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HR In Hard Times November 27, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in British Chambers of Commerce, Chamber HR, Chamber Services, Services.
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scrapheapDuring these testing times, it’s almost inevitable that some companies will have to resort to redundancies.

So it’s vital to handle these issues responsibly from the start.

Don’t forget, your Chamber membership gets you free HR support and advice from Chamber HR

No employer should consider this measure before taking professional advice at the outset, indeed it should be before the outset.

In many cases professional advisors can help long before a redundancy situation has to be considered. Remember that in tough times although employees are a major cost burden, good motivated employees are also a positive asset to have on board to help you steer through the changing climate of the economic downturn. A well handled re-evaluation programme can help you focus on the profitable parts of your business, assist you with retaining essential staff and in a final resort look at measures to cut costs which can include restrictions on recruitment, reduced use of agency staff, short time working, lay off and maybe redundancy.

However, redundancy should be one of a range of options considered and usually only considered when all else has failed. Redundancy can lead to loss of skills and abilities within the workplace. It will almost certainly lead to loss of morale and faith and that in turn will lead to even more employees leaving, sometimes your best. So a well handled redundancy situation is not about just shedding jobs but about handling it in a sensible manner dealing with the challenges of keeping the workforce focused, retaining the best and shedding jobs as a last resort.

It is also about ensuring that when it is done it is carried out properly and avoids the high cost in terms of time and money that Tribunal claims can bring upon any employer, large or small.

One of the best ways to ensure that you handle the position properly is to take advantage of a specially prepared Redundancy handling consultancy provision that the advice service can offer. You can receive on site help as well as that all too crucial training for your managers. Training in, not only how to handle a redundancy, but how to avoid it where possible and if it becomes inevitable how to negotiate the shark ridden waters and emerge relatively unscathed at the other end with a sound group of rowers left in the boat with you.

Find out more about Chamber HR here.

Email our membership team if you can’t find you Chamber HR log-in details.

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Would You Like To See Your Company’s Name In Print? October 28, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Chamber Services, Media, Offers, Services.
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If you have an interesting success story to share with the world, why not get in touch with Liverpool Chamber to spread the word. After all, as your ultimate business network, we are here to promote our members and to help you grow your business.

At Liverpool Chamber we publish a bi-monthly magazine with a circulation of over 3,000. It goes out to our unrivalled network of contacts across the Merseyside business community.

If you would like the opportunity for your company’s name to be on the desks of some of the most influential names in Liverpool business, simply get in touch.

All we ask is that you have an interesting story to share. Whether it be an interesting or high profile contract you have secured, or simply that you have had a lot of success in your business of late, we want to hear from you.

One such company was Mando Group, who launched this year’s Liverpool Biennial website. All the company needed to do was to get in touch and reap the benefits of some positive publicity in the Chamber Magazine.

You need to be a Liverpool Chamber member to see your story in print. Simply email the Marketing Team on: marketing@liverpoolchamber.org.uk

Alternatively, you can pay for advertising in the magazine. With the capacity for full colour adverts of any shape, size or design; advertising in the Chamber Magazine can be a really eye catching way of grabbing our readers’ attention.

Advertising prices start from as little as £686 for members and £754 for non-members for a quarter of a page. For the full advertising rates contact Scott Rogers for a quote on 0161 443 5053.

Deadlines for copy are as follows:

Publication                    Deadline
Jan 2009                       30 Nov 2008
March                            31 Jan
May                               31 March
July                                30 May
Oct                                31 July
Nov                               30 Sept

Credit Crunch Shouldn’t Be A Health Hazard October 16, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Chamber Services, Health / Lifestyle, Services.
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Westfield Health can provide Liverpool Chamber members with health plans and cover to ensure staff remain healthy and happy. This reduces time off work through sickness and stress. This in turn ensures your company keeps operating at optimum levels.

The UK economy is facing its worst crisis for 60 years, according to Chancellor Alistair Darling. But what can businesses do to help minimise the impact on their company and their staff?

Many people are feeling the financial strain at the moment and are cutting back on luxuries and being ruthless with their budgeting. Many are increasingly looking for ways to help them cope with the pressure of paying for everyday healthcare.

Most unexpected health bills spring from visits to the dentist or optician.

Lately, for example there has been a decline in free immediate NHS treatment and an ongoing rise in costs.

But the credit crunch not only has an impact on whether or not people can afford medical treatment, but also on the type of treatment they need. Recent findings from the Mental Health Foundation revealed that people are becoming more isolated and anti-social due to financial worries. This can have an adverse effect on mental health.

One of the ways people can budget for health bills during tough economic times is to purchase a health cash plan.

