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Using recruitment agencies – is this always a good thing?

Recruiting staff

Recruiting staff

When recruiting for new staff it is always important to look closely at the position that you are recruiting for and how skilled or detailed in experience you need this person to be. The costs of recruiting can be high whatever method you use but whereas when using a recruitment agency they are able to take the weight off you for the recruitment process which can be very costly and timely if you are doing it yourself.


A recruitment agency has access to a network of professional CV’s and as they do this on a daily basis and can access candidates faster and easier than placing an advert for example. It’s not always a cost effective way of recruiting though as recruitment fees can be quite high and you need to be able to balance whether the cost of paying a recruitment agency is more than you doing the recruitment in house.


Companies tend to use recruitment agencies for more specialised positions or senior positions where it is useful for an outside person to interview that candidate first and go through all the checks, discuss the vacancy position with them and assess their suitability and interest in the position. For an employer apart from initially giving a brief to a recruitment company and agreeing a fee for the placing of any candidate, the recruitment company will then do the rest until they find you candidates and it is time for you to interview the people you pick.


It is crucial that for any business, that you look at the vacancy in which you want to recruit for and establish the process and whether you have people within your company that can do this as part of their role or whether it will fall on your shoulders. Recruitment agencies are very good at taking that away from employers and if it comes down to running a business and recruiting staff, then running the business must always come first and it is better to accept the costs and accept the help from the recruitment agency.


Is it always a good thing using a recruitment agency? – I think the answer to this is depending on the circumstances of workload, your business and what position you are recruiting for. If you are recruiting for a general position eg: office administrator then I think you would be just as quick and cheaper in terms of not paying a recruitment fee by placing an advert online or in your local paper or local university etc and seeing what comes from that first.

Right to request flexible working – what does it mean?

From 1st July 2014, the government extended the right to request flexible working arrangements to all employees.  Given that there are currently over 1.3 million small businesses in the UK, most of which employ between 5 – 250 staff, this will have a significant impact on the small business owner.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working provides employees with the opportunity to organise their working day or week around their personal life. This means employees, can if agreed with their employers; choose less conventional working arrangements including compressed hours, 4-day weeks, working from home, and job shares. The new law entitles any employee with 26 weeks’ service with an employer the right to ask for more flexible work options. Previously only employees with young children or similar caring responsibilities reserved the right to request flexible working, with effect from 1st July 2014; this right is now extended to all workers.

There is growing demand in the workplace for flexible working from both men and women

There is growing demand in the workplace for flexible working from both men and women

What does flexible working mean for your business?

The right to request flexible working applies to all employees regardless of the size  of the organization. Small businesses can choose to view this in one of two ways; the change could have a significantly negatively impact on the business where the employer relies on all staff to be in the office to support to day to day running of the business. In such cases, the business might struggle to offer more flexibility in the way that its employees work

For other businesses, they may see this as way of retaining and attracting good staff. This is becoming of increasing significance as the job market starts to gather momentum and staff in most sectors as finding more job openings with other organizations. It is worth  noting that a number of small businesses however do have informal arrangements in place. A very common example is where the employee stays to work late during peak times of business activity but is able to come in late or have time off during quieter times where for instance employees might be required to work late.

So is flexible working really a bad thing for small business?

It depends on which of the views you chose to take. For some if for example, they are able to offer home working to some of their staff, they are more likely to remain loyal to the organization in times of austerity when the business is not able to offer pay benefits. There are number of ways  that small businesses can and do offer flexibility. Examples are early Friday finish, late start following  a late finish the previous day and occasional home working.  Good will on both sides goes a long way to ensuring a harmonious working environment for all.

Even where employees request flexible arrangements there is no obligation on the employer to grant the request. The typical types of reasons that are given for refusal include,

·         Impact of the business in terms of customer demands

  • ·         Inability to reorganise the workload to accommodate the request
  • ·         Impact of the over business performance.


 A word of caution however, business that refuse to grant flexible working must ensure that there are fair and transparent reasons for doing so. They must also ensure that they are fair and consistent in the way that requests are granted or refused. For example, an employer who grants flexible working to their female staff but not to their male could be seen to be discriminating against its male staff     

To mark the introduction of the legislation, conciliation service ACAS has published a code of practice to give employers advice about considering flexible working requests. Currently, requests have to be dealt with within three-months, and they can only be rejected if they meet one of eight specific criteria. ACAS chairman Brendan Barber said: “We hope the code will help employers handle flexible working requests in a reasonable manner, and which will fit employees’ individual circumstances.”

7 Things To Consider Following an Employee Resignation

employee resignation impact on SMEs

employee resignation impact on SMEs






An employee resignation takes place when an employee puts in writing their wish to resign from your company. In order to complete the process, the employer should reply the employee resignation letter by sending confirmation which includes last day of service, confirmation of any outstanding leave Once these steps have taken place, the employee resignation is in place.

An employee resignation can have quite a big impact on the company. The consequences of employee resignation could include:

  • Loss of customers who are used to working with that particular employee
  • Loss of business critical information.
  • Drop in productivity if it takes a while to replace the person leaving
  • Loss of knowledge and experience

Whilst it is not always possible to prevent resignations in the workplace, it is possible to seek ways of minimising the effect on your business. Here are some of the steps a company should take following an employee resignation.


Employee resignation checklist

Having an employee resignation checklist with all the key information that you require before the employee leaves your employment is a good place to start. It will help minimise the impact on your company following an employee resignation.

A typical employee resignation checklist should contain certain information such as:

  1. Making sure handover notes have been drafted
  2. Details of where the person who is resigning is going to
  3. Confirmation of their home address and contact details, in the event that you need to get in touch with them once they have left
  4. Confirmation that they have handed over all work equipment such as laptops, mobile phones, keys
  5. A reminder to change password access to sensitive information held on company computers or customer databases. This is of particular importance if the employee has resigned from the company under less that happy circumstances
  6. Making sure arrangements are in place to reclaim any loan payments such as season ticket loans
  7. Have arrangements for informing customers and other employees about the persons departure. It is also helpful to inform customers who their new contact will be. A lot of companies often forget to do  so, which can lead to disengagement of customers who phone up to speak with the employee only to find that they have left

In addition to the above, there are also legal obligations in relation to payroll and notice periods which must be adhered to.

You can view our Sample Employee Resignation Checklist which will help make sure you ask all the right questions and are able to recover quickly from an employee resigning.

If you have decided to replace the person leaving it is best to start work on the advertisement before they leave. You may also find it helpful to carry out an exit in interview with the employee  who has resigned as it may provide you with valuable information which can help you get a better understanding of what  might attract someone to the job.

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