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Small businesses report success for Acas' free online tools

Friday 08 August 2014

New independent research published today has found that Acas' free online tools - designed to help businesses quickly measure and develop themselves, has improved HR policies in small businesses across the country.

The research shows that Acas online tools - Acas Model Workplace and Acas Learning OnLine - are highly valued amongst users and are helping small businesses develop workplace policies, follow best practice, and get the best out of their people. Over half of those questioned about Model Workplace and nearly a third for Learning OnLine came from small businesses.

Results show that there are long-term workplace benefits to businesses from using Acas' free tools:

  • on Acas Model Workplace: over eight in 10 (88%) have reviewed and over seven in 10 (73%) have revised one or more policy or procedure;
  • similarly, on Learning OnLine: nearly half (46%) have reviewed one or more policy or procedure and more than a third (38%) have reviewed an area of practice from issues addressed in the learning modules.

Stewart Gee, Head of Information and Guidance, said:

"This report shows that our free online services are highly valued by those already using them. For smaller businesses that don't necessarily have an in-house HR function, Model workplace is a great way to measure yourself quickly and see if your workplace comes up to scratch.

"Acas also offers a range of training and resources with Learning OnLine so that businesses can take that next step to make a practical and tangible difference.

"Both services cost businesses nothing to use but could save time, money and stress by offering preventative guidance on how workplace improvements could be made."

"We know that these tools have proved particularly popular among smaller businesses."

Around nine in ten users were pleased with the tools they had used and more than eight in ten would recommend them to someone else.

You can rate your business on the Acas Model Workplace tool and see how you can benefit from the range of Acas Learning OnLine resources on the Acas website.

Notes for editors

  1. Acas commissioned HOST Policy Research (HOST) to conduct an evaluation of both services. Conducted between September 2013 and March 2014, the two separate evaluations comprised a combination of e-survey and telephone survey (CATI and CAWI) with a sample of 1,156 registered users of the Model Workplace and a sample of 1,889 registered users and 1,330 non-users of Acas e-learning. For both evaluations, 10 qualitative telephone follow up interviews with users were conducted. You can find the full evaluation report at Research.
  2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. We aim to improve organisations and working life through better employment relations. We help with employment relations by supplying up-to-date information, independent advice and high quality training, and working with employers and employees to solve problems and improve performance. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  3. Acas Model Workplace - an online rating system that helps businesses measure how good they are at people management - covers a range of areas from recruitment to managing performance.
  4. Acas Learning OnLine (e-learning) - an online training resource with a range of free courses and materials for individuals and small businesses.
  5. Over nine in ten (92%) said they were pleased with Learning Online and nearly nine in ten (89%) said they were happy with the Model Workplace tool and more than eight in ten would recommend them. Nearly nine in ten (89%) would recommend Learning OnLine to someone else and over eight in ten (83%) would recommend Model workplace.
  6. Customers of the tools have gone on to undertake a range of actions as a result of their use. For example, for Acas Model Workplace users, 88% have reviewed one or more policy or procedure, and 73% have revised one or more policy or procedure. Similarly, on Learning OnLine 46% have reviewed one or more policy or procedure and 38% have reviewed an area of practice relating to the issues addressed in the e-learning modules.
  7. Customers of both tools may go on to use, or plan to use, other Acas services such as the website and guidance products as a result of using the tools. For more information about Acas training services, check out Training.
  8. The Acas helpline - 0300 123 1100 - is available from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday and from 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. Advice is free and confidential so callers do not have to give their names. Research commissioned by Acas and available at Acas Helpline, found over nine out of ten employers (96 per cent) who call the Acas helpline would recommend it to a colleague.
  9. For media enquiries or interview requests please contact Sophia Said on 0207 210 3680. For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.