Disciplinary Meetings

Disciplinary Meetings: The Question You Should Always Ask

As a manager or business owner, it has been ingrained into you that you must follow a fair procedure in disciplinary and grievance cases and that you must undertake a reasonable investigation. Yet, when it comes to the disciplinary or grievance meeting itself, many managers and business owners fail to ask the obvious question that they should always ask at the end of such a meeting.

ACAS has produced a Code of Practice designed to ensure that a fair procedure is followed when dealing with grievances and disciplinary matters, and there are financial penalties for failing to comply with the Code of Practice.

Nor is there a shortage of guidance for managers about how to conduct workplace investigations and how to conduct a formal disciplinary or grievance meeting. None of this guidance, however, mentions the obvious question that ought to be asked at the end of every such meeting. There is good a reason for that, which is that the guidance is descriptive of the process to be followed rather than being prescriptive of what should be said and done.

What then is the obvious question that ought to be asked, but often is not. It is:

“Do you think you’ve had a fair hearing?”

Why should you ask this question?

From your point of view as the business owner or manager, asking this question is a win win situation. Here are two reasons why that is:

#1. If the employee answers ‘yes’, they are confirming that they believe they have had a fair hearing. By answering the question in the affirmative, they undermine any subsequent claim they might bring for unfair dismissal. That is because it is much more difficult to criticise the process their employer followed if they’ve agreed, during the interview, that they have in fact had a fair hearing.

In reality, if asked the question, most employees will answer ‘yes’ in the hope of a favourable decision and they don’t want to antagonise the interviewer.

#2. If they answer ‘no’, you can ask them why they think that and then correct any procedural or other errors. For example, if they say they haven’t had a fair hearing because they were not given an adequate opportunity to explain X, Y and Z, give them the opportunity there and then to explain those points to their satisfaction. Make sure the employee is satisfied that they have been able to give their explanation fully, and then ask them “do you now think you’ve had a fair hearing?” Having dealt with the employee’s complaint in this way,It would be very difficult for them to raise a new objection.

There is an immediate benefit that accrues by asking whether the employee thinks they have had a fair hearing. That is, it removes the ground of appeal that the investigating manager did not follow a fair procedure. That means the manager conducting the appeal meeting only needs to ask the employee to confirm that they had previously agreed that investigating manager had given them a fair hearing. As the employee had previously answered yes to this question, it would be all but impossible for him or her to change their mind at this stage. The appeal manager does not then need to go into whether the process up to that point had been fair. This enables the meeting to focus on the other grounds of appeal.

However, should the employee nevertheless now claim they had not previously received a fair hearing, the employer is presented with another winning situation. The appeal manager should invite the employee to explain:

Why he or she had previously agreed that they had received a fair hearing; and
To explain why he or she now believes they had not received a fair hearing.

The appeal manager can correct any defects to ensure that a fair procedure is followed. Irrespective of the outcome, most employees will be happy that a fair procedure was followed and they were given full opportunity to explain themselves.

Removing the employee’s objection in the way described above is an effective way of undermining the employee’s position should they complain of an unfair procedure in any subsequent claim to an employment tribunal.

The Problems of Sustaining

The Problems of Sustaining Learning and Development

It wasn’t too long ago when I was confronted with the idea that training doesn’t work. Of course it works, I said to myself. But the nagging feeling that perhaps everything I was doing was incorrect or insufficient continue to bug me.

If you’ve been in learning and development for some time, you would come to the conclusion that the answer to employee development is all about training. However, there are other areas which are not necessarily about training that can still develop employees effectively. One of them includes the use of innovation to create future oriented think tank projects. Another might include the use of facilitation and coaching in order to bring performance to a higher level.

Throughout all of these strategies for developing people within organizations, corporate training has become one of the most sought after, but also one that is plagued by many problems. First, most trainees aren’t even told why they are attending a training. This is an issue. The key is about once ability to frame the need to an employee. Whether or not it’s a 360 degree assessment or just the part of a process of development, it’s essential for learning and development professionals and employers in general to highlight why it’s important for training to be done.

Now, what’s training is done at least the second problem. Memory. Not everybody is able to remember whatever was discussed in a training session. If I were to record and transcribe an entire eight hour training program, it will merely amount to 160 pages of somewhat repetitive information. From a bird’s eye view, it’s very likely that such information could have been for the and more precisely dealt with. I know this because I often transcribe hours of my own lectures thinking that I would have gotten serious nuggets of information. What I often find is that because of the deviations, interjections, humor, rapport building, much of the information is lost. What could it be that in three hours was instead done in eight. This calls for better precision in the design of programs. Over the years, I’ve come to realize that deliberate design and collaboration with learning and development professionals makes for a much better program on any given day. What will be even better is that this design is dealt with in greater detail. This leads to the question: do we spend more time when corporations are already trying to cut back on training hours? Our opinion, we believe that online learning is going to be the next big wave in the change that has already taken place.

