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advocate the magazine from the uk’s leading employee benefits advisory

AUTUMN 2014 | ISSUE#11 | ADVOGROUP.CO.UK

irwin mitchell glen hayes on some of today’s biggest employment law myths page 18

advo group award shortlistings for two of the industry’s biggest events page 08

aat mark farrar on the greater priorities for employees than salary cover feature page 10

visit us on your smartphone advogroup.co.uk


advogroup.co.uk | what’s inside issue #11

“ what’s inside issue #11 ”

In our cover feature we gain a fascinating insight into a recent study commissioned by AAT which discovered that most employees prioritise a range of elements over salary concerns

Welcome to the Autumn 2014 edition of Advocate magazine, the quarterly digital publication from ADVO Group, one of the UK’s leading employee benefits consultancy.

As usual we have a selection of compelling interviews this month. In our cover feature we gain a fascinating insight into a recent study commissioned by AAT which discovered that most employees prioritise a range of elements over salary concerns.

as one in three Brits pulling a sickie which is costing business an enormous £9bn, the damaging effects of ‘myopic management’, how UK workers prefer professional development over ‘cool’ offices and how walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing.

We are also bringing you the latest ADVO news including our recent shortlistings at for a number of awards at the Cover Excellence Awards, Insurance Times Tech Awards and Health We are also featuring two further Insurance Awards, and how exclusive interviews, with Joe ADVO’s IT Director, Kevin Crew, Wiggins from online awareness took part in this year’s ‘Crumball community, Glassdoor and Glen Rally’ event to raise money for a Hughes from law firm, Irwin great cause. Mitchell. Advocate magazine will be back We are also looking at a range again in the Winter. of other human resource and occupational health stories such

meet the team at advo group

For more information visit www.advogroup.co.uk

larry bulmer chief executive

colin boxall commercial director

chris mc cracken director

kevin crew it director

gill mateo operations director

Larry Founded ADVO Group in 1997 and remains fully involved in the dayto-day running of the business

Colin joined ADVO Group’s board in 2008 and has over twenty years employee benefits experience.

Chris joined the main ADVO board in 2008 having previously worked in wider financial services.

Kevin is constantly working to make sure that ADVO Groups award-winning ADVO Online service is the best it can possibly be.

Gill joined ADVO in 2006 becoming Operations Director in 2013. Gill has oversight of all ADVO Systems and procedures.

lbulmer @advogroup.co.uk

cboxall @advogroup.co.uk

cmccracken @advogroup.co.uk

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 02

kcrew @advogroup.co.uk

gmateo @advogroup.co.uk


advogroup.co.uk | who we are

who we are and what we do... Advocate Magazine is produced by ADVO Group and published quarterly.

For general information, and/or to join our online HR community, please follow http://issuu.com/advogroup

ADVO Group Ltd is an independent employee benefits Speak to ADVO for any specific query concerning: advisory with a broad-based clientele. Our objective is to be seen as the UK’s most trusted adviser on employee benefits • UK & International Private Medical Insurance solutions and online management. • Online multi policy management • Total Reward Statements and Flex Benefits ADVO can test prospective clients’ arrangements against • Cash Plans our connectedhealthTM benefit benchmark. Please be in • UK & International Group Life & Dependents touch for further details. cover • UK & International Group Income Protection We also offer a bespoke interactive online system for multi • UK & International Group Critical Illness cover policy management and amendments. Employees can • Dental & Optical cover also be given access to their personal benefit details, Total • Health Screening Rewards and Flex Benefits and Total Rewards. • Staff Wellness • Occupational Health sourcing Please follow http://soc.advogroup.co.uk for more information. T: 0845 2578833 F: 01622 769211 E: info@advogroup.co.uk

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advogroup.co.uk | contents

CONTENTS ISSUE #11 | autumn 2014 advo news Page 06

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ADVO raises money for charity

Page 08

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ADVO Group shortlisted for an array of awards

interviews Page 10

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Page 14

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Page 18

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ADVO Group’s IT Director, Kevin Crew, took part in this year’s ‘Crumball Rally’ event to raise money for a great cause. ADVO Group is delighted to be shortlisted for an array of award categories at this year’s upcoming Cover Excellence Awards and Insurance Times Tech Awards

Mark Farrar, AAT A recent study commissioned by AAT discovered most employees prioritise a range of elements over salary concerns. We gain a fascinating insight into the research with Mark Farrar, Chief Executive. Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor

A survey by Glassdoor reveals that more than one in four of UK employees fear losing their job in the next six months. We get a detailed insight into the findings of the study with Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor’s Senior Community Manager. Glen Hayes, Irwin Mitchell

Glen Hayes provides some expert analysis into Irwin Mitchell’s recent study looking at today’s most prevalent employment law myths.

human resources Page 22

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One in three Brits have pulled a sickie

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The ticking time bomb of myopic management

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Sick days are costing UK business over £23bn a year, but a large proportion of the sick bill is preventable as one in three British workers admit to having pulled a ‘sickie’ – according to new research by PwC Employers across the country need to focus on their “Purpose, People and Potential” to improve the UK’s long-term economic prospects, according to a major new report from a group of leading managers and parliamentarians UK workers prefer professional development over ‘cool’ offices

An international poll conducted by Monster reveals that “cool” brands and innovative office design are as not important factors to respondents when considering a new job.

occupational health Page 28

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Walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing

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Businesses warned to take a closer look at employee eye health

Walking or cycling to work is better for people’s mental health than driving to work, according to new research by health economists at the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research More than half of UK employees say their current working environment has had a negative impact on their eye health, according to new research.

