Making Leadership Easier Through Effective People Processes
It’s with great pleasure I introduce a guest blog from a practical and extremely knowledgeable HR Practioner – Nicki Mawby from HR Your Business Matters –
As a leader of a team have you ever wondered why your words seem to fall on deaf ears, with some employees seemingly working with you whilst others seem set on doing the opposite? This blog explores how leadership can be made easier through having effective people processes implemented within your business, supporting you as a leader to drive engagement and productivity.
A leader is defined as the person that leads or commands a group, organisation or country and leadership as explored by the CIPD can be described as the ability to lead others towards a common goal (June, 2016).
There are a number of skills required in order to be an effective leader. Although not limited to these include areas such as emotional intelligence, communication and leadership style. Looking more closely at communication, an effective leader communicates in verbal and non-verbal ways through things such as body language, tone of voice, eye contact as well as the verbal and written words they present to their employees. Having set policies and procedures within a business brings a consistent form of communication which derived from employment legislation and best practice sets out clear expectations to employees in regards to business expectations. This then supports a leader to manage their team appropriately, efficiently and effectively, by adhering to these policies and procedures, reducing the risk to the business overall.
Policies and procedures as detailed above are written documents, accessible to all employees, whether this be through an employee’s contract, handbook or a designated policies and procedures manual. Common policies and procedures include induction, probation, absence, performance, capability, disciplinary and grievance.
Many employers I encounter express a concern that much of today’s legislation surrounding employees, supports the employee and puts employers at a disadvantage. Although as a HR professional I appreciate these concerns whole heartedly, what I try and do is support business owner’s to understand that having a comprehensive set of expectations within a business can drive performance.
For example, having a probationary process in place for new employees allows for the employee to be reviewed against criteria matching the job description and failure to meet this criteria can lead to the safe exit of this employee from the business. Without such a process, if an employer was simply to end employment, this could give cause for a tribunal claim for dismissal based on discrimination. This same example can be used for disciplinary processes for poor behaviour and performance.
Absence can have a major impact on many businesses with the cost being not only on company and statutory sick pay but also on lost sales, productivity and impact on service levels. Many leaders simply do not know how to effectively manage employee absence, especially when it may be related to long-term sickness absence, disability or family related absences.
The myth that employees cannot be managed for certain absences are simply not true and as a HR professional, I have handled many, many cases whereby the absences are having a detrimental impact on the business and reasonable adjustments just cannot be accommodated. By having such as processes in place can lead to a reduction in non-genuine absences as well as the timescales of managing and potentially exiting employee incapable of fulfilling their job description, all in a safe way.
Even the most experienced leader can sometimes feel uncertain when unexpected employee related issues crop up, a situation they have never encountered or an employee who for whatever reason appears difficult. Training leaders on the policies and procedures in place provides them with the confidence that most situations can be managed and this will also bring with it a layer of consistency as every employee is managed in the same way to the same set of expectations.
Now you may be wondering which policies/procedures/processes does your business need in place? Unfortunately, there is no magic answer to this question as it very much depends on your business size and model, however, this said there are policies you do need in place and need to make available to your employees based on a business of 5 employees. These include Discipline, Grievance and Health and Safety (ACAS, Disciplinary + Grievance at work, Health and Safety Executive).
The terminology and change from manager to leader has steadily evolved over the last 50 or so years. Managers historically had a very ‘autocratic, I say, you do’ style whereas the modern leader has a ‘democratic, strategy, vision and success comes through inspiring others to succeed’
As times have changed so also has the information that has been made readily available via the internet, no longer can leaders use ignorance as a form of defence. Managing employees in the wrong way carries significant risk in regards to brand image, monetary cost associated with high turnover and recruitment as well as the legal fees and compensation awards to employees.
Legislation and best practice comes into play from the moment a vacancy exists right through to the exit of an employee, so it is imperative that leaders take action to gain the knowledge, skills and expertise needed through the implementation and training of comprehensive policies and procedures to increase their confidence, reduce risk and truly lead. True leaders, lead from the front and will always have an engaged, motivated and productive team working for them and not against them.
I hope you have found this blog insightful, Want to know more about HR Your Business Matters? Check us out in the following places:
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I look forward to hearing from you soon, regards and best wishes