Coronavirus: A useful guide for HR

With the UK Government’s recent update on plans to cope with a potential increase in the spread of the coronavirus, it’s important for companies to be preparing for further challenges and impacts as a result. To date the UK has been fortunate compared to some other countries, but with so many people travelling globally for work and leisure, we can’t assume that will continue. The old maxim “hope for the best, and plan for the worst” seems especially appropriate now.

If the spread of COVID-19 continues to rise, employers face potentially serious staff and skills shortages. The wiser ones will be making contingency plans already, to try to maintain production and/or service levels.

As we have all seen in the press over the past few weeks, a number of organisations have already instructed their workforce to adjust their working arrangement in order to contain the spread of the Coronavirus.


1. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

By ensuring your colleagues are kept informed about the latest advice from the various health authorities about personal hygiene, typical early symptoms and any updates to high-risk destinations, you can increase awareness.

2. Embrace technology to update employees with advice and information

Empower your employees by utilising self-service technology, such as  your HR system’s Employee Self-service module or the company intranet. Using these tools will not only keep your employees informed, but also serve to reduce the amount of physical contact (and therefore the risk of further spread) required for answering questions.  This is especially important at a time when employees and workers are likely to have many questions around their entitlements with regard to areas such as sick pay, the implication of self-isolation on their salary and the practicality of working from home.

3. Collaborate with management

Work with management to identify areas of the business that would be most adversely affected by an increase in employees becoming unable to attend their place of work. Investigate what contingency plans might be realistic.

4. Clarify and explain your company’s position on work attendance

Inform your employees about the options available to them that might help minimise the spread of COVID-19. In cases where remote working is a practical option, decide whether that’s something you want to proactively encourage. Where it’s not, how best can you minimise the risk to those employees whose jobs demand their physical attendance?

5. Clarify and explain your company’s position on sick pay entitlement

There are several reasons why this is important – partly because I’ve seen several questions elsewhere along the lines of “do I still have to pay my employees if they self-isolate?”.  It’s also important for employees to understand how it affects them. One of the big risks is from employees who may have been exposed to or even show the initial symptoms of the virus, continuing to come to work because they can’t afford to lose the money.

Boris Johnson has just announced the introduction of Emergency Legislation to deal with the outbreak. This entitles employees to statutory sick pay (SSP) “from the very first day” they are signed off, for the duration of the epidemic. Current UK laws dictate workers are not entitled to minimum SSP of £94.25 a week until they have taken four or more days in a row off work.

There’s an excellent explanation of the legal position around the various possible scenarios from ACAS

If you’re looking for other resources, there’s a dedicated page on the Knowledge Centre at HR & Payroll experts Moorepay

If you would like to contact us directly with regard to any HRIS issues that have been raised in this article click here

5 signs you’ve outgrown your on-premise HR & Payroll systems

As an HR consultancy we work in partnership with many companies to understand their business needs, available resources & processes, and recommend suitable solutions to address their HR and Payroll system challenges.

Drawing on these experiences with our clients, we have prepared a guide: The 5 most common signs that a business has outgrown its on-premise HR & Payroll systems.

Click on the image below to learn more…

Why Use a HRIS Implementation Partner?

One question we are frequently asked is – why should a business investing in a new HRIS system use an implementation partner? Here are the main benefits of using an HRIS implementation partner as we see it:

Broader HRIS and Technology Expertise:

A partner can bring experience of different sectors, systems and approaches. These elements can help deploy the new HRIS system more efficiently avoiding pitfalls that cause delay. They can also bring impartiality to configuration discussions and the impact of those choices on the organisation’s HR system. This infusion of specialist expertise can help avoid the “If I knew what I know today, I would have done things differently” situations.

Service and Speed:

Partners often provide a more flexible, personal service especially for small or mid-sized firms that are not likely to be the biggest client. A partner’s specialist skills will also speed up the implementation process so that internal resource can be focused on adoption and training rather than navigating the learning curve of the setting up phase.

