Business Capability Workshop
Eleanor Gregan, Davenports Harbour Lawyers, 6th August
In these challenging times, this workshop focused on a most delicate topic. It was perhaps not surprising then that, although well-attended, the atmosphere was rather more muted and earnest than at some other Business North Harbour events.
Eleanor Gregan is a senior solicitor at Davenports Harbour Lawyers. In a little under an hour she guided her audience through many employment issues which are especially pertinent right now, highlighting fundamental essentials and warning of common pitfalls.
One of her key pieces of advice was to get things right from the start. If appropriate steps are followed from the outset, fewer issues arise further down the track – which is preferable for both employers and employees. For example, Eleanor talked about the importance of trial periods and probationary periods, but stressed that these are not a “get out of jail free” card. They must be used legitimately.
Taking care of staff’s health and wellbeing is a priority, as uncertainty can negatively affect performance. To ensure ongoing and open communication – and to help spot signs of stress and anxiety – regular one-to-one sessions between managers and team members are recommended, as is potentially engaging the services of EAP (employee assistance programme) providers.
When it comes to company restructuring (including redundancy and redeployment), there are very specific processes that must be followed, and employers need to be able to evidence the strategic business reasons behind the decisions.
Focusing on the positive, Eleanor also reminded everyone to reward employees who are a business’ stars. A discretionary bonus does not have to be an extra payment: movie tickets, an afternoon off, or providing favourite pizza for lunch could all help to show a member of staff how valued they are.