I’m writing this from the 06:44 to Lincoln. I know. The glam life that I lead! Anyway, regardless of when I post this blog I’m going to start by saying good morning! You’re the first people I’ve spoken to today! You don’t see many chatty people on a train platform so early so this virtual hey is as good as it gets right now!
I wanted to write about disciplinary and grievance procedures today. Oh, please don’t let that put you off. I’m not going to get heavy, that’s not my style as you know but I would like to share a few insights with you all. Things that have been going through my head.
When I describe my business and my “why” I talk about how people being treated as individuals and not seeing them as a cog in a process is important to me. So what do I mean and why do I care? Let me start with why I care. I care because at the end of the day we are all people who have feelings and values and lives outside of work and we all have basic needs. No two people are exactly the same so why should we treat them that way?! It simply doesn’t work. I care because regardless of the role you play in an organisation you play that role because one would assume there is a need for it. So without you the business would suffer in some way. If you’re playing your part then you should be listened to and heard and treated like you matter. Everybody deserves those basic points in my opinion. I know speaking from experience that if you try to follow policy or procedure rigidly regardless of taking into account personal circumstances it just doesn’t work and it doesn’t work for many reasons. People feel like they don’t matter, become disengaged, less likely to contribute fully and you can find yourself in hot water as you made a decision that doesn’t actually make sense.
Let’s move on to disciplinary and grievance procedures as the example. So many smaller organisations simply don’t have these in place and that really is a risk to your business. If you employ people then some basics around expectation setting and something clear to follow should you need it is important. It’s often very time consuming, messy and complicated if the ground rules have not been set before you need them. But let’s say you do have them. Fantastic. Try now not to see them as a set of rules to chastise people, to beat them over the head with or to follow when you see fit. That’s all equally unhelpful. Try to see them as part of your culture, as helping set expectations, clarity and transparency for all. Of course they’re there to help you should things go wrong but they also help employees feel supported and clear of what is expected and what will happen if those expectations are not met or it gives people a channel to follow should they need to raise something formally with you. They help set the culture of a well run business that cares about its people or at the very least that acknowledges it has people working in it!
I’ve had so many conversations with business owners and line managers over the years about how to apply a D&G policy or process to specific situations. The words I use and have done for years are, pragmatism, fair and reasonable. Take your policy in one hand, your individual in the other and ask yourself if you are making pragmatic decisions and then most importantly of all are you being fair and are you being reasonable. Listen to the individual, listen to the circumstances and apply your policy accordingly.
That’s not about bending the rules or treating people differently it’s about using what you have in place but doing it in a way that’s sensible.
So my final point in this blog is to encourage any business owners who don’t have a D&G policy in place or that maybe want to revamp what they do have to contact me to have a chat about how I can help you change that and also to encourage those of you that do to constantly challenge yourself….you’re dealing with humans, treat them as such. Keep in your mind the 3 little words. Pragmatism. Fair. Reasonable. They will serve you well.
You are what you do. Not what you say you’ll do.
Love Laura x