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Always lovely to be recognised / appreciated for the volunteering and contribution made for the People Profession and the #cipd – thank you Louise Nuttall Chartered FCIPD, FInstLM for the kind words as below:

I wanted to thank Lee Krawczyk-Brown – Henlee Resourcing who was awarded the Outstanding Contribution at the recent South West region awards ceremony for all the continued support he provides for all the events and finance planning over the years, the branch wouldn’t run as smoothly without his unwavering passion and energy!!

On Thursday 3 September Lee Krawczyk-Brown and Donna Blythe hosted a session on “Standing Out From The Crowd – Your CV and Social Media Profile”.

Lee spoke to how to format your CV to ensure that it is visually appealing, and so that an applicant tracking system can easily ingest and parse your data. He also addressed items such as what content should and should not be included, how long your CV should be, as well as a number of other considerations. Lee shared examples of a CV getting limited traction and why, and how with a few simple changes the candidate received a significant amount of interest and ultimately landed a new role.

Donna shared tips and tricks for both LinkedIn and Twitter. She addressed a number of considerations related to your profile social profiles, such as a picture, banner, headline, summary, customising your URL, asking for recommendations, connecting with others (provided specific recommendations), URL shortening, general activity, content generation and more.

Our poll showed that 92% participants (22 of the 24 people who participated in the poll) said they felt better about tacking their CV and social media profile following our session, and they felt they now had lots of good tips to implement and use! What fantastic feedback. The webinar was recorded and a download link to this as well as the PowerPoint deck and resources documents are available below:

Access to the Recording can be found by clicking “HERE”         

Access to the PowerPoint Deck can be found by clicking “HERE”           

Access to the Social Media Tips and Tricks can be found by clicking “HERE”           

Access to the Content – Social Media Profile can be found by clicking “HERE”           

We are proud to announce that Lee Krawczyk-Brown from our Branch (Swindon and North Wiltshire) has been awarded special recognition from CIPD HQ for his outstanding service over the last 8 years and especially of late with adapting our Branch to the new virtual world!! His dedication, support and commitment has been exceptional, this award is well deserved and as Chair and on behalf of the Branch and our Members – a huge thank you!!

Firstly, I hope you and your family are well in these somewhat different and challenging times!!

Secondly, it’s our Birthday – Henlee Resourcing is officially 10 years old today – Monday 4th May 2020!!

I’ve no idea where the last 10 years have gone – it’s flown by!!! Thank you for your support, input and interest in what we do, without you there would be no Henlee Resourcing.

To celebrate our 10 years, in conjunction with Chef Roger Jones we’re hosting a “live” virtual celebration … Michelin Star – Lockdown Style at 6pm on Wednesday 6th May.

Below is the full invitation / details of the event – please click “HERE” if you’d like to join.

By Jo Faragher of Personnel Today on 29 Apr 2020

Few would argue that HR teams have not been busy since the coronavirus took hold some weeks ago, but how has this affected how they manage their teams and allocate resource? Jo Faragher examines the outbreak’s impact on the role of HR.

At the start of 2020, the HR to-do list was pretty packed already: getting their heads around the new points-based immigration system, preparing for changes to IR35 and sorting out figures for the latest round of gender pay gap reporting – all on top of existing commitments.

But from early March onwards, even before the Prime Minister urged everyone to work from home and stricter lockdown measures were enforced, queries began to flood in about how their organisations would deal with the threat of the coronavirus.

Over the days that followed, those questions gradually got greater in number and more difficult to answer – from what will happen to my season ticket to will I even have a job when lockdown is finished?

‘Business as unusual’

As we now enter the fifth week of lockdown, however, an XpertHR survey of HR professionals has found that they are now moving beyond dealing with the immediate crisis stage of the pandemic to slightly less business-critical issues, such as queries about taking holiday while on furlough.

As government support packages such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme have gone live, this has enabled many employers to consider less drastic action and focus on strategies to preserve jobs and support those who are still working – even if remotely.

The proportion of HR professionals saying they were spending all of their time focusing on pandemic-related issues decreased four weeks in to 32.2%, compared to 42.8% two weeks into the crisis. XpertHR content director Mark Crail calls this “business as unusual”.