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Don’t Leave It Too Late On Energy Contract Renewals August 26, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Chamber Services, Services.
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With spiralling energy costs, most businesses would be wise to shop around for the best deal ready for autumn contract renewals. But some could find themselves trapped by uncompetitive contracts, warns Chamber Utilities

“Companies who are facing autumn renewals for their gas or electricity need to act immediately, advises Gary Collins of Utility Auditing, which delivers the Chamber Utilities™ service. “Suppliers require between 30 to 90 days’ customer termination notice to switch contract. Many businesses don’t realise this and are leaving it too late to find a more competitive alternative. Energy prices have increased by more than 100% over the past year alone and are still on the rise. There is a clear financial imperative to test the market in an attempt to mitigate cost increases.”

He added: “Some businesses are panicked by the prospect of terminating their contract in the belief that their supply will be prematurely cut off. We would advise them to serve notice while they consider their options, even if the best deal at the end of the day is to re-contract with their existing supplier. At least this gives them the time to test the market without fear of being locked into an uncompetitive contract”.

Utility Auditing, part of ENER-G Plc, purchases millions of pounds worth of gas and electricity annually on behalf of thousands of businesses. Chamber members are eligible for a free energy assessment to identify the most cost effective solutions for energy and gas, and guide them on the right tariffs and supply capacity to suit their needs.

While contract negotiations are a key element in the fight against spiralling energy costs, carbon reduction activities are crucial in bringing energy spend down further. As a Carbon Trust approved consultancy, Utility Auditing offers funded support to help qualifying businesses maximise energy efficiency.

For further information contact Chamber Utilities™ on Tel: 0845 120 2423, www.chamberutilities.co.uk

Can Liverpool Do Better Than The UK Economy? August 19, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in 2008, British Chambers of Commerce, Business, Capital of Culture 2008, Chamber Services, Culture, Legislation, Liverpool, Media, Policy, Services.
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Liverpool Chamber of Commerce is hopeful that Merseyside may be less affected by the threat of recession than the country as a whole. The quarterly UK economic forecast released by British Chambers highlights a significant worsening in UK economic prospects and predicts an increase in unemployment across the country of 250,000 to 300,000 people although the organisation remains hopeful that a major recession can be avoided.

Jack Stopforth, Chief Executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce says: “While these latest figures are worrying they do not confirm a trend. All businesses will feel some impact from the worsening position in the wider economy, we remain cautiously optimistic that Merseyside businesses are doing better than most.

“In our survey of members for the second quarter of this year there was clear evidence that the trading environment was very tough with half of the companies who responded having to face rising raw material and overhead costs and a general slowdown in new orders and sales. Despite this, 33% of companies reported growing employment compared to only 13% reducing jobs with the majority of new posts being full time.”

“We have seen some high profile failures in recent months, and there has been a predictable downturn in construction but most sectors have performed well, including local retail, which is bucking the national trend by exhibiting growth. There is also anecdotal evidence that the hospitality sector is doing well with record numbers of visitors coming to the city and our growing base of technology and innovation based businesses are expected to be less affected by the general trend.

“We believe that there are local factors that provide at least some short term insulation against the worst of the credit crunch. But our national body, British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) has warned of a “serious risk” of recession, nationally, following its business confidence survey and so this is no time for complacency in any sector”.

Liverpool Chamber’s latest economic survey has just been circulated to members and the results will be released along with the results of the national survey in early October.

Can You Speak Out On Ports And Transport? August 12, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Policy, Services, Travel.
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Liverpool Chamber’s Ports and Transport Committee works to further the interests of Liverpool businesses on issues related to transport.

The committee has recently campaigned on rail, on both the West Coast Mainline and Trans-Pennine routes. Currently, the committee is looking to move towards a Task and Finish approach, with potential topics including cross river transport and freight access.

We are currently looking to expand the membership of this committee to promote greater private sector representation. If you are a Chamber member and would be interested in getting involved and representing the views of your business sector please email Esther Sumner in the Policy Department for further information.

As part of the application process, we ask that prospective members write to us detailing their interest and experience in the transport sector. Members do not have to be directly involved in the transport sector to apply, but should be able to illustrate an awareness of how transport issues affect businesses. Members would also need to commit to attend the bi-monthly meetings at the Chamber.

How To Cope With Energy Highs June 4, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Chamber Services, Environment, Services.
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Energy markets are again in turmoil with record highs being posted on gas and electricity base load prices. Wholesale gas prices have risen by approximately 110% since February 2007 and electricity prices have risen by around 135% over this time.

“The markets are being driven by high coal and oil prices along with the economic growth experienced in China and India who are purchasing as much base fuel as possible,” explained Jeff Wealands, Technical Director for Utility Auditing, which supplies the Chamber Utilities™ service.

He added: “Reduced gas flows into the UK along with ‘outages’ at power plants over the winter have exacerbated matters – driving prices ever upwards. Where will it end? Markets are also affected by global political and natural events. One thing is for sure – price stability in wholesale energy markets is a thing of the past and locking into long term fixed contracts is looking increasingly attractive.”

