruitment skills training. Not only did we complete the training, we advised on processes and procedures to help attract and recruit the best talent for their teams.

In January 2014 we began our support to help The Gonville with their business transformation. The first workshop we held focused on the development needs of the senior management team. We delivered a workshop based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Strengths and weakness were accurately assessed and development actions were put in place.Ouch to Wow! Customer Service Graphic

The next sessions focused on developing the vision, values and behaviours for The Gonville going forward. These were determined and then built into the refreshed employee appraisal system that was especially designed. Approaches to employee feedback were revisited and then trained throughout the management team. This work laid the foundations for their customer service training programme – The Gonville Academy.

The Academy was a leadership programme of half-day modules designed around the Gonville Hotel’s needs. Customer excellence was at the heart of all training. Everything was designed to deliver The Gonville’s vision of becoming the hotel of choice in Cambridge. The training also focused on the values and behaviours, everything centred on delivering an exceptional customer experience for guests and included:

  • Creating an employee engagement strategy
  • Leadership behaviours
  • Training and coaching skills
  • Teamwork
  • Group problem solving and decision making
  • Project management skills
  • Change management

In addition to the Academy, employees also received training and coaching in our unique CORE approach to delivering customer excellence. Leadership and employee training and coaching continues today.

The Gonville’s determination to succeed continued. Running alongside a major refurbishment programme at the hotel we were commissioned to undertake a mystery shop exercise. This prompted feedback to develop customer journey mapping skills. Workshops with managers and key employees were undertaken and processes were reviewed as a result.

We know that Trip Advisor provides the opportunity to listen to customers. However, The Gonville decided that listening to its guests was not enough – they decided to listen to their employees too. Last autumn The Gonville Voice employee survey was launched to invite all employees to give their views on how things can be improved. This has ignited opportunities for employees to suggest improvements and provide feedback.

When guests make their judgements and choose to provide feedback on Trip Advisor they comment on many aspects of their experience as a guest. Rooms, car parking, food and drink are just a few to mention. However, it’s the people that really matter. Highly engaged and motivated employees can only deliver customer excellence. Employees will not be motivated and engaged unless they are well led and managed.

Our training and coaching at Beyond Theory has helped develop the manager and employee capability and thinking that has enabled The Gonville Hotel to fulfil its vision. But we recognise that the hospitality industry is an extremely competitive business. We know that there are no guarantees about remaining at the top. The only guarantee is that competitors will be looking to overtake. We’re proud to continue to help The Gonville remain as the hotel of choice in Cambridge by helping their people remain their sustainable competitive edge.

Paul Beesley, senior consultant, Beyond Theory

6 June 2016

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What the giants can learn about customer service from the challenger brands

Paul Beesley : May 2, 2016 9:43 am : Blog, Customer Service, Employee Engagement

Delivery man In October we’re exhibiting at a niche business show. To support this we’ve decided to invest in a new exhibition stand. The design has been agreed and the order placed. Last week our new stand was due to be delivered. An international carrier was selected by our supplier to make our delivery.

On Thursday I was out of the office. On return I picked up a ‘Sorry we missed you!’ card telling me that a failed delivery had taken place. This was disappointing to receive as other businesses are based in our building and we have an agreement we’ll sign for each others’ deliveries. However, the good news was that the calling card said a further delivery will be attempted on the next working day. I went on line to see if I could track my delivery. Unfortunately the courier’s website wasn’t working, displaying an error message.

On Friday there was no delivery and no calling card. More disappointment. I went on line to see if I could track my delivery. Unfortunately the courier’s website still wasn’t working. Even more disappointment.

On Saturday morning I checked the website again, using the consignment number as before. Still the website wasn’t working. My disappointment was now turning to frustration.

I then telephoned the help desk, asking for an update on where my delivery was and when the delivery is likely to take place. The young woman that I spoke to was very pleasant and helpful. She informed me that failed deliveries had taken place on Wednesday (which was news to me as no calling card was left) and Thursday. She then explained that no delivery was attempted on the Friday. However, a delivery was to be made on the Saturday (which was not a working day).

By this time my frustration turned into resignation. We arranged for the parcel to be returned to the depot in Wellingborough and that I would collect it later.

I did mention that calling ahead (by either the delivery driver or the call centre) would have avoided 3 failed deliveries. As well as making the my life easier (as the customer) it would also save time and money for the courier. The young woman on the help desk agreed but said that the delivery drivers are not allowed mobile phones. She couldn’t say why. I wonder how her levels of motivation and engagement are sustained as she remains unable to help influence to improve things.

The delivery company involved is TNT. This is an international company with a huge reputation. I guess this is why they were chosen.

Now compare TNT’s approach to that of Breezemount UK. This is a family owned company that has grown enormously over recent years. They specialise in delivery in 2-man home delivery. Their process is to agree a delivery day and an approximate time. They call ahead to make sure the delivery can be made and that the expected delivery time is convenient. Not rocket science, they just have and follow their customer-focused processes. I wish our supplier had chosen Breezemount UK over TNT to deliver our exhibition stand.

