How to eat an elephant

Breaking it down: an exercise to help you overcome overwhelm

As Desmond Tutu once suggested, no matter how difficult or overwhelming a problem, project or goal might seem, you can always find a way through by approaching it one small step at a time. By breaking it down, even the seemingly impossible can become achievable.

We all know that the best way to tackle a daunting task is to break it down in to manageable steps, but this can be hard if you don’t know how or where to start. This simple, little planning exercise will help you to develop a plan to achieve your goal, even if you don’t know where to start:

11. Transfer your line of post-it notes to a large piece of paper and draw a box next to each task, ready to tick off once you’ve completed it.

Now you have your plan – ready to start when you are. Remember to focus on one bite-size chunk at a time, treating each one as a goal in its own right.

What Should HR be Focusing on in 2020?

As we head into 2020, what should employers be focusing on to ensure they attract and retain the best of Jersey’s talent?

1.Keeping up with Employment Law 

In 2018, disability became a protected characteristic in Jersey giving Islanders with disabilities far more protection from discrimination. On 1st September 2020 the second part of this law will be enforced – reasonable adjustments to the workplace. Employers have had years to consider the physical changes that they can make to their premises to create greater access and opportunity for both employees and customers with disabilities and so let’s hope we see real action rather than excuses.
2020 is also the year in which Jersey’s mums and dads will achieve legal equality in terms of parental leave rights. A seismic shift in workplace and parenting culture is not expected overnight, but employers do need to make sure that their cultures support fathers who wish to take more parental leave over the coming years.  Employers will also need to ensure that they take reasonable steps to provide breast-feeding facilities within the workplace.

2. Closing the Gender Pay Gap

In 2019, two significant Island employers voluntarily shared their gender pay gap statistics – well done Government of Jersey and PwC. GOJ are now developing a strategy to help them close this gap which should (if they get it right) have a significant and positive impact for all public sector workers in Jersey when it comes to fairness and inclusion in the workplace.  Interestingly, at The Diversity Network’s ‘Mind the Gap’ event in November, Constable Richard Buchanan suggested that if other employers did not voluntarily follow suit, government would mandate for it. Our advice to employers is not to wait. Explore now how you can close your gender and other pay gaps rather than fall behind your competitors.

3. Navigating Change

Volatile, uncertain, complex and ambigious (VUCA) – the US military acronym, more recently adopted by the business world, certainly seems like an apt description of the current business climate for many. How you navigate this and predict what is coming is an extremely difficult problem for any business leader. HR practitioners should be keeping abreast of thinking around the possible impact on their organisations of Brexit and, in particular, the impact of any new immigration policies incoming in the next few years on their ability to recruit the best people. As well, as developing the organisation’s long term talent pipeline strategy and recruitment approach (clearly the wider net an organisation can cast locally the better), HR should be helping to create an agile, positive culture that is able to act quickly and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Change and uncertainty can be deeply stressful for employees too, so employers must consider how they can support an open and inclusive culture and clear and safe channels for people to communicate their concerns.

Economic volatility may also affect remuneration (particularly bonuses) and pension funding and so, again, a strong employee communication and engagement strategy is key.

4.  Enabling Inclusive Cultures to Stay Ahead of the Game

As you can see, it’s all about diversity and inclusion in 2020, so what other D&I related business trends might we see emerge?

Continuous Performance Management.  The annual appraisal is rapidly disappearing in the U.K. and being replaced by more regular two-way feedback mechanisms and the development of ‘feedback cultures’ where employees and managers feel able to feedback constructively to each other at the time – rather than 6 months down the line in a formal meeting. 

AI in recruitment.  Technology-driven solutions will enable greater innovation and fairness in recruitment and hiring practices. In the U.K., we’re seeing much faster candidate screening processes, time-saving ‘chat-bots’ and, with the opportunity for bias in the selection of candidates significantly reduced, an improvement in the quality of candidates.  

The most forward-thinking employers in Jersey are already adopting these solutions and others must follow suit if they want to attract a more diverse candidate base. Innovative solution-providers are popping up in Jersey so the opportunity is here.

3 Pearls of Wisdom to Help You Reach the Top of Your Career (Tim Minchin style!)

What’s the secret to being successful ?

I’m a bit of a Tim Minchin fan.  I find his brand of comedy a brilliant combination of funny, edgy and also poignant and truthful. He’s a pretty wise and witty observer of human nature in my view.

