Recruitment and Employment Consultants

March 2010

Investing in development

Increasing its extensive portfolio of services, HR specialists, JGA, is working with Wynn Rees Consulting to offer businesses across the Hampshire and Dorset region advice on employee development.


At a time when achieving set objectives is vital for an organisation to satisfy customer needs, JGA has established a working relationship with expert facilitator, Wynn Rees (pictured standing on the right of Jane and Neil Gower), to help businesses ensure employees are working effectively as a team towards common goals.

Advising local companies, JGA and Wynn Rees will aid in identifying shared objectives for a group and facilitate through development and training of individual employees, the most efficient ways in which a team can work to meet set targets.

Wynn Rees, said: “Now more than ever businesses must work effectively to meet customer expectations to survive.

“There are huge benefits for organisations investing in the development of employees on a face-to-face basis in the workplace as opposed to sending staff on external training courses. Whether working with a team that requires direction, to groups that already work effectively and strive to be even more efficient, individual employee development produces evidenced and tangible business benefits.”

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, added: “There has never been a more appropriate time to be working with Wynn and offering existing and future clients advice on how teams can work more efficiently.

“In times of recession, employee development has the potential to be a key instrument in short-term survival and a robust platform for success in the future.”

For more information about JGA, please call 01425 619417 or visit www.jgahr.co.uk

X Factor role for JGA

Dorset-based HR consultancy, JGA, is following in the footsteps of X Factor judges Simon, Cheryl, Louis and Dannii, offering a mentoring service to existing and potential clients.


Popular with programmes like ITV1’s top singing contest, JGA has introduced its new service as a result of mentoring becoming increasingly prevalent with many businesses.

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, said: “Over the last few months we have seen an increase in the number of enquiries concerning mentoring.

“It is not a surprise that companies are turning to tailored mentor programmes to improve employee performance. Within the context of the current business climate, the value of mentoring as a development tool has never been higher. With training budgets under pressure and scrutiny for the value they add to an organisation, any development strategy that focuses on delivering fast and sustainable improvement in performance should include mentoring as a means of transferring learning to the job.”

Increasing its already extensive portfolio of services, Director of JGA, Jane Gower, will act as mentor to employees within organisations keen to develop the HR careers of staff members.

Jane, who had a mentor at the start of her career, will offer to work with employees over a sustained period of time on an informal basis, providing support, sharing knowledge and instilling confidence in staff to improve performance.

Jane, added: “I regard the mentor relationship I was fortunate to have at the start of my HR career, as one of the most significant in my professional life. Working with local businesses, I am very much looking forward to building a number of mentoring relationships, which I hope will assist in each and every employee’s development.”

For more information about JGA’s new mentoring service, call 01425 619417 or visit www.jgahr.co.uk


As Portsmouth City Council plan to block staff access to Facebook, Dorset-based HR consultants, JGA, is advising local businesses how best to manage employee use of social networking sites at work.

Whether staff are tweeting on Twitter or poking a friend via Facebook, businesses need to decide whether to ban the use of social forums in the workplace completely, permit limited access during the working day or allow employees to use sites solely for corporate social networking.

Whatever position a company adopts, JGA is recommending businesses establish an appropriate IT policy which clearly reflects its standpoint. To ensure the policy is effective, JGA strongly advise that all guidelines governing the use of social networking sites at work are made clear to staff.

Those employees permitted limited access to social forums should be advised when it is suitable to access the sites and be warned that posting any defamatory statements about their organisation could result in a disciplinary offence.

Employees allowed to use social networking sites to increase awareness of a business, should be made aware of the distinction between corporate social networking, which benefits the organisation and personal use of such sites.

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, said: “With large organisations like Portsmouth City Council making clear its position on the use of social networking sites at work and with a noticeable increase in people using Facebook and Twitter as a means of everyday communication, local businesses must define the use of social forums in the workplace."

