Case Study – Car Hire

One of the largest privately owned companies in the North West. They offer extensive fleets of cars, vans, trucks and minibuses for personal and business, short and long term hire.

The Client
One of the largest privately owned companies in the North West. They offer extensive fleets of cars, vans, trucks and minibuses for personal and business, short and long term hire.

The Brief
The client was referred to us partway through a complicated employee bullying and harassment grievance complaint that had been incorrectly handled and was in danger of becoming litigious.

The Solution
Solutions for HR assessed the actions to date and determined that there had been insufficient investigation into the complaints for the Company to draw a fair and reasonable conclusion.

It was also clear that best practice procedures had not been followed as the client had delivered a decision without a thorough and documented investigation and formal grievance hearing.

Solutions for HR advised the client to take a step back and complete a thorough investigation into the allegations in anticipation of the employee’s inevitable grievance appeal.

Solutions for HR handled the grievance investigations to ensure confidentiality, sensitivity and to eliminate any bias. On receipt of the employee grievance appeal, we facilitated an appeal hearing and worked with the client to determine an appropriate decision.

We went on to work with the employer to deliver the outcome and to develop an employee relations strategy for the future.

The Result
Solutions for HR’s involvement in the secondary part of the proceedings ensured that the final decision upon appeal was determined fairly, considering a substantial number of third party witness statements and a great deal of other business information.

Our role also ensured objectivity and confidentiality, which is paramount in sensitive situations such as this and we were able to mediate between the parties to resolve the situation productively.

Case Study – Animal Park

The client is a dual purpose organisation, consisting of a purpose-built health, fitness and spa centre set in the grounds of a private nursery, preparatory and senior school.

The Client
An animal park offering bird of prey experiences, flying displays, school visits, children’s parties and photography workshops.

The Brief
The client had a disabled employee who came to the company via the government Workstart scheme. The employee’s performance and attendance had begun to cause concern and the client was worried about potential disability discrimination in dealing with the issues.

The Solution
Solutions for HR initially adopted an informal approach to discuss the problem in a sensitive and non-intrusive manner. During an informal discussion the employee advised that she was feeling tired and this accounted for her frequent absences and performance issues. We recommended offering a temporary reduction in hours which the employee accepted. The employee was also advised of the improvements expected.

Despite the adjustments made, the situation quickly deteriorated and within two weeks the employee was certified off work for 4 weeks by her GP with work-related stress.

Solutions for HR engaged the services of an Occupational Health Professional to evaluate the employee’s condition, reasons for absence and to advise on measures to facilitate a return to work. The OH report confirmed that many of the reasonable adjustments possible had already been implemented, for example changes to duties and working hours.

The employee was invited to a formal capability meeting to discuss the content of the report, any further support the client could offer and whether the employee was fit to return to work. Further absence capability meetings followed at regular intervals and eventually the employee agreed that there was nothing further that the company could do to facilitate a return to work and she simply could not cope with the work. She subsequently resigned.

The Result
Our involvement ensured that the client fulfilled their obligations under equality and disability legislation, especially the duty to make reasonable adjustments.

We ensured that professional medical evidence was obtained to allow fair treatment and sensitive decision making. In addition we ensured that the capability procedure followed the structure set out by ACAS best practice guidelines.

Case Study – Health and Fitness

The client is a dual purpose organisation, consisting of a purpose-built health, fitness and spa centre set in the grounds of a private nursery, preparatory and senior school.

The Client
The client is a dual purpose organisation, consisting of a purpose-built health, fitness and spa centre set in the grounds of a private nursery, preparatory and senior school.

The Brief
The client identified that substantial cost savings were necessary in order to reduce financial deficits. The proposal was to amalgamate the financial management of the two businesses, dispensing with two senior management roles. There would be a redistribution of responsibilities amongst the Directors of the business and the remaining teams.

The Solution
Solutions for HR initially met the client to clarify the business situation through financial analysis and assess whether there was any alternative to this course of action.

Having identified that reorganisation and consequent redundancies was a strong consideration, we began a robust consultation process to ensure honest and open communication and the disclosure of information required by law.

The consultation process involved discussion of the number of potentially affected individuals, proposed methods of selection, ways to avoid or mitigate this course of action and any alternative roles available in the organisation.

Solutions for HR facilitated all redundancy consultation meetings and at each stage produced detailed guidance notes for the client and all the necessary letters and documentation.

