One of the many things I have learnt since I have been fortunate to be in employment within a wide range of sectors and roles prior to moving permanently to HR is the importance of Dotting the I’s and Crossing the T’s.
Many of our clients have very successful businesses who have had to adapt in some cases drastically over the past two years with the Covid situation, drop in sales and bottom-line profit, team members working from home, high sickness levels and more than ever as the need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s been more apparent.
Human Resources (HR) is made up of what we call within the business, the HR Employment Life Cycle (ELC) from the recruitment, development, reward and termination which affects all members of the team.
We always say that your team within your company is one of your most important assets and need to be treated as such with the correct tools in place when recruiting the right candidate to ensure the relevant development, salary and benefits are provided whilst remembering the Rome was not built in a day!
Now, probably more than ever time and planning are crucial if your business is going to be successful. Although many business owners know their products and services extremely well, when it comes to employing people, they fail to ensure that the correct Policies and Procedures are followed to ensure best practice and adherence to the law.
Experience has shown us that many business owners are extremely reasonable and, in some circumstances, too reasonable but fail to keep a note of what action they have taken to demonstrate how reasonable they have been as an employer. As I have commented many times, HR is covered by Civil Law and the ‘Balance of Probabilities’ and the word reasonable is used continually. Business owners have to be able to demonstrate that the action they have taken is reasonable and should it come to an Employment Tribunal (ET) they would be the one answering the claimants Barristers / Solicitors questions whilst justifying why the action taken was what a ‘reasonable’ employer would do. You may ask ‘what would a reasonable employer do?’ This is where you come in and explain the actions you took and why you as an employer / manager believed they were ‘reasonable’. The ET Judge will then decide if they agree or not and if not why?
When I thought about the title of this blog, I wanted to emphasise that in the world of HR, it may seem to some business owners that we are all paperwork and policies and procedures, but it is vital that the correct, professional systems (ACAS) and documents are put in place from the start. One of our previous blogs titled ‘HR Foundations” highlights this. If business owners are spending time being a reasonable employer, then they need to ensure that they gain the benefits from it. We always suggest that managers / business owners keep draft bullet points on a team members strengths and development needs for use when needed such as in a performance review (Appraisal) as the bad points are generally remembered more than the good points and both are needed to ensure a successful review takes place. (General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) must be adhered to.) Success in this area can result in businesses receiving the benefits such as better employee retention and sales to name a few but it is vital that this is not kept as a secret or used in a negative way or it could result in the opposite of bad motivation, retention, sales and a breach of the GDPR and law.
Employers when having the opportunity to employ should ensure that their Policies and Procedures within the world of HR cover all areas of the Employment Life Cycle and are written in plain English, user friendly, properly implemented, followed and documented with the team, whilst ensuring they Dot the “I’s’ and Cross the ‘T’s’. Employers must ‘practice what they preach’ and ‘walk the talk’ as failure when dealing with any performance, conduct or capability issues to name a few, could result in a negative, rather than a positive outcome.
Too many times we see new employees dumped with a barrage of paperwork on their first day of employment and it is known from experience that a new employee will sign anything on their first day as they want to make a good impression and not ask questions that they believe will make them look silly. New members of the team should be welcomed to the business and given a tour of their new business environment whilst ensuring a briefing / induction session takes place on the companies Policies & Procedures, Health & Safety and where to find a copy if needed in the future. We use Breathe HR for our clients and ensure that all members of their teams have access to the business Policies & Procedures as and when needed through their portal whether this be on their mobile or computer.