Blog, news and events

The Spark Company Blog, including: HR profession and industry insights, Company news, events, HR myths, CEO challenges, and more...

How to Handle Lay-Offs – Twitter vs Stripe

How to Handle Lay-Offs – Twitter vs Stripe

Blog Change and Transformation Employment Issues Leadership and Teamwork People Strategy and Execution

Is there ever a ‘good way’ to tell people they no longer have a job? Well, Twitter and Stripe have recently had to grapple with this challenge, with other companies, such as Meta, following swiftly behind.

Consider the stark contrast between Twitter and Stripe. One seemingly rushed, chaotic and without thought for their employees, the other with clarity, urgency and empathy. We discuss five lessons for leaders on lay-offs & redundancies from this tale of two lay-offs.

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Cost of Living Crisis: What’s a CEO to do?

Cost of Living Crisis: What’s a CEO to do?

Blog Employment Issues Leadership and Teamwork Workplace Culture

Many businesses are now under extreme financial pressure, as the price of energy bills, goods and services continues to rocket. But that’s not all, CEOs will also be deeply concerned about how their people will survive the coming months.

The UK cost of living crisis inevitably blurs the boundaries between home and work ‘problems’. The burden of everything being too expensive, weighing heavily on personal lives, work lives and mental health. If you understand what’s likely to happen in your business, it will help you design the right support for your team…

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HR myths busted: “Cost of living support – all staff, must be treated the same”

HR myths busted: “Cost of living support – all staff, must be treated the same”

Blog Employment Issues Workplace Culture

The cost-of-living crisis will not impact all your people equally. Higher earners will be better insulated to survive. How do you, as a CEO, implement support that helps the people that need it, without ostracising the people that don’t? How do you balance equality with equity and ‘doing the right thing.’

What is the difference between treating people equally and treating people fairly?

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State Funeral Bank Holiday – what are my obligations as an employer and what does this mean for my team?

State Funeral Bank Holiday – what are my obligations as an employer and what does this mean for my team?

Blog Employment Issues Leadership and Teamwork

Business owners, leaders and managers have only a few days to decide how to manage the additional bank holiday.

We’ve pulled together a set of FAQs to help you manage the additional bank holiday, along with some sensible suggestions for any tricky situations that might arise.

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How to Lead Hybrid Teams

How to Lead Hybrid Teams

Blog Leadership and Teamwork Workplace Culture

Lots of office workers have now been instructed to return for at least some of the week. with hybrid working, well working.

The aftermath of the pandemic has left a huge swathe of organisations with fragile, fractured or ‘not quite figured out yet’ working environments.

Leaders need to be clear and visible and employees need to understand how their work fits into big picture company objectives. We discuss five practical steps to bring successful hybrid working into any organisation.

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Cut through to your customers: Use HR Business Partners to sharpen your competitive edge

Cut through to your customers: Use HR Business Partners to sharpen your competitive edge

Blog Leadership and Teamwork People Strategy and Execution

Business partners are strategic thinkers, who nurture talent and get things done. In HR they can improve people management and help you create a competitive edge for your business. HRBPs see through internal teams, to focus on bigger business goals, helping create better synergy between everyday work and big-picture company ambitions.

Business partnering was designed by Dave Ulrich almost 30 years ago, to help join up organisational strategy, workplace culture and business objectives. This proven model delivers better commercial results.

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We’re a Finalist in the Wales HR Awards 2022

We’re a Finalist in the Wales HR Awards 2022

Blog News and Events

We are delighted to announce that we’ve been named a Finalist in the Wales HR Awards 2022.

Andrew Knight, Principal Consultant and Founder said: “I’m thrilled that The Spark Company has been shortlisted as HR Consultancy of The Year.

Our nominations wouldn’t be possible without the generous feedback of our amazing clients and the incredible video testimonials they’ve shared.”

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HR myths busted: “Formal annual appraisals are more important than informal check-ins”

HR myths busted: “Formal annual appraisals are more important than informal check-ins”

Blog Employment Issues Leadership and Teamwork People Strategy and Execution

Too many businesses conduct annual reviews in a way that is overly formal, creating unnecessary paperwork and ticking a box, without really getting to the heart of the employee’s performance.

The key to managing performance is open and transparent conversations, where the employee feels in control of their own destiny. Both employer and employee know what’s expected of them, what they’re great at, and where they need support. It’s not rocket science.

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Does your HR team make things easier or are they getting in the way?

Does your HR team make things easier or are they getting in the way?

Blog Change and Transformation People Strategy and Execution Workplace Culture

HR teams have done an outstanding job during the Coronavirus Pandemic; from holiday pay and recruitment challenges through to furlough, your HR team made things happen for you.

Emergencies aside, a busy HR team often gets bogged down with no time to see the big picture. It doesn’t have to be this way! I believe there’s a better way to ‘do HR’ and it doesn’t involve making things harder for managers or ourselves.

Changes to the way you work and how you’re structured could revolutionise the capacity of your HR team and the value they bring to your business.

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We’re a Finalist in the British HR Awards 2022

We’re a Finalist in the British HR Awards 2022

Blog News and Events

We are delighted to announce that we’ve been named a Finalist in the British HR Awards 2022.

Andrew Knight, Principal Consultant and Founder said: “I’m delighted that The Spark Company has been shortlisted in two categories and feel privileged to be considered alongside so many other awesome finalists.

This wouldn’t be possible without the support of our amazing clients and the incredible testimonials they’ve shared.”

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The Company Culture Blindspot

The Company Culture Blindspot

Blog Leadership and Teamwork People Strategy and Execution Workplace Culture

Having a strong workplace culture can be a lifeline in times of pressure or stress. Internal strains aside, whatever’s happening in the world will have an impact on your workforce. Ultimately, a working environment that feels psychologically safe is important.

