My faith in the legal profession has been fully restored thanks to the service I received…
The understanding of human nature and its many ways is a very important part of the package provided in the service offered by The Employment Solicitor. In dealing with Employment matters this is certainly essential and means that the legal service is also suffused with humanity.
#1 Start off on the right foot
Make sure you have the right person in the right job – when you have a vacancy and want to recruit, review the needs of the business and prepare a job description and a person specification to ensure you get the right person for the job.
#2 Use the probationary period
Review a new employee’s performance during the probationary period, and be prepared to extend the probation if necessary, setting realistic objectives and reviewing progress. If things aren’t working out, it is better to sort them at an early stage rather than ignore them until it is too late.
#3 Issue contracts of employment – AND an Employee Handbook
Many employers will be aware of the need to provide their employees with a Contract of Employment within two months of starting – but are not so aware of the importance of The Employee Handbook. This sets out the company’s policies and procedures which enable the business to function smoothly and employees to understand what they can and cannot do.
#4 Follow your own policies and procedures
It may seem an obvious point but, it is one thing to have them in place, but, if they are not adhered to by managers and business owners, they might as well not exist. For example, it is essential to have an Equality & Diversity Policy, to ensure employees know what behaviour is permissible and what is regarded as discriminatory – however, if the policy provides that training is provided to employees, and it is not, the company will be vulnerable if it faces a discrimination claim.
#5 Train line managers
An employee can become a line manager or take up a senior management position almost by default, due to their seniority or their success in their job. They may never have had any training in how to manage employees, and yet they are left to manage a team of people. There is a whole range of training available which could help them – how to hold an appraisal, how to deal with a grievance, how to manage an employee on sick leave, how to discipline an employee.
#6 Nip problems in the bud
Don’t let them fester and build into larger issues which become so much more difficult to deal with – consider mediation as a solution to workplace disputes between employees, or an employee and their line manager.
#7 Don’t turn a blind eye…
…to anything, but, in particular, breaches of discipline. Make sure you and your managers follow your disciplinary procedure and issue warnings if appropriate. In time, if the employee does not improve, you may want to dismiss the employee and it will be invaluable to have previous warnings to rely on – as well as having given the employee a chance to improve their performance or change their behaviour, so you may not need to dismiss them.
#8 Devote time to your employees
Have an effective appraisal scheme, hold appraisals at least once a year, and make sure managers know how to get the best out of your employees. The most important tip of all – do not postpone or cancel an employee’s appraisal, they need to feel that they are important.
#9 Engage with your employees
Involve your employees in the business, make them feel part of the business, not just someone who comes in to work and then goes home again. Invite ideas from them, reward them for good work, have an Employee of the Month award, provide them with incentives, recognise them when they go the extra mile.. You will reap the benefits in the long run.
#10 Don’t be an ostrich!
Keep in touch with employees who are off sick – do not adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach, particularly when employees are off work with mental health issues or stress-related illnesses (unless you have had their doctor’s advice that they must not be contacted). The quicker you can get them back to work, the better, provided you continue to communicate with them understand what the problem is and offer them all the support that is reasonable and they need.
#11 Trust your employees
…but ensure you maintain an arms-length relationship with them, don’t try to befriend them, you are their employer, they need to respect you and you them in your respective roles. This is particularly hard for businesses which have grown from a small ‘family’ where there is no ‘us and them’ – the ‘us and them’ is a vital component to a successfully run business, provided everyone understands their position and respects and trusts the other.
#12 Protect your business
Be prepared for the worst – the employee who has been working for you for 20 years and has shown loyal commitment throughout this time, might decide to take your best clients and go and work for the competition. Provided you have all necessary and appropriate mechanisms in place, including restrictive covenants in their employment contract and data security controls on your systems, you then have a choice as to whether to take action – without these in place, you have no choice.
#13 Your employees are your most valuable asset
So, look after them – but this also means setting the boundaries, so they know where they stand and the consequences of their actions, both good and bad.