Employee law is a complex area of business and something you don’t really want to mess with. You may want to dismiss, punish or sanction employees; you shouldn’t always charge ‘full steam ahead’ into these situations.
Healthy relationships in the place of work are imperative to the success of your team, and your business. However, even tiny issues can multiply and develop into major problems and heated disputes if they aren’t dealt with correctly, quickly and to an effective basis. It is your job as a leader in the business to install suitable procedures to ensure workplace issues can be resolved. This is essential. If an issue turns into a problem, you can intervene and achieve something positive – if you act promptly, and in the right manner, of course.
Team conflict is never good. While it can originate from heated, yet healthy, discussions – it can evolve into something quite sinister.
While the term workplace violence can seem overly sinister – it is defined as verbal abuse and racial or sexual harassment. This is serious business and has devastating effect and consequences. It can happen anywhere, anytime and anyone can be the perpetrator – or the victim. Some forms of workplace violence are indeed criminal and should be reported to the relevant authorities, and one thing to note is that the victim should never be blamed here. That’s your role as the leader. Discrimination is another issue, and there’s no end to the subjects in which people face discrimination – from age to race, sexuality and gender. Cracking down on discrimination is key, and what’s more, you need to ensure that you, as a boss, do not foster a workplace that encourages discrimination against any single member of your workforce. It does happen, and it’s not a joke.
Team conflict can lead to damaged relationships between team members, and it is so very important you step into resolved differences between your team members. A team needs to be a well-balanced unit and that, once again, needs to come from you. Lead by example and don’t be afraid to step in to sort issues between employees out.
If your workplace is a hostile environment, it will ensure that employees find ways to disassociate themselves from work. This could be through work-related stress or unauthorised absences. It is key to identify these issues and ensure that toxicity in the workplace isn’t pushing key members of staff away from work.
The truth is, some staff are harmful to the workplace. They may not mean to be so and sometimes this is resolved through meetings – but there are some employees who will push you and push you. It is imperative to try and support these employees and try to motivate and get the best out of them in the workplace, but dismissal and sanctions might be your only options in some cases.
If you are considering taking serious action against an employee, you have to do this by the book and follow the rules of the law. This isn’t something you can freestyle and ‘hope’ to get right. You need to nail it, each and every time otherwise you stand a strong chance of being taken to court adding damage to your reputation and finances.
As a rule, communication is the ointment to the majority of problems in your place of work. Employee issues do happen, and once they arise, it is imperative that you deal with the situation. If a problem is discovered, it can only get worse if you do not take any action at all. It is very rare for a workplace issue to resolve itself on its own accord. If you are going to take the most serious of actions against your employees, make sure legal help from people and companies like Ellis Whittam is sought before doing so. Everything needs to be by the book and above board when serious action is taken against an employee.
As a general rule, direct, clear communication is the key to dealing with most employee problems, says Guerin. Once you discover a problem, it’s critical to take action instead of letting it fester and get worse. Have an open door with your employees, allow them to come to you with their issues. This is key! Your employees need to be treated like valued human beings and communication is exactly how you can acheive that. It’s the best tool for your business and most of your tasks in leading a team will involve communication. Make sure you master it.