Digitization and blended learning solutions are typically the way to go so that individuals can not just have an external brain on the computer, they can also recall information and enhance that understanding through discussion within some kind of platform. Forums, wikis, blogs, are all approaches that have been used before within organizations in order to manage knowledge that is so vast and disparate. In addition to this, I would like to recommend something else.

If you’ve not heard of gamification, then you would have missed the opportunity to utilize human motivation within digital learning processes. One of the most fascinating ways one can actually reward learning is through the use of complex gamification. For example, you might simply encourage basic activities such as logging in on a daily basis. From a more advanced perspective, it might be better for participants to be able to provide a meaningful contribution within that discussions, fully and manually assessed by their instructor. From an even more advanced perspective, participants will have to submit videos or discussions in a thesis form that enable their instructor to determine that they do have the right kind of prerequisites to accomplish better understanding of the concept, or even higher level of competency. The only way to do this is to have a system that enables communication between instructor and a vast number of geographically dispersed employees.

These days, learning management systems are unable to cost effectively achieve these kinds of results. Instead, a new form of learning management system is beginning to evolve. These LMS are purely targeted at hosting content and enabling the consumption of such content. You might even say that the course markets itself by trying to sell itself through different touch points within the system. In addition, advanced gamification processes can be used to encourage participation, contribution, and even submissions. This kind of work sample is not just useful in determining who is valued as a problem solver within the organization, is also useful in the hiring and selection process. After all, we all know that resumes account for less than 10% of valid new hires!

From selection and hiring to learning and development, new systems are necessary to create more productive approaches to employee development. This does entail the need

Employment Should Be Conditional

Why Offers of Employment Should Be Conditional

Conditional offers of employment are not a new phenomenon. They have, however, become more important as the UK Government tightens up the rules on employing foreign nationals that could, in some circumstances, make an employer liable to criminal prosecution.

Should all offers of employment be conditional?

In a way, they have often been so in the past- if only to the extent of receipt of a satisfactory employment reference. New entrants to the professions are often recruited early in their university career and it is common practice for prospective employers to offer employment subject to the candidate achieving a certain class of degree. When seeking promotion once in employment requires the candidate to demonstrate that he or she has maintained their qualification by successfully completing a mandatory minimum number of training courses or training sessions each year.

Conditional offers of employment are not limited to the professions. Truck drivers and bus drivers will have to provide documentary evidence they are licensed to drive a vehicle of the class they are being employed to drive.

Under the United Kingdom’s Immigration Act 2016, which came into effect on 12 July 2016, employers can face a criminal prosecution for employing an illegal worker where they have reasonable cause to believe that the worker does not have permission to work in the UK. The effect of which is that…

All offers of employment are now conditional.

That is because it is now obligatory for UK employers to ensure that all employees, and not just those from outside the UK, can prove their entitlement to enter or remain in the UK and to work in the UK. There is no longer such a thing as an unconditional offer of employment.

Practical steps

What can an employer do to ensure that a prospective employee satisfies all the conditions that are likely to placed on an offer of employment? Here are some suggestions:

When inviting candidates for interview, they should be informed that they are required to bring the following documents with them to the interview and that if they do not do so they will not be interviewed and that the vacancy may be filled by another candidate:

A British Passport or long form birth certificate or other documentary evidence showing that the applicant is entitled to enter or remain in the UK and also to work in the UK;
The name and address of their current employer to whom an application for an employment reference may be sent, or other referee if appropriate;
Documentary proof of the qualifications they say they hold, driving licences, etc.; and
Documentary evidence that they have maintained their professional qualification, if required.

On arrival for interview, all candidates should be asked to produce the relevant documents for inspection and copying before their interview commences. If any candidate cannot produce the necessary documents, you should decline to interview him or her. This does not prevent you from interviewing those candidates at a later date when they are able to produce the necessary documents.

Any offer of employment should be made conditional on the successful candidate complying with the outstanding conditions – such as a satisfactory reference and or a clear criminal records search if the nature of the employment requires it. The successful candidate should be warned that their failure to fulfil these conditions will result in the offer of employment being withdrawn.

No contract will exist if the candidate fails to satisfy the conditions.

On a cautionary note, before withdrawing a conditional offer of employment take care to ensure that your reason for doing so is based solely on the candidate’s failure to satisfy the conditions and not because of some protected characteristic. It is always good practice to document your reasoning and to explain why you made your decision to the disappointed candidate.

