Connect with us

Managing Staff

Misconduct or Poor Performance?

Deciding on appropriate action when dealing with employees.

Deborah Hartung

Published

on

WhyFranchisesFail

Many employers are unsure of what action is appropriate to take, under what circumstances, within the workplace. Should an act be dealt with by means of a written warning, or worse still, a disciplinary enquiry that may lead to dismissal? Or was it just a mistake, a human error that could have been corrected by means of a less formal, counselling approach? Fear of making the wrong decision and paying dearly at the CCMA or a Bargaining Council often causes many employers to simply take no action at all.

Misconduct

‘Misconduct’ is defined as the blameworthy breach of a workplace rule or a rule of relevance to the workplace.

Incapacity due to poor work performance

‘Poor work performance’ on the other hand, refers to a situation where an employee is not able to perform the duties and tasks associated with their position, at the standards that are required of them by their employer. In many cases, this poor performance may be as a result of the fact that the employee requires some additional training on the use of equipment, or they need help with their time management and planning skills.

But many incidents that occur in the workplace seem to inhabit a grey area between misconduct and poor performance, causing confusion for line managers on what the appropriate action would be under the circumstances.

Consider the following example:

Your business has grown to the point where you now have 250 employees and you hire John as your new full time HR Manager. He has 10 years’ experience working in HR and employee relations and you are confident that he is the right person for the job. Part of John’s job is to ensure that the annual employment equity report is completed and submitted to the Department of Labour. Three (3) months after the report was due for submission, a labour inspector visits your premises and you learn that your company didn’t make a submission. You are livid and when you confront John about this, he says that he got busy and he totally forgot – it just slipped his mind.

Two Questions to test for Misconduct

In order to determine the appropriate action to take in this situation, you need to answer two simple questions. If you answer both of those questions in the affirmative, then you are dealing with an incident of misconduct and you would need to take appropriate disciplinary action, instead of some kind of performance management and improvement initiative.

Did an act or omission occur?

In this instance, John has omitted to submit the annual EE report, so you can answer this question in the affirmative.

Is there any form of blameworthiness – either intentional or negligent?

The question here is whether John can be held responsible for his actions in any way. We have no evidence that he intentionally did not submit the report, but his actions may have been as a result of negligence.

The legal test for negligence, is to ask yourself ‘would a reasonable person, given the same circumstances, have acted differently?’

If your answer is ‘yes’ then you are dealing with negligence.

So, in this case, would it have been reasonable to have expected of John – someone with 10 years’ HR experience – to know when EE reports are due and to take action to ensure that your report was completed and submitted on time?

Definitely! This is not merely a little ‘mistake’ or human error that should be addressed by means of a relatively informal counselling session, but an act of misconduct that would most likely be addressed in a disciplinary enquiry.

If the misconduct is of a serious nature and you are intending taking formal disciplinary action (such as a disciplinary enquiry) it is extremely important that your charges are framed correctly and it is advisable that you seek assistance from an employment law professional, in ensuring that you have drafted the correct charges.

Everyone makes mistakes in addressing situations at work and in their private lives. They often think that they would have done something differently, had they known better at the time. By asking the two crucial questions herein, you can ensure that you always differentiate between misconduct and performance problems and that you start addressing these serious workplace issues, in the correct manner.

Deborah Hartung has almost 15 years’ experience in Human Resources and Labour Relations management and has consulted across various industries. Visit the Hartung website or the HR Guru site should you require assistance with any matters relating to HR or Labour Law within your organisation, or should you wish to improve your knowledge through attending informative training sessions and workshops.

Managing Staff

Young Workers No Longer Get The On-the-Job Training They Need – So They’re Finding It Elsewhere

With companies training people less, the most valuable path to success may be pioneering your own career.

Stephane Kasriel

Published

on

job-training

There’s an inside joke among execs that goes something like this:

A chief financial officer, looking to save costs on training employees, asks the chief executive officer, “What if we spend money on training and they leave?”

