Online Governance Training for Board Trustees

As of June 2020, Maighread is offering Online Governance Training for Trustees in Social Enterprises, Charities, Cooperatives and Not for Profits. Maighread will liaise with your Charity Trustees prior to the training in order to carry out a Training Needs Analysis. She will then design a training course which will be tailor made to meet the specific needs of your organisation. It is Maighread's experience from working as Charity Trustee and supporting Charity Trustees that in order for the training to be effective it has to be designed to meet the specific needs of each Charity Trustee.

Programme Objectives:

  • Introduce “Governance” and its relevance to the Charity Sector.
  • Identify the Key Legal Responsibilities of Trustees
  • Explain the Duties of Trustee’s
  • Define the Roles of Trustee’s
  • Identify the Legal and Regulatory requirements that apply to the work of the Charity

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module the participant will be:

  • Able to define governance, describe its purpose and significance
  • Define the role of Trustees in relation to their organisation
  • In a position to explain the legal and regulatory requires that Trustees in Ireland need to adhere to.

For more information on the services that Maighréad and Collaboration Ireland provide go to www.maighreadkelly.com or www.collaboration.ie. You can also check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/ 


How to create the right conditions for SUSTAINED COLLABORATION

In February I was asked to contribute to Accountancy Ireland's February 2020 Newsletter's Spotlight Article alongside Amanda Shantz who is MBA Director at Trinity Business School and John Munnelly who is FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland.

"Employees the world over are encouraged to ‘collaborate’ with zeal, but there’s much more to successful collaboration than technology and open-plan offices....."

Picasso wasn’t a big fan of collaboration. The Spanish-born artist once said, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible”. Yet businesses can’t seem to get enough of it; they’ve even torn down the walls and developed software to ensure that people work together. And Picasso wasn’t the only one who railed against the idea of working with others. The co-founder of Apple Inc., Steve Wozniak, was also unequivocal in his advice: “Work alone… not on a committee. Not on a team”.

So why did the collaboration craze catch on? And is it all that bad?

Skills and culture

Collaboration often gets a bad rap because, in many cases, organisations’ efforts to promote and sustain collaboration fall short. Writing in Harvard Business Review, the behavioural scientist Francesca Gino accused leaders of thinking about collaboration too narrowly: as a value to cultivate but not a skill to teach. Her solution is to “teach people to genuinely listen to one another; to approach discussions with empathy, not opinions; to become comfortable with feedback; to lead and follow; to speak with clarity and avoid abstractions; and to have win-win interactions”.

That’s a lot for any leader to unpack, but it illustrates one critical point – there’s a good chance that asking your people to collaborate without helping them to build the necessary skills will result in frustration and failure. But rather than blame your people, Francesca encourages leaders who are exasperated by a lack of collaboration to start by asking themselves one simple question: what have you done to encourage it today?
According to Maighread Kelly, Director at Collaboration Ireland, collaboration is also a mindset in many ways. Giving thought to prospects for collaboration, be that within your organisation or with third parties, can open up new opportunities and generate a higher level of engagement all round. In her view, there are three critical elements in a fruitful collaboration:

  • It must be a collaboration of the willing – all partners must buy-in fully to the project;
  • The initiator must find the right partner(s), both personally and culturally; and
  • A good process must underpin collaboration.

So, it essentially boils down to two key components: skills and fit. If people have the skills necessary to work together, often through uncertainty and disagreement, and the inclination to do so from a culture and values perspective, the chance of success rises significantly.

Unexpected challenges

However, collaboration also throws up unique challenges that must be managed sensitively. According to Amanda Shantz, MBA Director at Trinity Business School, collaboration is useful for highly complex and strategic tasks such as overhauling an IT system or entering a new market, and such collaborations require diverse and specialised skills – but these very characteristics can also impede collaboration. “Take diversity, for example,” she said. “The challenging tasks that businesses face today require the expertise of people from diverse backgrounds to spark innovation. Research shows, however, that people are less likely to collaborate when others are seen as somehow different from them in terms of age, gender or ethnicity, for instance.”

Amanda believes that strong leadership is required to cultivate a culture of collaboration where individuals succeed both because of, and in spite of their diversity. “People need to understand who has the requisite knowledge in, and outside, the business,” she said. “They need to feel that they are operating in a safe place to ask questions and make mistakes, and there needs to be a strong sense of community that’s inspired by an overarching goal.”