More Choice:

Selecting from a pool of HRIS implementation partners allows you to select a partner that you are comfortable working with. This personal chemistry between the internal team and the outsourced team members is crucial to meeting project deadlines, translating business requirements and aiding in knowledge transfer.

Immediate Credibility:

A credible HRIS partner with in-depth knowledge of the HRIS space and best practice can accelerate buy in from internal stakeholders. Usually this works best when the partner has a broad understanding of processes and issues pertinent to particular stakeholders. This also helps to facilitate take up of the system among users.

Committed Preferred Supplier:

A third party HRIS implementation partner that is committed to the system (demonstrated by participating at the provider’s conferences, receiving partner certification, recognition or awards, and collaboration with their sales team) has an in-depth understanding of the system’s capabilities and limitations which is a beneficial in getting the most of a system.

Partnering Pitfalls to Avoid

However, it is also worth noting the potential pitfalls of outsourcing to a third party and these tend to become an issue when the following issues are not addressed:

  • Accountability – prefer a single company that is responsible for the deliverables of all work being proposed.
  • Execution – partner’s inability to execute on the deliverables based on lack of experience, training, and overall calibre of consultant(s).
  • Partner’s Viability – partner’s financial stability, leadership and proven ability to deliver results.
  • Project Ownership – “finger-pointing”. Problems resulting in the partner blaming the HRIS sales team, while the sales team blames the consulting team.

Sage People and Sage Payroll Implementation Support

Fairsail Sage ImplementationWe are delighted to be selected to help Lobster Ink implement Sage People over the next 4 months.

Lobster Ink is a multi-media based hospitality training solution that trains staff and management internationally. Their education platform is simple yet powerful, and contains detailed high-definition video lessons and online assessment tools with course material covering Bar, Wine, Spirits, Service, Housekeeping, Guiding and International Standards.

Sage People Implementation and Training

Tugela People will manage the Sage People implementation project. This will include training the Cape Town based HR team and ensuring that Sage People is seamlessly integrated with their existing Sage Payroll system so that it meets their specific international self service requirements.

Sage People is a robust, scalable Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) cloud based application that enables, in particular, international mid-range corporates HR Managers to better manage and automate HR processes. It’s flexibility and ability to easily integrate with existing business systems, including Sage Payroll, made it the obvious HRIS choice for Lobster Ink.

Sage People wins at WCIT Enterprise Awards

Fairsail award

Some good news to finish the week, Sage People (formerly Fairsail) has been named as ‘Scale Up of the Year’ at the The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists (WCIT) Enterprise Awards last night. The award was presented to Sage People at  the awards ceremony in the City of London for their rapid growth (1,150% over the last five years) and ambitious vision for future expansion.

These prestigeous WCIT awards have been running for 6 years and celebrate the most successful technology entrepreneurs across the UK and Ireland, and are supported by industry-leading sponsors including Silverpeak, TechMarketView and Smith & Williamson.

“I am delighted that the hard work of the Sage People team has been acknowledged with such a prestigious award” said Adam Hale, Fairsail’s CEO. “Sage People has scaled quickly to become one of the largest tech companies in South East England and is quickly rising to prominence in the global market too, so it’s brilliant to see that achievement recognized. We have ambitious plans for the future and aim to provide further innovation for customers.”

Sage People has scaled rapidly, with headcount at the company having tripled since 2014. Increasing demand from international customers, resulted in a US office being opened in Orlando, Florida last summer, in addition to an office in San Francisco, California.  Following significant investment this year, Sage People has aggressive growth plans over the next five years.

Has HR Outgrown Spreadsheets?

Yes it has! Even though many still SME and mid-range organisations use spreadsheets, automated HR management systems now offer a viable cost effective alternative to process and analyse data. Read on as we discuss why HR has outgrown spreadsheets and should be embracing the move to automated systems.

