A Recipe For Effective Staff Management
By Rose McVeagh
As experienced employment relations consultants we see many different situations that have arisen between Employers and Employees. Normally both parties start out with good intentions; however if the employment relationship is not running smoothly, both parties have an obligation to act in good faith to try to resolve the problems. This is often easier said than done when human emotions come into play and communication lines become strained.
In cooking, if you are making something complex, you need to follow the recipe step by step and ensure your technique is correct. If you miss a step in the recipe or get it slightly wrong, it can ruin the finished product.
It’s not dissimilar in staff management and employment relations. We often find that one of the main things that catch Managers and Employers out is not following the correct process or the “complete recipe”. It’s so easy to miss a step in the process or to get the wrong result.
Often, we find that Employers have some knowledge of how to conduct a formal meeting, but not the full recipe. The result is increased risk for the business – including the potential of the Employee raising a successful personal grievance and the cost associated with this.
Whether it’s a staff issue with poor performance, or a misconduct event that results in the issuing of a formal warning, a bullying complaint or a serious misconduct issue that could end in dismissal, ensuring that the correct process is followed is crucial under current New Zealand Employment Legislation requirements.
It doesn’t help Employers that the process for each avenue is different!
What’s important is that whoever the “cooks” are in the business, they must be well skilled to manage staff issues effectively. The quality of their people skills, their employment relations knowledge and the required methods to use in managing Employee situations will be crucial in ensuring the right outcomes are achieved, without risk of liability.
Often we see Cooks who are excellent technical Managers, great with the practicalities of operations, who have strong problem-solving abilities and extensive knowledge about the business. However, their expertise is not in employment relations or human resources; it’s often tagged on as part of their day-to-day management and in difficult staff situations, they can still make poor decisions.
The missing link between a good recipe and a great cook is in ensuring that all of the right ingredients are used in the process. In this respect we encourage Employers to make a few simple judgement calls when working through any employment related situation, the suggested ingredients are:
Am I confident that I know what process I need to follow to address this situation?
If not, where can I get this information before proceeding further?
What are the risks associated with proceeding without being confident in my process and what are the consequences for the business in doing so?
If you need to find out more about any particular employment relations process please, feel free to contact us directly.
The Employer File is written by Rose McVeagh, of Russell Drake Consulting Ltd., Specialist Employment Relations Consultants who act exclusively for Employers - see www.russelldrakeconsulting.co.nz or phone (07) 838 0018.