To which the CEO responds, “What if we don’t and they stay?”

Unfortunately, over the last several years, it’s the cost-cutting CFOs who have been winning out way too often.

According to Peter Capelli, director of The Wharton School’s Center for Human Resources, companies want workers they don’t have to educate, and his research has found that employers don’t train young workers like they used to.

In 1979, per Capelli, the average young worker received 2.5 weeks of training per year. By 1995, training time fell to just 11 hours.

More recent comparable data has been hard to find, says Capelli, but the Wharton professor says that by 2011 “only a fifth of employees reported receiving on-the-job training from their employers over the past five years.”

Related: Can staff training increase my turnover?

What’s going on here is something that’s often called the tragedy of the commons. Society as a whole is better off if workers are properly trained. Trained workers mean more productive ones, which mean more productive companies and greater overall economic output. However, individual companies are better off if they leave the cost of training to their competitors. More companies these days, it seems, want a free ride.

Of course, the consequences for young professionals are tragic and costly: Traditional jobs aren’t providing them with new skills and therefore aren’t setting them up for success in their careers.

Unsurprisingly, young workers aren’t happy with their employers, so they’re leaving – constantly. Disengaged from their jobs unlike any other generation and seeking new skills, they’re job-hopping. In 2015, according to Gallup, millennials changed jobs three times more often than older generations. Gallup estimates that turnover costs the U.S. economy $30.5 billion per year.

More options available

As depressing as those stats can sound, the truth is that recent grads and young workers have more options to learn skills and craft their careers on their own.

Since 2011, when Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, began to gain public attention, their popularity has grown exponentially. Last year, by one estimate, 23 million people signed up to take their first MOOC. All told, since 2011, more than 800 universities have offered over 9,000 courses to 81 million registered users, according to the same report.

Sure, MOOC students want to enrich themselves for enrichment sake but learning work-relevant skills are a key motivation, according to multiple studies.

Going their own way

For many recent graduates, expectations of entering the workforce haven’t matched up with reality; Gallup found that millennials are less “engaged” with their full-time jobs than any generation before them.

But, there are a lot of reasons for hope. Enabled by new technologies, today’s young professionals have more opportunities than ever before to train themselves and be their own bosses. And, it turns out, millennials have already gotten the message: According to Upwork’s Freelancing in America 2017 report, young workers – unhappy with full-time jobs and aware of the fact that employers won’t train them – are increasingly choosing to go their own ways, becoming their own bosses and training themselves.

The report also found that almost half of millennials (47 percent to be exact) have freelanced over the past 12 months – a participation rate higher than any other generation. And 56 percent of those millennial freelancers have participated in skill-related education within the last six months (versus 35 percent of gen- Xers and 28 percent of baby boomers), according to the survey.

And to be clear, the vast majority of millennial freelancers are doing so because they want to. Sixty-four percent of them say they started freelancing more by choice, not necessity.

Related: How to Build Skills, Loyalty and Profits With Staff Training

The takeaway for hiring managers

This trend means that reaching today’s talented youth is transforming before our own eyes. Put simply, to leverage the skills of many of the most talented, self-driven young workers, businesses increasingly require different hiring strategies.

Many HR departments have taken notice. Half of U.S. companies are using freelancers, according to Upwork’s 2018 Future Workforce Report. That’s up 16 percentage points from the same time last year.

For those who haven’t taken notice, as a new graduating class enters the workforce, now’s the perfect time to rethink your hiring strategy — because if you don’t, you’ll miss out on some of the best talent.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Managing Staff

5 Tips To Make Managing Employees Less Stressful For Everyone

Take it from soul legend Otis Redding: If you want engaged employees, try a little tenderness (and the right tools, too).

Published

on

stress-management-employees

There’s little doubt that your employees are your most valuable resource, but they can also be the biggest drain on your time and energy. Still, managing your workforce in a way that promotes employee engagement is vitally important – and it can have a direct impact on your bottom line.

