Leaders who rely solely on functional HR are missing a vital link in their business strategy. If you employ people, now is the time for HR to be top of your agenda.
In times of crisis, it’s easy to lose sight of your long term goals and focus purely on firefighting day to day issues and looking for quick fixes. Unfortunately, it’s not always that simple with staff.
Over recent weeks, we’ve had many conversations about imposing changes and making dismissals. It was inevitable really. But when we have explored the rationale and context for our clients’ thoughts, they have rarely considered what their desired outcome entails or how it impacts on other aspects of the business.
Did you know that:
- Employees with less than 2 years’ service can still claim unfair dismissal in certain circumstances? So that employee that keeps complaining that your hygiene and social distancing measures are inadequate could bring a whistleblowing claim against you?
- Dismissing employees who have remained on furlough (and not those who have returned) may give rise to a disability, age or sex discrimination claim if the reason that they were still furloughed was due to their age, health or childcare responsibilities?
- You can’t just impose fundamental changes to terms and conditions of employment without agreement or providing sufficient notice to staff beforehand?
- It’s risky to cherry pick employees for redundancy from a pool of employees without having objective criteria and following a fair process first?
Some clients ignored our advice and implemented their ill-advised plans anyway without a sound rationale and strategy and unfortunately, the grievances, appeals and calls from ACAS soon followed. I’m certain that the stress and wasted time dealing with the aftermath is going to last longer than the process would have taken to do properly in the first place.
For those clients who took some time initially to consider the people, communications, process, costs and risks upfront and created a Workable Plan, well, they are implementing their plans and are minimising the risk of any backlash from disgruntled staff and ex-employees.
Not doing the right thing because you think you don’t have time or want to avoid having those difficult conversations is a short-sighted approach. Seek professional HR support and plan your project properly to reduce your exposure to getting your fingers burned.
A good HR strategist will help you consider whether your plan will work or not and if there is a better option for you.