We often get calls from business owners and management teams who are facing a tricky staff-related situation. Sometimes they are panicking about what to do, are shocked that they are having to deal with a situation like this (this sort of thing doesn’t happen to us) or are simply exasperated and don’t know what do to next. On many occasions, the team have been trying to contain a potentially explosive situation within the company and manage it themselves. By the time we receive the call for help, the situation has escalated and is pretty bad and is probably going to take some work to sort it out.
Situations that we manage vary widely. Perhaps employees are not doing what they are supposed to be doing or they are unhappy about what other employees are doing; they could be producing poor quality work, affected by other poor performers, persistently calling in sick, or failing to turn up for work for other reasons. There might be bullying, harassment, employees falling out or concerns over conduct, which until this situation presented itself the management team may have been unaware of.
We would love to be able to go into a company, troubleshoot the issues and then leave. Sadly, it’s often the case that, by the time we get the call, the issue has spread further into the organisation, beyond the original individuals involved, or may even have become a cultural issue for the whole team. If, for example, the problem involves an employee that is passionate and determined about their issue, sometimes referred to as a ‘toxic’ employee, they may well have turned other people against the company or managers within it. It’s vital to consider whether the employee has a genuine issue/concern and whether they are simply fighting for natural justice.
During their HR lifetime, all of our consultants have worked in extreme situations, ranging from a major fraud being uncovered, to alleged sexual harassment or bullying, and even a situation where every single employee raised grievances against every other employee.
Human resources covers so many areas – from best fit recruitment through to discipline and conflict issues, and ensuring your business retains its valued employees. Staff are the lifeblood of every company, providing the skills and experience required to keep productivity levels up, and becoming ambassadors for the business. The key HR responsibility is to protect this valuable asset by ensuring the organisation has effective policies, and strong systems in place to consistently manage those policies.
So, why do people pray that in the nicest possible way they hope they won’t be seeing us again soon?
It is actually a very positive comment, one which we hear a lot and is reflective of the service we provide.
We are often called in when companies are at a crisis point with a situation. They need support, guidance, expertise and our knowledge about these types of situations, we become part of the solution for a situation that felt hopeless and horrible, and we look to get everyone back to doing their jobs as quickly as possible. Solving these problems for a small business lifts a massive burden off the shoulders of those involved, and when normal service resumes there is a sense of pure relief. Business leaders are grateful and thankful for the support we have provided.
But of course we become associated with that crisis in our client’s mind. Once the initial crisis or problem is dealt with they may perhaps think that they will only see us again if they have another crisis to deal with.
However, if companies want to stop fire-fighting, there are ways of getting in front of these problems. Putting preventative and proactive measures in place could help to prevent situations from escalating so quickly and so far in the first place.
We can help put a policy suite or employee handbook in place so your employees know what to expect and how situations might be handled, and so that your managers know how to manage sensitive situations fairly and consistently and prevent crises from arising.
We also work with line managers to train them on how to manage situations that might arise. We can help to prevent a problem just as effectively as we can deliver any necessary cure. It’s easy to imagine the sense of relief when a crisis is averted or solved by bringing in an expert but the reassuring feeling of knowing you already have processes in place to work through any situations that might arise and that ‘you’ve got this’ beats that hands down.
Why not try us out with a free taster of our service? We will assess your policies and systems to check that you have the right ones in place to retain your best staff and protect your business.