Examples of Our Work

Employee Engagement and Consultation

A company was switching to a digital technical manufacturing process and seeking to grow and so wanted to encourage an open dialogue with employees.   We were asked to advise on the options and the implementation of the preferred option  To ensure the outcome would be effective in their context, the CEO and Operations Director were briefed on the key issues and challenged as to how serious and prepared they were to make the consultation process a valued part of the company way rather than ‘the right thing to do’.  That meant:

  • teasing out how they would act constructively on the feedback to show that managers are listening and will not dismiss criticism or unexpected results out of hand;
  • maintaining focus on key issues and changes rather than simply ‘having a full agenda’;
  • methods to ensure that the employee representatives spoke about and gave the views of staff and not just their own or those of their close circle of friends;
  • processes for communicating issues and outcomes to the whole company;
  • involvement of managers and employees in reviewing and improving proposals on changes and issues;
  • training of representatives in the role and engaging fellow employees in the process
  • giving managers the confidence to address issues
  • measure the successes of the consultation process and use those to encourage further input.

One of the key challenges in a non unionised organisation is to ensure that elected representative discuss with and seek views of staff and give feedback on progress, giving access to appropriate help and facilities.


Commercial/Customer Focus of HR Team

Focusing the hr team on where the organisation needs to be is a requirement of many senior management teams.  We work with both senior managers and hr teams to review the effectiveness of the hr function and facilitate its change of approach:

  • what role it can and should have in advancing the service/business goals;
  • developing a commercial/customer focus to the hr team’s outlook when producing hr solutions;
  • determining an appropriate blend of hr skills and roles;
  • helping the hr team not to be lured by ‘sexy’ hr initiatives that do not add value but consume time and costs.

More insights can be gleaned from articles on our articles and blog site.

Presentation of Appeals or Disciplinary Cases

It can be difficult for the Head Teacher to present a serious disciplinary appeal case to the Governors when the Head is also a key witness. To overcome this, we are able to present the ‘management’ case in such circumstances.

We can also carry out investigations into complex disciplinary allegations or grievances so allowing the Head to retain an objective an independent view of the way forward. In this way, the Governors and Head can be confident that an appropriate investigation was carried out and allow the Head or the Governors, as appropriate, to focus on the facts and what should be the outcome.

Advice on Organisational Issues for Head Teachers and CEOs

Being a Head or CEO can be a lonely role.  Heads need a source of advice that is independent of internal or LA politics but is objective and focused to enable the Head (and Governors) to move forward.

Such advice covers a wide range of issues such as organisational changes, redundancies, performance issues of a senior manager or the wider management aspects of leading a school and ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place.

With the drive to improve educational outcomes and stay within budget, we provide an independent review of organisational structures and key strategies so that in liaison with the Head and Governors  appropriate strategies can be put in place such as:

–  Marketing focus;
–  Senior Leadership structure – costs and effectiveness;
–  Appropriate staffing levels;
–  Terms of employment which reinforce flexibility

Read our blog article on “Marketing Your School – winning hearts and minds

Employment Law Issues & Confidence of Managers

Managers often fail to intervene at an appropriate stage for fear of falling foul of employment law with the result that situations get worse. To encourage managers to address hr issues effectively, we coach them in applying problem solving frameworks and legal principles to issues.  We work on such issues with companies, schools etc.   Our approach is to encourage managers to adopt a fact based approach as that helps them to see solutions more clearly and be more confident about addressing the actual problem/person.

Companies and schools face major challenges in improving standards at the same time as budgets become tighter.   Conversion to an academy may be by choice or not but either way managing the change requires an understanding of the statutory basis, the governance framework and the national terms of employment.  In the case of trusts, academies and free schools, their charitable and corporate status must also be taken into account.

Senior managers want help to be clear about the timescales, reducing elapsed time and minimising the risks including the due diligence process especially when, for example, a school changes its school category or a company needs to contract out services and therefore understand the key steps in the TUPE process and safeguards for the company/school.

Independent Pay Advice

To help Directors and Governing Bodies comply with the requirements to seek appropriate, independent advice, we advise on the options and provide support with implementation if required, for example:

Gender Pay Reporting – Equal Value and Pay Audits

How will you gain added value from the time and effort spent on collating data to comply with the regulations?  Use the opportunity to review the effectiveness of your pay structure including:

  •  Use of market rate supplements to pay market rates without distorting the basic pay structure;
  •  Manage the outliers in the pay structure and prevent the system decaying prematurely;
  •  Manage performance and bonus payment distortions;
  •  Make your pay structure more robust and fit for purpose in the years ahead.

Risk assessments need to be conducted to minimise exposure to pay disparity criticism or claims.  The solution is not necessarily to re-evaluate or introduce job evaluation which is likely to inflate pay costs and not deal with the issues.  We help managers to carry out an equal value audit to identify the real causes of any pay disparity and whether the facts can be objectively justified etc.  Our risk assessments and audit draw upon our experience of reward systems and are informed by a detailed understanding of research into the myths and defects of job evaluation systems.

Pay of Head Teachers

The pay increase for a head teacher – we discuss the service needs, school context and challenges to help the Governors assess:

  • what is an appropriate salary for the overall role required of the Head Teacher;
  • the options to pay head teachers who will be required to lead a second or additional school.  The options differ according to whether the requirement is on a temporary or permanent basis and also may affect the pay of other affected senior teachers.

Reward and Recognition Options

This applies to both companies and schools etc.  Examples are:

  • Using the freedoms that an Academy Trust has to develop an effective reward and recognition approach which reinforces the services needs and values of the school.
  • Whether performance management rather than performance appraisal would be more effective in the organisation’s context.