Download Brochure
Top 3 workplace distractions and how to manage them

Top 3 workplace distractions and how to manage them

Workplace distractions are bad news for employers as they mean that staff are not being as productive as possible. As well as this resulting in a decreased output, a lack of focus can also cost your company a lot of money. Here are three of the most common distractions alongside suggestions for how to manage them. 1. Mobile phones The use of mobile phones in the workplace will invariably occur. One of the most effective ways to reduce this is to have a phone usage policy in place which employees...

Read more »

BNI Promotion for Quest Director Sarah Birkenshaw

BNI Promotion for Quest Director Sarah Birkenshaw

Quest Consulting Director Sarah Birkenshaw has taken up the role of BNI Area Director for South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire with the aim of helping the region flourish and getting local businesses helping one another. For Sarah, BNI has been an integral part of the success of building a reputable HR and Safety Consultancy (Quest) and Sarah has been involved as a member for the last 7 years, after being invited by one of her closest friends to attend as a visitor. Based on the phenomenal support...

Read more »

Top reasons you should be investing in employee development

Top reasons you should be investing in employee development

In a busy, fast-paced work environment, thinking about and implementing development programmes for your staff may not seem a priority compared to other tasks. However, investment in employee development has many long-term benefits which could help your company to thrive. Here are three of the top reasons why providing development opportunities is important: 1. It promotes staff loyalty Employees that are made to feel valued are more likely to stay with their company rather than seek employment...

Read more »

Data and digital trends in HR to watch

Data and digital trends in HR to watch

HR issues can be a source of major headaches within a company. However, whilst they can present challenges at times, when handled in the right way, they do not have to be a cause of complaint. Data software, like the HR Toolkit we use, can help to keep HR processes simple by providing a system which allows the simultaneous management of things such as employee timesheets, holiday requests and absence reporting. HR data can also be incredibly useful to businesses over time. Whilst it is well known...

Read more »

Worried about getting cover for the upcoming holiday season?

Worried about getting cover for the upcoming holiday season?

As the holiday seasons fast approaches, a lot of businesses here in Leeds can start to panic about the sheer amount of holiday requests coming in, with employees looking to get out into the sunshine – particularly during the kids holidays. But with so many requests for days off, how do you ensure that you can give your employees the time off they deserve whilst still keeping your business ticking over. At Quest Consulting, our Leeds based HR team are experts when understanding and explaining...

Read more »

The consequences of employee relocation

The consequences of employee relocation

With Article 50 being triggered last week, there is more speculation than ever over relocating staff, especially in the banking sector. Goldman Sachs for example is preparing to move staff out of its London offices to Frankfurt and Paris and others such as HSBC, UBS and JP Morgan also have plans to transfer some of their staff from the capital to other European cities. Whilst relocating staff may seem like the best option for these companies, it is important for any employer to realise that this...

Read more »

The rise of the national minimum wage has been announced

The rise of the national minimum wage has been announced

  As a result of the Chancellor’s Spring Budget announcement made earlier this month, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates have increased. This means that from April 2017 the rates that employers are required to pay their workers will change. Here, we set out some of the key points for businesses to bear in mind regarding the NMW. Who is entitled to the NMW? According to the Government, you must be school leaving age to be entitled to the NMW. People aged 25 and over can get the National...

Read more »

Why you can't ignore the Workplace Pension

Why you can't ignore the Workplace Pension

Most people will have heard of the Workplace Pension by now. According to the Department for Work and Pensions, over 7 million have already been enrolled onto the scheme by their employers. If you employ staff, even just one or two, it is time to act to make sure eligible workers are enrolled. It is not just businesses that are affected. Anyone who employs someone to work for them for directly, such as a nanny or cleaner, is required to make sure applicable workers are enrolled by October this year. So...

Read more »

Do you understand the Apprenticeship Levy?

Do you understand the Apprenticeship Levy?