According to a report from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 40 percent of employees surveyed said that their work was either very stressful or extremely stressful, and more than a quarter reported frequently experiencing burnout at work. It’s no wonder, then, that Gallup reports only about one-third of employees are actually engaged in their work, and more than half are actively looking for different jobs – or are at least keeping an eye out for any openings.

To get the most out of your employees, you need to start by looking at the things you can control. Managing can be stressful, but by paying close attention to the culture you’re creating, you can make lasting improvements in the lives of your workforce. Here’s how you go about doing it.

1. Match the right software to your needs

You may be familiar with tools such as 15Five, but most full-service HR systems are a confusing alphabet soup. Breaking it down, there are three main tiers of human resources management systems.

Your typical human resource information system (HRIS) will allow you to manage personnel information online, along with resources about policies and procedures. A human resource management system (HRMS) is more full-fledged, adding talent management and capabilities such as performance reviews. For the most comprehensive option, a human capital management system (HCMS) does everything an HRIS or HRMS can do, in addition to tackling “capital” management.

Finding the right solution for your company will take much of the hassle out of managing your human resources, leaving more time for the kinds of management practices that actually promote the happiness and engagement of your employees.

Related: These 4 Types Of ‘Nightmare Managers’ Are Scaring Employees Away

balance2. Encourage employees to be well-rounded outside of the office

Well-rounded individuals are happier employees because they take time to refresh outside of work. Happier employees, it turns out, are more productive. Since the most effective leadership is leading by example, look for opportunities to volunteer in the community and show your employees how gratifying it can be to give back.

If you’re not sure where to start, organisations such as The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. can help connect you and your company with valuable volunteer opportunities. The organisation helps women develop core competencies like facilitating meetings, fundraising, strategic thinking and management to strengthen their overall self-worth and add value to their companies.

3. Be the wind beneath their wings

Your employees should have goals at work, whether they revolve around sales figures, client satisfaction ratings or performance review metrics. Goals can help motivate workers and keep them engaged and productive. It’s also important, however, that they have goals outside of work.

Maybe one of your employees wants to run her first 10K. You could rally the rest of the office to sign up and participate with her. If another employee is looking to lose 10 pounds, maybe you join him in bringing salads for lunch each day until he reaches his goal. Whatever action you take, show your employees that you’re behind them and support them in all their efforts, whether they’re about work or not.

4. Recognise that appreciation is strong currency

Now that your employees have goals both for their work performance and their lives in general, celebrate their accomplishments when they achieve them. Instead of handing out a vague sort of accolade like employee of the month, get specific. What did they do that you think is worth celebrating, and why should the rest of your employees take note?

Calling attention to employees’ successes is an important part of building the company culture that you want to be known for. And while handing out the occasional award is certainly important, it’s even more critical to give employees small reminders that you appreciate their work when you walk past their desk or see them in the parking lot. Employees who feel appreciated tend to work harder, according to a Westminster College poll.

Related: Why I Stopped Doing Annual Employee Reviews

5. Stop being a private eye

Trust your employees. You hired them, after all. Your employees are there to do a specific job, and they can’t perform it when they’re constantly being micromanaged. Trust your employees to get their work done, and the vast majority of the time, they will. If they constantly feel as though they’re being spied on, they’ll just become resentful and unproductive.

Know what “productivity” means. When your employees have clear deliverables, it eases both their minds and yours. Vague notions of what they’re supposed to accomplish and subjective metrics for determining success make for disagreement when it comes time to review their performance. Avoid this unnecessary burden by getting everyone on the same page ahead of time.

Your employees should be able to track their own performance, and this way they’ll have the chance to come to you if they’re running into problems.

Your employees’ work lives can be stressful, but their day-to-day lives may be as well. You can’t always control that, but what you can control is the empathy you display toward them. Empathy is an important trait in any leader, and employees will respond to it by pushing themselves for you and your company. Follow the above steps with an open, empathetic mind, and your management woes can become a thing of the past.

This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.