The organisation decided to offer an enhanced redundancy package and we successfully negotiated the terminations using carefully drafted settlement agreements.

Following the reorganisation, a formal consultation process was undertaken with remaining employees to discuss changing job roles.

The Result
We ensured that all legal requirements in relation to consultation, notification, the right not to be unfairly dismissed, statutory redundancy pay and dismissal were addressed comprehensively.

Our role not only ensured that legislative requirements were adhered to, reducing the risk of litigation to the client, but that employees were treated sensitively and with respect at all times.

Case Study – Textile Manufacturer

The Client
The client is a textile manufacturer with a diverse portfolio of operations supplying to the automotive, furniture, bedding, civil engineering, aerospace and construction industries.

The Brief
The client had received concerns from numerous employees relating to a colleague’s inappropriate behaviour on the shop floor. The initial concerns related to events impacting on the effective running of the machinery, however suspicions were growing about why these events were happening, which included potential sabotage, racial abuse and victimisation towards a work colleague.

The Solution
Following initial advice to the company to suspend the employee on full pay, Solutions for HR began a formal investigation into the concerns by interviewing the perpetrator, victim and witnesses.

Recognising the sensitivities of the potential racial motives for the inappropriate behaviour, delicate questioning techniques facilitated the process, as naturally some employees were concerned that they would be seen as “blowing the whistle” which may lead to issues for others.

Evidence was also explored and captured on social media sites which supported the concerns of racial discrimination, but as the individual had named the company on his profile, also raised concerns regarding the company’s reputation.

Solutions for HR supplied the evidence and witness statements to the client as part of a detailed investigation report, outlining recommendations for formal disciplinary action.

The Result
Our involvement provided an impartial investigation for the client to enable management to pursue disciplinary proceedings internally. Solutions for HR ensured that a fair and robust investigation was carried out in line with the Acas Code of Practice. The company were able to review the full suite of evidence supplied and take the appropriate steps to formally address the matter, with independent support and advice provided by Solutions for HR throughout. The case resulted in a summary dismissal.

Case Study – Mobile App Company

The Client
The client is a high growth mobile application software company, providing creative solutions to a range of national and international clients.

The Brief
The client wanted to drive individual performance cohesively towards shared business objectives in order to further improve company performance. There wasn’t a mechanism in place to review the future demands of the business and to translate that down into meaningful objectives for each employee. Any support, direction or allocation of activities typically would happen within the open office.

The Solution
Following the client’s initial briefing we soon identified that employees had limited opportunity to receive feedback, support and direction with future tasks. A process to identify skill and knowledge gaps was needed, coupled with a formal mechanism for communication and a way to align business objectives with individual performance.

The solution was to address all of these requirements within a bi-annual appraisal process.

Solutions for HR designed the appraisal process and documentation and delivered training to the management team in how to:-

  • appraise performance by reviewing achievements;
  • deliver feedback constructively to employees;
  • motivate employees to drive performance to meet new objectives;
  • use the process to formalise under-performance;
  • get the employees to self-assess their performance;
  • identify skills and knowledge gaps;
  • identify how an individual’s performance could contribute better to overall business goals
  • identify potential opportunities/career paths for over achieving employees.

Solutions for HR also provided 1-1 coaching as we accompanied managers at the first round of appraisal reviews. This provided an opportunity for the managers to develop their skills by observing the appraisal techniques and constructive language used when delivering underperformance feedback and how to develop short term objectives in support of longer term business goals.

The Result
Our involvement allowed the company to introduce a formal approach to reviewing performance in a positive way to the entire workforce. The process enabled many meaningful conversations about the future visions of the company and identified a number of development opportunities for certain employees that hadn’t previously been identified. This allowed the company to embrace the development needs to up-skill in readiness to achieve the future objectives of the business.

The process also identified an immediate under performance concern and an action plan with short term objectives was put in place.

Case Study – Maintenance Company

The client is a national cleaning equipment maintenance and servicing provider, employing over 50 field based engineers across the UK.

The Client
The client is a national cleaning equipment maintenance and servicing provider, employing over 50 field based engineers across the UK.

The Brief
As part of an expansion plan the client was awarded a large value contract to carry out additional equipment servicing to a portfolio of national clients. The employees currently working on this servicing contract were protected under the transfer of undertakings regulations and as such their employment was protected and would transfer to the client.