From 6th April 2017, the new apprenticeship levy comes into force. This means in simple terms that large employers will make a payment via PAYE returns and this levy is calculated based on the size of payroll. Business with a wage bill of over £3 million will be required to pay a levy. The purpose of the levy is to contribute towards the payment of apprenticeship training and assessment however SME businesses such as those in Leeds will see a change with the requirement for them to contribute...

Read more »

First year employment costs are nearly double annual pay packet

First year employment costs are nearly double annual pay packet

First year employment costs are nearly double annual pay packet A new report by BE Offices has shed light on the real cost of a member of staff during their first year as an employee. They found that for a worker earning a salary of £27,600 (the Government annual average wage), the actual outlay for the company for their first year of service would be more than £50,000. This figure is important for businesses to bear in mind when hiring new staff to ensure they budget appropriately....

Read more »

Unhealthy staff cost employers a month of productivity

Unhealthy staff cost employers a month of productivity

Unhealthy staff cost employers a month of productivity British employers are losing on average of 27.5 days of productive time per employee each year Unhealthy employees are costing British firms around one month a year in lost productivity, according to a report from Britain’s Healthiest Workplace (BHW). The study investigated the link between employee ill-health (primarily driven by lifestyle factors such as smoking or poor nutrition) and short-term productivity loss. The research...

Read more »

Fit notes: occupational health practitioners respond to government proposals for reform

Fit notes: occupational health practitioners respond to government proposals for reform

Fit notes: occupational health practitioners respond to government proposals for reform The Government has announced a major review of statutory sick pay, fit notes and the role employers can play in helping people with long-term health conditions to stay in or return to work. In a Green Paper consultation document – Improving lives: work, health and disability – the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Department of Health (DH) called for: A review of statutory...

Read more »

Increase number of older workers by 12%, employers told

Increase number of older workers by 12%, employers told

Increase number of older workers by 12%, employers told.  The employment rate for people aged 50 to 69 in the UK is currently 59% UK employers should increase the number of people they employ that are aged 50 to 69 by 12% by 2022, the government’s business champion for older workers Andy Briggs, CEO of Aviva, has said. Briggs is calling on employers to increase the number of older people in the UK workforce by one million over the next five years to combat age bias and address...

Read more »

Improve retention with values-based recruitment

Improve retention with values-based recruitment

Improve retention with values-based recruitment, says charity boss Autism Together has dramatically reduced staff turnover thanks to a new recruitment method Adopting a values-based approach to recruitment and retention can help to drastically reduce turnover rates in the charity sector, according to Robin Bush, CEO of Autism Together. Bush told HR magazine that his charity recruits based on its values of being respectful, creating a people-centric culture, and encouraging...

Read more »

Most managers have seen gender discrimination in past year

Most managers have seen gender discrimination in past year

Most managers have seen gender discrimination in past year A survey of 851 UK managers found that 81% had encountered discrimination in the past 12 months Four in five managers have witnessed some form of gender discrimination or bias in the past year, according to research carried out by the Chartered Management Institute for its CMI Women campaign. The survey of 851 UK managers found that 81% had encountered discrimination in the past 12 months. Half (50%) said they had seen gender bias...

Read more »

Dress code discrimination

Dress code discrimination

Dress code discrimination? Government committees have called for action on discriminatory dress codes. So what are the key legal points to remember? The Petitions Committee and Women and Equalities Committee started their inquiry following a petition brought by Nicola Thorp, an agency worker who was sent home because she refused to comply with her employer’s requirement to wear high heels. Thorp started a parliamentary petition that has received more than 150,000 signatures, highlighting...

Read more »

Getting redundancies right

Getting redundancies right

Getting redundancies right Downsizing is sometimes a necessity. Keeping staff informed and managing the media will ensure you do it right According to a recent Glassdoor survey one in three UK employees fear they will be made redundant in the next six months, and confidence is likely to dip further as we undergo Article 50 Brexit negotiations. The reality is that in the current economic climate companies are having to downsize to survive. As such we are likely to see an increase in mass redundancies. While...