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walking or cycling t improves wellbeing page 28


to work g

advogroup.co.uk | contents

1 in 3 brits has pulled a sickie page 22

the ticking time bomb of myopic management page 24

an interview with joe wiggins, glassdoor page 14 advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 05


advogroup.co.uk | raising money for charity at the crumball rally Lauterbrunnen–Mürren mountain railway, switzerland

advo raises money for charity at the crumball rally www.advogroup.co.uk The ‘Crumball Rally’ is not your average driving experience. The event, which first began in 2006, has built a reputation as one of the most unusual and memorable driving adventures in Europe, in large part due to the elaborate and highly original paint schemes that many of the cars feature. The rally’s participants are first required to purchase a car for the event, costing no more than £200, before decorating and painting their vehicles in the most creative way possible. The teams then embark on a series of routes across Europe themed around some of the most iconic car and driving based films, from The Italian Job to James Bond. Whilst embarking

on their chosen routes, the teams are also awarded a series of points for completing a range of set tasks.

The majority of the teams taking part in the rally utilise the experience as a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a variety of excellent causes. ADVO Group’s IT Director, Kevin Crew, took part in this year’s event in order to

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raise money for Starfish Malawi, a charity providing some great work in education, vocational training and AIDS awareness. Kevin took part in the James Bond themed route, aptly named ‘Thundercrawl’, accompanied by his team, ‘Skyfools’. This route, beginning in Reims, France, and finishing in Venice, Italy, stops along some of


advogroup.co.uk |raising money for charity at the crumball rally

reims, france

Verzasca Dam, Switzerland

venice, italy

the journey begins at dover the most well-known locations and landmarks to have featured in James Bond films such as the mountain-top lair within the Swiss alps from ‘Her Majesty’s Secret Service’, and the Verzasca Dam, which provided the setting for the opening scene of the Pierce Brosnan classic ‘Goldeneye’.

Team Skyfool’s car of choice, a 1989 Volvo 200 Series, fully survived the stresses of the adventure and without a single break down, engine warning light or even flat tyre. In fact, instead of

st gothard pass, switzerland being scrapped at the end of the event, as a large number of the cars were, the Volvo was driven back to the UK over an additional period of several days. The choice of exterior decoration for the car was to display all the names of those who had donated to the team’s efforts prior to the start of the trip. Kevin’s team quickly raised their target figure, and went on to continue their fund-raising, with the total now standing at more than £1,500.

Anyone is still able to donate to the official ‘Skyfools’ team page on the ‘Just Giving’ website, at justgiving.com/ skyfools, so it’s not too late to make your donation. For the full gallery of images from the event visit ADVO Groups Facebook page at facebook.com/Advogroup, or our range of other social media channels, details of which can be found on the ADVO Group website at www. advogroup.co.uk

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advogroup.co.uk |advo group shortlisted for industry awards

advo’s award nominations at the cover execellence, insurance times tech awards, & health insurance awards www.advogroup.co.uk ADVO Group are delighted to be shortlisted for a selection of award categories at three of the industry’s biggest upcoming award evenings. The Cover Excellence Awards, taking place 2nd October 2014, sees ADVO finalists for the categories of ‘Customer Service’, ‘Employee Benefits Intermediary of the Year’, ‘Protection Intermediary of the Year’ and ‘Best Use of Social Media’. The Insurance Times tech awards, which takes place Thursday 25 September 2014, again saw ADVO shortlisted for a social media category as well as ‘Technology Innovation of the Year’ for ‘ADVO Online’. The Health Insurance awards, taking place on 16th October 2014, sees ADVO Group shortlisted for the category of ‘Best Group International PMI Intermediary’. The Cover Excellence Awards are one of the industry’s most established ceremonies, and is an event that has seen ADVO pick up several awards before. ADVO have won the title of Healthcare Intermediary of the Year a number of times but are delighted to this year be finalists in a number of new categories proving that ADVO is continuing to grow into new areas of expertise. The awards will take place on Thursday 2nd October 2014 at the Victoria Park Plaza, London. The official website for the awards describes this year’s eagerly anticipated ceremony, “As with every year, the COVER Excellence Awards 2014 promises to be an evening of style, sophistication, glitz and glamour, and where achievements of those in the Employee benefits industry are rewarded. With separate awards for providers and intermediaries, these

prestigious awards highlight the dedication and hard work that all those across the industry have given to the sector, as well as recognise their invaluable efforts in ensuring consumers are fully and properly protected.”

these prestigious awards highlight the dedication and hard work that all those across the industry have given

The shortlisting for the categories of ‘Social Media’ and ‘Technology

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Innovation of the Year’ at the Insurance Times Tech Awards was a fantastic way for ADVO to once again be recognised for its strength in its utilisation of technology.

The Health Insurance Awards are also one of the industry’s most revered and prestigious award evenings of the year. The award category of ‘Best Group International PMI Intermediary’ is a title that ADVO have managed to win previously, and is a category that would be fantastic to win once again. To stay up do date with the latest award news, as well as wider ADVO news and the latest HR and occupational health stories, be sure to subscribe to ADVO Group’s news feed at http://news.advogroup.co.uk/yoursubscription.


advogroup.co.uk |advo group shortlisted for industry awards

an award history

2014

2009

SHORTLISTED AT A RANGE OF INDUSTRY AWARDS

winner at the corporate advisor awards highly commended at the health insurance awards & winners at the In 2009 ADVO won the category of pruhealth anniversary awards ‘Healthcare advisor of the year’ at the

Finalists for four categories at the The Cover Excellence Awards. The Insurance Times Tech awards saw ADVO shortlisted for two awards. The Health Insurance Awards sees ADVO shortlisted for ‘Best Group Intl PMI Intermediary’.

2013

Corporate Advisor Awards.

2008

award winners and highly commended at winner at the health insurance awards the health insurance awards & corporate advisor awards ADVO’s Nadiya Hasan won the award for ‘Best Individual Impact by a Newcomer’ at the Health Insurance Awards. ADVO were also highly commended for the category of ‘Best Group Intl PMI Intermediary’.

2011

ADVO won awards at both the Health Insurance Awards and Corporate Advisor awards with respective award categories of ‘Best Individual Medical Insurance Intermediary’ and ‘Healthcare Advisor of the Year’.

