Up Close and Personnel

Month: October 2016

Why Every Organisation Should Be A Living Wage Foundation Accredited Organisation

wage reward

Today marks the start of Living Wage Week. Living Wage Week is run by the Living Wage Foundation and is a UK-wide celebration of the Living Wage movement.

Here at Benefex, we became an accredited Living Wage Foundation organisation back in April this year. The Living Wage Foundation promotes a Living Wage which genuinely reflects the cost of living within the UK. It differs from the National Living Wage which was implemented earlier this year in that it is not mandatory – it is a higher rate of pay which employers can choose to sign up to and become accredited as a result.

What Drives Employee Loyalty?


Today, 27 October, marks my two-year anniversary at Benefex. Prior to that, I spent almost nine years heading up the HR function at the FMCG business Candyking.

What can I say? I’m a big fan of committed relationships 🙂

Reflecting back though on the last eleven years – two at Benefex so far, nine at Candyking – it got me to thinking, what exactly is it that drives employee loyalty? What is it that persuades an employee not to jump ship every 18 months and instead commit to a long term relationship with their employer?

Bringing Your Corporate Values To Life


Pick any organisation you like, and the chances are that, alongside their mission statement and corporate vision, they will have a set of core company values. Each business will try and spin these in a slightly different way in order to give the illusion of originality, but the fact is that they will all ultimately be saying the same thing: ‘Follow these guiding principles and we will achieve our organisational goals.’

Sounds pretty compelling, no? A set of guidelines which, if followed, lead to the assured achievement of objectives? It’s no wonder corporate values have become a key topic of discussion around the boardroom table.

What Does The HR Department Actually Do?

HR function

If someone told you that they were a doctor, you’d probably have at least a vague idea of what they did. Likewise if someone told you they were a gardener, or a taxi driver, or a high court judge. You might not be able to describe their day to day activities in any level of detail, but you could broadly outline the overriding objective of their role. ‘You make people better.’ ‘You plant things.’ ‘You decide who’s going to go to prison.’ Simplistic, but you get the idea.

When it comes to HR, however, I’ve discovered it’s not quite so easy. Respond to the classic dinner party ice breaker of ‘So, what do you do?’, and your reply of ‘I work in HR’ is likely to be met with at best vague recognition, at worst a totally blank stare. Turns out, while most of us have heard of the HR department, not many of us know what it actually does.

How To Be An Awesome Line Manager

manager star

In a previous post, I talked about the importance of structured management development programmes when it comes to equipping individuals who may be promoted into management roles to really deliver results. For me, such programmes are vital when it comes to ensuring managers are truly effective within their roles and are delivering value against the business objectives.

What happens, though, if you don’t have access to formal management training? Perhaps you’re brand new to management, and are yet to have an opportunity to get through the training. Perhaps your organisation doesn’t yet offer a structured management development programme. Regardless, I believe there are a number of small yet critical things which every single one of us can do as a line manager, which will transform the experience of the employees we have responsibility for.

How To Master The Dark Art Of Recruitment


I am open about the fact that I find recruitment simultaneously one of the most frustrating and rewarding parts of my role. Rewarding, because when you get the perfect fit between candidate and role, there is nothing more satisfying. Frustrating, because, despite everything you might hear and read, there is no cast iron guaranteed method of getting to that desired outcome.

What Makes An Engaging Place To Work?

Employee engagement

It’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? What makes an engaging place to work? How do we design the utopian workplace which maximises employee engagement, and therefore business output?

Exit Interviews: Why You Can’t Afford Not To Do Them

Exit interview sign

I was speaking on the phone to a family member yesterday evening. They have recently handed in their notice as they have decided to take early retirement from their role as a senior director within a large, global organisation.

We got onto the subject of exit interviews. They’d asked their HR team whether they were going to have one. Apparently exit interviews were carried out ‘at the discretion of line managers’, without intervention from HR. In any case, the individual in question was apparently unlikely to have one. After all, they were retiring. The reason they were leaving employment was obvious. Where would the value be in spending time undertaking an exit interview?

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