Melanie Rowe, Senior Associate, Murrell Associates, tells us more:
There is a new focus on health and wellbeing at work, both physical and psychological. Rightly so. With benefits cited including increased productivity, staff retention levels and customer satisfaction; fewer sick days and “presenteeism”; and the superior ability to attract key talent, it is out with the old “be thankful to have a job” mentality and now on-trend to treat your employees well.
The benefits of a healthy working environment also extend to the realm of disputes and the legal sphere. A concerted effort to foster good employee relations and adopt a culture of openness and consistency are key factors to avoiding disputes.
Melanie Rowe, Employment law specialist at Murrell Associates in Truro, presents her top 5 tips to help keep your workforce happy and your business out of the courts:
- Invest in a comprehensive staff handbook.
A well drafted staff handbook can serve as an indispensable guide to many frequently encountered employment issues. Following the policies and procedures not only helps ensure that you are following the law, but also that you are adopting a consistent approach across your workforce. This can help reduce the risk of discrimination and unfair dismissal claims.
We can help you produce a staff handbook that is tailored to the way that you run your business, which is not unduly onerous and allows you flexibility where is it needed.
- Train your managers.
It is important to ensure managers know how to recognise and tackle issues swiftly so that issues are not left to fester and intensify. Does a staff member have an excessive workload? Are they struggling to meet deadlines? Is their sickness absence level getting a little high? Are they isolating themselves from the rest of the team?
Sometimes these issues are subtle and can be hard to identify. Swearing at each other on a building site may be commonplace, but perhaps less so in an administrative environment in which staff may be more inclined to take offence.
We offer management training to help managers to recognise red flags and approach the situation in a sensitive, but constructive and legally compliant manner.
- Comply with health and safety law.
All employers have a duty to take reasonable care for the health and safety of their employees and to provide a safe workplace and system of work. Excessive workloads can be classed as an unsafe system of work and could lead to an employment or personal injury claim.
The active use risk assessments as a means of managing both physical and mental health risk factors is a very useful tool in identifying problems areas as well as a vital evidence in the defence claim for a work-related injury.
All employers employing five or more people must have in place a written health and safety policy statement in respect of its employees, although it is good practice to have a policy in place whatever the size of your business. We can provide assistance with the drafting of a suitable documents and policies for your business.
- Be reasonable.
Most things employment law flow from this concept: “What would a reasonable employer have done in the same situation?” Before taking action, take a step back and ask yourself this question. If you are not sure, speak to us and we can give you examples of what other employers have done in similar cases and what the courts and tribunals have decided with regards to the reasonableness of the decision.
- Actively manage issues and seek guidance where you are unsure.
Nipping things in the bud early on is undoubtedly a key factor in fostering a healthy workplace. No one wants to be told how to run their business, but sometimes some guidance on the options and risks of each available course can be a welcome comfort. If you need a bit of reassurance, please pick up the phone and have a chat with us.
Get in touch
If you would like to discuss any of the issues above, or any aspect of employment law generally, please contact Melanie Rowe on 01872 227066 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
14 High Cross, Truro, TR1 2AJ