Interestingly, the lack of an overarching goal is one of the most common reasons for failure in collaboration according to Maighread, who helps guide collaborative projects in the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. “It isn’t good enough to collaborate just because you want to work with another person or organisation,” she said. “For a collaboration to be successful, there has to be a good strategic rationale and a strong business case.” If this is in place, other common threats to collaborative efforts – such as a lack of stakeholder buy-in; poor relationships; a lack of trust; and poor processes – then become more manageable because there is a clear roadmap for the future.

Collaboration in action

Chartered Accountants Ireland discovered the benefit of planning first-hand in 2019 when it undertook a project to update the Institute’s syllabus to account for the impact of technology on the profession, but without overshadowing its core elements – audit, financial reporting, taxation, business leadership and critical thinking. With a limited timeframe for implementation, the Institute couldn’t ‘go it alone’. It instead collaborated with a host of third-parties to revitalise and future-proof the syllabus.

“We broke our projects into two parts, developing new elective subjects in collaboration with CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Financial Accountants) and the Institute of Banking before tackling the technology aspect,” said John Munnelly, FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland. “From my research on the technology side, it was clear that trailblazing companies were doing great things, so I contacted Alteryx, Tableau and UiPath – but these companies had never collaborated with an accountancy body before.”

To secure buy-in, John approached senior leaders in each organisation to lay out his vision for collaboration. “I knew that I needed senior project sponsors in our partner organisations, who understood the importance – not only for our profession but also, for their industries,” he said. Working with CIPFA and the Institute of Banking was an efficient profess, according to John, and they both delivered fit-for-purpose syllabi for the public sector and financial services electives. However, collaboration with the technology companies was more complicated.

“Once the initial scoping exercise was complete, it was important to share our vision for the new syllabus with our partners,” he added. “This was a learning experience for the companies and while we ultimately produced a suite of materials that complemented the ACA qualification, the low point came when we realised that something was missing.”

Although the new syllabus taught essential principles in the areas of data preparation, data visualisation and robotic process automation, this teaching needed to be underpinned by practical experience. “This led to an audacious request for training licences for all FAE students,” added John. “And it was a testament to the strength of our relationships that all partners offered training licences for their products for all FAE students. This would have been quite disappointing had it gone differently, but relationships are indeed at the core of collaboration – particularly when issues arise.”

Conflict and collaboration

Although the Institute’s experience of collaboration was very smooth and cordial, it is not uncommon for teams to experience conflict as part of the collaboration process. Indeed, somewhat ironically, the absence of conflict may be a warning signal, according to Amanda. “In some cases, people who are collaborating become so excited about their ideas and activities that they shut down naysayers – nobody wants to be the skunk at the picnic,” she said. “Alternatively, an overbearing micromanager who always has the ‘right’ answer doesn’t encourage the type of discussion necessary to optimise collaborative efforts. In both cases, it might be a sign that the environment isn’t safe enough for people to speak out.”

But all is not lost. According to Amanda, there are many ways for leaders to increase people’s perception that they can – and indeed, are expected to – put all views on the table without fear or favour. “Senior managers need to set the tone from the top that collaboration and conflict go hand-in-hand,” she said. But although senior leadership rhetoric matters, research has shown that the behaviour of mid-level line managers is especially crucial. “In particular, what’s important is how mid-level managers respond to failures, invite conversation and demonstrate humility and curiosity in their interactions with others,” she said.

Words of wisdom

And that isn’t the only advice Amanda has for those tasked with building a culture of collaboration in their organisation. “Organisations need to invest in building and maintaining social relationships across the organisation,” she said. “This requires a technological infrastructure that makes it easy for people from different parts of the organisation – often located globally, but even across the building – to work effectively as a team. And the use of software to connect people by projects, not by roles, is another way to utilise technology to support collaboration.”

Aside from technology, Amanda returns to the critical role of leadership. She urges leaders to ensure that collaborative behaviours among senior executives are visible to employees and to avoid the tendency to make an executive a standalone ‘hero’ in his or her unit. “Senior leaders need to ensure that employees are selected for – and trained in – the skills needed for collaboration, such as productively resolving conflict and active listening,” she added. “They could also sponsor events and networking activities and host innovative and fun opportunities for people to connect.”