Understanding that culture change is key in transforming an underperforming business is not an alien concept to many leaders. Most leaders understand the necessity of good workplace culture. The trouble is that even though we know what it means, it can still be hard to recognise what’s happening in our own organisations.

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10 proactive things leaders can do now to influence company culture

10 proactive things leaders can do now to influence company culture

Blog Leadership and Teamwork People Strategy and Execution Workplace Culture

It is challenging, but possible, to assess your culture from the inside. There are lots of tools available to assess culture and there are simple things you could try and implement straight away to make your place a better place.

Here’s 10 pragmatic and practical ideas that leaders can action now at organisation, team and individual level to improve company culture.

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Help! I need to resolve a complex grievance without bias or prejudice. It’s time to bring in an expert.

Help! I need to resolve a complex grievance without bias or prejudice. It’s time to bring in an expert.

Blog Employment Issues Workplace Culture

A well-managed grievance process can help you stop an employment tribunal claim in its tracks. Initially you may have tried to solve a grievance yourself. Perhaps it started as an informal complaint or discussion which then escalated to something more significant. Once a formal grievance has been made then it may become impossible to deal with internally. Sometimes the only option is to bring in an independent HR consultant. Why? Well, impartiality is one of the most important considerations when conducting a grievance process.

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HR myths busted: “You can ‘Lift and Shift’ an organisational structure from one business to another”

HR myths busted: “You can ‘Lift and Shift’ an organisational structure from one business to another”

Blog Change and Transformation Employment Issues

If you’re looking to make a change, it can be tempting to try and transplant or improve upon an example that has worked brilliantly for another organisation. Amazing examples that get a mention on a podcast, or in a book can be thought-provoking and provide ideas but ‘lifting and shifting’ a design from one organisation to another rarely works, because just like you, your organisation is unique.

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Mergers and Acquisitions: How to Spot and Avoid Culture Clashes

Mergers and Acquisitions: How to Spot and Avoid Culture Clashes

Blog Change and Transformation Leadership and Teamwork Workplace Culture

What is company culture and why does it matter if the old and new are not aligned?

There are rules for all the legal bits of a merger or acquisition process, yet there is no bible or handy instruction manual for the successful transfer or integration of company culture.

Ultimately it’s people that make the organisation tick, so make sure you have a plan for communication, talent and culture. Otherwise your new team may not be able to perform in the way you want them to.

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Polar Speed | TUPE Transfer

Polar Speed | TUPE Transfer

Employment Issues M&A and TUPE Organisational Change Our Work Workplace Culture
TUPE TRANSFER OF DRIVERS AND LOGISTICS STAFF Manage a TUPE Transfer from start to finish, so our client can focus...
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How to put people at the heart of company decision making

How to put people at the heart of company decision making

Blog Change and Transformation People Strategy and Execution Workplace Culture

Introducing a HR strategy that automates simple tasks and frees up time to focus on building a positive, people-focused company culture

There are many misconceptions about the role of HR, which are often driven by a lack of visibility.

I believe there’s a better way to approach the integration of HR in organisations: one that still allows leaders to stay connected with the people in their teams while placing the focus on core company values to better care for both colleagues and customers.

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Build a pandemic-proof business in 2021

Build a pandemic-proof business in 2021

Blog Employment Issues Leadership and Teamwork

The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all in ways we’d have struggled to imagine when 2020 rolled around.

Now that we’re almost a year into the pandemic, it’s worth considering what the future of your business will look like on the other side of lockdown. If you’re not sure where to start, a HR consultant can help you to reengage with your team, identify the people challenges your business may face in the ‘new normal’ and develop your workforce to make the most of growth and development opportunities.

From leading teams remotely to keeping sight of your long-term business vision, here are some of the ways I’ve helped companies and individuals adapt and succeed during the pandemic.

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Christmas and New Year Opening Hours 2020/21

Christmas and New Year Opening Hours 2020/21

Blog News and Events

Over the Christmas and New Year period, I’m going to practice what I preach about the importance of downtime, rest and renewal.

I’m taking a complete break from work from 21st December 2020 to 8th January 2021 inclusive. My last working day will be 18th December 2020 and I’ll be back from 11th January 2021.

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HR myths busted: “You only see HR when someone’s about to be hired or fired”

HR myths busted: “You only see HR when someone’s about to be hired or fired”

Blog Employment Issues People Strategy and Execution

People and personnel: what’s the difference? From keeping things legal to boosting productivity, HR has come a long way since the personnel departments of years gone by. The Personnel Department of yesteryear laid the foundations for the modern HR and People Function.

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People, not personnel: the evolving role of HR in modern businesses

People, not personnel: the evolving role of HR in modern businesses

Blog Change and Transformation People Strategy and Execution

People and personnel: what’s the difference? From keeping things legal to boosting productivity, HR has come a long way since the personnel departments of years gone by. The Personnel Department of yesteryear laid the foundations for the modern HR and People Function.

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Laser Clinics UK | Response to COVID-19

Laser Clinics UK | Response to COVID-19

Employment Issues Our Work People Strategy and Execution
HR ADVICE, GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT DURING COVID-19 CRISIS Enabled a multinational team to rapidly close, manage furlough and safely reopen...
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CCHA | TUPE Transfer

CCHA | TUPE Transfer

Change and Transformation M&A and TUPE Organisational Change Our Work People Strategy and Execution
TUPE TRANSFER OF INCOMING EMPLOYEES Supporting Cardiff Community Housing Association to insource and integrate their repairs and maintenance team A...
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