“While some businesses may think it important to ban the use of Facebook, others may recognise the potential benefits of using such sites for corporate social networking or allowing limited employee access to help contribute to a work life balance. Whatever a businesses position, a clear policy should be established and clearly communicated to staff for its effective implementation.”

November 2009

In my view - Jane Gower, Director of JGA HR Consulting

Everyone looks forward to retirement, however, calls last month by the Conservative Party to raise the Default Retirement Age (DRA) earlier than anticipated, have left those counting down the years to life without work, in limbo, unsure of the date on which it will no longer be necessary to set the alarm clock for a 9am start.

Under the Conservatives proposal the DRA will rise from 65 to 66 no earlier than 2016 for men and 2020 for women, ten years earlier than current governement plans, which would see a similar rise but in 2026.

While the government has said it will bring forward a review of the retirement age to 2010 as a result of the current debate, it’s vital if there is going to be a change to the law, that this is made quickly, allowing people to effectively plan for their retirement so as they can enjoy valuable leisure time, which so many have spent their working lives striving for.

Similar to any debate, there are always two sides to the story. While on the one hand there are many keen to stop the nine to five and retire, there are equally as many people eager to work beyond retirement. In both instances and in light of the attention the subject has received recently, a decision on whether any change will be made to the DRA will be overdue in a matter of months as people demand a ruling so as best to plan for their future.

For those looking forward to retiring at 65, it’s understandable a rise in the DRA might not necessarily be welcomed. However, there are many people that would relish the opportunity and in the current economic climate, need to work till the proposed age of 66 and beyond to secure their retirement nest egg.

Welcomed or not, a rise in the DRA would benefit those looking to work past 65, whether for financial reasons or because they wanted to continue working. Often in the past the DRA has been seen by employers as a way of managing people out of their jobs at a point when they are still capable in their role. If the retirement age was increased, people could work longer, safe in the knowledge that their employer, when following the correct procedures, is no longer allowed by law to end their contract at 65.

As the government considers a change in view on retirement, it’s also time all employers contemplate a change in opinion when it comes to an aging workforce. With a growing population predicted to have an increasing life expectancy and longer working career, regardless of the DRA, businesses need to cater for older staff through effective HR planning, as opposed to looking for ways to terminate their employment.

Whether considering flexible working for staff leading up to retirement or adapting job roles to suite older employees, business can explore many avenues to suit a more mature workforce.

B&Q is a good example of a business employing older staff, adapting its working procedures to cater for its employees. Yet, it could also be argued Bruce Forsyth is an example of the BBC’s attempts to show its commitment to an all inclusive employment approach.

Whatever the example, there are great benefits for a business employing older staff. With a breadth of knowledge, it’s proved mature workers boost productivity, are in a position to mentor less experienced colleagues in turn reducing training costs and overall create a balanced working environment.

With years spent working, contributing to the economy, the least people now deserve is a quick decision on the DRA so as best to plan for their future.

For advice and information on the Default Retirement Age (DRA), please contact JGA HR Consulting on 01425 619417 or visit www.jgahr.co.uk


New Healthy Working Relationship

Dorset-based HR consultancy, JGA, has announced a new working relationship with occupational health physicians, Dr Elizabeth Hodges, Anton Hodges and Baron.

Occupational health services protect the health, safety and welfare of people throughout their working lives. Already advising businesses on absence management, JGA has called on the expertise of the physicians to provide help and support at all stages of the employee lifecycle, from pre-employment health assessments, ongoing health surveillance during employment, health promotion and sick leave absence assessment.

Dr Elizabeth Hodges, said: “Occupational health is a specialist field and can be costly to those employers that don’t follow the relevant regulations. Working with JGA we hope to complement its HR and health and safety offerings with our expert professional knowledge. The benefits to employers of Occupational Health Screening Services include a healthier, more efficient and productive workforce, compliance with current legislation, preventative measures to reduce employee absence and improve staff morale”.

