It’s actually my third book, but this time rather than face a battery of rejections from Literary agents, I decided to self publish it exclusively on Amazon.

It’s a detective story that is hopefully amusing and an easy read, though I must warn you rude words are used. It’s around 75,000 words long and will set you back £1.84. If you down load it and like it, please tell everyone you know. If you don’t like it, you’ve only lost £1.84 and a few hours.

If the link above doesn’t work for you, just put Sandy Mould into the search on “The Perfect Crime. A Laiton Tray Detective Story by Sandy Mould” should come out at the top of the list.

February Update

February 20, 2014

It’s been so long since we updated our website and blog, that I had to search for the passwords that allow me to unlock them to add new text!

It’s been a very busy time since our last update, with IT Training projects for, EDF energy, Ryder and Reckitt Benckiser, ongoing HR work with Advance Housing as well as the HR support we provide to more local companies across Dorset Somerset and Wiltshire. Now though we have a short period of time to catch up on all things we’ve been putting off. It also gives us some time to reflect on how business has been and where we see it going in the future.

It’s 14 years since Claire set the business up and 9 since Sandy joined in and we changed the name from Claire Mould Consultants to Resource First Ltd. After a period of finding the right way run and promote the company we settled into doing the things we do best, Claire providing HR advice and support from TUPE Transfers to company investigations and contract development and Sandy managing, developing and delivering training for large IT system installations such as Oracle, Microsoft dynamics and People soft as well as bespoke applications, supporting Claire on HR matters and company promotion between the different contracts he gets.

This is a way of doing business that works well for us and we can’t see any reason at this stage to change our approach. We are still keen to work with and for new customers and are always happy to come and visit them in their workplace to discuss what help if any is needed from us to overcome or prevent any staffing issues. It is always good to meet new customers especially as they all now come from recommendations from other customers. We do very little advertising and other than this blog and our website, do not use social media to push our business. I’m just not sure how well #new employment contract or #training lead for large IT installation would trend.

Chaos reigns within.

Reflect, repent, and reboot.

Order shall return.


Errors have occurred.

We won’t tell you where or why.

Lazy programmers.


The code was willing.

It considered your request,

but the chips were weak


Login incorrect.

Only perfect spellers may

enter this system.


Stay the patient course.

Of little worth is your ire.

The network is down.


To have no errors

would be life without meaning.

No struggle, no joy.


You step in the stream,

but the water has moved on.

This page is not here.


No keyboard present.

Hit F1 to continue.

Zen engineering?

8 top HR tips

May 8, 2012

This is a summary of a short presentation I recently gave to Shaftesbury Chamber of Commerce.

Why 8? They asked me to keep the presentation down to 8 minutes

1/ Recruitment.

Always take a photocopy of a new employees proof of right to work in the UK – even if you’ve known their parents all your life!

2/ Internet, Email and Social Networks

Have a policy. Make sure your staff know what your rules are regarding using these, e.g. can they discuss your products/customers.

3/ Retention

Why do your best staff members work for you? Find out what motivates them. Maybe it’s a pat on the back occasionally or some flexibility with hours.

4/Health and Safety.

“It’s health and safety gone mad” Yeah well maybe it is, but if its the law you must comply with it or you are putting your business at risk.

5/ Grievances.

When does a staff members moan become a grievance? If you don’t have written rules about how your team should raise a grievance, the point at which a moan becomes a grievance is decided not by you, but by a tribunal. Get a Policy!

6/Long term sick.

Remember that someone on long term sick is accruing benefits such as holiday entitlement. Remember that if they are unable to work, they are not meeting their contractual obligations. Providing you follow the correct procedures you can end their employment contract.

7/ Retirement

There is no such thing as retirement any more. Do your older employees know this? Do they understand they will have to give you notice if they wish to stop working? Do you know what they intend to do? Talk to them.


Part of ACAS’s remit is to prevent employment issues getting to tribunals. They have an excellent website which gives you a lot of employer information and also lists their phone number, which will put you in touch with one of their experts. To keep us in gainful employment please forget this web address immediately!

