Learn how HR professionals can uphold individuals’ right to access personal data, including legal knowledge, clear procedures, identity verification, and timely responses.
Uncover the contrasts between consultancy and employment contracts through a comprehensive analysis. Learn about the distinct features, advantages, and nuances that define these contract types.
A well-structured employment contract forms the bedrock of a harmonious employer-employee connection. The Employment Act No. 11 of 2007 in Kenya delineates the rights, obligations, and varied contract types for both parties. These contracts encompass essential details like responsibilities, compensation, and benefits, acting as a blueprint to avoid disputes and ensure a productive working partnership. Delve into the nuances of contract types, crucial clauses, and factors influencing contract selection for a well-informed employment landscape.
Conducting a HR and employment law Audit is like giving your organization a thorough check-up to ensure it’s healthy, efficient, and compliant with workplace laws and regulations. Just as regular car service and routine maintenance help catch and prevent mechanical issues, an Audit helps your company identify potential problems in areas like employee policies, procedures, and practices.
Human Resource Professionals have always been concerned about managing mental health in the workplace. Some workers find it difficult to maintain their mental health, which has led to a decline in staff morale and decreased productivity. Additionally, more workers are battling substance usage. This raises the issue of how the HR department can assist staff members who are experiencing mental health issues.
- Promote Company-Wide Mental Health Resources
Chances are your company has mental health programs available but many employees are not aware. For example, most insurance plans offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). EAPs are voluntary, work-based programs that offer mental health assessments, short-term counseling opportunities, referrals to specialists, and follow-up services to employees. They serve as the first place an employee can go if they need help.
Does your company’s insurance plan cover mental health? If so, to what extent?
- Host Mental Health Support Training
As HR professionals, you are experts at understanding workplace dynamics as it relates to mental health. However, you don’t interact with your staff every day. To lessen stigma and teach them how to access the appropriate mental health resources, it is crucial that managers and staff members complete mental health training. Your department can engage an external consultant or specialist, organize internal training sessions, or enroll staff in online training courses. There are still many misconceptions around mental health. By giving employees training, you may assist them understand what the problem is and how to get help before it gets worse.
- Provide a Healthy Work/Life Balance
Long-term stress has been demonstrated to have significant negative consequences on people’s physical and mental health. An increased risk of anxiety, depression, mood disorders, substance abuse, occupational accidents, and interpersonal conflict between co-workers can result from professional burnout. When experienced simultaneously, not getting enough time off from work can be particularly harmful to mental health.
It is impossible to overstate how important work-life balance is. The consequences affect not only you but also people close to you. People you engage with at work and outside of it will value the opportunity to do so when you are at your best. Your personal connections will improve as a result of the devoted concentration once work isn’t permitted to consume your free time. On the other hand, maintaining a healthy personal life helps lessen unplanned interruptions at work, increasing productivity.
Prioritize Mental Health
HR departments are the first places employees go if they need assistance. But, it’s also important to proactively communicate all modes of mental health support. Start off by reviewing your company’s health insurance coverage to ensure that mental health is covered and then begin promoting these services to your employees.
Most importantly, offer an open and friendly HR environment where employees feel safe discussing their concerns or issues.
SUPPORTIVE WORKPLACE CULTURE
A supportive workplace culture is a culture that prioritizes its employees’ well-being and encourages a sense of belonging and teamwork. It fosters employees who feel valued, respected, and encouraged to do their best work. Every firm needs a positive company culture since it inspires workers to put in their best effort. When employees are inspired, they may put in more effort and give their best effort.
Did you know that companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors in earnings per share? That’s because engaged employees are more productive, creative, and committed to the success of the organization. A key factor in employee engagement is a positive workplace culture, which fosters a sense of community, purpose, and mutual support among employees.
Elements/characteristics of a supportive workplace culture
A supportive workplace culture is characterized by
- Intentional focus on boosting morale and improving company culture. It takes intentional efforts from everyone within the organization. Leaders are responsible for setting the tone and making the culture a priority.
- Effective and clear communication both from the employer and employee. Communication should be clear, courteous and proactive. Nothing is more frustrating for an employee than an ambiguous job expectation. A positive workplace culture values clear and open communication among employees, and between employees and the management.