2007

2005 ADVO were highly commended at the Health Insurance Awards for ‘Best Business Initiative of the Year’. ADVO also won ‘Intermediary of the Year’ at the PruHealth Anniversary Awards.

2003

winners and highly commended at the health insurance awards In 2003 ADVO won an award at the Health Insurance Awards for the category of ‘Best small group private medical insurance intermediary’ ADVO were also highly commended for ‘Best Individual Intl Private Medical Insurance’.

2002

winners at both the cover excellence awards and corporate advisor awards

awards won at the health insurance & cover excellence awards

highly commended at the health insurance awards

ADVO won ‘Healthcare Intermediary of the year’ at the Cover Excellence Awards. ADVO also won ‘Best Cash Plan Advisor’ at the Corporate Advisor Awards. ADVO were also highly commended for ‘Healthcare Advisor of the Year’.

At the Health Insurance Awards ADVO won ‘Best group medical insurance intermediary’ and were highly commended for ‘Best Use of Cash Plans by an Intermediary’. The Cover Excellence Awards saw ADVO win ‘Best use of technology’ and ‘E-Business’ .

In 2002 ADVO was highly commended for the category of ‘Intermediary business initiative of the year’ at the Health Insurance Awards.

2006

2000

winner at the cover excellence awards and finalists at the corporate advisor awards

winner at the health insurance awards & highly commended at the cover excellence awards

highly commended at the health insurance awards and a Bupa award

ADVO won the category of ‘Healthcare Intermediary of the year’ at the Cover Excellence Awards and were highly commended for ‘Customer Service’. ADVO were also a finalist for ‘Intermediary of the year’ at the Corporate Advisor Awards.

ADVO won ‘Best group intl medical intermediary’ at the Health Insurance Awards and were highly commended at the Cover Excellence Awards for ‘Marketing Initiative of the Year’.

2010

ADVO were highly commended at the Health Insurance Awards for ‘Best Small Group Private Medical Insurance Intermediary of the Year’ and ‘Best Long Term Care Intermediary of the Year’. ADVO were also awarded an outstanding achievement Bupa award.


advogroup.co.uk | interview with mark farrar

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we assume salary will be one of the most important factors. However, when we really drill down into it, happiness is really the most important thing

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Mark Farrar chief executive Association of Accounting Technicians advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 10


advogroup.co.uk | interview with mark farrar

People have always appreciated companionship at work, I believe what has changed though is the importance businesses put on companionship mark farrar, aat

www.aat.org.uk

A recent study commissioned by the Association of Accounting Technicians (AAT), the qualification and professional body for vocational accountants, discovered that the majority of employees prioritise a range of elements over salary concerns. In our latest interview, we gain a fascinating insight into the research with Mark Farrar, Chief Executive at AAT. Tell us some more about the study.

We were interested in finding out people’s attitudes towards work and what motivated them. So we surveyed 2000 people across the UK to find out what their real thoughts are. We found that many factors outweigh the pay cheque, such as relationships with colleagues, self-worth, and the nature of the job itself. Do you think initially reading the headline of ‘Britain’s workers value companionship and recognition over a big salary’ would be surprising to most people, or do you think most people would instinctively believe this to be the case?

When we first initially think about work, we assume salary will be one of the most important factors. However, when we really drill down into it, happiness is really the most important thing. People spend the majority of their day at work and to be in an environment with friendly colleagues where they have job satisfaction is key

to this.

Are there any employment factors that respondents reported as being desirable that surprised you for how highly they were valued? I’m not sure I was surprised. However, I was pleased to see feeling challenged and learning new things featuring high on the list. I think it shows that no matter your age, or what stage you’re at in your career, there is always something new to learn. What are some of the key lessons that you think employers in general could take away from this study? Employers can look at how best to create a harmonious environment and recognise the important of team building. It’s also important to notice signs of stress and ensuring their staff feel they can speak up if they’re affected by stress. At AAT, we take our employee’s wellbeing very seriously and offer initiatives such as flexible working so colleagues can maintain a work / life balance.

Employers can look at how best to create a harmonious environment and recognise the important of team building

Do you think interpersonal issues such as companionship at work have become more valued over time or do you think these factors have always remained a high priority for employees? People have always appreciated companionship at work and many of us have made lifelong friends through previous jobs. I believe what has changed though is the importance businesses put on companionship and recognising that employees who enjoy their jobs make more productive employees.

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advogroup.co.uk | interview with mark farrar

Earnings will always be important because they allow us to live our lives. However, studies of Generation Y or Millennials show what they want from work is much different from Baby Boomers

Do you think the prioritisation of earnings could continue to fall on this list or do you think there is limit on far down the list it could rank? Earnings will always be important because they allow us to live our lives. However, studies of Generation Y or Millennials show what they want from work is much different from Baby Boomers. Their priorities include working in a flexible environment where they’re allowed to be themselves (as opposed to Baby Boomers who prefer a clearer demarcation of work and personal life). It will be an interesting as the new generations come through and the Baby Boomers retire to see if this impacts on how the importance of earnings are viewed.

are available. If you want to work in a particular environment, I would also ask what their management style is and what the organisation’s culture is like.

decrease further in future?

The economy is recovering and there are more opportunities out there so employees have more choice. This is why AAT always encourages people The figure of only 15% of to take control of their careers by respondents actively disliking their retraining or via other methods, to job seems encouragingly low. Do you ensure ultimately they find something think this figure has the potential to that fulfils them.

Are there any ways you think that employees can gain a representative view of the workplace culture or management styles etc of a potential new employer before accepting new positions? (E.g. questions to ask during interviews, things to look out for in the office)?