And so, as per my favourite form of procrastination currently, I found myself watching a YouTube video of Tim Minchin’s speech to his old music college.

At the end of his speech, Minchin dropped three pieces of advice to the wannabe musicians and actors in the room about achieving success in the world of entertainment.  They were aimed at a specific audience, but it struck me how fundamental they are to success in any career:

1) Hard work.  “You have to be really, really good at what you do… You have to be a bit obsessed and if you’re lucky (the hard work) won’t suck, because you love it.
There is no short cut or trick to success.  There is no business technique or snazzy social media account that is going to make any serious difference to your ultimate success.  At the end of the day, it’s down to working working really, really hard so that ideally you are the best at what you do. It probably means making some sacrifices along the way in terms of your social life…but if you love what you do, you won’t mind and it won’t seem like a chore.  If it does – stop.  You are in the wrong career!

2) Authenticity.   “Do not make the mistake of thinking that little old you is not interesting to the world…. You will have something that no one else has and identifying that is your key to a beautiful career.”
How you define what you do, is up to you.  It’s no good just trying to emulate another successful person in your industry, climbing the corporate career ladder in a specific industry simply because it pays well or offers security or because people tell you that that’s what you should do.  You need to find your own career and do it your way.

You need to figure out who you are, what you’re good at, and what you have to offer.  This can take some time and it’s tempting to try to mould yourself into being a certain way, to try to force yourself down a certain route that you are uncomfortable with or change your true self to ‘fit’ with a gap in the market you think you’ve spotted or how you perceive a ‘traditional’ leader to be. But you’ll never be happy or truly successful if you’re not able to be your true self.  

Minchin describes how his career began in earnest in his late twenties when he stopped trying to be what other people wanted him to be, and allowed himself to be his whole self on the stage. The moment he allowed himself to be authentic his career took off.  

This applies to your workplace too.  How will you ever really thrive – deliver successfully and feel fulfilled – if you’re stuck in a culture trying hard not to be a square peg in a round hole?  Work out your unique selling points and what you love, embrace them and find an environment where you can live them.  This will take you far further than trying to be someone you’re not.  

3) Kindness.  ‘It seems so obvious, but it’s amazing how many people fail to understand its importance.’  
As Minchin acknowledges there are certainly ‘successful’ a*seholes in life.  But you are far more likely to succeed if you exhibit kindness to everyone you come across in your world – from the waiter in the cafe getting your order wrong to the colleague who you feel you have nothing in common with.  Not only will being kind – even when you feel like being the opposite – make you feel good, but it will be key to your success too. People are drawn to others who are kind – they’ll chose to work with you, whether that is within your own team or you being invited to join someone else’s team.  

You will also never know when being unkind will come back to “bite you on the bum” (Minchin speak!).  Perhaps you’ll need to ask a favour of the waiter when you’ve forgotten to book a table for a VIP or may be the annoying work colleague will rise to be your boss.  What goes around comes around, as they say.  It pays to always be kind.

Reinventing HR

Part 1: In with the best people and out with the rules!

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in The Good Business Charter’s very thought-provoking event on ‘Building Workplaces Where People Can Flourish’. Led by James and John Featherby (B Lab), we talked about innovative ways of developing workplace culture in order to remain relevant and successful in the modern world. I found the event incredibly energising, and I know that others also left thinking about what they could practically do to start the journey within their own organisations.

If you’re looking for inspiration and a fresh approach to getting the best from your people, I think the attached Netflix presentation is a great place to start. You may have already seen it – it went viral some time ago and created a lot of excitement amongst HR and business leaders who were seeking more effective business solutions that relied on logic, common sense and treating employees like adults.

I’m not suggesting Netflix’s model is right for every business, nor that it is the perfect approach to talent management. However, I do think the slide pack contains some brilliant insights that could help many organisations, large and small, navigate their way and be successful in our shifting, uncertain business landscape.   The key messages for me are:

1) It’s all about your people.  Recruit high performers and treat them like the intelligent adults they are. Rather than control the ‘chaos’ that comes as your  business grows and becomes more complex with more rules, processes and hierarchy (which will only slow it down and stifle innovation), manage it through investing in, trusting and valuing talented, high performing people and give them as much freedom as possible to innovate.

