Date – 18 March 2021

Time – 09:00AM

Do you feel confident about your organisation’s ability to identify and address sexual harassment? 

Numerous studies carried out in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the #MeToo movement revealed that sexual harassment is still prevalent in the workplace affecting women, and men to a lesser extent.

In this free informal breakfast webinar, HR Consultant Caitlin Anniss from Narrow Quay HR  and Jo Oliver from VWV will cover the legal framework and risks, and look at the practical issues an employer needs to consider, from setting appropriate expectations of behaviour, ensuring those impacted feel able to speak up and addressing complaints of sexual harassment.   

As always, this will be an informal interactive session with case studies to enable you to consider the issues in practice and discuss with others in attendance.  

Who Should Attend?

  • HR professionals
  • finance directors
  • HR managers
  • heads of HR
  • business managers
  • practice managers
  • GP business manager
  • assistant practice managers

For further information, please contact the Events team. 

Date – 22 April 2021

Time – 09:30AM

We all have biases that we are unaware of and that have been developed during a lifetime of being exposed to more data than our conscious brain can manage.

These biases help us interpret and navigate the world but can be problematic when it comes to managing staff, particularly in how we recruit staff and make decisions that affect their working lives.

In this session we delve into this fascinating topic in greater detail and we consider how organisations can mitigate the effect of these biases

Who Should Attend?

Our training will benefit all staff who have a responsibility for HR issues within an organisation.

HR Consultants Caitlin Anniss , Sarah Martin and Helen Couchman from Narrow Quay HR,  will cover this interactive sesssion and include case studies and practical exercises to get delegates thinking.

If you have any queries, please contact the Events team by email

We hope you are able to join us.

Date – 10 June 2021

Time – 09:00AM

Do you feel confident about your organisation’s ability to identify and address mental health issues? 

We have all lived through an extremely challenging period and employees have been impacted in lots of different ways, from juggling work and home-schooling, to caring for loved ones, to being furloughed and anxious about job security.

As such, managing the mental health of your workforce has perhaps never been more important and in this session we will look at well-being and some of the impacts of poor mental health such as absence and performance.

In this free informal breakfast webinar, HR Consultants Caitlin Anniss and Sarah Martin from Narrow Quay HR will look at the practical issues an employer needs to consider, identify & manage mental health issues.  

As always, this will be an informal interactive session with case studies to enable you to consider the issues in practice and discuss with others in attendance.  

Who Should Attend?

  • HR professionals
  • finance directors
  • HR managers
  • heads of HR
  • business managers
  • practice managers
  • GP business manager
  • assistant practice managers

For further information, please contact the Events team. 

HR Consultants Caitlin Anniss and Sarah Martin discuss the support Narrow Quay HR can provide with disciplinary, grievance and appeal panels.

In this podcast, we discuss:

  • What is panel support?
  • Why might panel support be needed?
  • How we can support smaller businesses and larger organisations
  • How to decide if panel support would be beneficial to you 

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedures to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require specialist HR support, please contact HR Consultant Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683938 or Sarah Martin on 07799 136091.

NQHR HR Club - Redundancy Masterclass

As we tweeted last week, the Chancellor has announced a new Job Support Scheme (JSS), which will take over from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) when it closes at the end of October. The stated intention of the JSS is to protect viable jobs where businesses are continuing to face a lower than usual demand.

HM Treasury have now produced a factsheet setting out some further details about the ‘caps and caveats’ that will apply to this new scheme.

Key Facts

  • The JSS will open on 1 November 2020 and will run for six months, with employers being able to claim online through gov.uk site from December.
  • The JSS is not limited only to those employees that have previously used the CJRS, BUT employees must be on PAYE payroll on or before 23 September 2020.
  • Aimed at SMEs – ‘large’ businesses (not yet defined) will have to meet a financial assessment test demonstrating the drop in income as a result of the pandemic.
  • Employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours.
  • For every hour not worked, the Government and employer pay 1/3 each.
  • Government contribution is capped at £697.92 per month.
  • JSS will not cover Class 1 NIC’s or pension contributions – which remain payable by the employer.
  • Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period that the grant is being claimed.
  • Employees must agree the new working arrangements and changes to the employment contract must be notified in writing.

The factsheet sets out a useful example of how the new scheme will work in terms of possible government grant. It clearly demonstrates that the employer will take on much more of the cost than is currently the case under the CJRS.