He says: “We are now moving on from an initial phase of crisis management, where everyone was pretty much making it up as they went along, to a more ordered and considered set of longer-term arrangements.”

One respondent to the survey described HR’s workload as “extremely challenging”, and many reported that the pressure on them, coupled with long hours, was taking its toll on their mental health.

Finding balance

Dawn Moore, group people director at J Murphy & Sons, a construction company, says the challenge has been to “strike a balance between reacting quickly to a situation changing often by the hour or day, to making sure we’re keeping an eye on the future”.

The company employs more than 4,000 people, with varying circumstances and work patterns, and across different territories (such as Ireland and Canada) where the government restrictions are not the same as the UK.

“The volume of email traffic has greatly increased, I’m spending a lot of time on a screen attending Microsoft Teams meetings and the like – you already work long days but end up working longer,” she adds. She has been working with HR business partners to ensure employee wellbeing is a high priority, offering services such as health screening, counselling and a financial wellbeing programme.

Anna Clapton, HR lead at background screening company Verifile, already outsources HR administration so there has been a continuation of service from that point of view, but her workload has still been significant in terms of responding to changing government guidelines.

“Outsourcing means we can flex resources up and down as demand comes in,” she says. “A lot of our work centrally has been around the way we communicate. We’ve also brought back in some casual workers to carry out background screening, referencing and interviewing. We’re looking at things on a week-by-week basis.”

Changing the way we work

Even in businesses where remote or distributed working is already well established, the day-to-day work for HR has had to pivot significantly.

Caroline Arora, people director at freelance community Hoxby, says her team are working in much the same way in terms of environment as they have always been 100% remote, but the way they work has adapted. “We’ve had to flex so people can work around home-schooling or work in the evenings. We’re more respectful of their workstyles and continue to be fluid,” she explains.

Within the freelance community itself, many of the workers on Hoxby’s books have got more capacity, which means this can be offered to clients who are looking for extra support. At the same time, the team has been offering plenty of support in the form of virtual wellbeing activities such as yoga, separate Slack channels to discuss parenting challenges and webinars on remote working, also available to all on

One aspect of HR that – for many organisations – has come to an abrupt standstill, is recruitment. Discussing the labour market on Radio 4’s Today programme this week, James Reed, chairman of, said that new jobs on the site in the third week of April were down 68% compared to the same week in 2019.

And despite the increased workload for HR departments, very few are recruiting for external support, and are only continuing the hiring process for roles they consider to be truly business critical.

Uncertain future

“The furlough process has put everybody in a holding pattern,” says Simon Hunt, chief operating officer at Oakleaf Partnership, an HR recruiter. “Until they know what the future holds, organisations aren’t doing anything.

“In an ‘ordinary’ recession you’d be hiring people who were experienced in change management, organisational development, or employee relations people who could help businesses to manage redundancies or manage consultation periods.”

With no firm indication as to when or how the business world will emerge from lockdown, no-one knows when or whether these roles will be needed.

Henry Lee, who specialises in HR recruitment for the financial services industry at Morgan McKinley, saw around 80% of roles either cancelled or put on hold as soon as the government announced restrictions in mid-March.

“The roles that are live are in compensation and benefits – so they’re wanting to ensure the business can remain profitable, an HR business partner for a tech start-up where they urgently need policies and procedures in place, and an HR systems integration specialist for a company that had merged with another business – something that can’t be put on hold,” he explains.

Even where organisations are progressing with new HR roles, there are issues around start dates and probation periods.

“I’m encouraging businesses that are hiring to offer break clauses in contracts to acknowledge the fact someone is taking a risk now if they move,” adds Lee. “So rather than a traditional probation period of three months or longer, is there room to let them leave earlier to find themselves a new role?”

And while video conferencing has been embraced with open arms in most aspects of remote working, conducting a final-stage interview with a senior-level HR executive over Zoom is not the same as a face-to-face meeting. “To go through the entire interview process via video is hard. People want to get a feel for the business and often you can only do that in an office.”