Breezemount UK is clearly a challenger brand. My message to them is please keep challenging – I think you may well wake up some sleeping giants.

Paul Beesley, senior consultant

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Re-think your employee annual appraisals

Paul Beesley : April 8, 2016 8:21 am : Blog, Employee Engagement, Leadership

unhappy person at workThe days of the annual traditional appraisal are numbered. At long last many businesses are coming to the realisation that an annual appraisal is no longer worth the paper it’s written on.

In a recent edition of the Harvard Business Review, Deloitte declared that they are fundamentally changing how they review how their employees perform. Their own research states that their 65,000 employees spent 2 million hours completing forms and holding countless meetings to discuss employee performance. The process wasn’t working because these days things move so fast in business that annual goals are too far out. Another part of their research states that much of the performance review ratings were a reflection on the manager conducting the review rather than the employee being appraised. In summary, the existing system was a waste of time, effort and money.

Does this sound all too familiar with your own experiences with performance appraisals in your company? Are your performance appraisals driving employee performance and engagement or are they simply going through the motions?

Research into neuroscience now tells us that as people we are hard-wired to fear and react poorly to being categorised.  Take a look at this short video. It explains how the traditional approach to annual appraisals is flawed in terms how people think and behave.

It’s not only Deloitte who are having a major re-think on how they appraise their employees. Netflix have completely revamped their approach. Microsoft have done away with performance ratings. More companies are now following suit to make their performance reviews slicker and relevant to their business. The myth that the traditional approach to annual reviews adds real value is busted. These days employee appraisals need to be accurate, timely and future-focused. The focus needs to be on the conversation rather than the form completion.

Times are changing and employees’ attitudes to how they expect to be managed are changing too. At Beyond Theory our research, using respected sources such as the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), Engage for Success and the Harvard Business Review gives us a unique and up to date insight into what makes people and businesses tick. We have access to the latest thinking on employee performance and engagement and how this translates into increased business productivity.

Contact me if you’d like us to review your company’s employee appraisal process to make it fit for purpose. If needed we can then your train team, or train your own people to train others, so that your employee appraisals are both engaging and what your business needs.

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A story of employee engagement in action

Paul Beesley : March 25, 2016 7:31 pm : Blog, Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Leadership

Wow! Employee Engagement Customer Service GraphicI recently attended a business meeting in Northampton. Our topic was employee engagement and how people are appraised at work. The venue was quite a large corporate company with an instantly recognised brand name. The building had all the trappings of a large international company. My meeting was at 2:00 pm. I was characteristically punctual if not a little early.

As I entered the building the glass doors automatically slid open effortlessly. The reception area was very clean, uncluttered and brightly lit. The corporate identity clearly showed I was in the right place. I was greeted by the receptionist with full eye contact and a smile. ‘Mr. Beesley? You’re here to see ……… for your 2 o’clock meeting’.

Wow! What a welcome.

I was then asked about my journey, where I can come from and how was the traffic. She then contacted the PA of the senior manager with whom I was meeting. My visitor’s badge had been prepared and was handed to me. The receptionist then asked where I was going after my meeting and then offered to check the traffic reports for my onward journey.

Wow! This is a first in terms of a customer experience with a reception desk.

The senior manager then arrived. We had our meeting and everything went swimmingly. Once our meeting had finished I was then politely escorted back to reception to hand in my visitors badge. The receptionist then gave me my traffic report and wishes me a safe journey.

Wow! Another promise delivered.

Years ago people talked about those ‘moments of truth’ – those incidents where opportunities exist to give a great customer service. These days, we call these Wow! moments. My story gives examples of three Wow! moments from the same person, in the same company in about 90 minutes.  These Wow! moments happened a few weeks ago and I am still talking about them. The company I visited just oozed great customer service.

We often talk about employee engagement and the business benefits. We often describe employee engagement in an abstract way. My story above provides a fantastic example of employee engagement in action – and describes the tangible impact on the customer, the company and the employee.

So here are some questions for you:

  • How well are your front line people trained? Not just the employees who answer the phone or deal with customers face to face but those who interact with customers in a less obvious way.
  • How well are your employees engaged? By this I mean how enthusiastic are they, how well do they understand their role and how it fits into the bigger picture?
  • How well are your employees rewarded for doing the right things in the right way? And I don’t mean being rewarded by money.
  • How well does your appraisal system focus on what’s needed, how to achieve it rather than focusing on what is missing?
  • How well are you managers trained to lead in a way that brings your company’s vision and values to life? After all, failing to live the values will leave your customers and your employees disengaged.
  • How well are your employees encouraged to speak up and offer ideas to make things work better? Innovation is for everyone, not just the people in the lab with white coats and clipboards.
  • How well do you recruit the right people for the work you expect them to do? Hiring on will and training the skill will help avoid square pegs in round holes.

Delivering customer excellence goes well beyond delivering customer service. Smiling and being polite are a given. Delivering a great customer experience is the key where people, processes and technology come together to delight and Wow! the customer.

Paul Beesley, senior consultant

Beyond Theory

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