I would advise initially identifying what your priorities are when looking for a new job and building your search around that. As much as the interview is for the employer to scope out whether you’re right for the role and organisation, it’s also very much for you to use the process to decide if it’s right for you. As an example, if your priorities are around learning and development, I would ask about what training opportunities

The economy is recovering and there are more opportunities out there so employees have more choice

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discover how advo perks can help your employees with their weekly shop find out more now on 0845 2578833

For more information on Advo Group Limited, visit our website www.advogroup.co.uk Advo Group Limited, ADVO House, St Leonards Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 0LS is registered in England (No. 4500663) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


advogroup.co.uk | INTERVIEW WITH joe wiggins

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employers will benefit from communicating openly about the specific circumstances of their own businesses, involving employees where there are issues and problems

joe wiggins senior community manager glassdoor advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 14

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advogroup.co.uk | INTERVIEW WITH joe wiggins

employers will benefit from communicating openly about the specific circumstances of their own businesses joe wiggins, glassdoor

www.cipd.co.uk Glassdoor is an online careers community that allows people to find out the inside track on what it is like to work at companies, helping them make better decisions about where they work. A recent survey by Glassdoor reveals that more than one in four (29 percent) of UK employees fear losing their job in the next six months, an increase of 8% from the previous survey. In our latest interview, we get a detailed insight into the findings of the study with Joe Wiggins, Glassdoor’s Senior Community Manager.

Tell us some more about the survey what do you think could have caused this? We ask 2,000 people across GB how they feel about work every quarter The main reason that people are and the survey is conducted online worrying about their jobs may by Harris Interactive UK. It monitors well be the increasing amount of four key indicators of employee restructuring that employees are confidence: salary expectations, seeing together with a continuing re-hire probability, job security and high level of redundancies taking company outlook. place. Employers may therefore want to look at ways in which restructuring An increase of 8% in those fearing can be conducted without large scale losing their jobs over one quarter redundancies – perhaps trading off seems like quite a significant rise,

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advogroup.co.uk | INTERVIEW WITH joe wiggins a certain amount of potential efficiency in many jobs today, for example in jobs. Do you think savings later on in order to provide providing great customer service and therefore that greater effectiveness and higher developing new ideas to improve work employees are productivity today. activities. This may be one reason why UK There are some interesting trends in the study, for example why do you think London-based employees were shown to be the most concerned about losing their jobs? London is a more fluid job market and because of the concentration of staff and companies it is inevitable that restructuring has more of a ripple effect. The hub of the financial services industry is here and this sector has obviously endured an extremely tough few years. The 16-24 age group had the highest levels of feelings of job insecurity. Why do you think such young workers are so much more concerned about possible redundancy than any other age group in the study?

Younger workers are generally less confident because they have less experience with cycles in the jobs market. They are starting their careers in a very competitive situation with many of their peers fighting over the same positions, but older workers have seen better times so will have a longer term outlook.

What steps do you think employers can take to reduce the level of concern employees are feeling? I suspect the general tone of the debate about the UK’s economy is leading employees to feel less secure, and employers will benefit from communicating openly about the specific circumstances of their own businesses, involving employees where there are issues and problems, and communicating confidently where there are already positive changes underway or there are signs of new opportunities for the future.

London is a more fluid job market and because of the concentration of staff and companies it is inevitable that restructuring has more of a ripple effect

productivity is remaining so low as well.

Are there also any steps that you feel employees themselves could take to recede their levels of anxiety regarding job security?

unnecessarily overly concerned about their own job security?

There seems to be a lag between sentiment about companies and the economy and sentiment about one’s own situation. We’re seeing it in other indicators too: a recent GfK Consumer Many key economic indicators are Confidence Barometer showed that it’s a big worry that so many starting to show real signs of positivity, people’s views of the general economic employees feel so uncertain about indeed last month it was confirmed situation over the next 12 months is keeping their existing jobs, particularly that Britain’s economy has bounced far more positive than their views of as most also still feel uncertain about back and is now bigger than it was their personal financial situation over their ability to find another position if before the financial crisis struck. the same time period. they do get laid off. Employees should take heart from that and remember that redundancy How do you predict these figures to This is particularly important since if is normally a last resort option for change into the future? Do you think people are worrying about their jobs most companies. While line managers the slowly recovering economy will it’s going to make it harder for them to are not necessarily gong to have all play a part in a possible change in do their best work. Indeed it may move the answers, it is worth raising if figures? them into a ‘threat state’ in which employees have specific concerns. peoples’ concern about their jobs can We would expect confidence over close down their ability to think clearly Only one in ten employees believe redundancies and expectations of a and behave optimally, particularly in their company’s performance will pay rise to improve in the quarterly displaying the sort of discretionary decline over the next six months, report. behaviours which are so critical yet one in four fear losing their

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 16


discover how working with advo improves employee engagement speak to one of our employee benefit advisors today on 0845 2578833

For more information on Advo Group Limited, visit our website www.advogroup.co.uk Advo Group Limited, ADVO House, St Leonards Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 0LS is registered in England (No. 4500663) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


advogroup.co.uk | INTERVIEW WITH GLEN HAYES

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There is insufficient clear guidance on basic existing law available to employers who are struggling with regular change

glen hayes employment partner irwin mitchell advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 18

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advogroup.co.uk | interview with glen hayes

There is insufficient clear guidance on basic existing law available to employers who are struggling with regular change glen hayes, irwin mitchell

www.irwinmitchell.com

Glenn Hayes is an Employment Partner at national top 20 law firm Irwin Mitchell. The firm has expanded its business legal services rapidly in recent years and offers a wide range of business and commercial services. The company recently conducted a study looking at today’s most prevalent employment law myths. The five myths were identified as:

In order to uncover the top five, we Myth 1 – In order to avoid claims when analysed the feedback which the firm dismissing an employee you must has received over the past 12 months follow a particular procedure and are from the hundreds of businesses using safe from claims as long as you do so. our fixed cost employment law service, Myth 2 – Parents have the right to IMHRplus. work part time. Myth 3 – You can’t make a woman on What do you think has led to maternity leave redundant. the current confusion or lack of Myth 4 – Employers must provide awareness in many businesses with a reference to employees who are regard to employment law? leaving. Myth 5 – It is not possible to retire We think there are a number of employees anymore. reasons for this.

most dangerous one is the assumption that in order to avoid claims when dismissing an employee, a business must follow a particular procedure and as long as they stick to it, they will be safe from claims.

