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Top 5 Tips for Avoiding Workplace Disputes

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Nobody asks for an employee dispute but sometimes issues can be thrust upon employers which are out of their control. