Start as you mean to go on
14 February 2011
For most Start Ups and SMEs, keeping abreast of ever changing employment laws can seem a daunting prospect. The time, energy and money needed getting to grips with all the potential legal pitfalls can be too much for most new businesses. So, why not avoid the pitfalls all together and start as you mean to go on.
By laying down strong management and communication processes from the outset, you will be significantly reducing the risk of low morale, grievances and claims. Your staff are likely to be your most valuable asset, so ensure you create an environment where you can get the best out of them. Be innovative and adopt an open communication policy so that your employees understand your business vision and values and feel engaged. In return, listen to your employees` ideas, concerns and needs. By building trust and loyalty, you will be more able to find joint solutions to employment problems and less likely to find yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Below are some key pointers to creating an effective working relationship.
- Get your recruitment right. Prepare objective criteria and questions in advance.
- Treat people fairly. If you are seen to discriminate or you treat people badly, you lose the trust of all your staff
- Build trust and loyalty with your staff
- Encourage a collective mindset where all employees treat everyone (whatever their gender, age, race etc) just as they would want to be treated - with respect
- Watch out for discrimination issues - know the law in this area and train your managers - its a potential defence to any claim that you have taken steps to prevent discrimination occurring
- Find mechanisms to allow ideas about the business, the workplace, and the future to flow from top to bottom and vice versa.
- Make employees feel like their ideas count and don`t keep them in the dark about how the business is doing
- Reward hard work - this doesn`t always have to be by paying more money
- Flexibility shouldn`t just be for parents. Consider it for all employees. This in turn will ensure a more satisfied and productive workforce
- Tell employees how they are doing - provide career development and opportunities
- Adopt fair processes to deal with under-performance - and use them. Strong performers feel put upon if management fails to tackle under-performers.
- However, performance management shouldn`t just be about reprimand - try and help employees achieve their potential by setting clear objective criteria, maintaining regular communication about performance - good and bad and providing reasonable time and training to improve
- Manage sickness absence - be accommodating to genuinely sick employees
- Train managers to behave consistently in their use of such processes. Inconsistent treatment undermines trust.
- Avoid placing unreasonable demands on employees by prioritising workloads and delegating duties
Employment law develops rapidly, so ensure that you keep abreast of any changes. Whilst it is important to know the minimum legal requirements that impact your business, never lose sight of the bigger picture. If you have trust and loyalty you will nearly always be forgiven the odd hiccup! Let us help you get the right processes in place and limit the time you spend on legal and HR issues, so that you can spend more time concentrating on building your business.
Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at firstname.lastname@example.org by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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