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Essential HR tool kit for workshops

By autotech-nath on May 13, 2024

Autotechnician’s new columnist, Amy Blick, a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personal Development, delivers an essential HR tool kit in the first of a series of articles.

Since starting my business, I have been fortunate to work with many SMEs and can share that most were afraid of HR. Thankfully, the scales fall from their eyes when they see that far from being something to fear, HR is on an equal footing with marketing and sales. Because at its core, HR is about looking after your people, underpinned by a robust recruitment and onboarding process, further bolstered by training and development that goes beyond the technical. Wrapped around this is of course the need to comply with current legislation. So, I hope you will feel inspired by my regular column in Autotechnician and that you will see how HR is about bringing up your confidence levels so that you can begin to implement positive changes in your business and reap the rewards.

I’m starting this month with some belt and braces information. On 5th June I will also be at the UK Garage and Bodyshop Event at the NEC within the Meet the Expert area with the Autotechnician team, so do come and say hello!

It is only a fool that would ignore April 2024 because it has given employers a big to do list with employment law changes that impact every business, both big and small. From Flexible Working requests being a Day One right, to Paternity Leave and Carer’s Leave being enhanced. Everyone is affected. The Living Wage has also jumped to £11.44 an hour, an increase from £10.42 – for a 35-hour week, bringing the annual entry salary to £20,748.

This all points to the need to ensure your business is thriving, lean and you are in pole position to leverage your talent. It has never been more important to put your people at the heart of your business.

My top tips for 2024

1. Establish clear policies

A Handbook that concisely outlines policies, procedures and expectations is fundamental for businesses. Make sure to include the necessities on attendance, holiday, and general conduct. Don’t make it too long. A few dozen pages maximum is enough to ensure that your Handbook does its job as a tool to build culture, retention, and engagement.

2. Prioritise communication

Consistent and regular check-ins with each team member to review performance should also be enhanced to include feedback and address concerns. Creating open and transparent lines for communication to ensure your people

are heard and recognised builds loyalty and helps ensure any unhappiness is identified at the earliest stages. Be disciplined and pre-plan these sessions. Show your people they have
a voice, and you want to listen to it beyond any shop floor banter.

3. Invest in soft skills development

Personal development can often be overlooked in a busy workshop but you will need to get on top of this if you want to retain a good team and deliver the best customer experience. As part of your regular check ins with team members, identify additional soft skills training needs. Skills building outside of mandatory training will build upskilling and help you to talent plan. And it will deliver to your bottom line.

4. Champion compliance and employment laws

This is a critical one on my HR top tips for 2024! Compliance and meeting your statutory minimums as a business can be difficult, particularly with the slew of changes but please do not opt out. Staying ahead of changes for hiring, wages, benefits, workplace safety and anti-discrimination policies makes you stand out as an exemplar employer and it gives customers more reasons to come to you, stay with you and recommend you.

5. Focus on wellbeing

Promoting a healthy work-life balance can be accomplished with some thoughtful planning and can include flexible working arrangements, wellness programmes and mentoring (which I will cover in future columns). Building a strong brand is not simply about complying with legislation. Demonstrate your commitment to employee wellbeing and you will benefit with longer term loyalty which, of course, delivers to your bottom line.

Essential Policies for Workshops

Amy is the cofounder of The HR Playbook where you can download essential, up-to-date and compliant HR documents and templates at a fraction of the usual cost. Autotechnician readers benefit from a 10% discount by quoting AUTOTECH10 at checkout.

This month, we are highlighting the essential policies for Workshops:

This suite of eight policy documents has been created for SMEs to provide essential frameworks for compliance, risk management, and operational efficiency. This will give your business peace of mind to navigate legal requirements, safeguard against potential liabilities and establish a solid foundation for sustainable growth and employee wellbeing.

In this suite, you will receive:

Anti-Bribery and Corruption Policy

Code of Business Conduct Disciplinary Policy
Drugs and Alcohol Policy

Equal Opportunities Policy Grievance Policy

Harassment and Bullying Policy Modern Slavery Policy.

The policies will:

Create essential frameworks for compliance, risk, and operational efficiency

Minimise risks and meet insurance requirements

Reduce liability to create the foundations for sustainable growth

Build a culture focused on compliance and employee wellbeing through regular check points.

Ideal for:

SMEs with between 5 to 250 employees

Organisations that want to ensure compliant and legislative minimums are met

Leaders that need reassurance a consistent performance management framework is embedded throughout the business.

Autotechnician readers benefit from a 10% discount by quoting AUTOTECH10 at checkout.



About Autotechnician
Autotechnician is a magazine published nine times a year, delivering essential information to independent garage owners and technicians in the UK. Delivered both digitally and in print, autotechnician provides readers with technical, training, business advice, product and news, allowing our readers to keep up to date with information they need to run and work within a modern workshop.
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