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, added: “When running a business you are likely to encounter a variety of problems related to health. These may be individual problems, returning an employee to work following illness or injury for example, or broader problems, including stress in the workplace or noise exposures. We continuously strive to improve the service we offer to clients and are therefore delighted to be working with the occupational health specialists”.

For more information about JGA, call 01425 619417or visit www.jgahr.co.uk

Working Together

Dorset-based HR consultancy, JGA, has announced a new working relationship with Frettens Solicitors in Christchurch.

Already advising businesses on best employee management, JGA has called on the expertise of the dedicated employment team at Frettens to support its HR offering with expert legal advice.

As well as updating JGA on the latest developments in employment law, Frettens will help draft employment contracts and handbooks, compromise, directors service and business protection agreements for existing and future clients of JGA. The solicitors will also advise on TUPE transfers.

Kate Fretten, Partner and Head of the Employment Team at Frettens, said: “Employment law is incredibly complex and often costly to those employers who are not aware of the latest developments. Working with JGA we hope to complement its HR offering with our expert legal knowledge, to ensure businesses do not fall foul of employment law legislation.”

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, added: “We continuously strive to improve the service we offer to clients. We are delighted therefore to be working with the employment team at Frettens. Our new working relationship will allow us the opportunity to not only offer HR employee management advice, but support this with the relevant legal documentation and guidance.”

For more information about JGA, call us on 01425 619417.


JGA assures quality with new working relationship

Dorset-based HR specialists, JGA, are working with Mike Townsend Quality Assurance Consultancy to increase its extensive portfolio of services.

JGA has called on the expertise of Mike Townsend to provide guidance to local businesses on good management practice and help companies achieve ISO 9001:2008, the international standard for quality management systems.

Maintained by the International Organisation for Standardisation, ISO 9001:2008 recognises that an organisation is applying formalised processes to achieve business efficiency for its products and services to satisfy customer expectations.

Mike Townsend said: “While not compulsory for companies, ISO 9001:2008 is recognised internationally as the consensus on good quality management practices and is of benefit to any business certified with the standard. Accreditation to ISO 9001:2008 instils customers with confidence in the knowledge that organisations are committed to high standards.”

Director of JGA, Neil Gower, added: “We are delighted to be working with Mike to extend our portfolio of services. Good management practice is fundamental to all businesses seeking continual improvement and together we look forward to advising and helping local companies achieve and benefit from ISO certification.”

For more information about JGA, call 01425 619417 or visit www.jgahr.co.uk


Pandemic Recovery Plan

Every morning it's a similar story - switch on the television, tune in the radio, glance momentarily at the front pages and you're bombarded with the latest figures and statistics on the growing flu pandemic.

It's not just the media creating flu frenzy. Everyone knows someone with swine flu, diagnosed or not. Whether it's a relative, a friend, or a friend of a friend, there's no escaping the rumours of the virus.

Confirmed in the UK in april, swine flu has spread to more than 100 countries around the world. Since arriving on our shores, "catch it, bin it, kill it" has become a familiar mantra and as of last week, the phone number and website for the NHS's National Pandemic Flu Service is close at hand, concluding most news bulletins and dominating pages of national newspapers.

But, how concerned should we be about the virus described as the "modern plague". Should we panic, stay at home and close ourselves off or carry on as usual.

With the NHS's dedicated website crashing after being launced and every single phone in it's call centre ringing off the hook, it appears there is growing concern over the new strain of Influenza A (H1N1)

While there are many suffering from swine flu and an even greater number concerned that they may have the virus, there are also those taking advantage of the pandemic. Benefiting from swine flu, perfectly healthy people are taking time off work, informing management they are suffering from the virus. Safe in the knowledge that bosses are extremely unlikely to knock on the door petrified that they might contract the illness, swine flu 'sickies' are increasing just as fast as the pandemic itself.

Except for the firm contracted by the government to run NHS's advice hotline, it appears swine flu will be detrimental for businesses.