Read more »

Is support for working parents hitting the right spot?

Is support for working parents hitting the right spot?

Is support for working parents hitting the right spot? The growing rate of female participation in the UK labour market means that women now make up around half of the workforce. This means that a very high proportion of working women and men are parents and that far fewer mothers stay at home full-time nowadays to look after their children. These changes have profound implications for both men and women’s employment and how government and employers can best support working parents against...

Read more »

The key to better recruitment

The key to better recruitment

Recruiting the best people is getting tougher and more expensive. So how can recruiters change things for the better? Here’s something to make you sit up. Recent analysis by CEB shows that it now takes 63 business days to fill a position. That’s 21 business days (a whole four weeks) longer than it took just six years ago. It gets worse. Roles which organisations judge to be business critical take up even more time: 81 days, up from 49 over the same period. Translate that increase into...

Read more »

Bank holidays: five things employers need to know

Bank holidays: five things employers need to know

 Bank holidays: five things employers need to know Most of the the UK has eight permanent bank holidays per year: New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, May Day, Spring Bank Holiday, Late Summer, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. However, Scotland has omissions and additions and Northern Ireland has two extra public holidays in relation to the bank holidays taken in England and Wales. But how much do you as an employer know about employment law concerning...

Read more »

Legal lowdown: What 2017 holds

Legal lowdown: What 2017 holds

Legal lowdown: What 2017 holds HR needs to get to grips with gender pay gap reporting, the apprenticeship levy, and childcare-related changes The autumn tends to be very busy for HR professionals as they try to get to grips with a host of employment law changes. But which upcoming legislative changes will affect HR professionals in 2017 and beyond? We examine the key ones HR will need to be prepared for. Gender pay gap reporting Perhaps the biggest change to prepare for is gender pay gap...

Read more »

New research shines a light on what really works in performance management

New research shines a light on what really works in performance management

New research shines a light on what really works in performance management Performance appraisals won’t automatically lead to improvements, but it’s equally misguided to say that they’ll never work and should simply be abolished. Are appraisals a relic of the past? There have been plenty of leading stories in the press about corporate household names who’re getting rid of their annual appraisals in favour of more informal processes. And with hard-hitting language...

Read more »

Coping with staff illness this winter

Coping with staff illness this winter

Coping with staff illness this winter Are your staff absenteeism rates up in the winter months? Can you cope with the effects of staff illness this winter? Rates of staff absenteeism soar in Winter, says Sarah Futcher Rates of absenteeism soar in winter, but what can be done to curb employees' temptation for a day tucked up under the duvet? Sarah Futcher, clinical Director of The Robens Centre for Occupational Health offers advice to small businesses. Absenteeism continues to be a major...

Read more »

Rise in women facing discrimination on taking maternity leave

Rise in women facing discrimination on taking maternity leave

Rise in women facing discrimination on taking maternity leave Citizens Advice said one of the issues women are reporting is having their role changed when they return to work New mothers are facing increasing discrimination when they take maternity leave including being made redundant and switched to zero-hours contracts. Citizens Advice has recorded a nearly 60% rise in the number of women seeking advice about maternity leave issues this year. Just over 3,300 came to the charity with such issues...

Read more »

Christmas in the workplace: 10 common employer queries

Christmas in the workplace: 10 common employer queries

During the Christmas period employers face a minefield of HR challenges. How well prepared is your organisation for the festive season? Ashok Kanani and Laura Merrylees set out some essentials. Workplace Christmas parties bring up issues of conduct and discrimination. For example, employees may misbehave, or fail to turn up the next day. Holiday and overtime issues also commonly arise at this time. Annual leave requests can be concentrated around the same days, while overtime requirements can conflict...