2) Ditch the command and control approach to management. High performers flourish when they are inspired and understand the context. As such, move away from control (often seen in lots of detailed rules/policies, complex performance management processes and over-engineered planning) and focus on setting the scene. Netflix define this context as:

  • the goal,
  • relative priority (do we need this now or is it nice to have when we can get it?)
  • relative precision and refinement required (from no room for errors through to rough and experimental)
  • key stakeholders
  • the definition of success/key metrics.

This also means that your people managers must be able to inspire through context and allow their high performers to get on and deliver (no micro management!).  If a high performer makes a mistake, rather than blame them, the manager should ask themselves how they could have explained the context better.

3) Values that you can really do business by. Employees should share your values – your sincere, meaningful values.  The ones that you genuinely do business by.   As the Netflix presentation points out, Enron had 4 nicely defined values (including integrity and excellence), and look what happened there!  It’s no good having values ‘chiselled out in marble in your main lobby’ if they have little to do with the real values and ethics of the organisation.

So how can we make this a reality on a small island like Jersey?

Finding the best talent on a small Island like Jersey, where we often find ourselves rotating the same staff in the same jobs between similar organisations and settling for ‘mediocre’, can be very difficult.

Diversity and inclusion has to become core to your business.  The only way you’re going to increase your talent pool of high performers is by significantly widening the pool of people you attract to work for you (and probably redefining the way you perceive the essential qualities of a ‘high performer’ – is a degree really necessary, for example?).  This means thinking outside of the box, tapping into talent that may not have previously considered working for you and changing your working culture to become genuinely inclusive.

We also need to be bold and let go of old ways of working that we know in our hearts simply don’t work. When did you last really challenge the effectiveness of your HR approach, making fundamental changes rather than tweaks? Do appraisal systems genuinely make a difference to individual and company performance? Do morale boosting ‘initiatives’ really improve long-term morale and retention? And who actually reads all those legal-speak HR policies in the Employee Handbook? How many of these ‘rules’ could be slimmed down in to 5 words like Netflix’s expenses policy – ‘Act in Netflix’s best interests’ – and free everyone to work in the best interests of both the business and individuals? Now there’s a challenge…


Creating Better Balance: 5 Tips for Stressed Career-Parents!

Times are slowly changing and it was brilliant to see so many dads commenting on International Men’s Day last week about wanting to share child-caring responsibilities and beginning to demand the flexible working that will allow them to do this and spend more time with their families.  As the expectation and confidence to demand greater flexibility and consideration as a parent from men continues to grow (although, let’s be realistic, there is still a mountain to climb before it is seen as acceptable for men to work part-time or flexibly in many organisations), so will equality in the workplace.

Despite some progress, it is still mums who take on the lion-share of the child-caring responsibilities and so it is predominantly women who are having to deal with the day to day pressures of juggling work and family life.  The stresses are often so great that many feel that they have no choice but to opt out – sacrifice their career  – if they have any hope of achieving a work life balance.  Others struggle on to the detriment of their health and happiness.  This is one of the major reasons why Sam Duffy and I felt that there is very much a need and a place for a personal development programme just for women – The Diversity Network’s ‘Her Talent’ programme. TDN Academy

Personally, if I read another blog about how ‘getting up at 5am to go for a run and meditate changed my life’, I shall chuck my iPhone out of the window!!  To be fair, on the odd occasion when I have got up an hour earlier and gone for a run, it has had a hugely positive impact on my day… but what most of us are crying out for – men and women – is practical help to enable us have more guilt-free time with the kids, without it having a negative effect on our career progression, and a less stressful day….

So, with my coach’s hat on, here are the some of the most practical solutions that my clients struggling with the work life balance conundrum  have arrived at….

  1. It’s not ‘one-size fits all’.  Work-life balance is different for everyone.  Caring for pre-schoolers is very different to caring for teens, for example, and so you will need to define what good balance looks like for you.  What are your priorities, and therefore what can you do to help yourself  achieve them?  Would starting and finishing earlier allow you be at the school gate for pick up?  Would working a 9 day fortnight be an affordable way to give yourself back a little more time just for you?

