I was asked what were the most common issues I deal with in my line of work? So here are the top two:
1) Recruiting the wrong person
We’ve all been there, we’ve seen 8 applicants for the job and none of them seem quite right. You know the perceived wisdom is that if you are not sure you shouldn’t offer them the job, but you are under pressure, you need the work doing and your boss/client won’t wait. So what do you do?
Well the perceived wisdom is quite right, the number of times I have had to unpick a hasty appointment is frightening. Just this week I was discussing a carer who had been taken on by a client when they weren’t sure, not only that, but my client had agreed to pay for them to attend a course one day a week, to “bring his skills up to speed”.
Anyway 4 weeks and 6 late arrivals later they finally felt they had to do something about his attendance, so they contacted the college where he had been studying only to find had never attended the course and in effect was being paid to sit at home.
When they sacked him he even had the cheek to blame the employer for the job being too hard!
If you really have to appoint someone, here are a couple of tips to help you get out of the mire when it all goes wrong
a) Set up an “extended interview” so you can see them doing the job you want them to do with the people you want them to work with, that way you can get an idea of how far from ideal they really are
b) Keep the job advert open so you don’t have to start the whole process again.
2) I’ve given him loads of warnings why can’t I sack him
In law unless someone has only a short amount of time with you (i.e. they started after the 5th April 2012), then if you dismiss them they can claim unfair dismissal. It is normal for a tribunal to take the view that unless they have done something so bad as to almost be outrageous you cannot sack them on a first offence, you have to give them a warning first. So far so obvious. However just saying to someone “don’t do that or you will be sacked” is not usually good enough. You have to go through a formal procedure.
I have dealt with a number of cases where the company owner is adamant that they gave someone a warning but because they didn’t follow it up in writing, the employee denies that they ever knew they were doing anything wrong.
I even had one case where the employee swore blind he had never been told he had been doing anything wrong when at the previous meeting where the same issue was discussed with him and one of his colleagues, his colleague had rushed out of the room in tears!
So if you are reaching the end of your tether with someone, do it properly then you won’t be embarrassed by and employment tribunal believing the quite bizarre sob story from the employee and making you pay thousands of pounds in compensation.
There are plenty of other problems I deal with almost weekly, like re-employing someone whom you previously sacked only to find you were right to sack them in the first place, setting up a bonus scheme to reward certain pieces of work only to find that your staff ignore the work that does not contribute to the scheme, the list goes on and on. Hopefully I will get the chance to “bang on” about these issues in a subsequent edition.
For more info on Kieron Hill and KHES – http://www.khes.co.uk/