Read more »

National living wage to rise to £7.50, Chancellor confirms

National living wage to rise to £7.50, Chancellor confirms

Today’s Autumn Statement confirmed that the national living wage will rise to £7.50 per hour from April 2017. The new rate will apply to workers aged 25 and over, and will mark the first rise in the new statutory minimum rate since it was introduced in April 2016, at £7.20. In Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement as Chancellor and the first since Theresa May came to power as Prime Minister, he promised the Government would be committed to “fiscal discipline”...

Read more »

What will Brexit mean for UK employment law?

What will Brexit mean for UK employment law?

What will Brexit mean for UK employment law? Now that the country has voted to leave the European Union, one of the burning questions in the workplace is, what will happen to the significant body of employment law that derives from Brussels? Over the past decades, EU directives have affected workers’ rights across the economy. For individual rights, employment protection legislation ranges from working time and annual holidays, rights for women and family-friendly policies, to anti-discrimination...

Read more »

Pensions: why it pays to empower your employees

Pensions: why it pays to empower your employees

The UK is heading for a serious savings crisis, with 77 per cent of employees feeling they have no control over their pensions. A pension is a hugely valuable benefit. But while it’s vitally important, it’s also one which few employees really feel they really understand. We recently surveyed more than 2,000 workers – and supplemented that with a number of focus groups – and the findings make sobering reading. Only 23 per cent of employees felt they had any control at all...

Read more »

Most employees not satisfied with benefit schemes

Most employees not satisfied with benefit schemes

Workplace benefits schemes might not be providing what employees want, as many are unsatisfied with the offerings The majority (60%) of employees are dissatisfied with their benefits schemes, according to research from Thomsons Online Benefits. The Global Employee Benefits Watch 16/17 revealed that 70% of workers would like benefits options communicated to them around life changes, for example marriage. However, only 40% said they felt their benefits are “very relevant” to their personal...

Read more »

Paying Bonuses

Paying Bonuses

Some firms have stopped paying their staff bonuses. Do bonuses encourage short-term thinking? What should businesses do to evaluate the effectiveness of their reward structures? And do we need an overall simplification of executive pay to curb excessive wage packets? Peter Cheese, chief executive of the CIPD, says: "Bonuses are being challenged from a number of perspectives. Too many bonus systems are geared to shorter-term financial results, which does not always incentivise the right behaviours...

Read more »

Why is maternity discrimination on the rise?

Why is maternity discrimination on the rise?

Unscrupulous employers may be taking advantage of new parents that can’t afford to challenge them. Becoming a parent is one of many people’s most treasured moments, yet it can also be one of the most stressful. The huge additional caring and financial responsibilities that come with a new baby means working parents need the support and understanding of their workplace. But official figures suggest this is simply not happening. According to the House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee’s...

Read more »

Employers not embracing Flexible Working

Employers not embracing Flexible Working

Flexible working was found to be the top benefit that people look for when considering a new role.  There is a significant disconnect between the number of people wanting to work flexibly and the number of employers embracing it, according to My Family Care and global recruiters Hydrogen. The survey of 1,587 UK employees and 310 UK employers found that while over half (54%) of the UK’s working population want the opportunity to work remotely or from home, just a third (34%) were encouraged...

Read more »

Performance ratings – Blessing or Curse?

Performance ratings – Blessing or Curse?

Many firms are ditching performance ratings, but does this miss how effective they can be if done right? I have heard more than once that performance ratings have no value-add and are a legacy of a bygone age with no place in the current work environment. It has certainly been the crux of many performance management stories in the media over the last 18 months, since a number of organisations have been vocal about the advantages of a rating-less system. However, is it the silver bullet many had...

Read more »

Court upholds holiday pay ruling – but key questions left unanswered

Court upholds holiday pay ruling – but key questions left unanswered

Court upholds holiday pay ruling – but key questions left unanswered. Lack of clarity in Lock v British Gas case means employers must carefully consider what constitutes ‘normal remuneration’ for staff Holiday pay must include commission, the Court of Appeal has confirmed in its judgement in the long-running Lock v British Gas case – but key questions remain around the timescales involved for back-dating pay claims, and the situation regarding bonuses and other forms of...