For further information or a confidential discussion about any present or predicted staff issues, contact us on 0845 224 0048 or email


Well here are some actual messages sent out by management.

What I need is a list of specific unknown problems we will encounter.

How long is this Beta guy going to keep testing our stuff?

E-mail is not to be used to pass on information or data. It should be used only for company business.

Turnover is good for the company, as it proves that we are doing a good job in training people.

This project is so important, we can’t let things that are more important interfere with it.

Doing it right is no excuse for not meeting the schedule.

No one will believe you solved this problem in one day! We’ve been working on it for months. Now, go act busy for a few weeks and I’ll let you know when it’s time to tell them.

And the prize-winning quote:

As of tomorrow, employees will only be able to access the building using individual security cards. Pictures will be taken next Wednesday and employees will receive their cards in two weeks.



ACTIVE SOCIALLY: Drinks heavily.

UNLIMITED POTENTIAL: Will stick with us until retirement.

QUICK THINKING: Offers plausible excuses for errors.


TACTFUL IN DEALING WITH SUPERIORS: Knows when to keep mouth shut.

APPROACHES DIFFICULT PROBLEMS WITH LOGIC: Finds someone else to do the job.

A KEEN ANALYST: Thoroughly confused.

SPENDS EXTRA HOURS ON THE JOB: Miserable home life.




KEEN SENSE OF HUMOR: Knows lots of dirty jokes.



IS UNUSUALLY LOYAL: Wanted by no-one else.

HARD WORKER: Usually does it the hard way.

ENJOYS JOB: Needs more to do.

HAPPY: Paid too much.

COMPETENT: Is still able to get work done if supervisor helps.


WILL GO FAR: Relative of management.


VERY CREATIVE: Finds 22 reasons to do anything except work.

USES RESOURSES WELL: Delegates everything.

DESERVES PROMOTION: Create new title to make h/h feel appreciated.

We’d love to give an exciting reason involving traveling around the globe rescuing businesses from a multitude of employment law related tribunals, while creating jaw dropping e-learning tools that help make their staff world beaters in their chosen fields, implementing new IT systems that revolutionise how they do things and develop their managers to dizzy new heights in leadership. Even better if, along the way, we’d eradicated Mumps, found a cure for reality TV and stopped Americans yelling “get in the hole” after a par 5 tee off.

Sadly the reason is not half as exciting. We’ve been too busy!

With new contracts with a national supermarket chain to provide training for an Oracle PeopleSoft implementation and an internationally based electronics company to bring terms and conditions in four continents into line, alongside our on-going commitments to all our other clients, finding the time to update both this blog and the websites ‘Latest News’ section has been difficult.

As a result for the time being the news updates are going to be seasonal – we’ve just published the summer news -, and this blog will get updated whenever possible. Of course we are still on the end of the phone so don’t hesitate to get in touch if there’s anything we can do to help.

Managing underperforming staff

February 28, 2011

A recent survey commissioned by ExpertHR found that 60% of employers were not confident in their line managers’ ability to manage underperforming staff. It highlighted the areas of concern as being dealing with sickness, capability, attitude, poor standards of work and not meeting objectives. That is quite damming stuff, a bit like saying they are good managers providing everyone works hard, is highly motivated and never cause problems. However it is when things aren’t working well, when problems have occurred and where there are issues in a team that the manager should really start performing.

If they are in charge of logistics, you can be pretty sure they will intervene to try and make sure things arrive at the right place on time, if they are responsible for customers they’ll jump in if a customer complains, and if they are accountable for production they will weigh in if the number of faulty goods coming off the production line rises. This is what they expect to do and what they are often very good at. But if they are responsible for staff shouldn’t they be able to show the same level of skill, knowledge or experience? Shouldn’t they be able to deal with the person who takes a sicky every fortnight, the team member who upsets their work colleagues, the individual who always makes mistakes or doesn’t finish what they start?

If they can cover the poor performance, make contingency plans to deal with the sickness absence and make sure certain team members don’t work together, does it even matter if they don’t know how to deal with the issues?