Improve Productivity

Improve Productivity and Efficiency of Your Business by Hiring Interns

There is no denying the fact that many big businesses hire interns every year which helps them to increase their productivity and efficiency in the long as well as short-term. But even the business owners of many small and medium-sized companies should understand the number of benefits that interns may provide. Before hiring an employee full-time many companies want to see whether the interns are capable enough to perform in a professionally working environment or not. In today’s time even applying for an internship program in a reputed company has become highly competitive for the students and companies have the choice to pick up the best students from the number of colleges.

Achieve success in all kinds of projects

Even for small companies, these fresh graduates are highly helpful because they can produce highly quality work and they are very enthusiastic and motivated. They can work hard to achieve success in all projects that are assigned to them. By assigning few of the projects to the team of interns, an employer can engage his full-time employees in some other more profitable areas of the business. Hire interns and it will also lead to lots of cost cutting in staffing as businesses can hire productive workers at the least cost.So hiring interns can be a cost-effective way to increase the staff members of your company.

Reduce the cost of investment in staffing

Although interns do not have the prior experience under their belt but they are smart and very capable. An employer can get the benefits of multiple employees at the cost of one. Even the risk which is associated with hiring the full-time employee decreases when you hire fresh graduates. When you hire the employee for the full-time, you have to give him the salary and various other benefits.If the employee somehow turns out to be unfit for your organization then it will lead to huge losses for you.

Accomplish extra tasks and add value to your business

So by hiring interns for a certain period of time, business owners can actually get the benefit of trying them out.An employer has the full chance of finding out whether the intern is fit for his company or not. They may be trained and shaped up to take up full-time positions in your company. A small business owner can clear his schedule for more crucial tasks and hire interns for the accomplishment of all those extra tasks of his company. He will be able to gain extra time to run his business effectively.

Increase the bottom line of your company

Interns can also help the employer to do some market research and employer can find out a lot of information about his current customers, potential consumers as all as competitors which will help him to improve his products and services and take right kinds of marketing efforts. Hiring the talented team of interns can do a lot for your business.Interns have high potential and enthusiasm and they can be trained adequately to perform various tasks in your company.

Gain benefits of multiple employees at the cost of one

The activities performed by them will surely add value to your business. If you are a small business company, then by hiring an intern you will be able to take out time to focus on increasing the bottom line of your company. It will help you to gain a competitive edge over your competitors and you will be able to grow and expand your business effectively.

Company Hiring Process

4 Tips to Streamline Your Company’s Hiring Process

Streamlining the hiring process can save time and money, and ensure that your company attracts the top candidates in your industry. This is especially true for those positions where the candidate pool is shallow.

It’s important for hiring managers to remember that potential candidates take “real” notice of a company’s hiring process as they are going through it to gauge how your organization might also conduct day-to-day business. If they get a bad impression, you can be sure they will tell their friends and colleagues. Bad news travels fast and if top candidates get a negative vibe about your company–they’ll go to your competition.

The following are some tips to help your company streamline the hiring process and attract top-tier candidates that can make a real impact in your business and help you stay ahead of the competition:

Tip #1: Evaluate Your Current Hiring Process:

Taking a look at your process allows you see what parts are working and which are not. This lets you know what areas can be improved. Normally, the hiring process is created around the company and the hiring managers. It is wise to also take a look at your process from the potential candidates’ perspective-remember they will be the first to talk to others out in the field about your company.

Tip #2: Shorten Your Hiring Process to a Reasonable Amount of Time:

How long does your current hiring process take from start to finish?
Top candidates do not remain available for too long. They are in-demand and get noticed and get offers quickly.

Figure out what actual date the candidate needs to start and work backward while taking into consideration the number of rounds of interviews you want to conduct, resignation notice periods, background checks, reference checks, and offer stage.

A slow hiring process does not mean you’ll get better candidates; in fact many times it works against your best interest since it is common for “top talent” to get multiple offers and counter offers-remember your competition is looking for them too.

Tip #3: Communicate With Candidates Throughout the Process:

A very common blunder companies make is that they fail to keep in contact with the candidates throughout the process. Not only is keeping in touch with candidates just common courtesy, it sets a professional tone. It’s important that they know where they are in the process at all times. This is especially important when it comes to your “finalists.” If your first choice doesn’t come through, you will surely be looking at the candidates that are close runner-ups.

Tip #4: Move the Offer Stage Along Quickly:

When it comes time to the offer stage, it’s a good idea to keep things moving along quickly. Once you make a decision on a final candidate-present the offer. Don’t drag your feet! The more time you allow between the interview process, final decision-making, and presenting the offer, the more time there is for a potential candidate to get anxious and change his mind, or to receive an offer from your competition.