With members of staff suffering from the illness, predicted to be absent from work for seven to ten working days and increase in the number of people taking the swine flu 'sickies', businesses already having to cope with the recession are now resigned to have to manage costly staff shortages and the potential of suppliers not being able to deliver.

To survive swine flu, companies need to put measure in place to ensure a business keeps running. Employers need to develop pandemic recovery plans including establishing contingency strategies allowing employees to work from home remotely upgrading employment policies and procedures on absence, sickness and flexible working and overall vigilant about health measures in the workplace.

If businesses dont't prepare themselves sufficiently we'll not just be bombarded daily with news of the global death rate from the virus, but also the latest figures on the number of companies and organisations ceasing to exist as a result of swine flu.

For more information call 01425 619417

JULY 2009

Restricting Secondary Employment

With the much-publicised introduction this month of a new reform governing MP's second jobs, Jane Gower, Director of Dorset-based HR consultancy,JGA, is advising local businesses how best to manage employees seeking secondary employment.

As the recession puts increasing strain on household budgets, more and more people are looking for second jobs to ease the pressure. Businesses with employees that could potentially seek secondary employment need to be prepared first and foremost to look after their own interest.

A policy restricting employees from undertaking second jobs at companies where employment may be deemed to be incompatible with its own interest needs to be in place and it must be made clear to all employees that they need prior written authorisation of the company before accepting secondary employment. In giving consideration to approval, the businesses must take into account the number of hours worked over both jobs and whether this could cause health, safety and welfare concerns.

Businesses keen to retain staff should have no desire to restrict employees solely to one job. However, it is important to ensure simple policies and procedures are in-place.

June 2009

Press Release - You're hired!

As millions watched Sir Alan's final boardroom verdict on his fifth apprentice, Dorset businesses embarking on the recruitment process are being advised by local HR consultants, JGA, to use personality tests and assessments (psychometric tests) to help find the perfect candidate.

Whether making the difficult decision between two candidates like Sir Alan or sifting through large numbers of applications, the tests help find the right candidates with the ideal mix of abilities and personal qualities.

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, said: "As we've seen from the boardroom scenes in 'The Apprentice', at times a candidate in an interview situation can impress by telling businesses what they want to hear. To cut through rehearsed personas, a psychometric test can be used prior to an interview to enable a company to target questions, finding out where a candidate's key strengths lie and areas which may need more development. Personality assessments can also be used to save time and money on interviewing candidates who won't fit into an already established team."

"For anyone looking to recruit, even Sir Alan, I would recommend using psychometric tests as part of the interview process."

For further information call 01425 619417.

June 2009

May 2009

Press Release - Just put it on expenses?

Amid the humiliating revelations over a trouser press, numerous home improvements, a moat and 'duck island', Dorset-based HR consultancy, JGA, has received a notable increase in the number of enquiries from local businesses keen to avoid 'expensive' expenses mistakes.

With MP allowances dominating headlines, small and medium-sized businesses are turning to JGA for advice and guidance on appropriate policies for expense claims.

Speaking with business owners and managers JGA is helping them review and update company rules to comply with Inland Revenue regulations, clearly defining what can and cannot be claimed.

Director of JGA, Jane Gower, said:"In light of the news agenda over the past two weeks, expenses are at the forefront of public debate. Now, more than ever, businesses need to adopt HR best practice and ensure a clear company policy for allowances is outlined in their staff handbooks. Businesses also need to make clear to staff the serious consequences of fraudulent claims, which in some cases could lead to disciplinary action.

Jane, added: "It is widely acknowledged, as we have been lead to believe has happened in the House of Commons, that some businesses encourage staff to make large expense claims, rather than increasing salaries hugely. On account of the recent revelations I would strongly advise businesses to check all allowance claims comply with Inland Revenue regulations. If during an audit a business is found to exploit the regulations, it will face serious consequences."

For further information call 01425 617417.

May 2009