HR Services

HR Services

HR Advice for small businesses

Small business are rarely in a position to employ dedicated HR staff; Marilyn offers HR services to the managers and employees of the business either by telephone and email advice with quarterly on-site visits, or, for example, by attendance in the client’s offices one day each week, to cover HR-related tasks. Please call to discuss the possibilities.

Staff Handbook Policy Writing

There is always vast amounts of information that staff need to be aware of. The Handbook covers everything you want your staff to know. For example, Code of Conduct, Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures, rules around sick pay, staff facilities, personal use of equipment; the entire range of benefits and rules. The provision of a Staff Handbook will quickly save its inception costs, as it releases the time of established staff in the giving of this information. In the event that a Handbook is not required, but policies are needed, individual policies on any topic can be provided.

Guidance for Managers

It seems that organisations rarely provide guidance for managers into what is expected of them in their managerial role (as opposed to their job tasks). This guidance document – tailor-made for your organisation, can be used for all managers immediately, and then in management induction, to make sure that all managers are aware of all the responsibilities they have to their staff and the organisation.

Stress Risk Assessments

Because all employers have a duty of care towards their employees, (and in particular as a result of the case law contained in Northumberland Council –v- Walker), a stress risk assessment aims to confirm: 1. Whether the job is intrinsically stressful 2. Whether the job incumbent has an issue in the personal/private life that is contributing towards their feelings of stress/anxiety/depression 3. Whether there is another underlying issue to be resolved The process is to demonstrate that the employer is discharging their duty of care to employees, as well as providing valuable and unbiased evidence in the event of a subsequent claim to the Employment Tribunal. A pro-forma is used so that all employees being assessed are asked the same questions, and this document follows the HSE Guidance.

Psychometric Tests and Occupational Personality Questionnaires

There are two distinct categories into which occupational testing fall. One being psychometric tests (which focus on right or wrong answers), and personality testing. Although more recently, a new test has been developed which measures managerial judgment which is seen as an innovation in the field. Testing, particularly Managerial Judgment, the Occupational Personality Questionnaire and the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, can also be used as a developmental tool; providing valuable insights to leaders, managers and supervisors about themselves in a safe environment, and nowadays often forms part of leadership development programmes.

Test Stock

Currently Marilyn is able to offer the following tests, however should you require one that is not on the list, then these can be provided upon request:

Management Scenarios

This test places candidates in situations that any manager is likely to meet, and asks them to decide how desirable/undesirable each course of action will be. The test will give you results on Managing Objectives, Managing People and Managing Reputation. Marilyn will also provide you with development sheets to give to candidates and areas to probe at interview.

Advanced Managerial Test Battery

These tests are aimed at manager recruitment. There are various test choices are available from his Test Battery, such as – Verbal Application, Numerical Reasoning, Verbal Analysis and Numerical Analysis. If you are unclear as to test choice, Marilyn can discuss this with you.

Personnel Test Battery

This Test Battery is aimed more at administrative staff, and includes test choices such as – Verbal Usage, Numerical computation., Clerical Checking., Verbal Comprehension, Numerical Reasoning, Basic Checking and Text Checking

Occupational Personality Questionnaire and Myers Briggs type Indicator

These tests can be used for recruitment, but are extremely helpful for management development and team development processes.

HR Services Client Feedback


  • Investigations

    With current workloads it is sometimes a challenge for managers to make the time to undertake a comprehensive disciplinary or grievance investigation.

    Marilyn can undertake this task for you which would have the added advantage of being done by an unbiased independent person, taking claims of bias out of the equation, and adding credence to the findings.

  • Tribunals

    Marilyn sat on Employment Tribunal Hearings for 12 years, and is therefore in a position to offer her clients Tribunal advice, the taking of witness statements is also offered. As a former practising Tribunal Member, Marilyn is able to offer a pre-tribunal conciliation service conducted in a similar way to mediation whereby parties can use Marilyn as a conduit through which to pass parties’ settlement suggestions. This can often result in a settlement in one day, saving huge costs in defending a case at Tribunal.

  • Mediation

    Mediation services and exit negotiations  are available to assist members of staff who are in conflict to resolve their differences in a manner that allows them both to move on and participate in the solution.

    Mediation can usually be completed with one Pre-Agreement Session (which can be via a telephone interview and production of a Pre-Mediation Agreement), followed by a Mediation session that is usually completed within one day. This means mediation is usually a very cost-effect way to settle disputes that could have caused loss of productive working for a long time previously.

    Mediation is also very flexible and parties chose their resolution options using the mediator as a conduit through which to pass their feelings, ideas and possibilities for settlement. The Mediator acts as a facilitator of the solution rather than an adviser, and is totally neutral. Any conflict of interests will be revealed. All information gathered during the mediation will be treated in absolute confidentiality.

    Exit negotiations
    Sometimes it is better for parties to go their own separate ways, but negotiating in-house can lead to complaints of bias and self-interest. Using a qualified mediator as a negotiator can often conclude matters that have been unresolved for a very long time in the least painful way for all concerned. Negotiations can be with Trade unions and or employees or employee representatives.

Marilyn Smyth, Managing Director


t: 07905 228991

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