Oxford HR works with organisations in a consulting capacity to help them review and adapt to the needs of their employees, to work out effective terms and conditions that will help simplify proceedings, and maximise the productiveness and happiness of their staff. Toby Weaver, a consultant at Oxford HR, shares some advice about why terms and conditions matter:
It’s important to try and take the mystery out of terms and conditions on contracts. Often the problem is that the pay systems are very convoluted and complex, proper records aren’t kept of changes to roles, offices or staff move, and so forth. Even just a small number of staff will have many different needs and benefits built in to their packages, and so if things aren’t clearly recorded and updated, it can be a great source of aggravation further down the line for HR departments.
Staff often don’t understand their own contracts or trust the management due to inscrutable jargon and terminology; they don’t know what’s going on. This is a problem for the organisation in general, because management then have a problem with staff motivation and retention rates can drop.
Performance pay is a great motivator – if it works. But if it doesn’t, the whole object of the exercise can backfire. Generally speaking, if you have a fairly straight-forward system where everyone on the team knows that they’re all getting a bit of a bonus, not just the people who are getting the business, or you give individuals on the team a smaller bonus for a good piece of work, it can be helpful. It is incredibly important, though, that it is transparent and objective, and that everyone on the team understands how it works, otherwise it’s better not to do it at all.
Another good way of increasing staff morale and rewarding hard work is to get colleagues to nominate other colleagues for doing a good job, or giving teams celebratory meals out. That kind of thing doesn’t need to cost a huge amount, but can increase bonds between staff, and make sure that they feel valued.
In the NGO and development sectors, staff may be less motivated by money, so you need to find more creative ways to motivate them, and to make them feel valued and fulfilled. This can be anything from skills workshops and training courses, to letting people try new things on different projects. It’s about helping them to grow and progress in their careers. Career development and staff happiness is crucial, and well worth investing in; every skill they develop in your organisation will go on to benefit your work as staff are able to be promoted from within.
In practical terms, it’s very important to ensure that you keep doing annual reviews of the cost of living in the areas where your staff are working, and update their pay accordingly. Sticking to these annual reviews is a must, because if costs of living are going up, families are growing and pay isn’t going up commensurately, it can be stressful on staff and may force them to leave. If you’re not in the habit of doing it, the fundamental pay review can be a lot of work – this is where working with Oxford HR can be very helpful. And after all the systems are in place, it shouldn’t be hard to keep up to date.
It’s very important for employees to feel like they are being given an objective view on their pay from their management, and that the information is independent with evidence from the market to show that decisions are fair and effective. Putting time, effort, and money into this issue pays off because staff retention, motivation and performance will be better, and you won’t have to spend that time and money later when you need to re-hire. With our expert knowledge of the market, organisations often find that it’s easier and cheaper for Oxford HR to do the work, because we can do it quickly and efficiently, saving you precious time and money.