Fair Play

Fair Play
In my book, Fire Well, I talk a lot about working with the poor performing individuals to help them become both fulfilled and successful in their working life - be that with you or elsewhere. However, if you put forward the idea that ‘this job is not right for you’ too early in a conversation then you could be accused of constructive dismissal and things can become sticky, legally speaking. So how to introduce what you believe to be the real crux of the issue without running the risk of legal action? The…continue reading →

Love Rules?

Love Rules?
Earlier this week a request was posted on an HR forum looking for an example of a ‘Love Contract’: a work policy to specify how colleagues should behave if they form a romantic relationship within the workplace. Without knowing the full details, it would appear that this individual was attempting to create a rule book that covered every eventuality, possibly under the false impression this would make things easier in the future. In reality, writing a comprehensive rule book could work against you and undermine your management. Specifically: It will take a huge…continue reading →

Is Firing Someone Really Such a Terrible Thing?

As I train managers in how to give feedback and fire staff, I often ask new people I meet socially: ‘Have you ever been fired?’ I usually get a laugh and very emphatic ‘No!’ as though they are saying, ‘Me, fired? Absolutely not!’ I then go onto ask: ‘Have you ever left an organisation before being fired?’ This time I frequently receive a thoughtful and quiet ‘Yes’. From there I ask: ‘Was it the right thing for you to leave?’ and the answer has always been a positive ‘Yes’, often followed by the…continue reading →

The Sick List

How to handle staff sickness is one of those issues that often gets brushed under the carpet. It's definitely something that requires a sensitive approach but it's also important to establish protocols that you stick to in each and every case. There are basically four types of sick leave - short term and long term and then genuine or not. Whichever you know or suspect them to be, the simplest and most effective strategy is to handle them all in exactly the same way. Ensure that your company reporting process for sickness is…continue reading →

The Blame Game

The Blame Game
You are a manager and therefore you will be unfairly blamed by some of your team members. But why? Brene Brown, the world famous researcher in shame and vulnerability, gave a great insight in one of her TED.com talks: 'Blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort'. Unfortunately, as a manager you can cause people to experience pain and discomfort – particularly when it comes giving necessary feedback. Most people are fine – they will take feedback on the chin with the positive, supportive intent with which it is given. However, some…continue reading →

Are We Protecting Our Staff too Much?

When times are tough do we protect our staff too much? Do we believe that only managers should hold key information as they are the ones that need to come up with the solution? Or perhaps we feel that if staff knew exactly how bad things were, they wouldn’t be able to cope? Would panic?  Become hysterical? Might leave? I see this all the time: managers keeping the bad news to themselves. Yet one thing that staff really value, in terms of the ‘Psychological Contract’, is to be fully involved, and that means…continue reading →

BBC delivers formula for first-class HR Communications

One issue that many companies really struggle with is that of communicating the news of an employee’s dismissal to other staff. Many say nothing, perhaps thinking that it is the right, confidential thing to do. However, it leaves a void for others to fill with rumour, their version of events and conjecture. This weekend, the BBC sacked Jeremy Clarkson - or, rather, decided not to renew his contract at the end of this month - and have delivered a masterclass in how to handle potentially difficult communications. Just as you can be sure…continue reading →

Change can only Come from Within

You are in an appraisal or feedback meeting and have told your staff member what needs to improve. Instead of the concerned reaction you expect, what you actually get is a subdued ‘Yeah, OK’ while their body language shrieks ‘whatever’ as they look to the floor and twirl their fingers. Internally you swear. Despite your best efforts to define the importance of the issues under discussion, and to clarify how their behaviour is adversely impacting team results they are displaying zero commitment to any improvement and change. What to do? This is where…continue reading →

Double jeopardy

Telling someone they are failing to make the grade is always tough. One scenario many managers dread is telling a staff member their job is at risk because of their attitude or actions. They fear any approach will be seen as potentially threatening, and could elicit cries of ‘Constructive dismissal!’ or ‘So you want me to leave?’ when the message actually boils down to ‘This is serious but it can be fixed’. How, then, can you communicate the seriousness of the situation without getting an immediate ‘fight back’ response? Unless the misdemeanour is…continue reading →

Get better connected!

Stay on track this month by creating some powerful new connections. Forget money - connections really do make the world go round! If people feel a connection with you, they will go the extra mile to help you wherever they can, so make February the month when you purposefully increase your connections. Start close to home and have a connection conversation with colleagues and co-workers who could provide valuable support in 2015: Your boss. Suggest a coffee, a chat, anything that means you have a conversation without an agenda and without a deadline.…continue reading →