This is a conversation between Amy Hawkes, training and content designer and Rich Jones, senior adviser about how Acas can provide tailored support for your business.
Amy Hawkes: Now there may be some big changes to the way we work in the future. Recently, we’ve seen a huge shift to home working, and also an increased awareness of mental health. Have you thought about how future changes to the way we work will be developed and implemented in your workplace? Have you thought about consulting with those who will be affected by those changes, and what the benefits are to building a shared approach to managing change?
Now, if you are, this is something our senior advisers can help you with. So without further delay, I'd like to welcome Rich Jones, who has worked alongside organisations large and small, and in all sectors of the economy for many years. In particular, you may have heard his name in relation to work he did a few years ago with Holland East Yorkshire hospitals NHS Trust, but more on that later.
Hi, Rich. Thank you for joining us today.
Rich Jones: Hi, Amy. Thanks for having me.
Amy: Should we just start with what is a senior adviser, and when may an organisation need our help?
Rich: Yeah, sure. Well, a senior adviser, as the name suggests, is a senior member of Acas staff who can work alongside an organisation and its staff representatives to offer tailored support for their workplace. We can help support a number of challenges in the workplace. So, for example, redundancies, changing terms and conditions, and perhaps bullying and harassment seem to have been fairly common themes recently. We can help plan practical solutions for organisations. And it's really about helping employers and employees to jointly solve problems in the workplace, which hopefully brings lasting improvements in employment relations and productivity.
Amy: So you mentioned that we offer tailored support. So what are the different types of support that we can offer?
Rich: OK, well, we've often been described as a ‘cradle to grave’ employment relations service, which might not sound very nice, but it does actually quite well describe what we do, because we start by offering advice to employers via our helpline or on the website, and, and advice to employees as well through that helpline. And that's all free. And we end by helping parties that are in dispute resolve their differences, either through conciliation, or mediation services, again, most of which is free. But in between, we've got a lot of other services which we can use to help employers. And that's really what I want to focus on today.
So, for example, we can offer in-depth advice to employers. The helpline can offer advice on more common issues, but more difficult, complex areas, we sometimes need to spend a bit more time with an employer and perhaps do some research to ensure they get the answers they need.
We can work with employers and their representatives to diagnose problems, so they can tackle the real problem, not the perceived ones. And then work alongside the organisation and their representatives to help them implement changes.
And then at the end, perhaps we can offer some ongoing support such as training or other services if the employer so wishes.
Many of the issues that we commonly assist with involve helping organisations manage organisational change. So for example, we could do things like run workshops or focus groups to find out what the issues are, and maybe find some suggestions for improvement.
We can run employee surveys and help to set up employee forums to improve employee engagement.
And we can bring managers and staff representatives together to jointly solve problems.
We can also help to develop policies and procedures to support your organisation in the long term, ensuring that you're following employment law and best practice.
[Slide on screen listing the ways Acas can help]
- in-depth advice
- build effective working relationships
- set up consultation
- design and deliver training
- plan practical lasting solutions
- run employee surveys
- use mediation
- develop policies and procedures
[Caption: To speak to an Acas adviser, visit www.acas.org.uk/tailored-support-for-your-workplace]