I really like the attached exercise.  It’s a quick and simple way to gain a little insight into the things that are actually core to our wellbeing, but always get over-shadowed by work and family/relationships.  These are the things that, if we can find a way to fit them into our schedules, will give us back a sense of balance – and so a good starting place for your plan. Quartzy Work-Life Balance Exercise

2. Review your work life balance strategically.  Take a calendar view – when are the busy times in your working year – when flexibility may be more difficult – and when are the quieter times when it may be possible to take some time out, reduce your hours or work more flexibly?  Build this into your plan too.

3. If you don’t ask…you don’t get….Think about what would work for you and then confidently propose the changes at work, showing how they will be manageable and explaining why they are so important to you.  If you are aware of precedents that work well, highlight them.  If there is still doubt on your boss’ part, suggest a trial period with the option to revert back to you current working patterns if necessary.  More than likely you will receive a positive response from your boss, but demonstrating a well thought through business case will make it far more difficult for your employer to say no….

4. Be a role model and talk about your family at work.  For years I felt I couldn’t let on to my clients that I wasn’t available at a particular time because I was looking after my kids!  Why?  I’m not really sure, to be honest, but there often seems to be this unwritten code that at work we daren’t mention our domestic needs or pressures in case someone thinks that they will get in the way of our work.  However, by talking about our families at work we are able to bring more of ourselves to work – and make it easier for others to do so too.  I recently received an ‘out of office’ email from the busy MD of a local consultancy firm that explained that he was unable to respond because he was attending his daughter’s sports day.  What a positive role model – I imagine his workplace is a pretty good place to be!

5. Take control of your own work life balance.  Once you’ve started responding to emails at 9pm at night or working on your  days off for a period of time – this becomes the norm for you and the expectation of everyone you work with.  You’re also implicitly suggesting that this is how everyone else should be working, even if that is not your intention.  Work out what is really urgent, and what can actually wait until tomorrow or next week or can perhaps be delegated to someone else .   If you’re addicted to your smartphone in the evenings or at weekends, put it in another room to help you resist temptation.  If you want some ‘me time’ in the evenings or quality time with the family on your day off, set yourself some boundaries and do your utmost to stick to them.   Once you’ve broken the old habits and established some new, more positive ones you might just see the scales tipping closer to that longed for balance…

Tips on Getting Stuff Done!

Recruitment crisis in Jersey? Time to think outside of the box.

With the elections looming, there has been quite a bit of talk about Jersey’s ‘recruitment crisis’ – across both public and private sectors.  It’s good to hear candidates recognise this and talk about investing in local skills, etc. However, the problems and pressures of a ‘war for talent’ are immediate and are already having a detrimental effect on many local employers.

According to a recent article in Business Eye CI, just 910 people in Jersey were registered at the end of Q1 2018 as actively seeking work – a reduction of 110 people since the previous quarter and 310 since Q1 2017. This follows a similar pattern of decline in available workers over the last 5 years – so the problem is clearly getting worse.

Upskilling and training certainly helps, but it will not fill the shortfall of workers required at all levels of experience and across most industries in Jersey. According to the Jersey Chamber of Commerce, 45% of businesses take 3 to 12 months to fill a vacancy, with 10% taking more than a year. Businesses are attributing this to the lack of available candidates, and it appears that the Finance industry is particularly badly affected.

If they’re not doing so already, it really is time for organisations to think outside the box and consider how they can actively attract untapped talent, such as:

– the huge number of professional women who have taken time out of work but are struggling to find employment that either genuinely offers the flexibility they need to balance work and family or pays sufficiently to cover their childcare costs

– people with disabilities (both seen and unseen) for whom the workplace puts up barriers that makes employment almost impossible for them – despite the fact that they may be highly skilled and capable of work

– young people, often from minority backgrounds, who simply do not consider Jersey’s primary industries of Finance and Law as a career option open to them, because of a perceived (and sadly sometimes genuine) lack of diversity and inclusivity within these businesses.

So what can organisations do to tap into these much needed talent pools? The good news is that it is really not difficult or necessarily expensive to adapt your recruitment processes and working practices to attract and retain new, local talent.

The even better news is that these changes and initiatives will actually make your business more profitable in the longer term. Diversity of backgrounds, perspectives and thinking styles at all levels of your business – particularly at senior levels – will not only make you more attractive as an employer, but will give you access to new markets and improve your creativity, ability to innovate and decision making.

