A is for...

A is for...
Every profession likes an acronym and HR is no different – even the profession has been shorted to HR!!

Over the coming weeks, I am planning on demystifying some of the HR terms out there with my HR A-Z.


Today I’m going to start with A. So many to choose from but I’m going to focus on ACAS, Absence Management, Annual Leave and Appraisals.  

A is for....


ACAS have some really helpful information on their website for employers and employees. They also have a number of codes of practice that set the minimum standard of fairness that workplaces should follow.

Whilst ACAS are there to help, my experience (and the feedback from some of my clients) is that when you phone them, they like to sit on the fence and don’t give a definitive answer of ‘yes you can do that’ or ‘no you can’t’. I completely get it is down to the business to make the decision but sometime you need someone to just tell it to you straight which is where I can help.

Absence Management

You’re a small business owner and your heart sinks when your phone rings at 7.05am as you know that the person phoning is going to be saying ‘sorry but I can’t come into today’. You have a chokka day with customer appointments and you know these are either going to have to be covered by the team or by you or you are going to have to disappoint the customer.

People get sick and actually on some occasions it’s better that people don’t come into work when they should be tucked up in bed. But what happens when sickness absence starts to have more of an impact on the business. What if you know ‘they are genuinely ill’ but have been off four times in the last six weeks.

At some point you are going to need to have that conversation about their levels of sickness absence. It is a balance between being a supportive employer and you’re not disputing they are ill (well in some cases you might be) but ultimately they have a contract of employment which isn’t being fulfilled.

According to the CIPD (2018), absence can cost IRO of £554 per employee so this isn’t a conversation you can afford to put off.

Annual Leave

Managing annual leave requests can be a headache. It can be time consuming, confusing and sometimes people just make it up as they go along and that is before you even start looking at calculating annual leave for employees who reduce their hours part way through the year!!.

Whether you use paper records, spreadsheets, slips of paper or emails, there is an affordable way you can automate the process giving employees the option of booking leave through a system on their phone on a Sunday night and as a manager you can check who else is off and respond all from the comfort of your sofa!! Working in partnership with BreatheHR, My PeoplePillar HR System can manage your annual leave requests and so much more and can work out as little as £1 per employee per month!!


I nearly forgot this one because it is fair to say I hate appraisals to the extent that I managed to write a whole dissertation on why appraisals don’t work!! I will shortly be launching a webinar on Doing appraisals differently’ so watch this space.

If you would like any more information on the 4 A’s above let me know or if you have a question on the ones I didn’t cover

AWOL, Agency Workers, Apprenticeships

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