Read more »

Government faces employer backlash over plans to prioritise British workers

Government faces employer backlash over plans to prioritise British workers

Home secretary backtracks on ‘divisive and demonising’ reporting of foreign employees; lawyer warns scheme could be deemed discriminatory A policy proposal to require employers to publish the number of foreign workers in their ranks has been widely condemned, as the Conservative Party conference heard a flurry of pledges to prioritise jobs for Brits and increase reporting requirements on organisations. Home secretary Amber Rudd said on Tuesday that she would require companies to report...

Read more »

Managing Long Term Absence

Managing Long Term Absence

Many small business owners feel they have no options when employees are on long term sick This simply isn’t true but long term absence is certainly an area that business owners that we support feel nervous about tackling so here are our top tips Have a clear policy A comprehensive absence policy will set out the steps that the Company may take for a variety of absences including long term absence due to sickness. This will include provisions such as the trigger points where medical...

Read more »

Getting Real about References

Getting Real about References

An employer reference that is merely a list of dates and job titles isn’t really a reference at all But, unfortunately, this ‘neutral’ reference is fast becoming the norm, it’s of no real use to anyone and I believe it’s time we challenged it. Unbelievably, some sources believe that in excess of an astonishing 30% of organisations - especially in highly regulated industries like financial services - have a policy of “name, date and title confirmation only.”...

Read more »

Why aren't we hiring flexibly?

Why aren't we hiring flexibly?

Demand for flexible working is on the rise but flexible job adverts are few and far between   “It was disheartening because you think ‘what am I supposed to do? Does that mean I can never move jobs?’” That’s not how any HR director wants to make a potential candidate feel. And yet there’s a very high chance your hiring processes are doing just that. The candidate quoted was a marketing manager looking for a new role. The catch? It needed to be flexible....

Read more »

Paid time off to exercise could reduce sitting mortality

Paid time off to exercise could reduce sitting mortality

The increased mortality risk from sedentary eight-hour days can be mitigated with exercise Employers should consider giving employees paid time off to exercise a scientist has suggested, after research revealed the link between prolonged sitting and increased risk of death. Professor Ulf Ekelund found doing at least one hour of physical activity a day – such as brisk walking or cycling – could eliminate the increased mortality related to sedentary eight-hour shifts. The Norwegian School...

Read more »

Smaller firms taking lower profits because of National Living Wage

Smaller firms taking lower profits because of National Living Wage

Nearly half (47%) of small businesses cite wages as the main contributor to their rising cost of doing business Author: Bek Frith, HR Magazine, http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/small-firms-taking-lower-profits-because-of-nlw The majority (59%) of small firms are meeting the challenge posed by the National Living Wage (NLW) by absorbing the costs and taking lower profits, according to research from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The FSB’s 2016 Q2 Small Business Index...

Read more »

Hermes and self-employed contractors

Hermes and self-employed contractors

Employers must remember self-employed workers can be a confusing area when it comes to employment law Author: Aye Limbin Glassey, HR Magazine, http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/gig-economy-latest-hermes-and-self-employed-contractors It is becoming more common for companies to use self-employed workers to fill staffing gaps and provide flexible employment resources, particularly where such individuals are required to cover a variety of shift patterns. However, firms can face serious consequences...

Read more »

Most families worse off under Tax-Free Childcare scheme

Most families worse off under Tax-Free Childcare scheme

Tax-Free Childcare is due to roll out from early 2017, slowly phasing out childcare vouchers by April 2018 Author: Bek Frith, HR Magazine www.hrmagazine.co.uk/article-details/most-families-worse-off-under-tax-free-childcare-scheme-1 Almost two-thirds of UK families (64%) will be worse off under the government’s incoming Tax-Free Childcare scheme compared with the existing employer-led childcare vouchers system, according to research by Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services. Tax-Free Childcare...

