“We’re supposed to say that ‘employees are our most valuable asset’ to the point where, even if it’s really true, they’re not going to really trust you until you’ve earned that…” Gabe Newell, President of Valve Corporation.
We can assist you in handling employee relation matters and also help you develop an employee relations framework underpinned by policy, procedures and practices to ensure that relationships between you and your employees are managed appropriately.
MANAGING DISCIPLINARY ISSUES
Unfortunately, there will be times when you may need to discipline a member of staff. This is an area where often difficult discussions need to take place. Coupled with this is the fact that managing a disciplinary process needs to be done with care to ensure that procedures are properly followed in line with and are in line with legal requirements. A member of staff subject to disciplinary action who feels they have not been treated fairly, or discriminated against, may have a potential claim.
Wherever possible, it is always best to try and resolve issues on an informal basis. Minor breaches of discipline, misconduct, poor timekeeping, failing to phone in when absence due to sickness, may all be situations that simply require an informal discussion so that the expected standards can be reached and maintained. Although an informal warning will not form part of the formal disciplinary procedure, it should nevertheless be recorded.
However, where an informal process is not appropriate (due to the severity of the allegation), or because informal counselling has failed to produce the required improvement, a more formal procedure may be the only available route left to take.
We can help you manage any disciplinary matters in line with the ACAS codes of practice including:
- Counselling/informal warnings
- Managing suspension
- Conducting an investigation
- Taking witness statements
- Working to legal notification timeframes
- Disciplinary hearing
- Appeal process
- Note taking
Grievances or complaints that a staff member raises with their employer concerning work matters are usually about their working environment, pay and benefits, working hours, health and safety, working relationships or general treatment at work.
If a staff member raises a grievance and this is not dealt with to their satisfaction, they may, if the matter is fundamental to their contract, resign and then make a complaint of “constructive dismissal” at an employment tribunal.
AMAYSHR would always encourage a grievance to be resolved informally. However, where cases cannot be dealt with informally, we can help manage any grievances you may have, including:
- Investigating the complaint
- Seeking evidence including witness statements
- Grievance hearing
- Ensuring the grievance is fully heard and conducting further investigations if necessary
- Responding to the member of staff
- Appeal process
DEALING WITH BULLYING AND HARASSMENT
Bullying and harassment can have a very negative impact in the workplace, including low morale, poor performance, and higher levels of sick leave and staff turnover. Whilst bullying and harassment are clearly objectionable, many forms of harassment are also specifically prohibited by law. The business has a duty of care to its workforce and this includes taking steps to prevent bullying and harassment from occurring.
For all of these reasons, it is very important to address any incidents and seek advice as soon as they are brought to your attention and before they have a chance to escalate.
Harassment on the grounds of race, ethnic/national origins, sex, disability, marital status, gender change, sexual orientation, religion or belief and age is expressly prohibited in law. Further, harassment in relation to sex no longer has to be on these grounds alone – only related to it in some way. Neither does the person being bullied or harassed (“the Complainant”) have to be the subject of the harassment (i.e. they will be able to make a claim on the basis of witnessing a colleague’s harassment).
In addition, the business is under an obligation to prevent its workers from being harassed (in relation to their sex) by third parties (e.g. customers).
If a staff member resigns because of bullying and harassment (i.e, they are constructively dismissed) they may seek compensation by making an employment tribunal claim. However, harassment and some types of bullying behaviour (e.g. physical threats or violence) are also criminal matters.
Both a member of staff as well as the business can be held liable if complaints are not taken seriously and dealt with properly, and liability can be established even where the business was not aware of the bullying or harassment. Should you be unfortunate enough to receive a complaint about alleged bullying or harassment in your business, don’t hesitate to contact us for support. We can provide as much or as little support as you need, from either leading the investigation or chairing the meeting, coaching managers in the process, giving advice and guidance, or attending meetings to support by taking notes and following up with the necessary letters and documentation.
EQUALITY & DIVERSITY
We can help you and your employees understand your responsibilities towards promoting equality and diversity in the workplace. This includes developing a robust policy and delivering training to help raise awareness of unconscious bias, the nine protected characteristics and the risk of unlawful discrimination which can lead to employment tribunal. We can provide you more information about delivering an interactive training workshop which is designed to raise awareness of diversity whilst being fun and engaging – an excellent team building activity.
MEDIATION IN THE WORKPLACE
We provide mediation by managing the process by setting ground rules, clarifying issues, establishing an agenda and helping the parties to generate options that ultimately shape the terms of their agreement. This involves us listening, summarising, reframing and asking questions to help the parties through the process to a satisfactory outcome.
As the mediator, we remain impartial, non-judgemental and act compassionately throughout the process. Whilst we are responsible for leading the process, the parties are in charge of the outcome.
Our role is to create the opportunity for a shift to happen, by helping the parties appreciate each other’s viewpoints and strengthen their ability to receive criticism in a constructive manner. We are not there to offer an opinion on the strengths or weaknesses of either party’s case or suggest solutions.
We help the parties to share their ideas and proposals by reviewing with them to what extent their proposed solutions satisfy their interests and are realistic, practical, robust and sustainable.
“Angela was very supportive throughout mediation. I felt that she was positive and fair in her approach, both in one to one and joint mediation. I got a lot out of working with Angela and my confidence has increased as a result. I really enjoyed working with Angela and would recommend her in the future.”
“Angela provided expert facilitation and mediation services between my manager and I. Ongoing differences and difficulties in communication had led to a consistent pattern of behaviour that we couldn’t break free from. Angela helped us recognise and understand the issues and assess what we needed to do differently. Her ability to be objective, supportive and give concrete ideas of how to make changes to our behaviours meant that we were able, after individual meetings, to openly discuss our concerns and needs together and agree together what changes could be made to improve the relationship. The relationship has vastly improved and we’re both committed to maintaining our newly-found cohesion. I can’t thank Angela enough for the work she did; it made an enormous difference to my wellbeing and satisfaction at work.”
Workshops were held for managers and employees to introduce a new Appraisal system, teach them how to use the electronic system, introduce the Company’s values and behaviours, objective setting, giving feedback and how to get the most out of appraisals.
“Good to understand what the Company’s values are and how they fit in an appraisal”
“I found it particularly useful learning about how to link company values to my day-to-day job role”
“Overview of the actual appraisal process, i.e. what happens in the appraisal itself. I had concerns about this but feel comfortable about it now”
“Got me thinking about how to prepare for my appraisal and what I want to achieve from it. Ultimately it should lead to a more productive appraisals”
“Fun, friendly and professional”
For more support in dealing with conflict resolution and employee relations in your workplace, please contact us firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07557 376917