Continue Reading

Managing Staff

Tips For Preventing Harassment In The Workplace

Here are a few ways to identify and prevent harassment of all types in the workplace.

Published

on

harassment-in-the-workplace

In the workplace, there is a fine line when connecting with employees. While it’s important to have a laugh from time to time, you need to draw the line on inappropriate jokes, conversations and actions. The workplace is a professional environment where you are employed to do a specific job. Along with your job, you need to be respected by colleagues and feel comfortable with your surroundings. Your place of work should make you feel safe and secure at all times.

Often times, employees are exposed to threatening working conditions which might lead to difficult events. And, while your colleague or manager might be frustrated from time to time or a little too comfortable in your presence, you need to keep your eyes peeled for any strange, harassing actions. If you feel threatened or somehow in danger the minute you step foot in your office, do not let it go. Management should constantly be on the lookout for such behaviour among the team. In order to prevent these events from happening and putting the organisation at legal risk, you need to put a few plans into place.

Before you can prevent this in the workplace, you need to be able to identify what is considered to be ‘harassment’. It can be through verbal, written, physical or visual cues. From sly comments or negative stereotypes to offensive jokes and threatening gestures, harassment can be done on one particular individual or a group of colleagues. If anyone feels threatened or intimidated, it’s a serious offence.

Related: 4 Ways to Diffuse a Toxic Workplace

Here are a few ways to identify and prevent harassment of all types in the workplace.

Have a clear policy in place

Creating an anti-harassment policy which every employee is clear about is a good way to set the tone for the company’s culture. When employees have a clear understanding of the repercussions involved in such an incident, there will be no room for misunderstandings or miscommunications. Everyone should be on the same page and employees should also have access to a document which explains how employees should react to these incidents. It’s critical for management teams to stress the need for respect in the workplace so that everyone is aware of any behaviour that does not reflect these values.

Communicate the policy

Simply having a policy in place for harassment cases is not enough. You need to communicate openly about the harassment case law in South Africa and not avoid anything that could be seen as taboo. Whether it’s physical, verbal or written, these acts happen nearly every day, so it’s important to take a stand and make a difference in your team’s culture. By being open about this type of topic, it will allow people to feel more confident when something does happen, to confront the person and address it.

Review and revisit your policy

The harassment act policy you implemented five years ago will not be as effective in years to come. Laws and workplace requirements continue to change, therefore you should keep revisiting your policy and update it from time to time. When a new employee arrives, make sure that you introduce them to the updated policy and have a formal meeting about the company’s values and expectations around this topic. If there are changes in the policy, management should communicate it to their teams as a whole.

Empower your people to not be fearful

Make it clear that your business does not tolerate any employee disrespect. Should someone go against this, a professional case will take place. And if someone feels or experiences any harassing actions in the workplace, they should understand exactly how to report the incident without being fearful.

Related: What Happened To The Workplace? How To Make It More Human

Implement harassment training

Introducing regular training courses or workshops will make it evident just how much you believe in taking a stand and educating your employees about harassment in the workplace. Training will educate employees about the harassment case law in South Africa, and it will help employees identify these instances not only for their own benefit but for their colleagues around them. In order for training to be effective, employees need to have a clear idea of the difference between good and bad behaviour in the workplace.

It should be focused on what is expected of you during your time at the company. From the minute you arrive at work to the minute you leave. When your employees connect with each other over a topic like this, it will allow everyone to be more open about the topic without allowing anyone to ignore it.

Final words

Harassment in the workplace is a serious offence. There is no reason why people should let something like this (which has the potential to ruin someone’s life or perception of themselves) to slide without being addressed. Make sure everyone works according to these rules and regulations, and if anyone breaches the policy, management will take things further. Once employees know that there is a serious exit strategy connected to your company’s harassment act warning, they will be more careful with their actions.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

SPOTLIGHT

Advertisement

Recent Posts

Follow Us

Entrepreneur-Newsletters
*
We respect your privacy. 
* indicates required.
Advertisement

Trending