As well as negotiating the best price on gas and electricity, with impending legislation to reduce carbon and consumption, it is more essential than ever before for organisations to improve their efficiency. Most organisations can cut consumption by up to 20%, which can help mitigate rising costs.

For help and advice on cutting costs and improving energy efficiency contact Chamber Utilities™. Get in touch today to see how you can profit both your business and the environment.

Contact Chamber Utilities™ 0845 120 2423, www.chamberutilities.co.uk

Management Training for £649 March 26, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Chamber Life, Chamber Services, Education, News, Services, Training.
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Liverpool Chamber’s training arm, Trident Training Ltd, is offering NVQ Level Four qualifications, equivalent to a degree level qualification, in Management. The training is subsidised by the Chamber through the Learning & Skills Council, meaning that you or members of your staff can take this qualification for as little as £649.

This qualification is suitable for everyone who has to manage or supervise staff and covers a wide range of areas including :-

Develop and implement operational plans for your area of responsibility.

Encourage innovation in your area of responsibility.

Develop productive working relationships.

Provide leadership.

Planning, Leading & Implementing change.

Project & Financial management.

Manage the achievement of customer satisfaction

The NVQ is competence based. This means that it is linked to a person’s ability to competently perform a range of tasks connected to their work. As such,there is no specific time table for achievement but it is up to the individual to decide how quickly they wish to achieve the qualification.

Trident assigns each candidate a personal assessor, who will deliver the qualification at the candidates workplace, making visits for short assessment sessions for observation, interview or general discussion Trident Training Ltd deliver training through the e-portfolio on-line learning, which gives the individual 24 hour access to their portfolio through the Chamber web site, so in effect they can input their evidence of competence in their place of employment, at home or other location.

For more information regarding the qualification please contact the Workforce Development Manager Simon Chadwick on 0151 236 5481

Coaching for higher profits March 14, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Services, Training.
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This is an exciting new programme led by skilled business coach, Jerry Hopkins. He has over 15 years experience of working in service, food, health, automotive, aerospace and manufacturing, where he has drastically increased performance.  Breakfast workshop on 22nd AprilThis dynamic new programme starts with a breakfast workshop where you will;• Resolve a key business issue
• Apply a profit improvement techniques

Having experienced the power of coaching and one new profit improvement technique, you will be briefly introduced the great value 1-to-1 coaching packages available through the programme, as well as tailored profit improvement workshops in:

• Creating a value culture for a better service and productivity
• Capturing value and innovation in your business
• Practical cost reduction techniques
• Workplace organisation for higher productivity
• Alignment of employee goals to business goals
• Smart scheduling for increased productivity

This working breakfast place at Liverpool Chamber Cost just £25 includes breakfast. To book contact Alma Mayers on 0151 224 1883 or email alma.mayers@liverpoolchamber.org.uk Following on from this seminar, the high powered programme continues with the following courses, dates announced at the breakfast  –  

1-to-1 in-house coaching packages  

Profit Improvement workshops at the Chamber  

Profit Improvement Workshops in-house

Numbers limited to thirty places. For further information on any of the above contact Alma Mayers on 0151 224 1883 or email alma.mayers@liverpoolchamber.org.uk

Survival Chinese – Language For Businesses February 20, 2008

Posted by liverpoolchamber in Business, Chinalink, Events, International, News, Offers, Services, Training.
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A Free Half-Day Taster Event 9.00am – 1 pm  Thursday 6th March 2008 at Calday Grange Grammar School, West Kirby, Wirral CH48 8GG

Merseyside businesses who want to develop their international language and communication skills are invited to attend a free trial ‘taster session’ in mastering basic Chinese. Don’t worry if you have little or no experience, the workshops are designed for people who have no previous knowledge of the language. Help and support will be available all the way through.

The first part of the session will introduce China as one of the world’s most dynamic overseas markets, and will provide insights into Chinese business culture and practice.  Keynote speakers will outline:

  • how to find Chinese business partners,
  • how to develop a productive working relationship, and
  • what grants are currently available to small and medium size Merseyside companies who want to develop business overseas

Delegates will then have the chance to sample the basics needed to communicate when travelling and meeting potential business partners.

These sessions will take place in two of the school’s state of the art Multimedia Language Suites. This is a fabulous opportunity for Merseyside businesses, and opens the door to a fuller intensive Business Chinese course later this year for those who wish to develop their knowledge further.

Lunch is provided 12.00 – 13.00pm

For further information or to book your place, please contact:-Jacqui McIver,Modern Foreign Language Department. email  Jacqui.mciver@calday.wirral.sch.uk Or telephone on 0151 625 2727 Ext 289