Hours Employee Worked33%40%50%60%70%
Hours Employee Not Working67%60%50%40%30%
Employee Earnings (% of normal)78%80%83%87%90%
Gov’t Grant (% of normal wages)22%20%17%13%10%
Employer Cost (% normal wages)55%60%67% 73%80%

Employers will need to have confidence that their business will recover sufficiently from next spring in order to cover the increased cost of retaining staff. For many businesses, there remains too much uncertainty about future viability to warrant this additional financial burden and redundancies are likely to remain inevitable.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any of our team for practical support and guidance through any restructuring process. Here’s how we can help.

Narrow Quay HR runs a series of HR Clubs throughout the year and the most recent is summarised in this article. If readers want to sign up to the next session, the link is set out below. 

Narrow Quay is an HR consultancy, which is part of the VWV group.

The latest Narrow Quay HR Club looked at ‘How Organisations Can Thrive in the New Normal’ with guest speaker, business performance psychologist Graham Mitchell discussing the vital role that employee engagement has to play, in order to build back up organisational performance in the context of coronavirus (COVID-19) and the impact on workplaces. 

Narrow Quay HR – Caitlin Anniss

Caitlin Anniss from Narrow Quay HR opened the event by reflecting on the current position and the continuing impact of COVID-19, reminding us that in early Spring, it was clear that something called COVID-19 was going to have an impact on our daily lives and it was on 23 March 2020 the nation went into lockdown shortly before the furlough scheme was announced on 26 March, entitling eligible employees to be furloughed from work and receive 80% of their earnings. 

Whilst Caitlin described the gradual easing of restrictions throughout July and August, she referenced the huge logistical challenges faced by employers in achieving a COVID-19 safe return to the workplace, alongside the additional concerns such as employees who are shielding, those who can’t work their full hours because of childcare issues and quarantine arrangements when returning from a number of countries. She referred to the CIPD’s helpful guidance to employers on the issue of employees returning to workplaces; is it essential that staff return to work? Is it safe? Is it mutually agreed?

Narrow Quay HR has been working with clients throughout the lockdown period and beyond as they try to work out the best options for their businesses, whether that was utilising the furlough scheme or working out how to get their staff back into workplaces safely and, more recently, working with organisations who are having to reorganise or consider redundancies. Caitlin mentioned that many businesses are reviewing how they work given the changes they have had to make, and considering newer, more flexible ways of working which may benefit both them and their staff. The Government’s change of position on employees returning to the workplace will no doubt produce further conversations.

It is clear now that the impact of COVID-19 is not going to be short-lived and neatly tied up within a matter of months as we first hoped. We are having to continue to learn to live with the impact of the pandemic in both our personal lives and our working lives.

Guest Speaker – Graham Mitchell

Graham started off by looking at two key areas – what employee engagement actually is and then considering the wide ranging impact and benefit of engagement. Graham’s stressed the importance of harnessing employee’s ‘discretionary effort’, often thought of as ‘going the extra mile’ or moving from ‘what I have to give you’ to ‘all I have to give you’.

Graham was clear that it was important for organisations to ensure that all employees were walking that extra mile in the same direction towards organisational objectives. This ensures an increase in overall performance at an organisational level, which is particularly relevant right now as businesses seek to build back financial performance.

Four ‘Pillars’ of Effective Engagement

Graham discussed the four ‘pillars’ of effective engagement being:

  1. Vision and strategy – discussing the importance of having a clear vision and a sound strategy.
  2. Engaging leaders – taking the time to let staff know how they fit into the bigger picture.
  3. Stakeholder ‘voice’ – not only communicating effectively in relation to steps taken, but also taking the time to explain why decisions have been made not to take certain steps.
  4. Cultural integrity – the importance of an organisation that keeps its promises and lives up to its own cultural values.

Helpfully, Graham provided sustainable strategies and practical guidance to ‘align the arrowhead’ to ensure all the people within an organisation were aligned to the same purpose, underlying the importance of everyone moving in the same direction towards the desired organisational outcomes. 

It was notable that both Gareth Edwards and Graham were of a similar mind in terms of the importance of clearly communicating the reasons behind a business need to embark on a restructuring/redundancy exercise. Graham additionally underlined the importance of maintaining the last of the four pillars, cultural integrity, during a restructuring process, stressing the importance of communicating the purpose behind the decision.

Considered a Staff Engagement Survey?

Well now might be a good time to conduct a survey with your staff. This will give you a clear view of where the organisation is right now, with no doubt many employees continuing to work remotely for the foreseeable future and place a spotlight on the areas that you need to focus on.

Narrow Quay HR would like to thank Graham Mitchell for taking the time to share his experience and expertise. If you would like to discuss anything further with Graham, please do visit his website.

Upcoming Online Events

For HR support for your organisation, please contact Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683 938.