The client identified that in taking on the existing staff they would be overstaffed by 19 employees. Solutions for HR were appointed to manage the TUPE and restructure process which due to the contract timescale had to be finalised within 6 weeks.

The Solution
Solutions for HR worked with the client to identify staffing requirements for the structure going forwards and those at risk of redundancy. Those at risk of redundancy included helpdesk staff and field based engineers. We managed the TUPE consultation process in conjunction with the outgoing employer to elect and consult with employee representatives on the measures and implications of the transfer. This included the proposals on redundancy along with changes to engineer working regions.

Solutions for HR consulted with employees from the incoming employer and the client’s own staff to ensure honest and open communication with all affected employees in accordance with legal requirements.

In respect of redundancy, volunteers were initially invited in order to mitigate compulsory redundancy. As not enough volunteers were found, a detailed selection process was addressed based on skill, qualification and performance in order to fairly and objectively select those at risk.

Solutions for HR facilitated all TUPE and redundancy consultation meetings and at each stage produced all the necessary letters and documentation.

The Result
We ensured that all legal requirements in relation to the election of employee reps, information and consultation arrangements, changes to territories, reorganisation and dismissal were managed fairly and professionally.

Our role ensured that legislative requirements were adhered to and that employees were treated sensitively and with respect. The process was managed within timescale and with no legal issues for the client.

Case Study – Retail and Branding Agency

The client is an innovative retail and branding agency providing strategic marketing consultancy to major retail businesses. Their expertise includes branding, integrated communications and packaging.

The Client
The client is an innovative retail and branding agency providing strategic marketing consultancy to major retail businesses. Their expertise includes branding, integrated communications and packaging.

The Brief
The client identified issues in the recruitment and retention of employees. The “right fit” employees were not joining the business and employees were then quickly exiting. This was costing the client dearly in recruitment fees, time, effort and training and was generally having a detrimental impact on colleague motivation and service delivery.

The client realised the need to develop their talent strategy to identify and cement key corporate values and behaviours. By doing so, the aim was to ensure that the company’s behavioural values laid the foundation for a culture to provide the winning edge for the company and its clients.

The Solution
Solutions for HR conducted a detailed review of current recruitment processes and retention strategies to measure effectiveness. Our recommendations addressed:

  • Corporate values at the heart of everything we do
  • A developed set of corporate values along with behavioural indicators
  • A values based recruitment and selection strategy working alongside technical competence
  • New and innovative ways to recruit to cement the fun and creative culture
  • Person specifications focused on corporate values and behavioural competencies
  • A promotional briefing document for recruitment agencies and direct candidates
  • Development of innovative retention and engagement methods including training and development, work life balance and recognition and reward strategies
  • Development of all other relevant employee interaction processes to cement the values into each employee interaction including selection, induction and appraisal.

The Results
Our involvement developed a successful values based recruitment strategy to ensure that candidates’ individual values and behaviours were aligned with the values of the client.

Getting the right fit in the first place has contributed significantly to overall retention and our additional work on creative and flexible benefits, fun and innovative culture, employee developmental activities and work life balance initiatives has further supported employee retention which in turn has promoted better relationships within the company and with clients.

Case Study – Training Provider

A provider of business training for individuals and companies throughout the North West.

The Client
A provider of business training for individuals and companies throughout the North West. They offer a wide range of short courses on a number of subjects including IT, electrical training and health and safety and provide apprenticeship and work based learning programmes.

The Brief
Following an OFSTED Inspection, the client was issued with an improvement recommendation requiring them to address equality and diversity within the organisation, both in the external provision of their services and internally in relation to their employees.

The Solution
Solutions for HR conducted a detailed equality and diversity audit to assess current practice in relation to equality of opportunity.

  • Responsibility in the organisation for equality issues
  • Communication of expectations and practices
  • Recruitment to the organisation
  • Selection and assessment procedures
  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Flexible working practices
  • Disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • Training and staff development
  • The delivery of services
  • Student admissions
  • Access to information

The Result
The audit identified certain operational practices that were potentially discriminatory. Solutions for HR provided practical recommendations and ongoing support to eliminate these.

An implementation timescale was agreed for all recommendations and the client was also referred to a partner organisation to carry out a full physical disability discrimination audit.

We then developed an equality and diversity policy and a bullying and harassment policy to outline the organisations commitment to equality of opportunity and the elimination of unfair discrimination. This, along with practical operational guidance, was communicated in a series of briefing sessions.