Since the Supreme Court judgment that tribunal fees were unlawful there has been a marked increase in employment tribunal cases, and the figure is expected to keep rising.
During a period of heightened risk for employers and what we believe is a new era for employee relations management, L&D teams have a pivotal role to play in ensuring that if challenged, their management team is not the subject of criticism by an employment tribunal judge.
L&D have the opportunity to kick start the conversation in their organisation and implement the right training to ensure their managers have what they need to manage effectively. Here’s three practical ways to do just that:
This is the bread and butter of L&D, but stick with us. It’s now important to take the good practice of objective setting and quality feedback one step further, through to the formal stages. In short, make sure managers understand and are confident with how to manage employee relations issues formally. This is so important because it enables managers to appreciate the value of informal management and recognise that the ‘scary’ transition to formal management isn’t as big as it might seem.
During this session, focus on the legal framework, and reassure managers that managing performance in the right way will not translate to bullying in the eyes of the law. Focus on developing confidence and giving employees a true grasp of how to describe under-performance.
Allow your managers to manage
Make sure your management teams understand that they have a right to manage behaviours, and set expectations within their teams. During training sessions that we deliver, we often find that management teams can lack confidence in managing the more subjective things. To combat this, L&D can design training that will upskill managers in how to set these standards clearly and decisively. This in action, will go a long way towards helping evade grievance situations.
Train your managers to deliver a first-class investigation
It may seem obvious, but quality analysis and impartiality make for an investigation that forms the basis for good quality decision making. In our experience this can rarely be successfully argued against.
Your managers may already possess many of these skills from previous training courses, but what’s important here is that these skills must be exercised in a particular context and in a particular way. Including a refresher on delivering a good investigation can go a long way in ensuring management teams are equipped to investigate when they need to.
Alongside the small issues of harassment and GDPR currently on the HR agenda, this is another topic we will see incorporated into management training programmes throughout 2018 and beyond, and one which we think will make a big impact. Inevitably, some cases will end up in the employment tribunal, a good way to prepare for this is to attend a mock employment tribunal, where you will learn what to expect and how a claim might be considered.