We have many years of experience of dealing with employment issues across all sectors and we believe many of the problems we have dealt with would have been avoided if the Employers had used some simple people management practices.
Below, we have given you our top tips for avoiding HR conflict and disputes in the workplace.
1. Make sure your employees know what is expected of them.
Most of the problems we come across are down to the different perceptions of the employer and employee of what is required and expected. Employees must be clear about what is expected of them in terms of both their job role and their conduct in and around the workplace. These expectations can be set out in a variety of employment documents including job descriptions, employment contracts, Codes of Conduct, Rules and policies.
Once you and your employees are both clear about what is expected then your employees need to be managed to ensure they continue to work within these expectations. The most effective management tool for this is “feedback”. If you see that an employee is not meeting expectations in any aspect of their work or conduct, this needs to be pointed out to them and they need to be told what they need to correct the situation. It is the absence of effective and specific feedback that allows small issues which could be easily corrected to develop into more serious issues. In the absence of any information to the contrary, it is fair for an employee to assume that they are doing what is required of them!
3. Have the Difficult Conversation
It is much easier to give positive feedback and deliver good news than it is to give negative feedback and deliver bad news. Like most things delivering negative feedback is a skill that can be learned and developed. It is a damage limitation, the sooner the difficult conversation takes place the less impact there will be on the employee and the employer.
Some tips to help include
- keep to the facts of the issue, support these with evidence where you can
- do not be emotive and do not use emotive language
- give feedback on facts, not behaviour or personal characteristics e.g. your productivity is low in the area not you do not work hard enough.
- have a proposal to rectify the situation and agree on this with the employee
4. Keep an Open Mind and Listen
There are always two sides to every story and there are always two perceptions of every situation. This is especially relevant in an employment relationship where things are often viewed from two different angles. During all the conversations you have with employees, make sure you listen to what your employees have to say and be seen to be listening. If you listen and do so with an open mind, your employee will feel valued and respected. What they have to say may change your view of the situation or your course of action or it may not but your employee will feel a lot better just to have been heard.