TUPE, or more formally the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations are four simple letters that can often strike fear into a business seeking to expand their service provision – but they needn’t be alarming.
At Venners we have successfully integrated teams from internal stocktaking activities to ourselves on many occasions. We have transferred up to 30 staff in one event but often the numbers can be much smaller. What is important is that you retain the same principles whatever the size of business transfer.
Many businesses in our sectors have decided to outsource stocktaking across the years, freeing themselves from the burden and conflicts of internal service provision. The decision to outsource stocktaking where it is currently supplied by an in-house team is often a decision that people make with heavy hearts, not because they fail to recognise the benefits of outsourcing stocktaking but because they have a compliment of staff that they have grown loyal to. They quite simply want to look after their staff and ensure they stay in good employment. Which is where TUPE can help.
When a decision is made and a company decides to outsource stocktaking to us, we will in association with the company awarding us the stocktaking work, immediately start to apply the TUPE principles, which is that no member of staff who is going to be transferred can be treated less equally in their terms and conditions than those they currently enjoy. There are of course exceptions to this and it is advisable to check the intricate detail of the TUPE legislation when it applies to you.
Of intrinsic importance though is the people and how they are going to be feeling about long and loyal service being transferred to another stocktaking provider. At Venners we not only apply the legislation according to statute, we go further and arrange to meet the staff affected by the transfer of the stocktaking service at the beginning of the process of transfer, indeed on day one if we can, so we can immediately demonstrate to them that they are being transferred to a committed and professional business that will look after them and, in many instances, offer them better opportunities to advance their careers in stocktaking.
It doesn’t stop there, we then allow them time to think and digest the situation, before we meet with them again and listen to the concerns that have arisen (believe me they will) about the transfer. We also maintain an open communication process with all staff members throughout to make sure they can always talk to us about the issues they have. Finally, on their last day of employment with their current business we go to meet them, usually a Director of the company attends and we induct them into our business – to make them feel wanted and part of a new and dynamic stocktaking provider.
When a business is looking to outsource stocktaking they will want their staff to be looked after and to enjoy their future employment, after all they are likely to still be offering stocktaking services to their old company at some stage in the future. Although TUPE is complex and at times can be a galling trawl through minute detail to make sure you are not being tripped up by something you fail to offer the staff on transfer, it is the best way of ring fencing employment. It is often not the staff that are the problem when a business looks to outsource stocktaking but the administrative factors of managing a stocktaking team.
Particularly as a business grows they may find their current stocktakers are no longer in the right locations and the cost of stocktaking can escalate as people travel the entire length and breadth of the country to complete assignments. At Venners we have stocktakers in every corner of the UK and Ireland and can therefore easily reach any new business our customers acquire. Often we will tell the stocktaking staff transferring that they will travel a lot less on a daily basis as they will be closer to our clients.
One other major benefit for stocktakers transferred to Venners under TUPE is our training. Recognised and accredited by the BII our stocktaker training is the most advanced available in the UK. We are rightly very proud of this training and will induct stocktakers transferring as soon as we can. We do not have to teach them stocktaking as they have been doing that for many years but we need to train them in our approach and methodology which will inevitably be very different. Thus the staff transferring under TUPE enjoy a more rounded and industry specific training that is one of the hidden benefits of outsourcing stocktaking services. In short the stocktakers become more rounded with a wider industry knowledge. One customer who outsourced stocktaking to us some years ago told me at a review meeting that the stocktakers now attending his pubs were so much better – but they are the same people I said. His reply was most gratifying. He said I know, but they seem better trained, report more concisely and are not the same stocktakers we transferred to you two months ago.
TUPE can be daunting, it can be problematic and it can sometimes delay decision making. However, if you approach it correctly – with the welfare of the stocktakers transferring uppermost and look after them not only during the process but afterwards as well they will become loyal and committed members of your stocktaking team.
So outsourcing stocktaking services to Venners needn’t be a chore and needn’t be a major bother. We have become very adept at handling the process and from beginning to end we not only do the right things but do them because we want to. One of the benefits of outsourcing is finding the right partner, one who will deliver all the services you want for the future but also one that will command TUPE with respect and will deal with your stocktaking team, whatever its size with care and compassion.