We explain to businesses that in order to dismiss someone fairly, a business needs to follow a procedure that is fair and reasonable but also that it bases its decision on one of the five potentially fair statutory reasons – conduct, capability, redundancy, breach of a statutory restriction (such as employing someone illegally) or some In our latest interview, we discuss One of the key ones is that employment other substantial reason (such as a with Glenn Hayes what may be causing laws are complex and constantly restructure that is not a redundancy). these common misconceptions, changing. Added to this, we find which myth was most surprising to that policy statements issued by the If a business does not have one of these appear on the list, and what steps Government often appear to lend reasons to dismiss, then the dismissal businesses could take to clarify their credence to misleading information will be unfair, even if it follows what understanding of these key pieces of about employment rights. In any event, would otherwise be a fair procedure. legislation. there is insufficient clear guidance on basic existing law available to Organisations often get this wrong and Tell us more about this study employers who are struggling with repercussions can be costly. looking these common employment regular change. law myths. Of the five myths, were there any Of the five myths which do you that you found surprising to have We have long been aware that there think is the most important made it onto the list? is a great deal of confusion in relation that employers better their to employment laws and wanted to understanding of? help ‘bust’ some of the most common employment law myths. They are all important but I think the

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 19


advogroup.co.uk ||aINTERVIEW third struggle WITH glen to cope hayes at work Perhaps the most surprising employment myth was the belief that all parents have the right to work flexibly. Whilst recent changes to the law have extended the right to employees with 26 week’s service to request to change their working arrangements beyond parents, including allowing the individual to work part time, the law only allows the parent the right to request this, rather than obtain it.

Perhaps the most surprising employment myth was the belief that all parents have the right to work flexibly

It is important to remember that the recent changes will not alter the basic premise that the right is to request a different working pattern, not a right to obtain it. The application can be rejected.

Knowing when and where to seek help is crucial. There is a significant amount of information that is inaccurate and misleading and therefore reliance upon can be dangerous. Attend seminars, sign up for bulletins and sense check Organisations should have adjusted matters – if it isn’t really common their policy documentation in this area sense, it is probably wrong. Finally, and if they haven’t, it is vital that they if the situation looks like it may be take legal advice. serious, seek professional help. What do you think the first steps could be for a business looking to improve its understanding of these key areas of employment law?​

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What steps do you think government could take to reduce the confusion around key employment legislation?

For more interviews visit ADVO Group’s news section at news.advogroup.co.uk.

We believe that what businesses really want, and need, is not more and constantly changing employment laws, but clear information and guidance on managing existing ones

There is insufficient clear guidance on basic existing law available to employers who are struggling with regular change. We believe that what businesses really want, and need, is not more and constantly changing employment laws, but clear information and guidance on managing existing ones. This is not easy however, as in some areas, the guidance simply confuses matters even further. The law recently changed with regard to employers being able to request flexible working. Do you think this change was effectively communicated to businesses or do you think this is a new area on confusion for businesses?

Hopefully businesses will be aware of the changes by now as there was certainly a great deal of publicity about it. It is too early to tell how well understood the new rules are, but I’m concerned that there has been a lot of discussion about the benefits for employees and little about how it will work in practice.

If businesses are not familiar for example with the eight reasons for rejecting a request for flexible working, they will need to be if they intend to turn down individual requests, because there have been several surveys which have been done in this area and it is anticipated that the number of requests to work flexibly will be high.

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 20


discover your perfect dental plan with advo group speak to one of our employee benefit advisors today on 0845 2578833

For more information on Advo Group Limited, visit our website www.advogroup.co.uk Advo Group Limited, ADVO House, St Leonards Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 0LS is registered in England (No. 4500663) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


advogroup.co.uk |1 in 3 brits have pulled a sickie

1 in 3 brits fake illness costing business 9bn a year accoprding to pwc research www.pwc.co.uk Sick days are costing UK business over £23bn a year, but a large proportion of the sick bill is preventable as one in three British workers admit to having pulled a ‘sickie’ – according to new research by PwC. PwC’s research shows people lying or exaggerating to take time off work is costing UK business £9bn a year. As part of the research PwC surveyed over 2,000 UK adults and found that the most popular reasons for why people pulled a ‘sickie’ are hangovers (32%), to watch a sporting event (8%), being bored with your job (26%), interviews (26%) and Mondays (11%). One in 10 people said they have lied to take time off work due to good weather. llness is by far the most common excuse used, but the research has revealed that some employees go to very creative lengths to cover up why they are taking off unauthorised time from work. Some of the more unusual excuses from the research include: I was attacked by ants, my dog has eaten my keys, I got a rash from eating too many strawberries, and a male employee who told his boss that he had started the menopause. PwC analysis of over 2,500 global

companies shows that the UK’s overall sickness bill (including genuine and made-up illness) has fallen to £23bn from £29bn a year ago. But despite this positive trend, UK workers still take nearly triple the amount of sick days as their global counterparts in Asia Pacific (2.8 days) and nearly double the US (3.8 days). Central and Eastern Europe has the highest level of sick days at an average of 8.3 a year. Sick days still account for the majority of absence and make up 87% of the overall absence bill to UK business.

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Most industries have reduced their sickness levels compared to a year ago apart from technology, chemicals and utilities companies. Retail and leisure, services sector and finance companies report the lowest levels of sickness.

Jon Andrews, head of human resources consulting at PwC, said: “Despite overall levels of absence falling in the UK, this could be even lower if businesses actively address


advogroup.co.uk | 1 in 3 brits have pulled a sickie

this issue. Sickies are costing business £9bn a year – much of which is avoidable.