Mid-level managers have the most critical role to play in championing collaborative efforts, however. “They need to support the strategic goal for collaboration by coaching employees on how to connect with different parts of the business,” Amanda said. “Research shows that managers can increase collaboration by changing their leadership style as the team’s project progresses. In the beginning, the manager should consider focusing on the task at hand and articulating accountabilities, but when conflict emerges, the manager may consider switching to a relationship-oriented leadership style.”

So if you’re frustrated by your organisation’s inability to collaborate successfully in a sustained way, remember Francesca Gino’s simple question: what have you done to encourage it today?

Maighread Kelly is a Director at Collaboration Ireland.
Amanda Shantz is MBA Director at Trinity Business School.
John Munnelly is FAE Paper Development Executive at Chartered Accountants Ireland.

Links:

PODCAST:

Collaboration - March 2020: Maighread Kelly (Collaboration Ireland), Susan Rossney (Chartered Accountants Ireland) and Teresa Stapleton (Stapleton Coaching) talk to Accountancy Ireland and tell the real story behind collaboration and how you can make it work in your career, organisation and global movements. Click on the link to podcast here: Apple:- Accountancy Ireland Podcast     Spotify:-https://open.spotify.com/episode/05ZlnNHzBxwlqCAeNBHgM6

ARTICLE: 

Accountancy Ireland February 2020 Newsletter: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/docs/default-source/Publishing/accountancy-ireland-archive/accountancy-ireland-feb-2020.pdf?sfvrsn=4

Accountancy Ireland February 2020 Spotlight Article: https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/Accountancy-Ireland/Articles2/Spotlight/Latest-News/how-to-create-the-right-conditions-for-sustained-collaboration


COVID-19: Guidance for Homecare Providers

This guidance takes account of latest government advice on COVID-19 and how to support people in their own homes.

Provision of care and support in people’s home is a high priority service, in that most care and support cannot be deferred to another day without putting clients at risk of harm.

1.  Steps for Homecare providers to maintain delivery of care:

  • We advise all providers to review their list of clients, and ensure that it is up to date, including levels of informal support available to those clients, who is in their circle of support and if the next of kin details are accurate.
  • Link in with the HSE and other homecare providers in your area to establish plans for mutual aid, taking account of their business continuity plans, and consider arrangements to support sharing of the workforce between homecare providers, and with local primary care services providers; and with deployment of volunteers where that is safe to do so.
  • Link in with your clients to enquire if there are any neighbours or friends who might be able to support them, should the situation worsen in the coming weeks.
  • Home care providers should check their stocks of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves and aprons are adequate and link in with other agencies to share resources in the event that the situation worsens in the coming weeks.

2.   If a Health Care Assistant is concerned, they have COVID-19

  • If a member of your staff is concerned they have COVID-19 they should follow the HSE’s advice which is regularly updated.
  • If they are advised to self-isolate at home they should follow the HSE’s guidance on self-isolation.
  • If advised to self-isolate at home, the Health Care Assistant should not visit and care for clients until safe to do so.

3.   If the client being cared is displaying symptoms of COVID-19

If the client receiving care and support has symptoms of COVID-19, then the risk of transmission should be minimised through safe working procedures.

3.1.   Personal protective equipment

  • Health Care Assistants should use personal protective equipment (PPE) for activities that bring them into close personal contact, such as providing intimate care, washing and bathing, and contact with bodily fluids.
  • Aprons, gloves and fluid repellent surgical masks should be used in these situations. If there is a risk of splashing, then eye protection will minimise risk.
  • New personal protective equipment must be used for each episode of care. It is essential that personal protective equipment is stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
  • These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within the room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin.

3.2.   Cleaning

  • If Health Care Assistants undertake cleaning duties, then they should use usual household products, such as detergents and bleach as these will be very effective at getting rid of the virus on surfaces. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
  • Personal waste (for example, used tissues, continence pads and other items soiled with bodily fluids) and disposable cleaning cloths can be stored securely within disposable rubbish bags.
  • These bags should be placed into another bag, tied securely and kept separate from other waste within your own room. This should be put aside for at least 72 hours before being put in the usual household waste bin for disposal as normal.

3.3.   Laundry

  • If Health Care Assistants support the client with laundry, then they should not shake dirty laundry. This minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
  • Wash items as appropriate, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items. If the client does not have a washing machine, wait a further 72 hours after the 7-day isolation period has ended; the laundry can then be taken to a public laundromat.
  • Items heavily soiled with body fluids, for example, vomit or diarrhoea, or items that cannot be washed, should be disposed of, with the owner’s consent.