Next phase

When restrictions do ease and organisations begin hiring again, it’s likely we may see an increase in employee relations and organisational development roles, argues Lee Krawczyk-Brown, founder of HR recruiter Henlee Resourcing.

“I think there will be greater uptake of interim roles, especially in redundancy and restructure – this is what we saw in the last recession. It depends what the easing of lockdown looks like and when it is,” he says.

HR consultant Helen Straw of the Personnel Partnership is beginning to see a shift in the support she offers for clients. “I thought things would settle down this week but I’m still working on lots of furlough agreements or working with them on how they bring people back from that period away,” she says. “There are a lot of queries about where we go from here – so for example if work ramps up again how do they maintain social distancing and bring people back gradually.”

One of the challenges is that there could be a second peak, or a period when restrictions are re-introduced, says Sarah Barwell, director of recruitment company The Three Partnership. “I think there will be demand for people who can work quickly, who can demonstrate they’ve been able to make good commercial decisions during this time – for example making the right decisions quickly about lay-offs or furlough.”

A key priority for HR will be to skill up virtual leaders in dealing with different workstyles, says Arora at Hoxby. “Some people will like this style of working and will want to change the shape of how they work. But that means that virtual leader capability needs to deliver support to those people, offering the right tools and support.”

Verifile’s HR team has been looking at building more cross-functional skills as well as developing an accredited ‘Champions Academy’ programme for internal and external applicants – “to help people become more agile and flexible as we come out of this”, according to Anna Clapton.

Taking this longer-term view is absolutely crucial, says Dawn Moore at J Murphy & Sons. “We’re asking people to accept some temporary changes but we can’t get bogged down in the short term; we have to look forward to developing people, how we reward them, how we support them. We have to have one eye on the fact we’ll come out of this, even if everything feels reactive at the minute.”

Lauren Harkin explains where claims arise and offers tips on how HR departments can help set the right culture.

The figures for pregnancy and maternity discrimination published by the Equalities and Human Rights Commission make for stark reading: one in every 20 women are made redundant during their pregnancy or maternity leave, and 77 per cent of pregnant women or new mums experience some form of discrimination.

Any form of less favourable treatment or being placed at a disadvantage because of pregnancy or maternity is discrimination.

We frequently see pregnant employees not being put forward for additional training when their non-pregnant colleagues are, or complaints that pregnant employees in, for example, professional services firms have not been allocated the best or most interesting work. Then there is the tricky issue of pregnancy-related sickness absence – particularly during early pregnancy. The impact is that the pregnant employee may feel they are not being invested in or valued because they are going on maternity leave.

Issues more frequently occur, however, on the return to work. If there has been an internal business restructure, sometimes those on maternity leave are overlooked during this process because they are not physically at work. Employers should ensure that employees on maternity leave are still involved in any process or consultation from the outset – there is a high risk of a discrimination claim if this doesn’t happen.

Additionally, to make sure employees do not feel detached from their employment it is beneficial to keep in regular contact during maternity leave. Inviting employees for ‘keeping in touch’ days and contacting them about work socials and events are simple steps that will go a long way in ensuring they feel engaged with their employer and facilitating a smooth return to work.

Returning mums sometimes require more flexibility at work. The balance of meeting business needs while accommodating flexible working requests can be difficult. If the line manager is not prepared to deal with a flexible working request, this can create tension and the risk of a legal claim. There are also the additional effects on attendance, performance and employee engagement to consider.

Employers need to have a flexible working policy, ensure managers are trained on the policy and, from the outset, encourage line managers to engage in conversations about the return to work and flexibility.

Shared parental leave

A mum can decide to end her maternity leave early and mum or dad (or both together) can take shared parental leave (SPL) where, subject to some qualifying provisions, they are entitled to statutory shared parental leave pay.

Many companies offer enhanced maternity pay but do not replicate such favourable benefits for dads wanting to take SPL, meaning it is often more financially beneficial for mums to stay off work on maternity leave. According to recent Court of Appeal decisions in Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd and Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police (2019) it is not discriminatory to provide mums with enhanced maternity pay and not dads.

