Employee Relations Manager

Head Office/Support Centre

Employee Relations Manager

The Works is a unique place to… well… work. We are a proactive and hardworking bunch. We’ve built an environment that’s busy, fast-moving and full of energy. Our atmosphere is welcoming, friendly and inclusive. If you are the kind of person who is as crafty, caring and can-do as we are, then this is the kind of culture for you.

An exciting opportunity has been created to join an excellent team and business bustling with nearly 4,000 colleagues in 528 locations across the UK, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

This is a newly created role reporting to and working closely with the Senior People Partner for Retail and Relations to identify and take the lead in improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of Employee Relations at The Works as we move to a more central based model for our circa 4000 colleagues in UK, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland.

With hundreds of managers requiring our support, as well as partnering and managing cases yourself, you will lead a small team of People Advisors whilst working closely with the wider people team (circa 20 colleagues) to offer a best in class service.  Bringing a fountain of knowledge to the business and the team you will also be the escalation point and expert on any high-level cases and supporting important project work.

Being a Sunday Times Best Big Company to work for with outstanding levels of colleague engagement, our people are at the heart of our business.  The People Team play a pivotal role in ensuring this remains the case in everyday activities, including across all Employee Relations activity.  We are all about ensuring we are creating a great colleague experience throughout our colleague’s life cycle and in this newly created role, there is a lot of opportunity to be realised!

About the Role

Responsibilities include, but not limited to:

Leading & Partnering

  • Build credible and influential relationships across the business functions (Retail, Support and Distribution Centre) influencing all levels of management to make sound and appropriate people management decisions, whilst acting with integrity at all times. 
  • Ensuring you and your team are providing fair and commercially focused support on all ER matters including complex disciplinary and performance related matters, organisational design changes as well as general ER and people matters.
  • Develop in conjunction with key stakeholders, realistic, timely and achievable SLA’s for the Central People Advisory team.
  • Partner with the relevant stakeholders to give confidence to managers in order to improve ER capability across the entire business; to provide line managers with confidence to deal with their people, helping to improve capability and reduce unnecessary case load.
  • Lead the ER team to ensure all cases are risk assessed with all high risk cases gaining indemnity cover (where appropriate) from our Company Solicitors.  Leading through any tribunal matters should any arise (these are few and far between!)

Policy Management

  • Leading and advising on all future changes to employment legislation, ensuring that the business is fully briefed, ahead of time with successful implementation of any changes required.
  • Critically review all our Policies, Colleague Handbook and Contracts ensuring they are fresh, forward thinking and fit for today’s diverse and inclusive workforce. Whilst ensuring that the tone and language used within these fits our culture, and remains true to our values.
  • Design, shape and lead our policy strategy. Be able to create and design policies from scratch, ensuring that all People policies, Handbooks and Contracts are up to date, fit for purpose and compliant with the relevant national legislation across our operating countries, namely UK, Republic of Ireland & Isle of Man.
  • Review and develop relevant Employee Relations documentation, ensuring all contractual/legal documents and templates are kept up to date in line with current legislation.

Process Improvement

  • Critically review all existing Employee Relations systems, processes, activities and ways of working with a lens of continuous improvement and innovation, redesigning these as appropriate to drive ER operational efficiencies and boosting ER case-handling productivity within the team – with colleague and management experience a priority.
  • Create, develop, embed and report on ER Metrics measuring performance of the agreed SLA’s for the wider business. Interrogate the data to identify trends and areas which require intervention; whilst providing proactive and commercially appropriate solutions.
  • Partner with the L&D team to design and implement appropriate ER training and people management training to address identified issues.
  • Contributing to wider business projects and initiatives (e.g. Diversity & Inclusion)

About You

You’ll need to have demonstrated experience of:

  • Coaching and developing others to be able to improve performance and give others the confidence to deal with ER issues and case management.
  • Influencing senior stakeholders utilising a variety of approaches to successfully, gain buy-in and implement new ideas and changes to legislation.
  • Leading or playing a senior role in a ER/HR Advisory function
  • Be comfortable dealing with high volume, highly sensitive and confidential matters in a fast-paced environment.
  • Mediation & conflict resolution skills
  • Employment Tribunals and Employment Legislation (ideally ROI and IOM also)
  • Interpreting, simplifying and applying employment legislation to develop policy and practice.
  • Managing complex and large-scale cases

You will also:

  • Have high standards, be curious and inquisitive - bursting with ideas and a passion for continuous improvement.
  • Be resilient when dealing with difficult and complex matters.
  • Have strong organisational skills and be able to prioritise as there can be a lot to juggle!
  • Enjoy communicating; verbal and written – communication is key as this role is about building relationships and trust and influencing at every level of our business.
  • Have a commitment to exceptional colleague support and passion for creating great colleague experiences.
  • Be a champion of driving new methods and practices within a fast-paced, evolving workplace.
  • Be able to think on your feet, be agile to recognise and change direction where appropriate, and commercially focused.
  • Be able to challenge proactively, with empathy and provide solutions on a range of matters
  • And above all….not be afraid to get your sleeves rolled up and get stuck in with the team – this is a great opportunity for a commercially focused and forward thinking HR professional, with a passion for driving a progressive workplace culture through effective colleague relations.

What we will give to you…!

  • Flexibility in working hours (& a level of home working)
  • 25% discount off our products in store
  • 33 days holiday (inclusive of Bank Holidays)
  • Holiday Purchase Scheme to increase your annual leave entitlement.
  • Company contributory pension contribution.
  • Cycle to Work Scheme.
  • Employee Assistance Programme.
  • Life Assurance.
  • Healthcare Cash Plan.
  • Free Car Parking.
  • Charity Giving - Pennies from Heaven and Give as you Earn.

Finally, the bit "About The Works"

We are people who do!

Here at The Works, we are building a working environment that’s fun, friendly, and supportive - all at the same time. It’s somewhere that’s designed for people who love getting busy, whether that’s helping customers, meeting new challenges, or building a rewarding career.

It’s a place for people who know how to roll their sleeves up, get creative, and put their passion and imagination to work…People who do!

We are the UK’s leading family friendly retailer of value gifts, arts, crafts, toys, books and stationery. With over  500 stores nationwide together with a brilliant online store, we’re here to offer our customers a unique and enjoyable shopping experience, built on our core principles of value, variety and quality. You will find our stores in a huge and diverse range of locations; on high streets, in shopping centres, on retail parks, and as concessions (usually in garden centres). We are also one of the few value retailers with a full featured online store that helps our customers to shop how they want, when they want, 7 days a week.

Oh....and we are super proud  to be a Sunday Times 2020 Top 25 “Best Big Companies” to work for. 

It all means that we have built the kind of working environment that is the perfect place for people who love our products to build a career. It is somewhere you can put your proud and passionate, inclusive and accessible, confident and honest, fun and creative, and nimble and driven approach to work.

And if you can roll up your sleeves, get on with any job, and meet any challenge, it’s also somewhere you can thrive.

Apply now
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