Sledge Hammers and Nuts
It is always interesting to see how governments try to resolve situations where really a good dose of common sense is required.
Many of you in business will have read with interest the government’s proposal to put forward the idea of having “protected conversations” within the workforce to address issues of concern with a particular employee. For example, if they are not performing up to the required standard then a “protected” conversation could take place which effectively could be used by an employer to inform an employee that they are not coming up to scratch and that they should, how shall we say, watch their step. This essentially would be an off the record conversation that could not be referred to and, avoid the need to go down perhaps performance routes to manage an individual out of an organisation.
So far so good. Many employers may think well this is common sense and why can’t we have a more open discussion with an employee without having to drive issues down the legal process. Often this is very useful and can be productive in either informing an employee that they are not coming up to scratch or, alternatively allowing a face to face discussion to take place which may be more productive than having to go through a formal route.
However, the sledge hammer may not crack the nut that it wants to. The danger is that we will get into all sorts of issues including it could be the case that employers get themselves caught up in further legal issues. First of all - and I know this sounds boring - the whole issue of protected conversations would need statutory definition which is going to be a nightmare to draft and to enforce. Second, no doubt there would have to be some type of procedure in place to enable one of these conversations to take place. It is not the case that they will just take place in the courtyard/in a corridor without any forewarning.
My view is that although it sounds like a great idea - I do not think it is going to help at all. Employers and indeed employees are again warned to be careful of the headlines and those bearing false gifts.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by David Gibson .
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