In these joint cases, the employees – new dads – were entitled to only two weeks’ paternity leave at full pay, followed by statutory SPL pay. Their female colleagues were entitled to enhanced maternity pay for much longer, followed by statutory maternity pay. The individuals brought sex discrimination claims on the basis they were being treated less favourably because of their gender.

It was held that dads could not compare themselves to women on maternity leave because the purpose of maternity leave was not simply the facilitation of childcare, but to prepare for and cope with the later stages of pregnancy, recuperate from the pregnancy and childbirth, develop the ‘special relationship’ between the mother and the newborn child, breastfeed and care for the child.

It is difficult to avoid the fact that take up of SPL has been low since its introduction in 2015. A large part of this is likely to be down to the fewer enhanced SPL schemes. However, with more mums taking longer periods of time off to care for new babies, this impacts on the gender pay gap in the UK – more pertinent to companies now they have to report on this.

While the government has recently pledged to look into additional rights that should be afforded to mums on return from maternity leave, particularly in relation to extending redundancy protection, any confirmed changes remain to be seen. We continue to see high numbers of grievances by employees who feel they have been treated badly while pregnant at work or on maternity leave, and this continues to be a real problem across many industries.

Lauren Harkin is a partner in the employment law team at Royds Withy King.

Wage growth in the UK rose to 3.6% in the year to May 2019, the highest growth rate since 2008, according to Office for National Statistics figures.

Wages have been outpacing inflation since March 2018.

A record high of 32.75 million people were in employment up to the end of May, while 1.29 million were out of work, the lowest since at least 1992.

“The labour market continues to be strong,” said ONS deputy head of labour market statistics Matt Hughes.

“The number of self-employed part-timers has passed one and a half million for the first time, well over double what it was 25 years ago,” he added.

“Regular pay is growing at its fastest for nearly 11 years in cash terms, and its quickest for over three years after taking account of inflation.”

Why has wage growth risen?

Two factors which started in April have helped contribute to the rise in wage growth.

Some NHS staff have had pay increases, while the new National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates have both been introduced.

The new rates benefit the lowest-paid workers in industries such as wholesaling, retailing, hotels and restaurants.

Average regular pay, before tax and other deductions, was estimated at £503 a week.

However, when adjusted for the impact of rising prices, pay is still below levels seen before the 2008 financial crisis. Average pay was £468 a week when adjusted for inflation. This is still £5 less than the pre-recession peak of £473 a week recorded for April 2008.

How do men and women’s employment rates compare?

The unemployment rate remained at 3.8% as expected, its joint-lowest since the three months to January 1975.

But the growth in employment slowed to 28,000, the weakest increase since the three months to August last year.

The employment rate for men was 80.2%, slightly higher than a year earlier, while the rate for women was 72%, the joint highest since records began in 1971.

Vacancies fell to their lowest level in more than a year of 827,000 across the UK – 9,000 fewer than a year earlier and 19,000 fewer than the previous quarter.

Some recent surveys of companies have suggested employers are becoming more cautious about hiring in the lead-up to the new Brexit deadline of 31 October.

How have the experts reacted?

“Despite signs that employment growth is tailing off, the labour market remains tight, with the unemployment rate at a multi-decade low,” said Alpesh Paleja, principal economist of lobby group the CBI.

“It’s encouraging that pay growth has picked up further, putting more money in people’s pockets, but as recent data shows productivity remains in the doldrums.”

Ian Stewart, chief economist at Deloitte, said: “The jobs market seems to have defied gravity, with wages rising and unemployment falling even as growth has slowed.

“The big question is how long can that last. With job vacancies edging lower and firms more cautious on hiring, the pace of job creation could slow from here.”

Change is impacting every industry, and this is creating new opportunities, healthy salaries and more flexible working conditions for HR professionals, reports Stephanie Sparrow.

In many professions, today’s climate of political and economic uncertainty would be cause for concern. But for ambitious HR professionals, dealing with unprecedented rates of change and steering organisations through those changes arguably makes it a better time than ever for the people function.

