How Mentor transformed this charity’s HR with new workplace policies and procedures.
We helped NAB become legally compliant with an action plan of advice and solutions
We streamlined business operations resulting in more efficient ways of working
We protected the integrity, credibility and reputation of the charity
We boosted employee morale with clearly defined business expectations, culture and values
We increased management’s confidence in handling HR issues independently
Northamptonshire Association For The Blind (NAB) is a charity providing advice, support and products to help visually impaired people live life to the full.
Employment Law and HR Alliance
HR is confusing, complex, and without support from an in-house HR department or consultancy, almost impossible to manage. “Before joining Mentor, we were stuck in a loop of trying to get HR right, and 9 times out of 10 failing because we didn't know the right steps,” says Elaine.
As with many small businesses, NAB doesn’t have an in-house HR department. Formal HR policies and procedures weren’t in place, and historically there were occasions when best practice wasn’t always followed. When Elaine took over as CEO, she identified these gaps and sort advice. “It was a case of unpicking what we did - looking at our current procedures, understanding what we should’ve done, and then trying to resolve things moving forward. That’s where Mentor came in.”
NAB benefited from an initial business needs analysis and HR audit from their appointed Mentor consultant. The consultant identified key areas of improvement in employee management and business performance, producing an action plan, new workplace policies and procedures, and an employee handbook. Elaine explains, "It was a light bulb moment for us - we could finally see where we were going wrong and what steps we needed to take."
Mentor's consultancy is on a 1-2-1 basis with a single point of contact. We actively build a relationship with our customers, getting to know your business and objectives, and in turn offering extensive help and support with any HR challenges. Elaine has found this invaluable. “We've had help with settlement agreements, disciplinaries, grievances, sickness, performance and appraisals. Having Mentor behind us minimises any negative impact on our charity.”
NAB's consultancy includes advice on business strategy, with active participation in their annual general meeting and inclusion in top-level decision-making. “To have someone who knows your business, who really listens when you speak, and can explain in simple terms what's needed - it's immense,” says Elaine.
Mentor also offers unlimited calls to its employment law and HR helpline where our team of experts are ready to help. Elaine explains, “I simply pick up the phone and get the help I need. It's like you're in the room next door. Having Mentor's support means I no longer feel like I’m working in isolation.”
Elaine has used other consultancies in the past but believes our customer service sets us apart from the competition. “It's the human side to your team - your friendly, empathetic, non-judgmental approach that takes away some of that fear around HR. That's lacking with other consultancies we’ve worked with.”
HR is no longer a challenge for NAB. “Issues that previously caused complications and impacted the charity adversely simply don’t happen anymore. We pick up the phone whenever we’re unsure - and that’s key for us, having Mentor there to guide us and keep us compliant. It's hugely reassuring,” says Elaine.
The benefits of working with Mentor extend beyond just compliance. Following our support with sensitive matters like settlement agreements and ACAS negotiations, Elaine credits Mentor for minimising any potential backlash. Elaine states, “Mentor helps protect the integrity, credibility and reputation of our charity.”
At a more granular level, Mentor has also helped improve the working life of employees with a noticeable upswing in morale. The employee handbook has contributed to this, ensuring all management and staff are on the same page with clearly defined business expectations, culture and values. “Huge thanks to Mentor for helping us make NAB a great place to work”, says Elaine.
Elaine and her team also boast a new level of confidence when it comes to HR. “With the correct policies and procedures now in place, we feel confident when dealing with some of the more routine HR issues that arise.”
And that confidence isn’t only felt at managerial level. Elaine elaborates, “When I’m talking about an HR-related matter to an employee, I actively tell them that I will go away and speak to Mentor first. They feel reassured that there's an expert behind our decisions giving advice we can all trust.”
And with HR taken care of, one of the biggest benefits our customers shout about is more free time to actually run their business. “Ultimately, working with Mentor means our business performs better, and as a charity, this means we’re having a positive impact on more and more visually impaired people in the community – and that’s priceless," says Elaine.