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The saying goes by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail. While this rhetoric may be extensively overused within organisations and by business leaders in an attempt to motivate their teams, there’s definitely a lot to take from this phrase when it comes to dealing with HR problems.
No employer wants to have to deal with negativity in the workplace, and knowing how to tackle these issues can often feel like a monumental task. This is particularly true if you are a small organisation that manages its own HR functions without a dedicated HR team. Dealing with these problems on top of your day job will not only slow you down, but could have an adverse effect on the day-to-day work that you actually need to do. So, going back to our initial point about preparation, it’s essential that businesses equip themselves with the tools to deal with these problems before they arise. Otherwise it could be too little too late and the issue could go from bad to worse.
Identifying the best approach to increasing employee productivity isn’t always straightforward. However productivity and profitability go hand-in-hand, so from the business’s perspective it is vital that members of staff produce an effective output of work. Approaching an employee with the accusation that they are not working hard enough will never go down well; this tactic will only create hostility and is unlikely to motivate anyone to work towards increasing productivity.
Instead, utilise software such as timesheets that can monitor how long it takes your employees to complete a particular task. If you find that some individuals take longer than others, put in place the correct training and support to help them develop the techniques to increase their productivity. Recognising why levels of productivity may be low and then tackling the situation from both a strategic and supportive point of view will engender a more positive environment where employees can work more efficiently.
It’s an inevitability that some employees will have a negative attitude towards work. It’s a fact that every business has to accept and shouldn’t be taken personally. Every business will have at least one individual like this, and to put it simply you can’t please everyone. But dealing with these workplace gripes, conflicts and disputes is an unwelcomed, and at times uncomfortable, aspect of HR. However, providing these employees with a platform on which they can safely air their concerns is fundamental. HR professionals and employers must carefully listen to an employee’s complaints until they feel that their issues have been acknowledged.
Once the employee feels as though they have effectively voiced their complaints, an employer or HR professional must decide how to resolve the issue. Resolution could take many different routes, but the most important thing to remember is to listen to and communicate effectively with the employee. Simply being given the opportunity to discuss an issue can often be enough to placate a disgruntled employee. It’s also important not to let one employee’s negativity have a harmful impact on the rest of the team by ensuring that these conversations are kept confidential.
Having to make redundancies and terminating an individual’s employment is one of the least favourable aspects of owning and running a business. In organisations with a dedicated HR department, this becomes their responsibility. Sometimes, a business leader just has to accept than an individual just isn’t right for the business. In extreme situations an employee could be having a detrimental impact on the business and their colleagues. If you’ve decided to show an employee the door, you have to be certain in your conviction to do this. Don’t ever fire someone in the heat of the moment – not only is this unethical and unfair, but it is also the incorrect approach.
It’s also important to note that firing an employee should only be considered as the last step in a formal and structured process. There are exceptions, but an employee should be served with warnings and support of how to improve performance before they are asked to leave the business. When it comes down to delivering the bad news to the employee, try to have a witness present. In small businesses this might not always be possible, but having someone else present will ensure that the fired employee does not claim you said or promised anything which you didn’t.
HR can be a difficult area to tackle if you don’t have the right skills or techniques to approach these situations. If you’d like to find out more about how to deal with a specific HR problem, get in touch with the P3 People Management team today, or connect with us on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook to read more HR news and stories.
“"We have worked with P3 for over 3 years and have found the service we have been given to be invaluable. As a growing organisation, the HR element was taking up more and more of the Board's time. HR are always present at our Board meetings and the time we have saved ourselves allowing this key business function to run smoothly, efficiently and as it should do has paid huge dividends for our growth and our staff retention. Our people and culture have not looked back since we made this decision. "”
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