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You will know when you have a great HR strategy when your HR practices and responsibilities are aligned to the organisation’s goals and mission statement, resulting in growth and achievement of your business plan. 

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Fleximize, the Ipswich-based alternative business lender, will host a comedy night and charity auction for local business owners on Thursday 11th May at Greshams Ipswich. The event has been organised in support of Ipswich Housing Action Group (IHAG), which provides vital assistance to homeless people in the Ipswich area.

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Fleximize, the Ipswich-based business loans company, has announced it has closed a new financing facility of £16,300,000 from Hadrian’s Wall Secured Investments Limited, a specialised investment fund.

 

 

The initial round of funding will allow Fleximize to substantially increase its lending capacity, and propel it towards its goal of lending over £100 million to SMEs by 2019. It will also help the company further develop and diversify its product offering, and continue to deliver its mission of first-class customer service by advancing its proprietary technology platform with the introduction of dedicated areas for brokers and direct clients.

 

 

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Gotelee Solicitors are pleased to announce their new Chief Executive, Charles Rowett.

Charles will succeed Alistair Lang who is retiring at Easter after three years with Gotelee. Charles is no stranger to Suffolk having lived in the Woodbridge area for over twenty years and he held various executive roles locally in Gist-brocades UK and Hutchison Ports as well as in financial services and management consulting. Most recently he has been CEO at Yorkshire Cancer Research, the largest independent cancer charity in England. He commented, “I’m delighted to be coming back to Suffolk and to joining Gotelee at such an exciting time. The firm has an outstanding reputation in the region and there are enormous opportunities to build on the excellent work of Alistair and the Partners in a market that is changing rapidly.”

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Employers can ban workers from wearing Islamic headscarves or any other “political, philosophical or religious sign”, Europe’s top court has ruled.

But to ensure the decision doesn’t constitute discrimination, it must be based on internal company rules requiring all employees to “dress neutrally”, according to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The court ruled that limits on visible religious wear were permitted under EU law as long as they apply across the board — meaning any ban would have to include items such as turbans, Jewish kippahs or crucifixes as well as Islamic headscarves.

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Last year the UK Government confirm that it will be adopting the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (Brexit won’t save you!). While complying with the existing data protection regime should give businesses a head start to complying with the GDPR the GDPR introduces new concepts.

It comes into force on 25 May 2018, introduces a risk based approach to compliance and requires various documents to be maintained. GDPR also means that businesses may need to make substantial changes to their existing compliance strategies. Businesses should create awareness among staff of data subjects’ rights and data protection principles and bee able to demonstrate compliance with the GDPR, e.g:

o Audit and document the data held, where it came from and with whom it is shared.

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In this digital age, if you need to know how to change a plug, fix a toilet, braid your child’s hair in a French plait then Youtube is usually your first port of call and there will no doubt be someone there who is more than happy to show you just how to do it. With everything now going online, has the time for face-to-face training passed?

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What’s the first thing people say when they decide to start their own business? Whether they are starting up as a as an electrician, carpenter, hairdresser, independent financial adviser and dare I say it marketing expert, one of the first things they think about is branding – and by branding they mean logo, business cards, website, headed paper etc, etc.

Hold your horses! – or to mix a metaphor, don’t put the cart before the horse! Branding is so much more than just your logo. Branding is about the DNA of your business. It’s about the business culture, not a pretty design.

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Picture the scene .. you’ve spent ages agonising over your next killer product, you’ve built an awe-inspiring landing page and now you’re about to throw it out to the world with some tweets to drive traffic to the landing page and generate leads.

You send out 30 tweets over a couple of weeks, and you drive 10,000 visitors to the landing page.

Amazing job!

So, which tweet drove the most traffic? Where did the most conversions come from? Which message brought the highest proportion of ‘new visitors’ to the page? 

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For businesses, knowing what images and designs are protected by copyright and how to protect their inventions and brands via patents and trademarks can be a minefield. In a recent survey 74% of businesses were unsure who owned the intellectual property rights to their website, logo, artwork and photographs.

 

To help fill this knowledge gap MENTA are holding an interactive seminar titled ‘Intellectual Property, What do You Own?’ in association with the Intellectual Property Office  on Tuesday 14 March at The Tudor Barn Belstead, Ipswich.