“The combination of major sporting events such as the World Cup and Wimbledon may mean that the temptation to lie to take time off work to watch sport is too much for some. Companies could easily reduce the knock-on impact on their employees’ productivity levels by offering flexible working or allowing them to watch key matches in the office.

“This should be a wake-up call for businesses, especially start-ups and SMEs – where absence can be particularly crippling.

“Our research shows that when it comes to reducing absence levels, carrot rather than stick is the best approach. Having a flexible working culture can go a long way to breaking the cycle of people feeling that they are entitled to days off outside of their holiday allowance and encouraging better employee engagement. The change in law that means anyone “Compared to our previous research in now has the right to request flexible 2011, interviews now feature heavily working should help more people as a reason to pull a sickie as the achieve the work/life balance economic recovery is feeding through they need without impacting on to a hotter job market. organisations’ productivity.

“Organisations need to get better at recording and monitoring absence patterns so they can pinpoint issues and tackle them. Team targets for projects should also encourage positive peer pressure and a sense of we’re in it together. Too many organisations are blindly unaware of how much absence is costing their bottom line.” A flexible working approach by employers is the measure that would most likely put people off from pulling a ‘sickie’, followed by initiatives such as ‘duvet mornings’ (where employees are allowed to take a couple of last minute lie ins a year). One in ten employees said that having to report the reason for their absence over the phone to their manager would out them off lying.

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advogroup.co.uk | the ticking timebomb of myopic management

major report outline plan to defuse ticking timebomb of myopic management www.managers.org.uk Employers across the country need to focus on their “Purpose, People and Potential” to improve the UK’s long-term economic prospects, according to a major new report from a group of leading managers and parliamentarians. The Commission on the Future of Management and Leadership – founded by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management and the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) – warns that “myopic management” is a millstone around the neck of the economy and is threatening the UK’s global competitiveness. The Commission’s report – Management 2020: leadership to unlock long-term growth – brings together interviews and expert testimony from more than 60 individuals and organisations, plus data from a new CMI survey of over 2,000 business leaders and managers. It pinpoints a crisis in management. More than half of leaders (57%) surveyed admit their organisation performs poorly or could do better on key measures and the Commission concludes that short-sighted, shorttermist behaviour is squeezing out the long-term, visionary approach needed to achieve real growth. The Commission is calling for

employers to learn from the way that leading companies focus on three key areas:

People – when it comes to developing people it’s a case of ‘too little, too late’. Government data shows that the UK Purpose – companies need to define labour market will need 1 million new their long-term aims beyond just managers by 2020* – yet 71% of the making money or hitting targets. Yet leaders surveyed by CMI confess they only 37% say their CEO is rewarded could do better at training first-time for delivering value to all stakeholders, managers, or don’t train them at all. rather than solely on meeting narrow financial targets. Witnesses to the This could leave 150,000 employees Commission like Unilever Chief a year taking on management roles Executive Paul Polman – whose global without adequate preparation. business recently recorded a 9% rise in annual pre-tax profits – argue that Employers are also neglecting businesses with broader non-financial mentoring and coaching: less than a objectives will actually enjoy stronger quarter (24%) of respondents said financial returns than those who only their organisations do this well or very set out to maximise profits. well, despite persuasive testimony

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advogroup.co.uk | the ticking timebomb of myopic management education system and employers can work together to help young people develop the skills needed to become the leaders of the future.

Barry Sheerman MP, Commission Co-Chair and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Management, says: “We’ve got to do better at developing young people’s potential. First, employability needs to be embedded in education, with managers providing more chances to gain reallife experience about the workplace. Second, government should work with partners to help build exchange networks, helping employers to set up work placements and share ideas with each other and with schools, colleges and universities. We heard from many employers who can see the damage that’s being done by youth employment and it’s clear that we can do more to train, nurture and mentor the management stars of the future.” Government should also encourage employers to address their purpose, people and potential in annual reporting. Sheerman adds: “Encouraging employers to report on how they’re fulfilling their social purpose and developing their people will help them focus on management and the work that’s required to achieve sustainable growth in the long-term.”

from witnesses like Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, about its effectiveness in helping managers improve their skills and impact at work. Potential – UK plc is not investing enough to develop the potential of the next generation of managers and leaders. More than half (57%) of managers admit their organisation does not offer young people work experience and a further 64% confirm that their employer does not report on how their organisation is working with schools, colleges or universities, or does so poorly. With youth unemployment still high, a radical new approach is needed. The Commission heard from witnesses like Kim Winser OBE, founder of fashion company Winser London, who encourages every division of her company to hire a young person who has just left education. Commenting on the findings Peter Ayliffe, CMI President and co-chair

of the Commission, said: “We’re faced with a ticking time bomb of myopic management in this country, with widespread under-investment in the next generation of leaders. We’ve got some brilliantly managed organisations in the UK, but there are simply not enough of them. Unless all of us responsible for leading businesses, public services and charities acknowledge that we are at a tipping point and commit to being part of a Better Managed Britain, the nation’s sustainable long-term growth opportunities will not be fulfilled. Without a genuine focus on the three critical areas of purpose, people and potential, we cannot hope to build a sustainable economy – nor a cohesive and prosperous society from which everyone benefits.” The report also includes key recommendations for government. It focuses in particular on how the

CMI has developed a new Management 2020 Benchmarking Tool – www. managers.org.uk/management2020 – to shine a spotlight on the areas identified by the Commission. Completely free to use, managers can assess their organisation and see how they compare to the national average. It provides a tailored read-out for any organisation, allowing them to identify specific areas for improvement – and participants will be invited to review and track their progress after a year.

CMI Chief Executive, Ann Francke, adds: “With the UK economy at last coming out of its five-year slump, it’s the perfect time to put the spotlight on management. We’ve got some fantastic organisations in this country, but no sector will fulfil its potential without a root-and-branch reappraisal of what good management looks like. The Commission has showed how we can raise our game. By using the Management 2020 Benchmarking Tool, every leader can set their own goals based on purpose, people and potential. Improve performance in these critical areas and we’ll be well on the way to creating a Better Managed Britain.” The Commission involved 29 leaders from across a wide range of sectors.