Practices that you could consider that have already been proven to work well for businesses locally include:

– Implementing different working options to suit different needs and work/life pressures. With our 24/7, digital culture, incredibly few businesses can now survive with traditional 9-5 opening hours, and so why would 9-5 working hours continue to be a recipe for business success? Flexible working can work extremely well for your business as well as individual employees, providing you give proper consideration to communication and core hour coverage.

– Providing quality support for parents returning to work after taking time out of work for parental leave.  This will give more employees the confidence to return to work after having a baby. Such support includes maternity coaching, mentoring and genuine flexibility.

– Working with schools to help breakdown barriers to social mobility, by providing information to and mentoring students considering their future career options.

– Adapting your traditional recruitment processes to take into consideration the different needs of people with disabilities, such as dyslexia and autism, and so overcome some of the barriers to many bright people even making it through your recruitment processes. There are several charities in Jersey who can offer brilliant support in this area, such as The Jersey Employment Trust and Autism Jersey.

– Actively considering if recruiting only graduates from a select pool of traditional, red brick universities is really essential to the roles you are recruiting for. Why limit your business to such a small pool of talent for whom there is already fierce competition? The Big 4 professional services firms, such as EY and KPMG, dropped these requirements a long time ago and have reaped the benefits in terms of recruiting diverse talent.

Consider too the transferable skills you are looking for and the types of roles that people might develop them in. Recruiting straight from a very similar organisation has it’s benefits, but can actually be very limiting in terms of bringing in new ways of thinking and seeing the world – which are essential for business growth.


Recognising stress and knowing how to deal with it

We all experience stress at various points in our lives – before exams at school, moving house, before a sporting event, deadlines and presentations, tricky relationships – and a small amount of stress can actually be a good thing.  Stress can energise and focus you, raise performance, and make you feel raring to go!  However, too much stress – especially if it goes unchecked over time – can be extremely debilitating and lead to further health issues, such as anxiety, depression, high blood pressure and stomach complaints, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

As such, it is important to be able to recognise the signs of ongoing stress in yourself and then take some action to reduce that stress.  If you have a position of responsibility at work it’s equally important that you can recognise the signs of stress in others and know how to help them.


Recognising Stress

The symptoms of stress can vary from person to person, but common symptoms could include:

  • feeling grumpy and short-tempered with others and/or emotional
  • being anxious, nervous, constantly worrying and possibly dreading work or certain situations
  • feeling depressed, unable to enjoy yourself or disinterested in life
  • finding it hard to make decisions
  • avoiding situations that are troubling you
  • biting your nails
  • unable to concentrate
  • eating too much or too little
  • drinking alcohol or smoking more than usual
  • feeling restless, like you can’t sit still or like your thoughts are racing.  You might feel that you can’t switch off.

Physical signs could be:

  • breathing difficulties and hyperventilation
  • panic attacks
  • muscle tension
  • blurred eyesight or sore eyes
  • problems getting to sleep or staying asleep
  • tired all the time
  • grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
  • headaches
  • chest pains
  • high blood pressure
  • indigestion
  • stomach problems
  • nausea

Practical Steps to Reducing Stress:

Seek medical advice.  If you are experiencing any of the physical signs of stress then your first action should be to seek medical advice from your GP as soon as possible.

Work out your the causes of stress. Identify what causes you to feel stressed and what helps you to reduce your stress levels.  Talking to a friend or perhaps a professional coach can help you work through this, as can keeping a diary of ‘stress triggers’ and stress releases.

Talk to your employer.  Once you’re clearer on your personal pressure points, do speak to someone at work and ask for help.  Stress is sadly a common workplace issue.  According to States statistics, 5000 days a year in Jersey are lost to stress (and stress is probably under reported).  It is certainly a problem that employers simply can not afford to ignore (both financially – the impact on productivity is huge – and legally).

Most employers will want to work with you to help you feel better, whether the cause of your stress is work-related or not, and working with your employer to make adjustments to your role or workplace (such as reducing your workload or enabling you to work flexibly) is usually the quickest and most effective way to reduce stress.

Discover your personal coping mechanisms and build them into your every day life.  Experiment with different coping mechanisms as soon as you feel your stress levels rising.  Be disciplined and make sure you prioritise these coping techniques so that they become a part of your every day life.  Different techniques work for different people, but examples that are proven to help reduce stress levels include:

– Talking and sharing your worries with friends and colleagues.  There are lots of support groups for various mental health issues available on social media, many of them very well informed, but real conversations with real friends will always be more effective at combating loneliness and giving you a boost.  If you lack the right friends to turn to, then charities, such as Mind, offer excellent support services that you can use for free.