4.  If neither the client nor the care worker have symptoms of COVID-19

  • If neither the care worker nor the client receiving care and support is symptomatic, then no personal protective equipment is required above and beyond normal good hygiene practices.
  • General interventions may include increased cleaning activity and keeping property properly ventilated by opening windows whenever safe and appropriate.
  • Health Care Assistants should follow the HSE guide on how to wash your hands

The HSE and HPSC brought out Guidance for Health and Social Care Workers who visit homes on the 19th March 2020.

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations.  For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out her experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/


Flexible Working and Working from Home Policy & Procedure

1.  Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to outline [Social Enterprise / Organisation] policy on flexible working arrangements and to guide and expose to a greater extent the benefits of a more agile workforce within our [Social Enterprise / Organisation] This policy sets out the guidelines to you as an employee on how to make effective use of a more flexible working environment.

It shall also provide a framework of understanding about how home working operates in [Social Enterprise / Organisation] should the need arise whereby employees are required to work from home for example during Worldwide Pandemic situation such as Covid-19.

 

It is based upon the principles outlined below, which also meet the requirements of all relevant employment legislation and support a new and modern way of working.

This policy defines what home working means for [Social Enterprise / Organisation] and what needs to be in place to ensure the well-being of employees. It is the [Social Enterprise / Organisation]’s policy to encourage open discussion with employees to ensure that questions and problems can be resolved as quickly as possible.

2.  Scope

This policy and procedure applies to all employees. In order for the policy to be effective, it is essential that employees and those involved in the management of employees are aware of the policy and procedure and adhere to it. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] Board and Management to ensure that this is the case.

No [Social Enterprise / Organisation] employee will be deemed as a home-based worker so there will be no change [Social Enterprise / Organisation]’s responsibilities as an employer or of employees’ responsibilities to work to required policies and processes.

3.  Policy

[Social Enterprise / Organisation] recognises the benefits of flexible working options to you as an employee, including flexible hours, working from home, part-time working and job sharing, while using a range of technologies to stay connected.

The employer has a trusting approach to flexible working, where performance, quality and a results-driven ethos remain at the forefront.

4.  Core principles

  • [Social Enterprise / Organisation] will promote best practice in the management of home working. It will regularly review its provisions to ensure that they are legally compliant and reflect best practice.
  • [Social Enterprise / Organisation] will support home working, and this will be agreed between the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] manager and the individual taking into consideration team and business needs. Individual needs for flexibility will also be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Whilst home working, employees must take responsibility for their work during [Social Enterprise / Organisation] office hours; the system is reliant on there being trust between managers and employees. This is so fundamental that any breach of trust will be treated very seriously and may be regarded as misconduct. Appropriate action may follow under the Disciplinary Policy. If misconduct is found, the agreement to work at home may be withdrawn.
  • Working at home is a benefit available to all employee and not a requirement nor an automatic right and days must be agreed in advance with the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] There will be some circumstances where working from home a viable option is not or where the operational needs necessitate a different approach. For example, a member of employee whose performance is being reviewed under the capability procedure may not be considered suitable for home working. Such circumstances are expected to be the exception not the norm.
  • In exceptional circumstances [Social Enterprise / Organisation] may request that you work from home due to bad weather, health management crisis etc. In these circumstances we would ask that all employees openly state if they have the resources, equipment and space to be able to work from home, so that alternative options can be explored if they are incapable of carrying out their duties in their home environment.

5.  Making a Request

Prior to submitting a formal request, an employee should have an informal conversation with their manager regarding possible flexible working arrangements.

In circumstances whereby [Social Enterprise / Organisation] request all employees to work from home [Social Enterprise / Organisation] management will meet with each employee individually to discuss what needs to be put in place in order for them to be able to work from home.

Every attempt will be made by the employer to accommodate each request where it is reasonably possible.