As HR roles are re-designed and re-labelled to meet shifting business needs, and salary packages remain attractive, some enticing career opportunities are available. According to Barney Ely, director of Hays Human Resources, salaries across the HR sector rose by an average of 2.1% last year, higher than the UK average of 1.9%.

London still offers the most competitive pay, with senior director positions in commerce and industry potentially offering a pay package in excess of £130,000, but other parts of the country stand up well.

“Across the regions, the north west and south east are the most comparable with a typical salary for a director level role at £90,000 and £88,000 respectively,” he says.

Specialist skills

Ely predicts that it is those HR professionals with more specialist skills that will be most in demand this year.

Sought-after people will be those who can help re-position the company, or who could fit into emerging roles such employee experience manager. New roles are springing up around employers’ need to create a seamless, customer-like experience for candidates, he adds.

Skills shortages across the workforce mean that experts in talent management or reward, or those seeking roles based around operations and technical skills, will be well remunerated “if they possess the appropriate skillset”, Ely believes.

Salary increases in talent and reward are not confined to the private sector, with the public sector ramping up pay for some roles in order to attract high-calibre professionals.

For example, the Hays Salary & Recruiting Trends 2019 guide finds a boost of 3.1% for a public sector head of talent (to an average of £51,750 in contrast with £57,667 in commerce and industry), and a 5.1% increase in salary for a public sector reward analyst (£34,667).

Reward experience in demand

Professionals in reward and compensation are always sought after, and recent years have seen a spike in demand, says Charlotte Faktor, manager for HR interim and contracts at recruitment and search consultancy Frazer Jones.

Referring to its latest HR salary guide for financial and professional services, Faktor points out that reward and compensation specialists in those sectors have seen the most buoyant salaries among their HR peer group in recent times.

“Reward and compensation is where we have seen 15-20% uplift in the past five to ten years,” she says, attributing the rise to the scarcity of individuals who can fit those roles, particularly those that deal with the highly scrutinised topic of executive remuneration.

Their earning potential is impressive. “Salary survey data suggests that in the banking sector the base salary for a head of reward would start from £140K,” she says.

Lucrative career

However, Faktor is also optimistic about HR salaries overall.

“HR is a more lucrative career than people anticipate,” she says, pointing to HR salaries in banking and financial services, where director-level positions could command in excess of a £200,000 fixed base salary. There is also significant potential to earn more from bonuses and long-term incentive plans.

She adds that packages in the technology and telecoms sectors are catching up, and in some instances, because of equity and stock, can far exceed those in financial services.

However, the positive pay trends in financial services remain. At recruitment specialist Oakleaf Partnership, senior manager for financial services Charlotte Matthew explains that internal reviews are helpful, but that job moves pay well.

At AVP level (assistant vice-president, similar to a junior HR manager or senior HR adviser) candidates can expect salaries of £45,000 to £65,000. At VP (or senior HR manager) level, Matthew has seen internal salary reviews result in an uplift of 3-5%, while external moves result in an increase of 10-20%.

Internal moves

Internal promotions also bring benefits. “Typically, individuals see a £5,000 to £15,000 uplift on base salaries depending on level of experience and role,” she says.

So salaries are favourable, but HR professionals cannot be complacent about their marketability. Businesses in many sectors are restructuring, and banks and corporates are consolidating.

Meanwhile, increasing regulation in the financial services market means that HR departments are evolving to encompass niche skillsets such as corporate governance.

“HR in general increasingly needs to upskill on data analytics, reporting and systems implementation to support decision-making and operational efficiency,” says Matthew. “As a result, those HR generalists with the ability to analyse and interpret data will be at an immediate advantage.”

More than salary

With external factors making for unpredictable times, many mid-career HR professionals are cautious about moving, meaning there are fewer of these candidates on the market, according to Lee Krawczyk-Brown, founder of Henlee Resourcing.

“HR generalist talent, with the earning potential of £35,000 to £65,000 is in short supply,” he says, attributing this to the uncertainty caused by factors such as Brexit. “Fewer people are raising their heads above the parapet to change jobs unless they are sure that it’s the right opportunity.”