– Seek a better balance at work and don’t live for work.  Simply working longer and longer hours ‘to get things done’ is not a productive work approach and one that will only contribute to your stress levels.

Instead, get some help with how you manage and balance your workload.  Keeping a log of how you spend your time at work can be very revealing about how how much of your time is spent dealing with unimportant distractions and putting things off, or doing work that you could be delegating to someone else.

You might also find that you spend a disproportionate amount of time dealing with urgent work, such as fixing problems, crisis management, urgent deadlines, etc – which are hugely stressful activities.  By prioritising and scheduling time for activities that are important, but not urgent, such as project planning, building relationships and developing strategy, you should find that the number of urgent tasks drastically reduces – and so does your stress.

– Take the time to look after yourself by eating well, exercising regularly, finding time to do activities you really enjoy and getting enough good quality sleep.  There is lots of good advice freely available about looking after your own well-being, so do use it to find ways to improve in each of these areas.


A brief guide to GDPR for HR professionals

For many years HR functions have been responsible for looking after a significant part of an organisation’s data – and we have become practised at ensuring that it is securely held and used in a responsible manner.  However, the The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is looming (25th May 2018) and it is likely to mean changes for even the best of best practice HR data managers!

What is GDPR and why should I be concerned about it?

The GDPR is part of the EU Data Protection Regulation and it will replace the existing Data Protection Directive.  It aims to strengthen the rights of all European citizens to data privacy – and so any organisation that deals with people’s private data is obliged to meet the new standards of transparency, security and accountability.

GDPR will see the rights of individuals, including employees, and the obligations of any organisation that has access to their data increase.  The UK may be facing Brexit, and Jersey has never been part of the EU in the first place, but organisations in the Channel Islands will still fall under the wide umbrella of this new legislation if they are offering goods or services to EU (including UK) citizens or monitoring their behaviour.  The States of Jersey have, therefore, decided to incorporate GDPR into local law in line with the EU’s 25th May legislative timetable.

Failure to comply could mean significant fines for businesses, whatever their size and nature.  As such, if you haven’t yet taken action to ensure your HR function is compliant, you really do need to start now!

What steps should your organisation be taking:

1. Awareness and engagement.  Make sure that everyone is aware of the changes ahead and what they will mean for all parts of the business.  And the Board/senior management really can’t duck this one as it is impossible for one person or function to be responsible for all of the organisation’s data management.  Making clear the potential penalties of data breaches and non compliance with GDPR should help to capture senior management attention (up to 20m Euros or 4% of global annual turnover depending on the gravity and nature of the breach/failure)!

2. Data Protection Officer.  You organisation should appoint someone as Data Protection Officer to be responsible for ensuring the whole organisation complies with GDPR (this is best practice, but may be mandatory depending on the nature of your business).  You may want to give a person within the HR department a mini version of this role, to ensure your own department is in order too. The Data Protection Officer should be credible and well qualified to hold this role, and so it may mean that you will need to invest in their training.

3. Data Review.The whole organisation, including HR, should carry out a detailed and comprehensive review of:

  • all the personal data that you hold and if any of it is ‘special category’, such as health data
  • where is it from and where is it sent
  • whether you actually need to hold and process this data (for example, is all of the personal data requested on your job application forms really necessary?).  What is its purpose?
  • how the data is processed and if it is compliant with GDPR
  • how you will provide individuals with details about the processing of their data and their rights under GDPR.

4. Individual consent.  Under GDPR, consent is a key part of ensuring that individuals have control and understanding of how their data is being used and processed.   Consent must be freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous.   As such, there must be a positive indication that agreement has been given and data managers must be able to evidence this.

5. Rights of access.  Individuals’ right of access to data are enhanced and extended under GDPR.  Individuals will have the right to correct inaccurate data, erase personal data (commonly known as ‘the right to be forgotten’), prevent direct marketing, control automated decision making and profiling (common in recruitment, for example) and to understand how data is transferred between controllers (eg from your company to a pension provider).