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MAD-HR are running a one day workshop aimed at those people who essentially didn’t move out of the way quickly enough when the MD looked for someone to cover HR or perhaps have assumed responsibility for HR, as they know it’s important, and want peace of mind that they are doing what they are supposed to be doing. It is also spot on for those of you who need to expand your team and don't really know where to start. Whatever your reason for needing HR expertise, this course will deliver the bags of knowledge and easy to follow guidance on the fundamentals of employing people robustly and legally. 

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Does your organisation recognise that team productivity is a management responsibility, not an employee responsibility?

 

These top 5 tips from MAD-HR will help you introduce a culture of maximising productivity...

 

1. Training

A trained and developed team will take responsibility for their own actions and engage with the organisation’s strategic direction. As a result they require less supervision, freeing senior managers to spend more time on strategic issues, working on the business, rather than in the business. A double win as not only does the team’s productivity increase, but so does that of the senior management...Read the rest of your tips here...

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You will know when you have a great HR strategy when your HR practices and responsibilities are aligned to the organisation’s goals and mission statement, resulting in growth and achievement of your business plan.
Let’s face it, HR starts as an admin function for the majority of businesses. Most SMEs start with a “muck in” approach and whoever is around at the time will write the vacancy advert….draft the policy…. greet the new recruit. A quick google search is relied on to answer any queries and a “wing it” style is quickly adopted in many areas including HR; whilst many start-ups survive initially with that approach, it can come at a price. Based on a survey conducted by Forbes in 2015, 90% of start-ups fail in first twelve months.

There is no defined point in the life of a business or number of employees, when it becomes time to consider your HR Strategy, however let’s consider one element...Read full article here...

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So, you are running a small business operation, and you do not have an insurmountable number of clients, and therefore you probably don’t need outsourcing, right? Well that’s not entirely true, and there are a few reasons for that.
Regardless of the size of your operation, you should definitely have an outsourcing strategy. In the following article, we will discuss the importance of it and why you should have it in the first place.

Now, let us tackle the topic more thoroughly.

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Hammond delivered what may be considered a fairly lively Autumn Statement, displaying humour and banter with back-benchers, even fitting in a reference to Ed Balls’ (outstanding) Strictly performances; noting how complicated some fiscal announcements are. His performance certainly made it entertaining viewing and perhaps will stand well as his audition for a future reality show himself. But amongst the humour, wry smiles and strategic pauses, there were some significant announcements. Here are the key messages for employers and what you need to know about the Autumn Statement.

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For many, plans are being made to celebrate the festive season with their family and friends and for business owners they see this as a great opportunity to bring their team together – for bonding, boosting morale and saying “Thank you”.
That said, it can be a risky time for employers – we’ve all heard the stories of “the office party” – filled with unwanted advances, inappropriate behaviour, horseplay and so on……
Rather than feel like the Grinch, just put in place a few things that will help protect your business, your company’s reputation and ensure that everyone has a great....read our tips and advice here


We hope that you and your team have a wonderful time celebrating the festive season and if you do have any issues then please do get in touch with us.

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We are often asked “how long do you have to keep employee records for?” If you are looking to save space, reduce cost, minimise the risk of losing or damaging vital information and are moving towards sustainable ‘green’ practices such as going paperless, the following information will help you get your house in order.
This information is to be used as a guideline for retention times....Read on...

 

 

 

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When we think about the importance of branding as a marketing tool, it is all about creating a connection with your customers on an emotional level so that they would not think of using any other company other than your own.
Given that many companies use the phrase “our people are our best asset”, it often leaves HR professionals confused as to why companies don’t want to focus on the importance of their brand as an employer. After all, your employees often have more contact with your clients / customers than you or any of your management team – they are your brand.
How can they convey your brand to customers if they don’t get it themselves? This is why it is so important for you to tell that story, so that they can make a strong connection to your business. They are after all emotionally driven just like your customers.
A strong employer brand can be a powerful business tool that can connect an organisation’s values, people strategy and HR policies to the corporate brand.
In an increasingly competitive global marketplace, attracting and retaining the right kind of talent is central to a company’s ability to grow but building your employer brand is by no means an exact science:
• Get it right, and your company will reap the benefits in terms of recruitment, retention and employee satisfaction levels.
• Get it wrong, and you’ll not only be turning off potential employees, but also current staff and anyone they care to tell about their experience with your organisation.
• Crucially, you could also lose them as customers.
The best place to start...Read More here

 

Strategic HR consultancy can help you to build your reputation as a good employer that recognises effort and achievements and invests in training, so your business can grow and prosper with quality, motivated people.
GET IN TOUCH TODAY AND WE’LL HELP TO GET YOUR BUSINESS FIGHTING FIT. Carole Burman is currently offering free, one hour, face to face consultations here

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Watch out for CEO spam

Because we are in contact with a lot businesses and speak to companies about their IT security on a daily basis, we are able to pick up on new trends quickly.