- Employees receive appreciation for their efforts and successes and feel appreciated and valued for their contributions and ideas. Recognizing good work is an important morale booster and helps encourage employee engagement.
- An environment that promotes honest and open communication, where employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions, concerns, and criticism with their peers and superiors.
- In order to accomplish shared goals and objectives, employees are urged to cooperate and work as a team.
- The company provides training and development opportunities, mentorship, and other tools to promote the growth and development of its personnel. Best employees want more than to just punch a time clock each day for a paycheck. They want a c hance to better themselves and grow on their job. Companies that create a great work environment are often made up of leaders who truly value their employees and are committed to helping them grow personally and professionally.
Advantages of a supportive workplace culture
Creating a supportive workplace culture is important for the well-being of employees and the success of the organization. It can lead to a range of benefits, including improved employee retention, increased productivity, and better business outcomes. A supportive workplace culture can bring numerous advantages for both employees and the organization as a whole. Some of the notable advantages are
- It may result in higher levels of productivity, improved job performance, and job satisfaction. Increased employee engagement and motivation makes them feel feel appreciated, respected, and supported.
- When employees feel supported and valued by their organization, they are less likely to leave for other opportunities. This can lead to improved retention rates and reduce employee’s turnover, and creates a more stable workforce.
- A supportive workplace culture fosters a sense of community and teamwork, because it encourages open communication, mutual respect, and collaboration, which can lead to better collaboration and communication among employees, and improved team performance. This in turn lead to better teamwork and a more cohesive and productive work environment
- When employees feel supported and empowered to take risks and think creatively, they are more likely to come up with new and innovative ideas. This leads to improved products and services, and a more competitive edge for the organization.
- A supportive workplace culture can help reduce stress and promote mental health and well-being among employees. This leads to a happier and healthier workforce, and ultimately, improved performance, increased productivity and better business outcomes.
- A supportive workplace culture can help to attract top talent and improve an organization’s reputation as an employer of choice.
- When employees feel valued and supported, they are more likely to provide better customer service, which can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
How to improve workplace culture
All stakeholders must commit to the continual process of workplace culture reform and work together to make it better. Organizations can establish a welcoming and encouraging work atmosphere that encourages participation, innovation, and productivity by using these methods.
- Encourage open communication between employees and leadership to create an environment where people can voice their concerns, share ideas, and provide feedback. An important measure of the heart and soul of company’s organizational culture is the way its people communicate with each other. It’s not the content of the communication that are important, but the way leaders and team choose to communicate.
- Leadership must model the behaviors and values that they want to see in the workplace. This can help establish trust, respect, and integrity within the organization.
- Give employees autonomy and decision-making power to create a sense of ownership and accountability. This can help increase engagement, motivation, and job satisfaction. Rather than micromanaging the team ie setting goals for instead of with them, but by setting the tone and expectations for how the teams function, leaders can build a great team that encourages autonomy. Teams don’t need to be told what to do, they need guidance. Giving your team this kind of self-governing power is one of the keys to building a culture of teamwork and contribution.
- Offer opportunities for employees to learn and develop their skills and careers within the organization. This can help increase employee loyalty and reduce turnover rates.
- Recognize and reward employees for their hard work, accomplishments, and contributions to the organization. Appreciation is feeling valued for one’s unique point of view, attitude, talent and contribution, while recognition is the action of showing appreciation. This can help increase morale, motivation, and job satisfaction.
- Provide a safe and healthy workplace environment that promotes well-being, respect, and inclusion. This can help reduce stress and mental health issues among employees.
- Establish a feedback mechanism to monitor and assess the effectiveness of workplace culture improvement efforts. This can help identify areas for improvement and provide insights into the organization’s culture.
In conclusion, in today’s job market, employers must offer more than just high pay and benefits to attract top talent. Modern-day job seekers want companies with a great work environment that makes showing up each day enjoyable. Not only does a positive workplace culture help attract and retain employees, it also has a direct impact on a company’s success.
To create a positive workplace culture, businesses should focus on fostering open communication, setting a positive example, empowering employees, providing opportunities for advancement, recognizing and rewarding success, fostering a welcoming work environment, and implementing a feedback mechanism. By investing in a supportive workplace culture, organizations can promote a more positive and productive work environment and, as a result, achieve stronger financial results.