Read more »

Minimum Wage Court Battle

Minimum Wage Court Battle

Allegations for failure to pay National Minimum Wage Contractor, Sevacare, who provide care services and support to around 9,500 people per week through contacts with Local Authorities re subject to allegations by 17 care workers for failing to pay the NMW. It appears, through payslips, that some staff were paid rates as low as £3.27 per hour. Sevacare says it does pay NMW or above but workers argue that hours deemed as 'off duty' should be included. According to Unison, this...

Read more »

How to handle and employee who fails to report for work.

How to handle and employee who fails to report for work.

What should employers do when faced with ‘ghosting’? Author: Suzanne Ozanne, CMS Cameron McKenna LLP published www.cipd.co.uk The phenomenon of ‘ghosting’ is on the increase in an employment context. The term started its life in the online dating sphere to describe the situation in which one person in a relationship is ‘dumped’ through a sudden cut-off of all communication without explanation from the other one.   It transitioned its way into the recruitment...

Read more »

When to use Disciplinary Procedures

When to use Disciplinary Procedures

How and why to use disciplinary processes Many small businesses avoid the use of disciplinary procedures because they are put off by the formality of the process, however they experience frustrations when issues persist with employees that start to impact on their businesses. What is a disciplinary process? The first step for any business is to ensure you have a clear, documented disciplinary policy to follow. We help our clients by writing these and providing the guidance on how to apply the...

Read more »

Recruiting your first employee?

Recruiting your first employee?

Recruiting your first employee? ACAS published www.acas.org.uk Most employers fully appreciate that the success of an organisation can hinge on its staff. But, finding the right number of employees with the necessary abilities and attitudes - and then keeping them - requires skills and knowledge which can sometimes be undervalued, overlooked or simply rushed. An employer needs to: Carefully work out the number of new staff and the skills it wants, including how vacant roles might have to change. Advertise...

Read more »

Welcome our newest recruit

Welcome our newest recruit

Welcome....Amy Sharpe As our team increases to maintain the high level of service we provide all of our clients, we are delighted to welcome Amy to the team. Amy joins the team at Quest as an Apprentice Administrator to support our Consultants and clients effectively. Amy will also use her IT savvy to work on our website and social media programmes. 'After just a few days at Quest I feel like I have always been part of the team, I love it!' says Amy Director, Sarah Birkenshaw,...

Read more »

Pay growth for most employees likely to remain stuck in the slow lane until at least the end of the decade

Pay growth for most employees likely to remain stuck in the slow lane until at least the end of the decade

CIPD warns that ‘jobs-rich, pay-poor’ economy set to continue as pay awards are expected to only rise by 1.7% in the next year Many employees are unlikely to see much of a boost to the real value of their pay until at least the end of this decade, according to the latest Labour Market Outlook published today by the CIPD, the professional body for HR and people development.  The survey of more than 1,000 employers identifies a number of factors that are combining to keep pay growth...

Read more »

Bosses behaving badly

Bosses behaving badly

Senior leadership teams' behaviour can affect the way front line staff perform, and subsequently the bottom line Most senior leadership teams leave a lot of unclaimed value on the table. Others actually do more – they actively destroy a lot of value – perhaps unknowingly, but nevertheless value destruction happens with alarming regularity. Our research team has isolated what we call “the worst practices” of senior leadership teams. They are: 1. Treating people as objects 2....

Read more »

New Website

New Website

New website for Quest! In keeping with the new company logo, Quest are pleased to launch their new company website. Designed to be modern and user friendly, the new website provides prospective customers and users with relevant information on the range of HR and Health and Safety services available from Quest, together with up to date news about the company and its activities. In addition the website has a download section which allows the user to download...

Read more »

Facebook Posts

Read more »

Latest Tweets

Latest News

Workplace distractions are bad news for employers as they mean that staff are not being as productive as possible. As well as this resulting...

Read more »

Subscribe for newsletter