Tightening up your hiring process can really save your company time and money, reduce stress on hiring managers by freeing up more of their time, and ultimately attract the top-tier candidates that can help improve your business.

Employment Personality

Pre-Employment Personality Test Scores Of The Best Sales Reps

In my pre-employment test research on sales reps, I tested huge numbers of the best sales reps in many companies. I often find the reps tend to get certain personality test scores.

By uncovering these benchmark or typical pre-employment personality test scores of its terrific sales reps, a company can use the test to quickly and scientifically find out which applicants have the same personality traits as its best reps. And the fastest way to hire great reps is to hire applicants who have work-related qualities similar to your company’s best reps.

Overall, after testing thousands of the best reps in a lot of companies, I often see the following typical or benchmark high, moderate, and low personality or behavior test scores.

6 HIGH TEST SCORES on PRE-EMPLOYMENT PERSONALITY TESTS

1. MOTIVATION TO EARN INCENTIVE PAY
They run after making sales and, thus, earning higher commissions or incentive pay.

2. MOTIVATION TO FOLLOW-UP WITH PROSPECTS & CUSTOMERS

This means terrific sales reps follow-up and keep control in dealings with customers and prospective customers.

3. FRIENDLINESS
A smiling, extroverted rep quickly develops rapport and makes good impressions on potential clients.

4. TEAMWORK
Although many reps work a lot on their own, inside they view their sales work as teamwork and collaboration with their clients, prospects, and co-workers.

5. POISED REACTION TO PRESSURE
When successful reps feel under pressure or stress, they do not whine, moan, nor complain. Instead, they pick themselves up like a mature adult, and move forward toward their sales goals.

6. OPTIMISM
This is the can-do attitude the best reps exude. They overwhelmingly and automatically focus on solutions, not problems. Also, since optimism is contagious, their upbeat optimism make customers feel more magnetically attracted to buying from them.

4 MODERATE TEST SCORES on PRE-EMPLOYMENT PERSONALITY TESTS

1. ASSERTIVENESS
Top sales reps are moderately assertive. They are not passive and laid-back. And they are not aggressive and pushy. Their moderate assertiveness makes them easy to get along with and nice to deal with.

2. FLEXIBLE IN FOLLOWING RULES & PROCEDURES
Good sales reps are flexible in following rules, policies, and procedures. They know what they can and cannot offer to customers. Sometimes they need to conjure up solutions to the problems of prospective customers, so their flexibility helps them come up with win-win solutions. That results in their increased sales success.

3. FEELINGS-FOCUS & also FACT-FOCUS
Selling involves both feelings or emotions, and also dealing with facts. Prospective customers sometimes need a rep to focus on their emotions in the sales situation, and sometimes on specific facts involved in the sale. Great reps focus on whichever their customer needs and desires to focus on.

4. PROVIDING GOOD SERVICE MOTIVATION
Interestingly, when my pre-employment testing proves a company’s best reps are only moderately motivated to provide good service, sometimes the VP-Sales or VP-HR will gasp, “How could that be? Our best reps spend many hours per week helping prospects and customers!” Yes, the good sales reps spend a lot of time providing good service, but not because doing that is deep in their hearts. Instead, by providing good service the best sales reps fulfill their biggest motivations of (a) increasing their earnings and (b) following-up with customers.

2 LOW TEST SCORES on PRE-EMPLOYMENT PERSONALITY TESTS

1. CREATIVITY MOTIVATION
Yep – you read that right: Good reps typically get low test scores on Creativity Motivation. Why? Because they work each day using proven sales techniques they know work. They follow the sales recipe-for-success, rather than wasting time creating a new way to sell.

2. LEARNING MOTIVATION
Great sales reps’ personality test scores usually show they possess a low level of desire to learn more. Instead, they would rather learn what they need for their sales job, and then go out and sell, rather than attending classes that are not related to how they can sell more. So, on their list of priorities of what they want to do, learning usually is near the bottom of their list.

RECOMMENDATION TO HELP YOU HIRE THE BEST SALES REPS

Research found that good pre-employment tests provide more accurate assessments of job applicants than other methods, such as interviews and reference checks.

You can use the following techniques when you test applicants for sales rep jobs:

First, only use personality test designed for pre-employment testing of job applicants. Never use any so-called “test” created for (a) team building exercises or (b) uncovering mental illness.

Second, have some of your best sales reps take the test. Their typical test scores become your sales reps benchmark test scores.

Third, have applicants take the test.

Fourth, seriously consider possibly hiring applicants who get scores similar to the benchmark test sc