I believe the answer is yes. It does matter. We have been called in to businesses many times when the owner or manager has reached the end of their tether. The amount of sick days being taken has started to effect bottom line, the atmosphere is getting so bad their good employees are muttering about leaving, staff members are making complaints about their colleagues, the person on long term sick has requested their holiday pay for untaken holiday while they have been ill. They often talk about not having done anything before because they didn’t want to “rock the boat”, come over as the bad boss, or disrupt work. I believe these types of reasons mask another and that is that they are uncomfortable and nervous about saying or doing the wrong thing and making the problem worse than it is, especially when they hear horror stories about industrial tribunals and massive payouts.

Managers and business owners need three things to help them manage underperforming staff.

  • Good policies and procedures to deal the issues (sickness policy, disciplinary procedure etc). These need to be easy to follow, up to date and in line with ACAS recommendations
  • An understanding of these policies – the number of people who tell us that yes they have a policy, but no they don’t know what is in it is far too high!
  • Training.  – It is OK having handbooks covering every eventuality but unless you give managers the opportunity to practice carrying them out, to learn how to deal with different responses and to gain an understanding of why a procedure is laid out in a certain way, they will not have the confidence to act and to deal with a problem before it escalates.

Of course there is a cost involved in this but getting trained to deal with underperformance can have a healthy effect on the bottom line of your company, reducing costs, and improving performance and team motivation.

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He descended a bit more and shouted: “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised a friend I would meet him an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The woman below replied: “You are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You are 51º21,32.87 degrees north latitude and 0º21,32.87 degrees west longitude.”

“You must be an IT specialist,” said the balloonist.

” I am,” replied the woman. “How did you know?”

“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help so far.”

The woman below responded: “You must be in HR.”

“I am, “replied the balloonist. “But how did you know?”

“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

2011 will, like every year, see a raft of new employment legislation being brought in that all employers will have to become familiar with. In our latest blog we set out the six major updates coming in during the year.

1. Abolition of the default retirement age

One of the biggest legal changes employers will have to contend with in 2011 is the abolition of the default retirement age (DRA). Although the DRA will not be completely abolished until 1 October 2011, transitional arrangements will come into force from 6 April 2011.

During the six-month transitional period employers will be unable to issue new notifications of retirement but those already in motion before 6 April can continue through to completion if:

  • a notification of retirement is issued by the employer prior to 6 April 2011;
  • the date of retirement is before 1 October 2011; and
  • the requirements of the statutory retirement procedure are met.

The default retirement age will be completely abolished on 1 October and employers will be prohibited from retiring employees by means of the default retirement age from this date.

2. Changes to maternity and paternity leave provisions

In April there will be two changes to maternity and paternity leave provisions.

Fathers of children with an expected week of birth beginning on or after 3 April 2011 will be allowed up to 26 weeks’ additional paternity leave if the mother returns to work before using her full entitlement to statutory maternity leave.

On the same date, the rates for statutory maternity, paternity and adoption pay will increase from £124.88 to £128.73 per week.

3. Right to request flexible working extension

The right to request flexible working will be extended to parents of children under the age of 18 on 6 April 2011. It currently applies to parents of children under the age of 17, or 18 if the child is disabled.

The Government has also announced that it intends to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees and will consult on the proposals in January 2011. Consultation will be completed by March 2011 and the Government will review the responses by December 2011.

4. Equal treatment for agency workers

From 1 October 2011, agency workers will be entitled to equal treatment on basic employment conditions, such as pay and holidays, after they have worked in a role for 12 weeks, under  the Agency Workers Regulations 2010

5. Equality Act 2010

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers will be able to treat individuals with a protected characteristic more favourably during recruitment and promotion processes when faced with two or more candidates of equal merit, if the more favourable treatment is intended to address under-representation in the workforce.

The single public sector equality duty will also be introduced and both provisions will come into force on 6 April 2011.

6. Bribery Act 2010: corporate offence introduced

In April 2011, a corporate offence of failing to prevent bribery by people working on behalf of the business will be introduced under the Bribery Act 2010.

If you have any concerns about how these will affect your business give our specialists a call confidentially on 0845 224 0048 or drop us an email