Take the “high road” with people management to bring business success.
Data from our HR Health-Check Survey, and conversations with local employers, indicate that many firms do not have basic HR systems and processes in place. For example, they do not have written employment contracts, employee handbooks, performance management processes, or a discipline and grievance procedure and the use of zero hours and minimum wage employment is widespread.
Firms taking this “low road” to people management and employee relations have a lot to lose; it was reported recently that there has been a 39 per cent jump in employment tribunal cases since fees were abolished last year, while compensation for unfair dismissal claims can be up to a staggering £80,541.
Those companies taking what I call the “high road” are choosing to invest in their people. Recently I visited a factory in Bury St Edmunds that employs over 200 people and have a turnover of £13.8 million. They seek to involve employees in workplace decisions. For example, a staff suggestion scheme asks employees to make simple and cost-effective recommendations for improvements to work practices, which will lead to cost savings and also results in greater engagement of the staff willing to go the extra mile.
Small business owners often complain to us about the difficulty of recruiting staff but hope that word of mouth recruitment will be sufficient. It is not. The ability to attract and retain talent is a key competitive advantage, but some firms are unwilling to invest in the basics – reluctant to spend money on advertising job boards, or with recruitment agencies – and have given little thought to why people would want to work for them or their “employer brand”.
We continue to work with organisations to help them get the best from their people and have formed key partnerships and alliances, recently with Occupational Health Specialists Cavell & Lind, to help us to provide a seamless service and address employment issues before they arise.