We are all guilty of having employees (or contractors) we don’t want to deal with.  We let things simmer until, WHAMMO!, we snap and decide they have to go, preferably RIGHT NOW!  It is of course best to sleep on it before making any hasty decisions which might have adverse consequences, such as an unfair dismissal claim or worse.  It is also wise to speak to an independent advisor before deciding what to do as it is naturally difficult to be objective about your own business.  With more than 22 years experience, this is part of what we do.

The odds of having “lose, lose” situations with workers are reduced by having core documents and systems in place.  This means an employment agreement and suitable policies (ones which are not just kept in the bottom draw) and following them. Telling an employee what to do, how to do it, when they’ve done it wrong and how to improve it and telling them when they’ve got it right are fundamental to any successful business.  Increasingly, it is recognised that performance review is not just a once a year thing (if that) but should be continual and informal.  This brings us to the concept of “active management”.

In our experience, many businesses still employ a command and control (otherwise known as fear and loathing) management approach.  Some business owners are so concerned with working “in” their business that employee issues are put to one side.  In the modern world, these approaches are not very effective in the longer term.  In an increasingly services based economy, people are the main resource of a business.  People management involves considering how to employ the right people to start with, what it is that makes each person tick and how to get the best out of your workers.  At its most basic level, this involves a calm, considered and courteous approach to all and consistent attention to workers (without micromanaging).  At an advanced level, this can involve the application of scientific principles to getting the best out of people (the developing area of neuroleadership).  Many workplace “blow ups” can be avoided by implementing these skills.

It is of course a business owner’s right to manage their business as they wish (within legal parameters).  However, there are potential benefits from making an investment in people management skills for both business owners and line managers.   We can help by:

a. being an independent sounding board and adviser in employee issues, not just on strictly legal matters;

b. getting your underlying legal documents in place;

c. making referrals to other professionals who can help to develop your skills in getting the best out of your people, which must be good for business.