The decision of the Supreme Court to bring an end to Employment Tribunal fees has had a polarising effect. On one hand it is welcomed by those believing it will democratise access to justice for lower income workers; on the other, it is argued that it will herald a flood of vexatious and malicious claims from truculent employees.
Wherever you may sit on that spectrum of views, it is widely accepted that prevention is better than cure when it comes to employment disputes. Energy is undoubtedly better spent on ensuring that your employees are engaged and content than battling because the relationship has soured. We offer two simple tips: clarity and early intervention.
Be clear about:
- Your expectations
- Your employees’ roles
- The exact standards you are looking for – does a 9.00am start mean drifting in around that time, making a coffee and chatting about “Love Island” or does it mean being at your desk, with your pc fired up and doing productive work?
- How to raise concerns
Simply give honest, helpful feedback frequently and deal with matters as they arise.
One of our favourite analogies for feedback is the childhood game of “Hotter:Colder.” It works like this: an item is hidden by one person and the other attempts to find it by following guidance. The hider calls out, “Colder” as the seeker moves away from the item or “Hotter” as he or she comes closer to it. Variations can be added such as “Cooler,” “Warmer,” “Piping hot,” “Scalding,” “Freezing” to help the seeker succeed. Tone of voice and timing of the comments are critical.
In the absence of this information seekers only chance upon the item by luck. Worse still, they will fail to find it at all and quickly become bored, disillusioned, frustrated or disengaged.
In common with the game, treating feedback in the workplace as guidance, intended to provide support to the individual, must be a good thing. Timely feedback to help a team member succeed is neither confrontational nor patronising, if delivered well. Surely this is a better approach to employing people than a boxing match at Tribunal, whether there are fees or not.