Top Advice Call Topics

Peninsula Team

June 15 2012

Capability & Performance Management The Advice Service receives a high volume of calls in relation to Capability and Performance Management and can, on occasions, become confused with the Conduct procedure. Therefore it is important to establish the specific details of the concerns in the first instance. The Capability procedure is designed to support staff and managers in dealing with problems regarding performance, especially where the employee is not fulfilling the expected requirements of the role. Questions received by the Advice Service vary, however, more often than not they have the same root cause. “I have an employee who continually makes mistakes in his role, we have provided training and support but I believe that he is still struggling.” It would therefore be advisable to sit down with the employee on an informal basis and discuss the concerns you may have with their performance and sit down together and implement a performance plan to provide additional support and guidance to the employee. It would be advisable to incorporate Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) objectives in the performance plan in order to manage the process effectively. It is important to remember to schedule regular review meetings with the employee to demonstrate that you have provided adequate training and support. This way, should it be evident that there has been little or no improvement, formal action could be considered. Changes to Terms and Conditions An employment contract is an agreement put in place between an employer and employee and specifically outlines both parties’ rights and duties. Sometimes, for many different reasons, either the employer or employee may want to make changes to the employment contract; however this can only be done with both parties’ agreement. At this particular time, given the economic climate, it may be necessary for an employer to make changes to the employment contract, the business may need to be re-organised, moved to a new location, or changes may need to be implemented as a result of new laws and regulations. This may include rates of pay and working time as an example. On the other hand, the employee may ask to change the terms of their contract for a number of reasons, in particular improved working conditions or to work flexible hours as an example. Conduct & Disciplinary The most common calls received by the Advice Service relate to conduct and the way in which employees display inappropriate behaviour. In order to operate effectively, organisations need to set standards for performance and conduct which may be included in company rules. When formal action is required what action is reasonable or justified will depend on the particular circumstances of the case. Employers should deal with issues promptly, fairly and consistently. The Advice Service would always advise that it is best practice to investigate the concerns in the first instance to establish all the relevant facts. Employees should be notified of the allegations made against them and be given the opportunity to provide a response in order for an outcome to be decided. Employees should be offered the right to be accompanied at any formal hearing. Grievance Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints raised by a staff member who may have concerns with their work, working conditions or relationships with colleagues that they wish to raise with management. It is advisable to establish whether the employee would like their concerns to be dealt with informally or via the formal grievance procedure in the first instance. On occasions, it is apparent from the complaint received how it should be dealt with but it may be appropriate to check with the employee in the first instance. If the employee wishes to have their concerns dealt with informally it would be advisable to sit down with them and discuss the issues they have and try and resolve the matter. You can advise the employee that you will follow up anything you feel necessary however how you do this would be down to the employer. It is always advisable to make a written record of any discussions which may take place, whether informal or formal and ask the employee to sign to say they agree with the content. Should the employee wish to raise their concerns formally and follow the formal grievance procedure, they should be invited to attend a meeting, in writing with the right to be accompanied. You should sit down with the employee and discuss their concerns and then investigate with the relevant individuals in order to reach a conclusion. The outcome should then be provided to the employee, in writing with the right of appeal. It is best practice to conclude any employment concerns within 28 days of receiving the grievance. Redundancy Redundancy occurs when work of a particular kind at a particular site has ceased or diminished, or is expected to cease or diminish. Furthermore workplace redundancy is one of the five potentially fair reasons to terminate an employee, as long as the following points are clearly satisfied: • There is a genuine redundancy situation. • The employer has followed a fair procedure (i.e. consultation and fair selection). The employer has offered alternative employment, if any is available. When considering redundancies it is important to recognise that it is the job/post that is, or will become, redundant and not the employee. In the current economic climate in particular there may be various reasons for considering redundancies including; • The need to reduce costs. • The effect of changing working methods. • The re-organisation of work functions. • The introduction of new technology necessitating a reduction in the workforce. Initially the employer would be expected to set out a business case, outlining the reasons for the proposed redundancy situation and provide a pre and post redundancy organisation chart to demonstrate where the redundancies will take effect. Consultation should begin in good time and must begin: • at least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect if 20 to 99 employees are to be made redundant at one establishment over a period of 90 days or less • at least 90 days before the first dismissal takes effect if 100 or more employees are to be made redundant at one establishment over a period of 90 days or less. Sickness Absence/ Absence Management People are absent from work for 3 main reasons: • they are sick • they feel unable to come to work because of family or caring responsibilities • they are on authorised leave such as holiday, maternity leave or a training course. Managing attendance problems often means identifying the root cause of the absence. This can be linked to the employees working pattern, job design and employment relations. This can also include addressing discipline problems like lateness and poor time keeping. Employers can look at dealing with sickness absence on an informal basis however it is advisable to conduct a Return to Work Interview with the employee on their return to establish as much detail as possible regarding the reasons for their absence. However, dependant on the levels of absence and taking into consideration the reasons for the absence, this may eventually lead to formal disciplinary action. For further information on this article or to find out more about the services offered by Peninsula please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.

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