It seems that everyone is self-employed these days. Couriers, drivers, hairdressers, sports coaches and estate agents are all professions where more and more vacancies are advertised on a “self-employed” basis rather than on an employed basis. I’ve even seen employers try to argue that their receptionists and bar staff are self-employed. 
We have also seen the first few Employment Tribunal cases go through the courts, and so far at least, Uber, Pimlico Plumbers, Deliveroo, City Sprint, and taxi firm Addison Lee have all lost their argument that their workers are self-employed. 
The tide is turning. Both HMRC and Employment Tribunals are taking on cases and looking beyond what is written in agreements between employer and “self-employed” worker, to try and understand how working arrangements operate in practice. And they are coming to the same conclusion. 
Like so many accidental managers, Santa is absolutely brilliant at many aspects of his “day job”.  
Or in this case – his “one day a year” job. 
He gets the job done – you can always rely on Santa to get the job done on time, and to the highest standards. He might only have one night to deliver all the presents, but he makes sure at the start of the night that he has everything he needs, and he gets his head down and gets on with the job, and doesn’t give up until all the presents have been delivered before the children wake up on Christmas morning. 
He never lets a customer down – whatever the customer asks for, Santa delivers, on time every time. Bicycle, Xbox or dolls house, it will be there, in perfect condition, on Christmas morning. 
He always looks the part – you can rely on him to be well turned out on every occasion, in full uniform and instantly recognisable as Santa. 
But there are definitely 7 signs Santa is an accidental manager 
So today the requisite number of Conservative MPs called for a vote of confidence in their leader. 
While we don’t usually get to have a vote of confidence in our leaders or managers at work, the last few weeks and months do hold a lot of lessons for Accidental Managers – see how many you recognise.  
Another day brings me another tranche of social media posts from HR Consultancies offering to keep employers out of tribunals. 
Is that really all HR is? Your secret weapon for getting rid of problem employees without falling foul of the law? 
I have to be honest, HR that just focuses on avoiding the bad stuff makes makes me really sad. And it makes me angry too, and very frustrated with some of my profession. And I feel frustrated for employers who feel they are just going round the same hamster wheel, recruiting the wrong people, managing them ineffectively, and then deciding enough is enough and dismissing people. 
HR should be delivering your business so much more than just keeping you out of trouble
According to CIPD research, 90% of HR people surveyed said they had witnessed people coming to work when they really should have stayed at home because of illness. 
It has earned its own name – “Presenteeism”. But is it really a problem? 
Surely the point of a good absence management process is to make people think hard about taking time off sick, and to encourage them to come to work if they are able? To reduce overall absences. And if that means people come to work when they might have taken the day off, that’s all for the good…isn’t it? 
How often do you have 1:1 discussions with your team about their performance?  
Here's why you really should make the time.  
I often hear business owners say that maternity leave would be a nightmare for their business, and that women with children are unreliable. I hear it so often that I frequently ask myself what has been achieved by over 40 years of sex discrimination legislation. 
Let me tell you about some people I know. 
Virtually every organisation has a list of behaviours that are considered to be “gross misconduct”. 
Gross misconduct is something considered so serious that it strikes at the heart of the contract of employment, and effectively tears it up. So serious that an employee can be dismissed, without warning or notice, even for a first offence. 
So here’s a question for you. 
How big is your employee handbook? 
Seriously, if it was printed out, how many pages would it be? 
Have you ever asked yourself why you need so many policies? How many you have ever used? What the purpose of such a hefty tome is? 
1. Know your purpose (and make sure the team know it too!) 
Why, exactly, does your team exist? What value do they add to the business, or if you prefer, what would happen if the team didn’t exist? We underestimate people’s need to find purpose in their work. Studies repeatedly show that those who have a clear sense of purpose are more engaged, less stressed, stay longer in their roles, and work more productively than their colleagues. So make sure your team understand why they matter to the business, and how they make your business better just by being there. 
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