Employees should receive feedback more often about what they are doing right, than what they are doing wrong. Positive behaviors can be strengthened by being emphasized, which helps to reduce undesirable behavior patterns. If the goal is to fulfill corporate objectives, work environments must be encouraging and nurturing because employees are always expected to perform more with less. Here are some ways employers can show appreciation:
1. Touch base early and often
While regularly taking time to say hello to employees and check in with them might seem like an unnecessary drain on your productivity, these interactions are points of connection for your employees (and for you). They prevent your staff from feeling invisible. A colleague mentioned that simply hearing “Good morning” or “How are you?” from his department manager would have been as meaningful as formal recognition.
2. Give balanced feedback
Employees want to know both what they’re doing well and where they can improve. Feedback to employees is information regarding their performance and also the information they can act on. Feedback must be shared in a manner that is understandable to them and is perceived by them as being provided in a highly respectful manner. Sharing feedback involves skills in effective listening, verbal and non-verbal communication, and working in multicultural environments. You should tailor your levels of encouragement and criticism to each individual, as everyone will react differently.
3. Address growth opportunities
Employees want to know what the future holds for their careers. When managers take time to explicitly discuss growth potential or provide opportunities and “stretch” assignments, employees interpret it as evidence that they’re valued. Conversely, when managers neglect to address people’s development, employees take it as a sign that they are not.
4. Make it a habit
Simply taking a few minutes to tell your employee specifically what you value about their contributions can have a tremendous impact. The range of options is almost limitless. The idea isn’t to create an automatic system for thanking employees, however, it’s more about permitting yourself to express your appreciation in a way that feels natural to you.
The best part of appreciation is that it’s free and doesn’t consume a lot of time. Anyone at any level can offer appreciation. It can be directed toward an employee, a colleague, or a boss. But when leaders get involved in the effort, a culture of appreciation spreads more quickly. Start by expressing more gratitude to those around you and see what happens. You might be surprised at what a big difference the little things can make.
A commentary on Civil Appeal No. 656 Of 2022 The National Social Security Fund Board Of Trustees Versus Kenya Tea Growers Association & 14 Others.
On 3rd February 2023, the Court of Appeal set aside a judgement delivered on 19th September 2022 by a 3-judge bench of the Employment and Labour Relations Court [“the ELRC Bench”], declaring the National Social Security Act 2013 [“NSSF Act 2013”] unconstitutional.
The effect of the judgement is to make the NSSF Act 2013 the operative law with immediate effect. The Act has certain salient provisions that rattle the status quo, hence the great public interest it has aroused.
Background of the matter:
The National Social Security Fund Act No. 45 of 2013 was assented to by the President of the Republic of Kenya on 24th December 2013 and came into force on 10th January 2014.
Following its enactment, five petitions were filed to challenge its constitutionality. 3 out of the 5 five consolidated Petitions were initially filed at the Constitutional and Human Rights Division of the High Court at Nairobi, but the High Court transferred them to the ELRC.
On 5th August 2014, Petitions 34, 35, 38, 49 and 50, were consolidated with Petition 35 being the lead file
Issues canvassed at the ELRC
The consolidated petitions before the ELRC contended that:
- That the enactment of the National Social Security Act No. 45 of 2013 (NSSF Act) in its entirety violated the Constitution of Kenya; and
- In the alternative, some of the provisions of the new Act contravened the Constitution and the Competition Act.
On 19th September 2022, the ELRC found the National Social Security Act 2013 to be unconstitutional. The Court specifically found that the Act dealt with finance matters affecting county governments; therefore, the Senate ought to have been involved in its enactment. The Court went further to impugn specific provisions in the new Act as being unconstitutional.
At the Court of Appeal
Aggrieved by the decision, The National Social Security Fund Board of Trustees appealed to the Court of Appeal. It raised, among others, issues on the jurisdiction of the ELRC to entertain the matter. It also faulted the ELRC bench for failing to find that the disputes pleaded in the petitions did not relate to an existing employee-employer relationship. A similar challenge was raised by the Cabinet Secretary for Labour, Social Security and Services, The Competition Authority and the Attorney General in their Cross-Appeal dated 31st October 2022. To them, determining the constitutionality of an Act of Parliament is a preserve of the High Court under Article 165 (3) (d) (i) of the Constitution. The Court of Appeal held that the ELRC bench lacked jurisdiction and set aside the judgment of the ELRC delivered on 19th September 2022 in its entirety.
