People Part 2: Employment contracts, induction & training
People Part 2: Employment contracts, induction & training
For anyone starting a new role in your company, first impressions matter. Last month we wrote a blog about recruitment in this competitive market. This month, we are focusing on why employment contracts, induction and training are important.
These three things can make your team feel valued, help you get the best out of your employees and help to retain them in the long term.
A written statement of particulars and an employment contract can make new recruits feel more secure.
A great induction process will help them settle into the role quickly, feel valued and provide them with important information to perform their role.
Ongoing training ensures that employees personally develop their skills, improve motivation, productivity and the quality of work.
Written statement of particulars vs employment contract
A written statement of particulars is a legal requirement from day one for all workers. The difference between a contract of employment and the written statement of employment particulars is that the employment contract is a legal relationship between an employer and employee. The written statement of particulars is a document stating the main conditions of employment.
Employers often include the written statement of employment particulars in their contract of employment.
Previously, only employees were entitled to receive a written statement of employment particulars, but the rules changed in 2020 (see below).
Written statement rules
On 6 April 2020, the rules about written statements changed:
- Written statements must be provided to all workers, not just employees.
- The right to a written statement is a day-one right so that any new workers after 6 April 2020 should get a written statement before or on their start date. Previously this right only arose once an employee accrued one month’s service.
- Current workers can request a written statement including the additional information.
These are bare minimum requirements primarily to protect the employee. Prudent employers will have additional provisions in their written contracts which reflect the needs of their business, for example, appropriate restrictive covenants. (Small employers are no longer exempt, so all employers must supply these particulars even if they have only one employee.
Why are employment contracts important?
Having a clear written contract can cut out disputes between parties at a later date. Contracts remove ambiguity, set standards and protect both employers and employees. Employees can feel more secure as an employment contract can provide reassurance about what is expected of them and what you are providing for them.
Whilst it is an employee’s responsibility to understand and question any elements of a contract which they don’t understand, it is you and your HR team’s responsibility to explain these terms and make employees feel secure.
Does an employment contract have to be in writing?
Whilst an employment contract can be verbal, it’s never recommended to only agree employment terms verbally. Verbal contracts have the same legal authority, but it can be much harder to prove what was agreed. Written statements of particulars have to be issued from day one for all workers (not just employees).
Written contracts provide clarity for both parties. Ensuring the employment contract is clear and easily accessible should minimise disputes later down the line because both the employer and the employee know what is expected.
What must be written in an employment contract?
There are many types and lengths of employment contract, but a well drafted employment contract should contain at a minimum the following information:
- Name & address of employee and employer
- Job title & description of duties
- Place of work
- Pay (including overtime and bonus pay)
- Hours and days of work (including overtime hours)
- Access to benefits such as pension, sick pay, holiday entitlement
- Employment start date (and end date if temporary contract) and continuous start date if applicable
- Probationary periods, notice periods to terminate the contract of employment from both sides
- Disciplinary and grievance procedures
- Any training entitlements including any mandatory training that the employer does not pay for
Changing an employment contract
If you do need to make changes to an employee’s contract, you must give the employee advance notice and put any changes in writing, either by issuing a letter of the changes or a new contract.
Benefits of employment contracts
Recruiting great talent can be very competitive in today’s market. Most quality candidates can have multiple offers. Having an employment contract with favourable terms is one way you may be able to stand out. Benefits of a clear, well written employment contract are:
- Whilst you can’t stop employees from leaving, you may be able offer incentive structures to keep talent for longer and can limit why an employee may leave.
- Having clear notice periods etc. in a contract can minimise short term disruption and protect business continuity.
- Employment contracts can protect your business information and can also contain things like noncompete clauses to limit where employees can work or limit them from poaching customers.
- Employment contracts also ensure you set out clear standards both from your side as the employer but also for your employees.
Induction can be one of the most important stages in the recruitment process. Yet, many businesses still overlook the value of a well-planned and organised induction process.
Induction helps new employees settle into their roles and can also reduce the possibility of losing a new recruit within the first few days of their employment, by giving them a great first impression of your company.
What is induction?
Induction is the process through which employees are welcomed, trained and acclimatised to their new roles in your company. It is often seen as and ‘orientation’ process for all new starters to attend.
What is the difference between onboarding and induction?
Onboarding often describes the whole process from contract of employment being issued to when they join and begin their role fully. Induction can be seen as part of the onboarding process.
Benefits of induction
Minimises anxiety for the employee
It is normal for a new employee to feel nervous and anxious about a new role and how they fit into a new company.
Like an employment contract, induction can provide clarity for both parties. It can help to set the scene for a new recruit around their role and your expectations.
Induction is a time you can provide insight into the company’s history, culture and values, policies, benefits, learning and development, and health and safety policies, and future vision.
Improved retention and satisfaction
A great induction can often lead to better job satisfaction, improved performance and increased employee retention.
A well organised induction can make new recruits feel valued, feel welcome, remove anxiety, provide clarity and more importantly give a new recruit an excellent first impression of your company.
What is training and development?
Training and development is the process of enhancing the skills, capabilities and knowledge of employees for doing a particular job.
Training and development programmes are organised by companies to provide employees with the relevant skills and knowledge to better perform their roles or move into a different role.
The benefits of employee training and development
Good training and development programmes can provide the following benefits:
Training can be an effective tool to motivate your existing workforce so that you can get the best from them.
Plug skills gap
Many companies nowadays face the issue of skills gaps in their business. These skills gaps are becoming harder to fill via pure recruitment methods, so employers are turning to training and development programmes to fill these skills gaps by reskilling and upskilling existing employees.
Improved employee retention
Comprehensive training and development will help you retain employees as loyal and productive members of staff. It shows that you care about their personal development and they are likely to feel more motivated and satisfied within the company
The more confident and well trained your employees are, the more productive and innovative they will become. New skills can boost morale and subsequently productivity.
Training your workforce, can help you remain competitive. Reskilling and upskilling are great ways to keep your processes and culture fresh and relevant in an ever-changing market.
Training, upskilling, and reskilling can be far more cost-effective than recruiting new employees and inducting them into the company. Investment in training can save you money on recruitment costs.
Types of training
Today more than ever there is a huge range of training options and methods, here’s just a few:
This is where experts in the topic for the training run a course either in person or virtually with a group of people.
On the job training
This is where your employees will be trained on premise within the day-to-day work environment. Often it will involve a current employee showing them how to undertake a task and the employee ‘learning by doing’.
Coaching and mentoring
This has become far more popular in recent years. This type of training is more collaborative and involves the employee being assigned a coach or mentor that act as a role model to guide them. The employee is empowered to learn in their own way, reach their own objectives and work out the best way to approach a task or challenge.
This can include a combination of the above methods of training and can help provide variety and use the best methods of training for each skill set needed.
With today’s competitive job market, a shortage of certain skills in many industries, the importance of recruiting, retraining and training talent has become ever more important.
Companies that don’t focus on their people and don’t have clear employment contracts, induction processes and ongoing training programmes are more likely to lose team members and spend more time and money on recruiting in the long term.
All these things will ultimately impact your competitive advantage, your ability to provide to customers and your bottom line.
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