6.  Job Roles

  • [Social Enterprise / Organisation] understands that some roles lend themselves to homeworking more readily than others.
  • Under home working, roles can be undertaken from the office or home. The balance between office and home working will vary depending on the role and the person concerned, and the days which are office-based days, and which are home-based days will be agreed. Home working will normally be no more than 2 days per week to support team engagement.
  • In crisis situations the length of time working from home may be longer therefore arrangements will be put in place to support each employee to ensure they are not isolated and are given the required support that they need in order to complete their work.
  • All roles will have their principle workplace as the [Social Enterprise / Organisation]

7.   Home Working in Practice

Employees where home working is mutually agreed will be asked to meet with the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] Manager to discuss and agree the employee’s responsibilities and those of [Social Enterprise / Organisation] while working at home. This includes the areas covered below:

7.1.   Insurance cover

Employees should ensure that all [Social Enterprise / Organisation] property is used appropriately and responsibly and that all reasonable precautions are taken to prevent damage and theft. Any damage or theft of [Social Enterprise / Organisation] property must be reported to the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] manager immediately.

7.2.   Communication and contact

Communication arrangements must be robust. Employees working from home should be readily contactable, normally by email and by telephone, during normal working hours. Home workers must let their line manager or employees know in advance (where appropriate) of any times they will be out, seeking permission where appropriate.

7.3.   Information security

All employees working from home must ensure that they adhere to [Social Enterprise / Organisation]’s policies, procedures and guidance in relation to Information Security, Data Protection and Freedom of Information.

7.4.   Health and Safety

The work that employees will be carrying out at home is paper-based or computer-based work and in general such work is not high risk. Nevertheless, [Social Enterprise / Organisation] has responsibilities under health and safety legislation when employees are working from home, including the requirement to undertake appropriate risk assessment.

Employee will be provided with equipment which is appropriate for their job roles and in line with any reasonable adjustments that an individual has.

Any other equipment requested outside of the normal equipment provision will need to be considered once a clear business reason has been made by the individual

7.5.   Additional household expenses

[Social Enterprise / Organisation] will not pay any additional household costs as home working arrangements are deemed a mutual benefit.

8.  Attendance and Availability for Work

  • Employee must be available and able to work on their contracted days whether they are in the office or working from home, unless absence is for an authorised form of leave or sickness. Any variation to this arrangement can only be made by prior agreement with the [Social Enterprise / Organisation]
  • Employees should remember that the needs of [Social Enterprise / Organisation] clients and [Social Enterprise / Organisation] will always take priority. This will mean that employees are expected to be available to come into the office on a working from home day should a need arise. This may include situations when they are unable to connect to the business systems, or if they are asked to do so by their manager e.g. in the event of sickness of a employee, inadequate cover, emergency or service need.
  • Managers will be aware of the personal circumstances of their employees and should try to balance individual needs when calling an employee in on working from home days.
  • Where an employee is being asked to attend the office at short notice, managers should endeavour to make the call at a time that enables the employee to arrive at their normal starting time. Where this is not possible the employee’s travelling time will be considered as part of their working day
  • Employees should log in regularly to clearly indicate their availability status throughout their working day. This entails ensuring that outlook calendars are kept open, accessible to employees and are up to date.
  • As a rule, employees are expected to work in the same way, whether they are in the office or working from home. For example, if they would usually be available to answer the telephone, respond to emails etc. during the hours the service operates they will be expected to do this when working from home, unless a change is agreed with the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] Whether or not the [Social Enterprise / Organisation] manager agrees to a change, will depend upon the circumstances of the request and its impact on the team and service delivery.
  • In the case of a systems failure, employees should contact their manager, who will need to establish the extent of the system failure, the impact on the service and decide on the appropriate course of action. In some cases, this will involve seeking advice from the Board of Management.

9.   Patterns of Work

  • Working from home does not mean that employees are able to choose when and where they work. The days that employees work in the office or work from home will be organised, planned and agreed in advance with their line manager. This will not be in a public place e.g. library or internet café.
  • The needs of the service will always take priority, however a collaborative approach between management and employee is more likely to achieve a mutually beneficial arrangement.
  • Ultimately the manager will have the responsibility for ensuring that service needs take priority; that employee are treated fairly and are trusted to take responsibility for themselves and their work when working from home.
  • Managers will, in consultation with their employee, decide a pattern that best meets the needs of the service.
  • Employees must understand that these patterns are subject to change; there is no entitlement to work from home on specific days of the week. Consequently, employees must be ready to alter their working pattern if required and should be wary of making any commitments on homeworking days as these may need to change.
  • Working from home is not a substitute for caring for dependents’ long term. Employees are expected to have made alternative arrangements for the care of their dependents during their working day if they wish to apply for homeworking on a long-term basis.

10.  Absences

10.1.  Sickness

As when due in the office where an employee is unable to attend for work due to sickness, they must on the first day of absence, contact their manager at the earliest opportunity.