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 25


advogroup.co.uk | professional fulfillment over cool office design

workers prefer professional fulfillment over ‘cool’ brands & trendy office design www.managers.org.uk An international poll conducted by Monster reveals that “cool” brands and innovative office design are as not important factors to respondents when considering a new job. Respondents are most excited by the opportunity to work in an industry they are passionate about, or the opportunity to work with people they professionally admire. Monster, the worldwide leader in successfully connecting job opportunities to people, asked visitors to their site the question, “Aside from salary, benefits and location, which of the following would most likely attract you to a new job?” and received over 2,400 responses. International findings included:

passionate about” 17% of respondents answered “The opportunity to work with people I professionally admire” 13% of respondents answered “A lively/energetic office environment” 6% of respondents answered “The opportunity to work for an aspirational/‘cool’ brand” 3% of respondents answered “An 61% of respondents answered “The innovative office design” opportunity to work in an industry I’m Breaking down the numbers by region,

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North American respondents were the most excited by working with people they professionally admire: 21% selected this option, with most other regions averaging around 10%. Respondents from the United States were particularly disinterested in innovative office design, only 2% selected this option, compared to slightly higher interest from European countries such as France (5%) and the Netherlands (7%).


advogroup.co.uk | professional fulfillment over cool office design

European respondents also had elevated response rates favoring a lively work environment: 20% of French, Dutch and Italian respondents selected this option while only 11% of respondents from the Americas were concerned with their offices’ energy levels. “Job seekers are naturally most concerned about salary, benefits and convenience to their home,” said Mary Ellen Slayter, Career Advice Expert for Monster. “But once that’s settled, the intangibles come into play. People are craving ways to bring meaning to

their work, and they want to work in an industry they feel passionate about. Employers can take an active role in supporting these positive feelings by helping people see the connection between the work they do and how it benefits others. No fancy office can replace that sense of satisfaction.” The results of the current Monster International Poll are based on votes cast by Monster visitors from: June 2-16, 2014. Only one vote per user is counted toward the final tabulation. The Monster International poll, a product of Monster, the premier global

online employment solution and flagship brand of Monster Worldwide, Inc., is a series of online polls that gauge users’ opinions on a variety of topics relating to careers, the economy and the workplace. These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinions of only those Internet users who have chosen to participate. For information of ADVO Group’s services speak to one of their expert and fully independent advisors today on 0845 2578833 or email info@ advogroup.co.uk.

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 27


advogroup.co.uk | walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing

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Walking or cycling to work improves psychological wellbeing according to University of East Anglia researchers www.uea.ac.uk Walking or cycling to work is better for people’s mental health than driving to work, according to new research by health economists at the University of East Anglia and the Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR). A report published reveals that people who stopped driving and started walking or cycling to work benefited from improved wellbeing. In particular, active commuters felt better able to concentrate and were less under strain than if they travelled by car. These benefits come on top of the physical health benefits of walking and cycling that are already widely documented.

Experts also found that travelling on public transport is better for people’s psychological wellbeing than driving. Lead researcher Adam Martin, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School, said:

“One surprising finding was that commuters reported feeling better when travelling by public transport, compared to driving. You might think that things like disruption to services or crowds of commuters might have been a cause of considerable stress. But as buses or trains also give people time to relax, read, socialise, and there is usually an associated walk to the bus stop or railway station, it appears to cheer people up.”

old commuters in Britain. The data allowed them to look at multiple aspects of psychological health including feelings of worthlessness, unhappiness, sleepless nights, and being unable to face problems. The researchers also accounted for numerous factors known to affect wellbeing, including income, having children, moving house or job, and relationship changes.

The study also shows commute time to be important. Adam Martin said: “Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing. And correspondingly, people feel better when they have a longer walk to work.”

The research team studied 18 years of data on almost 18,000 18-65-year-

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 29


advogroup.co.uk | walking or cycling to work improves wellbeing The new report contradicts a UK Office of National Statistics study ‘Commuting and Personal Wellbeing, 2014’, published in February, which found people who walked to work had lower life satisfaction than those who drove to work, while many cyclists were less happy and more anxious than other commuters. Crucially, this new research looks at commuters who had changed travel mode from one year to the next, rather than comparing commuters who were using different travel modes at a single point in time.

of York. It was funded by CEDAR, a multi-disciplinary collaboration between UEA, the University of Cambridge, and MRC Units in Cambridge.

‘Does active commuting improve psychological wellbeing? Longitudinal evidence from eighteen waves of the British Household Panel Survey’ is published in the journal Preventive Medicine on Monday, September 15.

Data from the 2011 Census (England and Wales) shows that 67.1 per cent The research was carried out by the of commuters use cars or vans as their Health Economics Group at UEA’s usual main commute mode compared Norwich Medical School and the Centre to 17.8 per cent who use public for Health Economics at the University transport, 10.9 per cent who walk and

Our study shows that the longer people spend commuting in cars, the worse their psychological wellbeing

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 30

just 3.1 per cent who cycle.