One threat we are seeing more of is so-called CEO Spam, a sophisticated fraud that has resulted in firms losing hundreds of thousands, even millions, of pounds.

Also known as CEO fraud, Whaling, Spear Phishing or BEC (Business Email Compromise), the fraud takes the form of an accounts person receiving an email purporting to come from the MD or CEO asking them to make a payment to a certain account and telling them it is urgent.

The email will look genuine, and may even use all the relevant email signatures. It will certainly come from the right email address.

The European Police Office, Europol, is aware of this growing danger and recently gave details of the characteristics of this type of attack in its 2016 Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment (see page 32).

The reports says in many cases prior to any attack the criminals have carried out a lot of research, mapping the organisations’ structure and behaviour of potential victims. Letters, emails or phone calls may also come from outside the company, when a payment request is sent by someone purporting to be a trusted business partner or a lawyer.

It says a fraudulent request is usually time-sensitive and often coincides with the close of business hours to make verification of the request difficult.

Recent cases include a Suffolk business paying more than £1million to a fraudulent caller and global fibre optics firm, Leoni, losing €40 million.

Earlier this year, the BBC reported that French businesses have lost an estimated €465m since 2010, with a reported 15,000 firms falling victim to similar scams, including big names, such as Michelin, KPMG and Nestle. In the US, the FBI estimates these scams have cost organisations more than $2.3 billion in losses in recent years.

Our advice to companies is to make sure all employees, not just financial staff, are aware of these threats and that they know the dangers signs. Businesses should also develop standard procedures for paying money, such as only paying against an invoice, or other signed document. In addition, companies are advised to research what information is publicly available about their business and whether it needs to be public.

In the words of Norfolk and Suffolk Police Cyber Security Advisor, “prepare for ‘when’ an attack happens not if”.

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Companies with impressive employee retention rates and high employee satisfaction levels all have one thing in common – they understand the importance of a strong workplace culture. They also know that you must really invest in your people if you want to get the best out of them.
A poor workplace culture could actually end up costing an employer money, as it could result in absenteeism, employee stress, poor health and a high turnover of staff. So, working hard to achieve a good culture is not only beneficial for those you employ, it’s also good for the productivity of your business.
These things are easy to talk about, but often less easy to achieve. So, what does a good company culture actually look like?
Here are 7 things you need to do to create and maintain a great company culture

Responsive to employee needs

Aside from salary and pension schemes, increasingly employees are attracted by ‘lifestyle benefits’ that respond to their personal circumstances and aid a healthier work/life balance. These can include things like flexi-time working, work-from-home options and study days.
Ongoing development

Is there a culture of developing and growing talent internally in your organisation? It’s important for an employee to feel that their company is investing in their future and supporting their personal and professional growth. This could be through mentoring schemes or training days.
Social calendar

A good balance of social interaction alongside business activity is good for morale. A healthy calendar of social events outside of the office can help instigate inter-team bonding as well as creating a buoyant atmosphere. It may also be helpful to consider involving their families to events to create an even stronger bond.
Open, honest feedback

Employers need to create an open culture that allows employees at every level to share their ideas, suggestions and concerns. With structured feedback strategies in place, employers can then monitor employee satisfaction levels and help alleviate issues as they arise.
A little extra

Alongside the more traditional benefits, employees usually respond well to other smaller, more personalised perks – such as free breakfast, early Friday finish or a charity partnership that’s chosen by employees.
Innovative approach

This applies to the innovative ways in which the company conducts business, but also the way it engages with its staff. Is your company striving to be a thought-leader in its sector? Do employees have the chance to attend industry events to keep up with the latest trends and advancements in their field? Do they feel able to incorporate new ideas and technology into their work?
Committed leadership

A great workplace needs buy-in from all team members – but particularly from those at management level. Clear, committed and inclusive leadership will be an essential component in maintaining a great company culture. Make sure the leaders in your organisation understand the culture and are able to effectively communicate and uphold it.
Get in touch today and we’ll help to get your business fighting fit, whether for now, for later or the long term. Make the most of a free one hour consultation with Carole Burman.

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