The Court of Appeal addressed yet another issue: whether the enactment of the NSSF Act 2013 required the participation of the Senate as provided under Article 110 of the Constitution. A Bill not concerning county government is considered only in the National Assembly. A Bill concerning county government may originate in the National Assembly or the Senate and is passed by both houses. The critical question was whether the Bill leading to the enactment of the NSSF Act 2013 was a Bill concerning county government as “a Bill containing provisions affecting the functions and powers of the county governments.”
The Court of Appeal found that the ELRC bench erred by holding the concurrence of the Senate, and the National Assembly was required to enact the legislation.
Implications of the NSSF Act 2013
The following are some of the implications of the NSSF Act 2013:
- Under Section 18 (1) there is established both the Provident Fund and Pension Fund. The pension fund is mandatory and will cover all workers in the formal economy. The Provident Fund is voluntary, and it will cover the self-employed. The pension fund will pay members monthly pensions, while the Provident Fund will now replace the old provident Fund and make lump sum payments.
- Section 18(3) requires members of the Provident Fund to migrate to Pension Fund subject to meeting the eligibility criteria for membership except voluntary members.
- Section 18(4) makes it mandatory for “all persons” including employers to be pension fund members.
- Section 19(2) has created a link between registration with the Fund and access to other government services. The requirement is that; (2) Any person who is registerable as an employer under this section shall produce proof of registration with the scheme as a precondition for dealing with or accessing public services.
- Section 20(1): The rates of contribution to the new Pension Fund will be at 12% of the pensionable earnings (gross earnings) split as follows:-
- Employer – 6%
- Employee – 6%
There will be a gradual increment in the first five years of the commencement of the New Act as per the third schedule.
- Under Section 23: The Self Employed Persons who are Members of the Provident Fund will pay Kshs. 200/= as the minimum amount of voluntary contribution to the Fund. The minimum aggregate contribution shall be Kshs. 4,800/= annually.
- Section 27 provides for charging of interest on late payment. Section 24(2) (d) and (4) states in mandatory terms that all interests charged should be credited into the individual member account.
- Section 35(4) gives the Board absolute power to decline to pay or vary payment to a nominated beneficiary.
Human Resource outsourcing includes engaging the services of a professional consulting company to handle all your end-to-end Human Resource requirements. It can be done over a short or extended period of time. Different HR companies offer different levels of expertise. Some companies mainly focus on outsourced Human Resource admin tasks such as payroll and documentation while others have specialized in a more holistic approach and will offer a wider range of services such as daily Human Resource support, compliance, proper record keeping, performance management, development and implementation of Human Resource policies.
Many business owners don’t entirely understand what HR outsourcing actually involves. For businesses struggling with issues that are more complex than your average day-to-day Human Resource tasks, a more comprehensive solution is required. A true strategic approach to outsourcing involves partnering with a HR firm to identify your business needs, audit your current HR current practices, and then develop a HR implementation plan based on the gaps identified. Outsourcing arrangements usually involve this Human Resource professional working on a part-time basis, although full-time hours may be negotiated either on-site or remotely from their office.
Why consider Human Resource Outsourcing?
- Recurring compliance issues
- Difficulties with attraction and retention e.g. unable to find the right people to fill certain job roles
- Employee behaviour problems
- Declining employee performance
The complexity of your needs and the size, industry and geography of your business will input into determining whether on-site or remote outsourcing is most suitable for your business. Remote outsourcing is generally an effective solution for smaller businesses who have less frequent HR requirements. The HR professional will be available for phone/emails to provide advice and discuss work to be completed. On-site outsourcing is often needed for larger businesses with ongoing and complex needs. This type of arrangement allows for a dedicated and objective HR professional to become ‘a part of your team.’
In conclusion, HR outsourcing helps CEOs and business owners achieve a strategic approach to their HR needs. HR Outsourcing gives you flexible access to professionals who want to partner with your business to deliver holistic solutions.
To request a FREE consultation meeting or a call, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘HR Outsourcing Services’