Krawczyk-Brown, who recruits HR professionals in the South West across employment sectors typical of his region including manufacturing, logistics and aviation, says that job applicants want more than a salary hike.

“They want to know about security of the role, the company, development opportunities, the culture, and fringe benefits including flexibility,” he says.

Flexibility and workplace culture are becoming equally as important as the base salary for those looking for their next HR role, adds Jemma Rawlins, director of specialist HR recruitment consultancy HRLife.

“We are often seeing candidates asking for flexible working; be that the opportunity to work from home occasionally, or work three or four days a week. This might be because they have caring responsibilities or because they have interests outside work.

“Some HR professionals would rather take a lower basic, knowing it’s a great learning opportunity or gives them the chance to work with inspiring people or really add value to an exciting project.

“A higher base salary, whilst it may determine the level of the role is rarely the number one requirement when making the move into a new role,” she adds.

What lies ahead?

Looking to the future, employers will seek HR professionals that can take a more holistic view of what their workforce needs, says Faktor from Frazer Jones.

“Organisations are looking for people who can find answers to employees’ requirements for wellbeing initiatives and work-life balance, and manage societal shifts which could see four generations in the same workplace,” she says.

In return, strategic HR professionals want to share the innovative workplace approaches they have developed for others. Two-thirds of HR professionals rate the offer of over 28 days’ paid annual leave as their preferred benefit, says Ely at Hays Human Resources, yet less than half of employers offer this.

“Employers should ensure the benefits offered are what HR professionals actually want,” he says.

Traditional workplace hours of 9am to 5pm are now only the norm for a minority of workers, research suggests.

Just 6% of people in the UK now work such hours, a YouGov survey found.

Almost half of people worked flexibly with arrangements such as job sharing or compressed hours, allowing them to juggle other commitments, it found.

Anna Whitehouse, a campaigner whose own flexible working request was refused by her employer, said there were still misconceptions about such arrangements.

In her case, her employer refused her request for 15 minutes flexibility at the start and end of each day to enable her to drop off and pick up her children from nursery.

“They denied it because they said it would open the floodgates for other people to request the same thing.”

Mrs Whitehouse, an author and blogger known as Mrs Pukka, said the refusal prompted her to resign and blog about the experience.

“My background is as a journalist so I just started writing. I’m not a campaigner or an activist, but I had a moment of frustration and went with it.”

Since then she has started the Flex Appeal, aimed at convincing firms to trial flexible working and also to make people aware of their right to request flexible working.

“It’s not about parents, it’s about people. There’s so much research out there showing working flexibly is better for mental health and for productivity,” she said.

Polling firm YouGov surveyed over 4,000 adults for the survey, which was commissioned by fast-food chain McDonald’s.

How to request flexible working

Every employee in the UK has the statutory right to request flexible working after 26 weeks of employment.

Requests should be in writing, stating the date of the request and whether any previous application has been made and the date of that application.

Requests and appeals must be considered and decided upon within three months of the receipt of the request.

Employers must have a sound business reason for rejecting any request.

Employees can only make one request in any 12-month period.

The study found most full-time workers would like to start work at 8am and finish by 4pm, hours chosen by 37% of those surveyed. The second most popular choice was 7am to 3pm, chosen by 21% of those surveyed.

It found flexibility was important to people of all ages and life stages, including parents and students, for example.

Those who did work flexibly said it improved their motivation and encouraged them to stay in a job for longer.

Peter Cheese, chief executive of HR industry body the CIPD, said organisations willing to offer flexible working would attract a higher number of applicants.

But he said more firms needed to step up: “Uptake of flexible working is still low and most jobs are not advertised as being open to different working arrangements,” he said.

Generation Z will account for 32% of the earth’s population in 2019, compared to millennials, at 31.5%, according to a Bloomberg analysis. Members of Gen Z, born after 2001, differ from their millennial predecessors: They’ve only ever known a digital world, and they grew up amid the “war on terror” and the global recession. Research also shows that Gen Z members anticipate being happier and more optimistic than millennials, who were born between 1982 and 2000. These differences are expected to make themselves felt as Gen Z starts to vote and make financial decisions.