HR Consultant, Sarah Martin, discusses how Narrow Quay HR can support smaller businesses and SMEs through redundancy process involving less than 20 redundancies


 In this podcast, we discuss:

  • planning
  • getting into the correct mindset
  • what areas we can support with

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedures to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require specialist HR support relating to workplace investigations, please contact HR Consultant Sarah Martin on 07799 136091.

NQHR HR Club - Redundancy Masterclass

HR Consultant, Simon Martin, discusses the support Narrow Quay HR can offer to organisations going through a redundancy process, including those dealing with a collective consultation process.


 In this podcast, we discuss:

  • what constitutes a collective consultation process?
  • support we can provide throughout the process

How Can We Help?

Our specialist HR consultants can help your organisation by:

  • providing support with your day to day HR issues
  • auditing your HR policies and procedures to identify problems and suggest improvements
  • training for your staff
  • practical support with consultations and other HR projects
  • carrying out investigations into grievances, disciplinaries and other matters

Related Resources

If you require specialist HR support relating to workplace investigations, please contact HR Consultant Simon Martin on 07384 81376.

Between us, the team at Narrow Quay has decades of experience of advising on and supporting organisations going through redundancy processes.

In the current economic climate we are increasingly being called on for assistance and I wanted to share with you how we can assist your organisation in these difficult times.

Alongside this blog, we have put together a couple of podcasts discussing the sort of things you should be considering when you are contemplating making some redundancies, one aimed at small-to medium-sized businesses and one aimed at larger organisations and we recommend you listen to these too.

If you decide to go ahead with making redundancies then we can support you at every stage. Based on our experience in assisting employers with redundancy processes, we have found that the following options are the ones that employers want. Depending on whether or not you have any existing HR resource, or the size and experience of your in-house HR team, you may want assistance with some or all of the following. We are happy to discuss them with you and provide bespoke cost estimates.

Support with a Redundancy Process

  • Individual consultation meeting support: A fair redundancy procedure always involves a need to consult individually, regardless of whether you are also obliged to collectively consult with your staff (more on this below).We can support you with those individual consultation meetings. We can either conduct the individual meetings for you, meeting with staff virtually or in person, or, alternatively we can provide a support role and attend the meetings alongside someone from your organisation. If we are attending with someone then our role is to chiefly assist with guidance on the process that needs to be followed.
  • Calculating entitlements: We can assist with calculation of statutory redundancy payments, notice and holiday pay.
  • Preparing the documentation: We can prepare timelines, scripts for all the meetings, take notes of the individual and collective consultation meetings and draft letters to send to the affected employees before and after their consultation meetings.
  • HR support: We can provide HR support throughout the consultation process, being a point of contact, answering any questions, helping to keep the process on track, identifying if any legal support is needed and generally being your HR support and sounding board.

Larger-Scale Redundancies with Collective Consultation

If you are proposing to dismiss 20 or more employees in a 90-day period, you will need to run a collective consultation process as part of your redundancy exercise.

In addition to the above, we can also assist with the following:

  • Appointing employee representatives: If you need to elect employee representatives, we can draft the necessary communications to go out to staff to take you through the election process and can assist with any queries which arise out of this process.
  • Training: We can provide training for employee representatives, taking them through the requirements of the role and the process to be followed in a consultation. We can also provide a similar session for managers if required.
  • Timetabling: We can assist with setting up the consultation process, including helping to prepare a timetable, drafting the communications to employee representatives and generally keeping the process on track.
  • Collective consultation meeting support: We can attend both face-to-face and/or virtual collective consultation meetings to provide HR support and guidance. We can take a note of what is said at the collective consultation meetings. We can also work with you to prepare a Q&A document based on the questions that have been raised and circulate that to the employee representatives.

This is a short guide to outline the help that Narrow Quay HR can offer if you are undergoing a redundancy consultation process.

Related Resources

If you would like to explore the support we can offer in more detail please contact Simon Martin on 07384 813 076, Sarah Martin on 07799 136091, or Caitlin Anniss on 07909 683938.

Re-Engaging Our People

The lockdown and subsequent relaxing of restrictions has had a huge impact on many businesses and workplaces. How can your business move from a ‘survival mode’ to a new normal? 

We will be joined by guest speaker, Graham Mitchell, a Business Psychologist. Graham will focus on the re-engagement of staff as a key factor in restoring and maintaining the performance of organisations, and the key role of leaders at all levels. 
 
Graham will be joined by Caitlin Anniss and Sarah Martin, along with other members of the Narrow Quay HR team

This will be an interactive Q&A session with the opportunity to discuss how we can make sense of the cultural values of organisations in the post-COVID-19 world,

Who Should Attend?

  • Business Owners
  • HR Staff

For further information, please contact VWV’s Events team.