10.2.  Working from home when sick

  • As a guide working from home is not to be used as a substitute for a working in the office day, when an employee feels “under the weather” i.e. they feel unable to make the journey into the office but feel able to continue their normal work from home. Last minute changes could impact on other team members and are therefore difficult to accommodate.
  • It is however recognised that there may be times or circumstances where such requests may be agreed by exception such as in situations where the employee does not feel sick but has been advised by a health professional to self-isolate due to contact or suspected contact with someone who has Covid-19. In their discussion the manager should consider the hours the employee expects to be able to work and their likely output before determining whether it is appropriate for the employee to work from home in this situation. It is also imperative that the employee has the necessary equipment at home to be able to do this (i.e. laptop etc.,).
  • An employee who has reported in as sick and will have it recorded as such, is not expected to work either in the office or at home. Managers should be respectful of this.

11.  Performance

Working from home relies on outcome-based management. This means that employee are managed based upon their results. To achieve this an employee is expected to deliver outcomes within their contractual hours. The arrangements for how hours are worked will be agreed in advance with line managers.

This approach will require a strong commitment by managers and employees to plan and ensure that regular 1-2-1 meetings take place and relevant targets are used to represent the outcomes required.

Working from home requires some changes in relationship between employees and their managers. As a result, there are different responsibilities for all employee. All responsibilities are set out below.

11.1. Employees will:

  1. Agree working arrangements with their manager (and in consultation with other team members where appropriate)
  2. Ensure that their manager knows when and where they are working at all times
  3. Ensure their Outlook calendar is up-to-date, and their working status is known at all times
  4. Meet agreed work objectives, deadlines and monitoring arrangements, with a focus on outcomes and achievement
  5. Take care of [Social Enterprise / Organisation] equipment such as laptops, particularly when travelling or working from home. Any loss, damage or theft must be reported to the manager and the police if appropriate.
  6. Comply with the IT security and data protection requirements
  7. Complete the Data Protection Act training module
  8. Take reasonable care of their own health and safety and follow the Display Screen Guidance and other health and safety arrangements and procedures

11.2. Managers will:

  1. Ensure that safe working practices are understood by employees and that they have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively
  2. Ensure, in consultation with other managers, that working arrangements mean we do not exceed our desk capacity on any one day.
  3. Plan which members of employee are working in and out of the office on any given day. This will necessitate thinking creatively about how home working could work for their employee.

11.3. Managers will ensure that their employees:

  • Understand that it is not compulsory to work from home, but that it is an available benefit
  • Have access to the appropriate technology to work effectively both in the office environment and from home
  • Take responsibility for creating a safe working environment when working from home.
  • Have access to appropriate support equipment to assist in the creation of a safe working environment when working from home.
  • Have SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) objectives, priorities and targets which can be measured in line with the Performance Reviews, as well as clarity about the outcomes expected of their job role.
  • Have their individual circumstances and requirements (particularly where an employee has a disability) taken into account, including the needs of newly appointed employee, trainees and apprentices who may initially need to come into the office more often for support rather than working at home.
  • Have access to continuous performance review process which includes regular 1:1 conversation and/or supervision.
  • Ensure that information governance and health and safety requirements are adhered to at all times.

12.  Refusing Requests

While every attempt will be made to accommodate each request, where possible, the following circumstances may result in a request not being approved:

  • anticipated detrimental effect on ability to meet stakeholder demand.
  • anticipated detrimental impact on service quality.
  • inability to reorganise work among existing employees.
  • burden of additional costs exceeding maximum acceptability by the employer.
  • anticipated detrimental impact on [Social Enterprise / Organisation]
  • insufficiency of work during the periods the employee proposes to work.
  • planned operational changes that are not compatible with the requested working arrangement.
  • Employee who require specialist equipment.
  • Employee whose personal circumstances are not conducive to home working. There could be a number of reasons where working at home is not possible for a member of employee, e.g. shared flats/houses, insufficient space, someone else caring for children/relatives in the home, etc. In the short-term, they may need to attend the office more frequently than other members of employee and managers are expected to manage this in consultation with other team members.

13.  Timeline for Handling Flexible Working Requests

If you wish to avail of flexible working, you must submit a formal request to your manager at least two weeks prior to the date on which you would like the arrangement to commence. If the flexible working arrangement request is approved, [Social Enterprise / Organisation] will issue you a confirmation document as soon as possible, but not less than four weeks before the commencement date of the flexible working arrangement.

