Articles

Here you will find all the latest news from the SCE team. In this section we will feature news about what we have been up to, recent mentions in the press, information about the work we do in the community and lots more.

Monthly Archive May 2017

Ramadan; Adjustments To The Employment Environment

Ramadan is around the corner, and given that around 4.2% of the county’s population will be fasting, I thought it would be useful to put together some facts for employers together with some guidance on making temporary adjustments to their policies to help staff observe Ramadan. 

Here are some facts about Islam and Ramadan: 

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BNI member and proud!

It’s been a year since I joined a BNI chapter.  Some people have heard of it, others have not.  Some have preconceived ideas without ever having visited a meeting and others who have visited felt it wasn’t right for them.  As I pass the first year membership mark, I wanted to share with you why I am a proud BNI member and long may that continue!

Networking…it comes naturally to some and others find themselves breaking out in hot sweats just at the thought.  I’ve always loved networking.  For me, it’s about learning about other businesses and expanding my knowledge.  As a solicitor, my clients raise many questions with me that do not fall within my area of expertise.  Networking allows me to help my clients and contacts beyond the realm of employment law.

When I first contemplated BNI membership, I must confess, I was sceptical.  I’d visited a couple of meetings historically and wasn’t sure where my business fit within the BNI system.  One year on, I couldn’t imagine my professional life without it.

In the short space of a year (because we all know how quickly time flies), I have been overwhelmed.  I joined a chapter full of amazing people.  I am honoured to call our members my friends.  Each week, I walk into a room and by 6.15am…yes…that early…the room is alive with electricity.  Since day one I was, and continued to be, astonished by the enthusiasm in the room.  Who knew networking could be so much fun?  I genuinely look forward to my weekly meetings and leave each week feeling I have accomplished so much before 9am.  My weekly meeting day is, by far, my most productive day of the week!

Each week I get to meet with people who know me, who have built trust in me and will happily refer my services on to their clients, colleagues, friends and family.  As a small, niche firm, I have a huge sales team who are looking out for business opportunities for me.  And not just a lead, a genuine opportunity to do business with people who are looking for my services.  In the last 12 months, 80 – 90% of the referrals I have been passed have converted in to work.  Yes it’s not always easy converting a referral, but that is down to me and not the members in my chapter.   As an SME, who wouldn’t want a large sales team (who you don’t have to pay!) to help grow their business?

For me, it all started with giving.  BNI’s philosophy is ‘givers gain’ and that resonates with me in every aspect of my life.  Networking has always been about being able to give more to my clients; being able to help in any way I can.  I have brought visitors to the group who, from attending once, have not only extended their own network but they have also obtained business from members who had a need for their services.  

Only last week at a conference, I was able to connect two of my contacts (unrelated to BNI) who are already in discussions about how they can work together.  I left the conference with a huge sense of achievement that my year in BNI has developed my networking skills beyond anything I ever expected.  That connection wasn’t about me or my business; it was purely about helping others.

All I will add is that if you’ve never experienced a BNI meeting, visit one.  Forget what you’ve heard or been told, go and see for yourself.  It’s a networking experience like no other and I wouldn’t be without it.

Mandy Walton, Associate Solicitor 

Calendar Women and Men; Discrimination at Work

When writing this article, it would have been very easy for us to talk about ‘calendar girls’.  When most of us think about risqué calendars in the workplace, we think about scantily clad women.  But a browse through many of the calendar stores, most frequently filling the shopping centres each December, shows there are just as many male-equivalent calendars out there.  

We’re sure such calendars will have never been a feature in some work places but, for some employers, it’s custom and practice to see such images displayed.  Allowing such images to adorn the walls of your workplace is, undoubtedly, discriminatory but for those who are used to seeing such images, the thought probably never enters one’s mind.  We therefore bring you some food for thought of this infrequently discussed topic.

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AFSA AGM and Spring Conference

This month we are looking forward to attending the Asian Fire Service Association’s (AFSA) AGM and Spring Conference.  The focus of the event this year is valuing diversity and fostering community engagement and will be held at West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service’s HQ in Birkenshaw.

SCE Solicitors has been involved with AFSA for nearly a year and we are excited to attend another conference and play an active role.  This will however be our first AFSA AGM.  The format of the conference involves a mixture of leading speakers and interactive workshops, with a key emphasis about the development for members. 

Last year in November we attended the AFSA Annual Conference and sponsored the award for Champion of Equality and Diversity (which went to Katie Cornhill of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service for her accomplishments).  We really enjoyed the two-day event and gained great value from meeting the members.

We also received fantastic feedback from the workshop that we delivered providing our top tips for avoiding employment tribunal claims, with a focus on discrimination.  The vast majority of attendees thought that it was very relevant to their needs and all delegates said that they would recommend the workshop to their colleagues.

Delegates found the case studies and interactive group discussions the most enjoyable part of our workshop with one person stating it was “very engaging and surprising cases and points to note.  Lots to think about”.  Another said, “questioning my knowledge, beliefs and understanding”.

We hope we can live up to expectations and deliver another thought provoking and engaging workshop.  This time our topic will be managing difficult conversations in the workplace.