6. Access requests. You will need to be prepared for access requests and should have clear policies and procedures in place to deal with them, which means you must be clear on data retention periods and rights to have the data corrected.  You will not usually be able to charge a fee for providing the data and a response to the request must be provided within 1 month.

7. Privacy notices.  It is essential that you are clear and transparent regarding how individuals’ data will be processed (including who will be handling it) – at every point in the organisation where personal data is collected.  This may be from clients, suppliers, contractors, employees or other stakeholders.  From an HR perspective this will include all stages of the recruitment process, collecting and holding data on employees and ensuring that data provided to external providers, such as pension providers and training companies, is also correctly notified and handled.  The privacy notice should include:

  • Purpose and legal basis for processing
  • Who will receive the data
  • Countries outside of the EU that data might be transferred to and safeguards in place
  • How long you will retain the data for
  • The fact that the individual has rights and what these rights are, including their right to withdraw consent
  • The contact details of the organisation’s Data Protection Officer
  • The basis of the data provision – ie whether it us statutory, contractual or due to ‘legitimate interest’ (details must be provided to support the latter)

8. Forward planning (Privacy by Design & DPIAs).  You must build into all project planning a mechanism to ensure that data protection is considered and documented early on in any projects and tasks involving data (and then regularly reviewed once established).    It is good practice to carry out Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs), and they may in fact be a requirement for any decisions and projects that could have a legal effect, the handling of ‘special category’ data (an example in HR could be health data) and in the monitoring of areas accessible to the public.

9. Data Breaches.  Any data breaches should be reported to the Data Protection Authority within 72 hours of discovery and, where there is a high risk to rights, impacted individuals should be made aware of what has happened and what these risks are, eg identity theft.

Quick facts for HR professionals:

– Personal data in HR terms includes employee information such as names, bank details, email addresses, any personal information, medical records and photos.

– Recruitment processes and procedures are likely to be a big area of risk and review for HR.  How many recruiting managers have emails and CVs from past candidates in their inboxes and files that should have been deleted years ago?!   Ensure that you are only requesting personal information that is really necessary and only holding it with the explicit consent of candidates for the agreed retention period.  Make sure that all of your employees involved in the recruitment process understand this too.

– You will have the right to process employee data on the basis that you have a legitimate interest or that it is necessary under the employee’s contract.  HOWEVER, given the significant extensions to individual rights and consent under GDPR, you may find that your current terms and conditions of consent as outlined in the contract of employment are no longer sufficient.  As such, it is important to review your contracts of employment and employee data consent forms to ensure that they will stand up to GDPR.  If there is any doubt that they do not, I would recommend that you gain clear consent in writing from current employees (including clarifying their rights, etc), and update your standard contract of employment/consent forms before 25th May.

– You will need to ensure that your security provisions for the holding and processing of data are secure and change the way that you store data if not, eg ensure personnel files are kept in a locked room or cupboard and electronic systems that process and hold data are safe and secure.

– Your own employees will have rights under GDPR, and are free to find out what, why and how personal data is being processed by HR.  They may see their personal data and request that data is corrected or erased if it is not necessary to hold it.  As such, a review of all the information being held on personnel files to ensure only necessary data, and data that is within the required retention period, is held (including disciplinaries, etc).  Failure to maintain your records correctly could result in a fine of up to 2% of annual turnover….


Arbre Consulting will provide tailored support and advice to HR functions preparing for GDPR.  Please do contact to discuss how we can help you.

Hot HR Trends for 2018

What are your HR priorities for 2018? Do they match our predictions for the people issues that may be topping the to do list for many businesses?

1. AI.  Many businesses have taken significant steps in engaging technology to attract and retain their best people in recent years, particularly in recruitment, and we predict that AI will continue to spread to other aspects of HR.  HR people can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to technology  (we’re not known for being particularly technically savvy!) and it’s important that we understand just what other businesses are doing and how it is helping them.

Is it time to invest in an HR systems specialist if you haven’t already done so, or to look at L&D providers who are embracing technology to enable more mobile, ‘any-time’ training solutions?  In the longer term, we will need to re-think roles across the business, including in HR, as work becomes more automated – but importantly remember to use this technology to help our businesses become more customer focussed, rather than less so.