14.  Review of Policy

[Social Enterprise / Organisation] reserves the right to amend or revise this policy at any stage. Any such amendments will be communicated to all employees.

15.  References

Available upon request

 

If you would like a Word Version of this Policy & Procedure please email maighread@maighreadkelly.com

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations.  For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out her experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/


What is a Management Consultant?

So after a very busy week of very enjoyable networking; I found myself consistently trying to explain what is a "Management Consultant" and what services I offer my clients .

So I decided to do a little research (one of my skills) and came across this very good description:

Being a management consultant is all about having a "Swiss Army knife of solutions you can use to work with a client".

Others included:

  • Fulfilling business needs that cannot be undertaken successfully by the client due to lack of time or other resources
  • Using their independence to manage difficult or political situations on behalf of their client, often using change management expertise and human resource knowledge
  • Gaining an independent and innovative overview of businesses in order to identify areas of improvement or development, stimulating the client to change or adopt desired practices.

So, if you are a busy manager or business owner who does not have time to keep up with changes to Irish Legislation or have staffing issues please give me a call. I work across sectors and can offer simple solutions that can give employers confidence and reassurance.

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations. Maighréad is an experienced interviewer and is available to sit on interview panels as an external and impartial interviewer and advisor. She also works as an external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/ 


How to reduce the risks associated with workplace investigation practices?

When faced with a complaint in an organisation, employers will often try and resolve the complaint themselves or will delegate the task to a junior manager. Resolving the matter can take many forms but if not handled correctly it can have significant financial, legal and reputational implications. Some of the most common mistakes that employers often make during the course of an internal workplace investigation can include:

  1. The forgoing of the pre-investigation planning stage and moving straight into investigation.
  2. The investigator chooses to morph the investigation and disciplinary steps into the same process.
  3. The investigator chooses to rely on "untested" information and therefore unduly favours one version of events and ignores discrepancies.
  4. Due to the fact that this is an internal investigation they are unable to establish a process that is perceived as independent and free of bias.
  5. Internal investigations can often be delayed, due to a number of reasons however, this "delay" can often fuel speculation and gossip therefore jeopardising appropriate disciplinary action.

Mistakes in investigations can end up being very costly for the employer and employee. The employer needs to consider what is the best approach and always take into account the needs of the business. One of the most significant considerations for employers is whether to engage an external investigator.

It may not always be appropriate or beneficial for the employer to engage an external investigator however a good investigator will induce confidence for both parties as the findings will be unbiased and independent.

Maighréad Kelly Management Consultant offers a range of supports for employers in the area of HR and Workplace Investigations. Maighréad is an experienced external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad offers provide go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/


Calling all Charities - 2019 is the year to get your house in order.......

The Charities Regulator intends that 2019 will be a “year of learning and preparation for charities” in relation to their new Governance code. All charities are expected to comply with the code by 2020 and, from 2021, all charities will be required to report on their compliance with the code on an annual basis, by filling out a (50 page) compliance record form.

So what does this mean? Well regardless of the size of your organisation all charities need to be firstly registered with the regulator, secondly they need to ensure that their board is fully aware of their responsibilities and thirdly they need to fill in and submit their compliance form. This Code replaces the previous voluntary code which was launched a number of years ago by a collective group of charities and is thankfully much more streamlined and easier to navigate. The code consists of six principles of governance. These are:

  1. Advancing charitable purpose;
  2. Behaving with integrity;
  3. Leading people;
  4. Exercising control;
  5. Working effectively;
  6. Being accountable and transparent.

Many small organisations have concerns that the code will add to their workload and is nothing more than a paper exercise. In the beginning, yes organisations will need to spend some time on completing the necessary paperwork and ensuring their organisation operates within the Charities Act 2009. But like everything in life, it is the thoughts of doing something which is more stressful than the actual task itself. Also it is important to remember that Governance is not a new concept, it is a core aspect of every company and organisation across the world. According to PwC corporate governance is “a performance issue,” because it provides a framework for how your company operates.

It is also important to remember that simply implementing the governance code isn’t the same as achieving success. Most examples of good governance have something in common, too: they’re built on a foundation of transparency, accountability and trust. When meeting with my clients I advise that they start the process now with their board otherwise they will only be adding to the stress by leaving it any longer. Also it is important to remember that boards are made up of voluntary members who might only meet 8 times in the year therefore that does not leave much time to get through the necessary paperwork.

