People

We all have sympathy for employees who are genuinely unwell and the majority of clients that I work with are a particularly sympathetic bunch, who sometimes get taken for a bit of a ride because of it.

When it comes to recruitment and building a team, how often do you spend time looking at an individual’s strengths and skills for the role?

Culture and conduct reflect the underlying values and mind set of a firm, and as such, have a great influence on the behaviour of individuals within the firm. An effective culture is one that supports a business model, behaviours, and practices, that have fair treatment of consumers at their core. But it is senior managers who are ultimately responsible and accountable for the decisions that they not only make, but also oversee.

We are all guilty of it – working through lunch hours, working late, not taking breaks – and there is often an underlying culture in firms that if you do take breaks, you’re not ‘pulling your weight’. Following a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) ruling, you might want to reconsider the way you treat employees taking breaks.

‘T&C’ - formally known as training and competence - is not a new idea. The General Insurance Standard’s Council launched their own rules and elements of these can still be seen today under the current FCA T&C rules. 

For many firms, the appraisal system (or performance review) is often just another form filling exercise. The most frequent complaint (from employees) is that although they ‘go through the motions’ annually, nothing ever comes of their appraisal.

Imagine that you visited your doctor tomorrow for advice and discovered that she hadn’t updated her knowledge or skills since she qualified 20 years ago.  How confident would you feel about taking her advice?

It is vital to remember that you, as an employer, are bound by data protection obligations and often this is not recognised on application forms.  Any evidence of an employee’s right to work in the UK and any financial or criminal information is sensitive personal information and must be treated as such.  Whilst certain roles (particularly those in the caring professions and involving vulnerable adults and children, for example) may require the employer to check an applicant's criminal background, this is unlikely to be relevant for the majority of insurance brokers, since the request for information must be ‘proportionate’ to the role.

As the year progresses, you may be finding that resolutions set on the 1st of January have lost momentum or been forgotten about. Even with the best of intentions, juggling both life and work pressures can de-rail your personal and professional goals.

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