Employment law

Employee performance and crisis management often go hand in hand. What starts as trying to find a solution that benefits all parties can quickly become a matter for the leadership. Take the following scenario for instance, which I’m sure you’ll agree sounds all too familiar.

An employee talks to you about changing their working hours. You have a chat and agree a shorter working week by an hour a day. The same employee comes back a month later and asks to work from home three days a week. This time, your response is that as much as you would like to be flexible, unfortunately ‘no can do’. Instead of the matter being closed, the employee fires back: ‘Well I have a right to and I’ll be taking this further!’

Uncomfortable? Certainly. Out of character? Possibly. Unexpected? It doesn’t need to be.

The immediate reaction might be “get an employment lawyer on the phone” but this doesn’t tackle the underlying problem. Business change experts are also well versed in employment law but can also help tackle the root of the problem, which stops the issue arising again. This is why being able to seek guidance from an HR partner is so vital.

Considerations in this type of scenario

  • Who initiated the discussion to change working hours? Did the employee really say what they wanted or was the discussion led by you?
  • Did you establish the reason for the request? Often assumptions lead to misunderstandings and frustrations, and cause individuals to become defensive.
  • How do you plan to defuse the situation and manage the ‘personality’ type before it becomes a crisis?
  • Is an outcome possible, which works for your business and keeps the employee engaged?
  • What may seem like one simple request could have multiple repercussions. For example not complying with procedure, or perceived discrimination (possibly from unknown issues) can lead to grievances further down the line.
  • What it all boils down to is having an appropriate level and understanding of what the law states. By being able to tackle situations like these as they arise in an appropriate way, you reduce the risk of potential claims and everyone knows where they stand.

As a business owner or senior manager you can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of the complexities of employment law. However what you will be expected to do is make the right call.

Accustomed to crisis management. Get in touch.