Save Time for Your Staff

One of the most noticeable changes when switching from spreadsheets to a HRIS is how much time it saves the business. The amount of manual input time is considerable reduced, meaning staff are free to focus on other tasks.

Reduce Human Error

Spreadsheets require a lot of data inputting often from various sources; which increases the risk of human error. This can lead to a whole host of problems and inconsistencies further down the line. HR technology systems reduce this risk making for accurate and consistent reporting.

Protect Your HR Data

Protecting the personal data of employees should be a top priority for any business. If a spreadsheet that contains such information can be accessed by any employee then the security is simply not good enough. HR management systems make it much easier to control who has access to certain data significantly, decreasing the risk of security breaches.

Link Your Systems Together

From performance management to payroll, there are lots of different process and systems within HR and the business that need to work together seamlessly, a task which can be very difficult when relying on spreadsheets. Automated systems help to streamline data meaning that greater consistency can be achieved and each component is easier to manage.

Ease of Access

An automated human resources management system makes it easier and cheaper for employees and managers to access the information they need. With everything they need available to hand, more time can be spend on important projects, rather than searching for the relevant spreadsheet to complete a task.

Analyse Your HR Data

The data produced by HR management systems is much cleaner than the data produced by spreadsheets and so ensures errors are reduced when it comes to analysis. This means you can produce reports and make business decisions much more effectively than your competitors who may still be using spreadsheets as an HR system.

Tugela People are leading providers of HRIS services to growing and mid-range organisations across the globe. Our HRIS expertise could help your company get on the right track to better people management, making for a much more productive business all round. Whether you are looking to upgrade a manual system or replace an existing vendor we can help. Our HRIS system technical skills and HR process knowledge add value to the implementation process. To find out more call +44(0)208 144 5213

The Benefits of Integrated HR Systems

In recent months I’ve been asked by clients and contacts about the benefits of Integrated HR Systems and have struggled to get across in a few sentences the mutiple benefits for the various stakeholders in the process.

Then I came across this useful research from Bersin & Associates plublished recently which neatly shows the …

Tugela HR Engaged to Assist Silverbug With Their Merger

Tugela People is pleased to announce that we have been engaged to assist Silverbug, the IT outsourcing business, with their merger with three Admiral Group entities.

The merger of these business entities means that the enlarged HR function now has multiple sources of data and processes. We will ensure that the new HR function is compliant and uses current best practice across their new HR function.

If your organisation requires expert HR support either on a retained or project basis then talk to the HR experts at Tugela People and ask about our free initial consultation.


Poor Absence Management is Damaging Welfare & Productivity

Whilst reading this excellent report by Ellipse and Professor Cary Cooper, CBE, I was struck by the staggering cost of absenteeism on UK business, some £32 billion a year according to PwC, 2011. As an aside I also learnt a new word ‘wickie’, which by the way is a ‘working sickie’ (adapted from sickie).

Besides the financial cost of not actively managing absence, early intervention can improve people’s health as well as reducing the employer risks associated with long-term illness according to the Ellipse report.

Critical is an employer’s ability to track and monitor employee absences. Prof Cooper says: “Any employer who is not able to cite their absence rates is failing to control their risks and may well be neglecting employee welfare.”

Similarly while recording absence assists with managing absences, well configured workflows based on specific milestones could assist managers and HR to manage absences according to the companies’ absence policy. Prof Cooper states in the Ellipse report that while nearly all (90%) line managers say that a formal procedure exists, nearly half (41%) admit that they do not follow it though.

With more and more employees adopting flexible working arrangements (e.g. working from home)it also makes tracking absence more challenging, but at the same time Prof Cooper says that flexible working would reduce the hours lost to sickness.

A Personnel Today article suggest more detailed steps to take to better manage absence.

If you are looking to reduce your international absence rates and enjoy better reporting that provides immediate benefits for your organisation then call Tugela People.