One of the consequences of both Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic has been a significant squeeze on employment. Many sectors are reporting a shortage of available staff. This has been particularly noticeable in the hospitality and transport spheres. The need for staff has resulted in aggressive recruitment tactics being used by a number of employers. These tactics include approaches to the workforce by competitors to ‘poach’ key staff, the offering of ‘signing on’ bonuses and salary increases beyond the usual for the particular sector.
The use of such tactics can result in potentially disastrous effects for employers. Valuable and essential staff may leave to join a competitor at short notice and in some case without notice at all. In extreme circumstance this can cause a business to close or reduce service until replacements are found.
Other potential risks involve the offering of enhanced terms of employment without a firm agreement of what is required to justify payment. For example the payment of a signing on fee or ‘golden hello’ unless carefully structured may result in the recipient accepting payment and then looking to move on smartly for the next bonus payment.
Employers need to be alive to the changing landscape and to carefully consider their procedures and particularly their terms and conditions of employment. Some areas requiring thought are:-
- If offering a signing on bonus does your offer of employment, and subsequently your terms and conditions of employment, detail the payment and circumstances which may result in the employee requiring to repay the bonus.
- For key employees do you have appropriate periods of notice required for resignation with clear warning about the consequences of failing to comply with the notice period.
- Where appropriate do you have ‘restrictive covenants’ preventing key employees either working for close competitors, using confidential information, seeking to entice customers and other key employees from your business.
These are just a couple of things that employers need to be aware of. At Gilson Gray our Employment Team with be able to work with you and advise what is appropriate for your own particular business and circumstances.