“This research shows that if new projects such as London’s proposed segregated cycleways, or public transport schemes such as Crossrail, were to encourage commuters to walk or cycle more regularly, then there could be noticeable mental health benefits.”


advo group are fully independent, private medical insurance experts speak to one of our employee benefit advisors today on 0845 2578833

For more information on Advo Group Limited, visit our website www.advogroup.co.uk Advo Group Limited, ADVO House, St Leonards Road, Maidstone, Kent, ME16 0LS is registered in England (No. 4500663) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.


advogroup.co.uk | businesses warned to take a closer look at employee eye health

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businesses warned to take a closer look at employee eye health according to survey of 7,000 workers www.westfieldhealth.com More than half of UK employees say their current working environment has had a negative impact on their eye health, according to new research. Westfield Health’s recent survey of 7,000 UK workers, conducted just ahead of this week’s National Eye Health Week, highlights the worrying impact of work on our eyes. Fifty three per cent of respondents say eye test and basic glasses.” their current working environment has affected their eye health, or their vision Westfield Health’s survey also has got worse as a result of work. revealed that seven per cent of people had taken time off work because of Headaches, blurred vision, eye strain an eye-related accident or illness, and dry eyes are just some of the eye such as conjunctivitis, burst blood related problems employees associate vessels, cataracts, and headaches and with their jobs. migraines due to eye strain. The research found 82 per cent use a VDU (visual display unit) as part of their job but 14 per cent of them have not had their eyes tested in the last two years.

Nearly a third of respondents (32 per cent) were not aware of the statutory Health & Safety requirements for their employer to pay the full cost of an eye test and basic spectacles, if required for VDU use. Westfield Health’s executive director Paul Shires said: “Regular sight tests are essential in order to keep a check on eye health, with experts recommending an examination once every two years.

“Our findings indicate that VDUs are a core part of most people’s working lives these days, which means employers must ensure they meet their duty of care requirements and inform staff of their entitlement to an

David Cartwright, chair of National Eye Health Week, said: “Prolonged screen use can put enormous strain on our eyes and trigger episodes of visual stress. “Following the 20-20-20 rule – looking away from your screen every 20 minutes for 20 seconds, and focusing on objects 20 feet away – can really help combat the effects of screen fatigue and prevent your eyes feeling sore, itchy and tired.”

Westfield Health are an official partner for the fifth annual National Eye Health Week and are joined in support of the campaign by a host of high profile names including Boots Opticians, The College of Optometrists, Vision Express and Lloyds Pharmacy.

advocate autumn 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 33


advogroup.co.uk | thanks for reading

thank you for reading see you in the winter for the next edition of advocate magazine! issuu.com/advogroup Thanks for catching up with us here at ADVO Group for this Autumn 2014 edition of Advocate magazine. Advocate will be back once again in the Winter to provide you with the very best human resource, occupational health, employee benefit and private medical insurance news, interviews, features and more! ADVO Group’s account on Issuu.com will continue to be the primary home for Advocate magazine.

The best way to stay in touch is by subscribing to the news section on the ADVO Group website. You can do this by entering your email address at news.advogroup.co.uk/subscribe. The subscription process is incredibly simply and best of all; it’s absolutely free!

If you’ve got a story that you think belongs in Advocate magazine, whether it’s news focusing on health insurance, human resources, occupational health or if you’d like to be interviewed then don’t hesitate to get in touch. Send your inquiries to info@advogroup.co.uk

In case you missed our key contacts at the start of the magazine you can get in touch with any of them on the contact details below. Larry Bulmer Chief Executive lbulmer@advogroup.co.uk

Chris Mc Cracken Director, Commercial cmccracken@advogroup.co.uk Colin Boxall Director, Corporate cboxall@advogroup.co.uk Kevin Drew Director, Advo SIS kcrew@advogroup.co.uk

Gill Mateo Just to remind you about who we are Operations Director and what we can offer, ADVO Group gmateo@advogroup.co.uk is a multi award winning employee health benefit advisory looking after the requirements of many customers, from small businesses right up to multi national corporations. Whatever your health insurance or employee benefit needs, we are here to help. We offer entirely indepent, free and expert advice so don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a ring on 0845 2578833. You can also email us at info@advogroup.co.uk.

advocate spring 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 34

You can also get in touch by calling us on 0845 2578833, faxing us on 01622 769211. We also have three offices across the country. Head office: ADVO House St Leonards Road Allington Kent ME16 0LS

Oxford Office: 8 Old Station Yard Abingdon Oxfordshire OX14 3LD

You can also get in touch through any of our social media channels. You can find us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google+. Thanks again for reading and see you in the Winter for the next edition of Advocate magazine.


advogroup.co.uk | thanks for reading

find every copy of advocate magzine online at issuu.com/advogroup Issue #10 summer 2014 We discuss with CIPD’s Research Advisor for Human Capital Metrics and Standards, Edward Houghton, the challenge of measuring and understanding human capital. We are also featuring a fascinating interview with Jamie Lawrence, editor of human resource website hrzone.com. We are also looking at a range of other human resource and occupational health stories such as new research that aims to explore the questions ‘what is it that today’s young workers really want?’ and the survey that suggests as many as a third of employees are currently finding the strain of work difficult to manage. We also feature a piece looking at one of the must haves for this Summer; travel insurance.

Issue #09 spring 2014 In this edition we are bringing you a fascinating interview with Hannah Keartland, Citizen Science Lead at Cancer Research UK to discuss their amazing new smartphone game. The app, called ‘Play to Cure: Genes in Space’ offers a truly groundbreaking concept; through people simply playing the game, extremely valuable genetic data is generated to help scientists in their battle against cancer. Hannah explains how the project began, from the ‘Gamejam’ event through to the launching of the app and it’s planned developments.

Issue #08 winter 2013 In this edition we are bringing you an exclusive and in depth interview with Greg Whyte. Professor Greg Whyte is an Olympian, ‘physical activity guru’ and worldrenowned scientist. Greg is better known for his more recent role of preparing celebrities for Comic Relief challenges. Professor Whyte is a member of One Hundred Years’ Global Faculty – an international network of medical practitioners. We discuss with Greg the main issues facing international healthcare, advances in medicine impacting on how we live our lives in future, his role as an Olympian and much more.

don’t miss a copy, subscribe to our issuu channel... its 100% free! advocate spring 2014 | advogroup.co.uk | 35


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Advocate | Autumn 2014  

Welcome to the Autumn 2014 edition of Advocate magazine, the quarterly digital publication from ADVO Group, one of the UK’s leading employee...

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