Maighréad has been a Company Director since 2014 and is both experienced and knowledgeable in the area of governance and assessing governance compliance within organisations. She will work with your charity, organisation or social enterprise to help your CEO and board of directors to identify the areas of priority in order to be compliant with the Charity Regulators Governance Code. She will then provide you with support, assistance and guidance in order to address those priorities. For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


Common pitfalls that employers experience when undertaking interviews…..

One of the biggest challenges facing employers in today’s employment market is the ability to be able to hire and retain good and loyal workers who are willing to take on the responsibilities of the role. Most Senior Managers within the health and caring sector state that a significant amount of their time involves sitting on interview boards trying to hire employees for the same positions over and over again. It must be acknowledged that demand for services within the health and care sector is growing year on year therefore a high level of turnover is to be expected. But the first thing I like to ask is: What information did you give the prospective employee at interview and how skilled was the person who carried out the interview?

A good interview is essential and it cannot be a one-sided. Every interviewer likes it when they interview people who are clear about their experience, can answer every question effectively and demonstrates the competence to undertake the role. Great job done, person leaves the room and everyone is happy. Twelve months later the employee resigns or the employer observes that the answers that they gave at interview does not match their work performance. What went wrong?

Well in my experience it can often be at the interview stage where it went wrong. The interview is the most important step towards hiring good employees as this is where both the employer and prospective employee establish their future working relationship. In the past I have been accused of being too direct in interviews and some of my fellow interviewers have expressed concerns that “I might put the person off…” In some cases it did but in most cases it did not. It is always important to remember that both the employee and the employer sign the contract therefore it is important that both sides on clear from day one what they are agreeing to. Good and Loyal employees know their role, their responsibilities and who they are accountable to.

Here are some tips for employers when carrying out interviews:

  1. Members of the Interview Panel are not skilled in effective interviewing: There is a common assumption that interviews are easy and once you use the correct paperwork and ask the questions on the form you will be fine. Some managers within the health and care sector are very skilled in their area but will often only have received cursory interview training and don’t know the pitfalls that can lead to bad interviewing and hiring results. Also there is an assumption that the more interviews you do the better you will get at them. However a bit like learning to drive, if you pick up bad habits in the beginning it is very hard to change them later down the line. Also it is very difficult for HR managers to know who is effective and who requires more support as they are often not on the interview panels and therefore have no way of knowing what might be happening during an individual manager’s interviews.
  2. Contrasting Candidates when interviewing large numbers in a row: Due to time constraints it is often necessary for managers to schedule one to two days of interviews in a row. Whilst this is often unavoidable the interviewer needs to be careful not to contrast one candidate over another. If an interviewer has several bad interviews in a row, the next person who performs much better may be inaccurately rated as outstanding, simply because they are so much better than the recent poor performers. Interviewers will often notice this at the end of the day when it comes to the scoring. The first couple of candidates might score lower in the morning for certain competencies compared to the candidate who comes in after two or three candidates who performed badly or who comes in straight after lunch. The reverse effect is also possible.
  3. Don’t get fooled by the enthusiasm of the Candidate: If the interviewers have had a long run of candidates who don’t perform well they can often get smitten with candidates who demonstrate enthusiasm and passion. This can result in the interviewer failing to accurately assess other important competencies and job requirements.
  4. One-way conversation: Something I have been guilty of in the past as an interviewer – is spending more time talking during the interview rather than listening. Most interviewers don’t leave equal time for the candidate to ask questions and to present information that they want to present, which can frustrate them, and then limited information is used to make the decision.
  5. Focusing too much on past experience: Interviews are mostly based on the past but whoever you hire will be working in the present and future. Most interviewers fail to ask candidates to forecast the future and to provide an outline of the plans that they will use to identify and solve upcoming problems.

Maighréad Kelly is a management consultant and offers a range of supports to employers in the area of HR and Operations. Maighréad is an experienced interviewer and is available to sit on interview panels as an external and impartial interviewer and advisor. She also works as an external investigator and is available to carry out investigations into complaints which can arise within an organisation from time to time. For more information on the services that Maighréad provides go to www.maighreadkelly.com or check out Maighréad’s experience on https://www.linkedin.com/in/maighreadkelly/