HR Policies and Procedures
Procedures are procedures right? You don’t have a choice. Just get the correct form out of the filling cabinet and plod on? Wrong.
We are finding all too often HR Managers are starting processes that are not only handled badly but which, frankly, should never have been started in the first place. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the procedure appears to be. The art of common sense or thinking about the desired outcome is often distinctly missing in the workplace.
The world is changing and the needs and skills demanded from an HR manager are greater than ever. But this can be no excuse for starting a capability process with a staff member which should clearly be a formal disciplinary hearing. Or doing a ‘return to work’ as a response to flexible working hours. Few HR Managers understand the need to undertake welfare meetings to discuss ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the Equality Act or what constitutes a disability in today’s society.
One recent call, DLP were asked to urgently assist an HR Manager starting a performance procedure with an 8-year employee who made it clear in the very first meeting that she was no longer prepared to do her job. When questioned, she replied that she completely understood the tasks of the role. When asked about the needs and priority for her role to be completed in a specific way, she agreed wholeheartedly that this was true and clearly identified the business needs.
However when asked what improvement could be made and how she might improve she responded that she wasn’t prepared to improve. The employee was clear and concise. She was confident in her answers and even went so far as to identify successful workers she knew she should emulate but insisted she was too old to change, learn to be more efficient, or handle the work better.
We aren’t sure whether the HR Manager understood what was happening but was unable to respond appropriately or simply wasn’t experienced enough to address the problems. Or perhaps she was programmed to carry on with the process no matter what and wasn’t paying attention or listening.
Either way, the process began with a first written warning in accordance with the policy. The result being an employee in a post who admitted she was unwilling to do her job. As the job wasn’t being done other work dependent upon this role was affected and overall productivity reduced. The employee clearly asked for help and an imaginative HR professional might take this opportunity to save the employee.
‘Lazy HR’ affects not only the HR manager and the employee in question but has wider implications for a business. Explaining to the employee that their refusal to do their work means they are unable to remain in employment might create a different outcome. The whole process needs to be changed. There needs to be flexibility, common sense and a working together.
It is time to look at HR in a new way. Following HR policies ‘come what may’ is old fashioned and imprudent. There are many different endings a situation might have when the HR manager is open to ideas and committed to making it work for everyone.