2. Productivity.  As businesses embrace technology and Brexit analysis shines a light on how low UK productivity is compared to the rest of the G7,  the pressure to overhaul slow and old fashioned working practices is growing.  Organisations will need to update to more innovative working practices, policies and approaches to ensure that they remain competitive.  This involves HR from both a functional perspective and facilitating change across the organisation.   We have already seen a trend in big organisations  trying to ‘de-corporatise’  so that their business thinks and behaves more like an agile small business – ie reducing bureaucracy & decision making barriers, empowering employees to think creatively and encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to business development.  Leadership will need to be more agile and digitally understanding.

We predict that as one of the first steps in all of this from an HR perspective, the demise of traditional performance management processes and appraisals will speed up, to be replaced with more efficient approaches more closely aligned to business strategy.  Continuous, on demand and mobile learning will be required to reflect our society’s obsession with smart technology and social media.   Of course, on top of all of this, strategies to deal with the Brexit fall-out will be increasingly urgently required.

3. Well-being. Fitness, well-being (especially mental health) and corporate social responsibility (the generation of  socially conscious millennials are now leading many businesses and so the social, ethical and environmental impact of the way we do business will be a core part of many business approaches) will continue to grow and become embedded.  Linked to this is the greater regulation of the Gig economy to ensure all workers are treated fairly – a big HR issue in itself for many businesses in 2018.

4. Weinstein fallout.   Thanks to the media’s response to the Weinstein allegations and the high profile #MeToo campaign, diversity and inclusion are now very much a CEO issue.  It is clear that traditional diversity training over the last 20 years (and equal opportunities training before that) has sadly not made much impact.  Business leaders will be looking to HR for more meaningful solutions in 2018.  Might this include more positive discrimination, fast tracking of minority talent and more flexible working for all levels of staff?  As has been seen with a few progressive businesses in 2017, we hope we will see more policies that enable men to genuinely share caring responsibilities, and for both sexes to take up these opportunities without detriment to their career progression.   We will certainly see a more robust approach towards dealing with harassment and bullying across all industries.

5. Developing best practice employment approaches in Jersey.  Jersey will finally catch up with the UK when we see the enactment in 2018 of its first Disability Discrimination Law, prohibiting acts of disability discrimination in all areas of employment.   This follows the introduction of Race, Sex and Age Discrimination laws since 2014.  As such, if they haven’t done so already, progressive, best practice HR teams should be urgently updating their employment practices in all of these areas – and going further than an arguably flawed and limited set of discrimination laws dictate.  With States elections in 2018, it will be interesting to see the moves towards better practice being mooted by our politicians (a dramatic improvement in maternity provision is just one recent headline grabber).

6. GDPR readiness.  More of a hotspot than a trend, but none the less a real imperative for HR and other support functions this year if the business wishes to avoid hefty fines for non compliance!  GDPR comes in to force on 25th May 2018  and will effect all aspects of data management.  Specifically from an HR perspective, this may well mean far reaching changes in how your business collects and processes employee and recruitment candidate data.  A good opportunity to see perhaps how AI might be able to help you…



Wishing you a prosperous and innovative year with all of your HR ventures.  We look forward to helping all of our clients lead the way in 2018!


Hitting the headlines….

Make sure your business is hitting the headlines for the right reasons!

With so many high profile employment related issues hitting the headlines in 2017 – #MeToo related harassment claims, the employment status of workers in the Gig economy and years of back-dated holiday pay being just a few of the high profile issues potentially effecting many businesses – employers are likely to see an even bigger spotlight shone on their employment practices and strategies in 2018.  This along with the looming GDPR deadline in the UK, new Disability Discrimination legislation in Jersey and the Brexit juggernaut hanging over us all, many business leaders may feel that burying their heads in the sand is the only way to cope with it all…

The good news is that this really doesn’t need to be a head ache for any business.  And at Arbre, rather than simply approach it as a risk management exercise, we view these issues as a positive opportunity for business to establish good employment practice as a means to grow and sustain a successful business.  It’s actually quite exciting!

– Are you confident that your HR policies and procedures are compliant with employment law?  

– Do you have an Employee Handbook in place that is both practical and attractive to current and prospective employees? 

– Are you satisfied that your employment practices are helping you to attract and retain the best people?

If you answer ‘no’ to any of these, then seeking professional help to give you peace of mind should be a business priority in 2018 – whatever the size of your business.

At Arbre, we will work closely with you to provide tailored and affordable HR advice and solutions that will directly support your business strategies.  Do contact us now for your free consultation at