When errors compound errors

Every employee makes errors from time to time. It’s inevitable. However, this two minute HR Blast is about highlighting how these initial errors can snowball, resulting in even greater damage or cost than is necessary.

Recruitment errors

Despite all your efforts, you sometimes find that you have just recruited the wrong person. But despite this being a common error in businesses, in Jaluch’s experience so often the situation is compounded by:

  • Managers who will not admit either to themselves or anyone else that the person they personally offered a job to is just not up to it.
  • Managers not dismissing during the defined probationary period – because either they just don’t get around to it, or they harbour the vain hope that this person at some point will become the perfect person.
  • A naïve belief of some managers that under-performing employees will at some point just resign without being forced out.
  • A belief that a dismissal of a probationer cannot take place until the end of the probationary period – whereas in fact it can take place just days or weeks into the employment period.

Errors resulting from accusations, investigations, sanctions and appeals

Occasionally we are all guilty of jumping to conclusions, not seeing the wood for the trees, ignoring the paperwork, failing to apply logic, failing to ask the right questions etc. As a result there is inevitably a succession of disciplinary investigations and hearings where all relevant information is either not uncovered or not considered. Errors are made and these are so often worsened by:

  • The organisation not recognising that the appeal hearing provides an opportunity to really step back and review the facts and issues and put right any obvious errors.
  • Managers not understanding or fully appreciating the wider commercial issues i.e. cost of employment tribunal claims, compensation levels, impact of adverse PR, reduced employee morale and productivity etc.
  • Managers failing to see that staff watch how their organisations handle these matters and judge their employers accordingly – sometimes voting with their feet!
  • The organisation’s laziness in double checking that what seems a common sense and logical approach to take with an employee, is in fact legal!

Performance and productivity errors

Managing the day to day performance and productivity of staff is often exceedingly challenging, particularly when you have to do that alongside a million other tasks. We often find that as a result of everyone being so busy, the performance issues that need to be more formally addressed often get put to one side or otherwise are only half heartedly addressed. Sometimes the employee in question is just passed to a different department like an unwanted sack of potatoes!

Performance issues are always easiest if nipped in the bud at an early stage, but if they are not, then this is what can then compound the situation:

  • Managers actually starting a formal review process, but then failing to continue that in a timely manner.
  • Managers not being aware that their staff expect them to actively manage any poorly performing colleagues and that they are demotivated if this does not happen.
  • Managers reaching a ‘final straw’ moment with the employee as a result of their own procrastination and then cutting procedural corners to get the individual out of the business quickly when they realise they have had enough.
  • Managers messing up as once they start to manage the poor performance, they sometimes then start to identify acts of misconduct (e.g. poor attitude) as well. The mess up occurs when managers, not really knowing what they are doing, start switching from performance warnings to misconduct warnings and then back again.

If you need support in resolving any of the areas above, the Jaluch team is here to help! From expert document and procedure reviews to pragmatic employment law training for your line managers and senior staff – talk to us to find out more!

The information contained within this article is for general guidance only and represents our understanding of employment and associated law and employee relations issues as at the date of publication. Jaluch Limited, or any of its directors or employees, cannot be held responsible for any action or inaction taken in reliance upon the contents. Specific advice should be sought on all individuals matters.

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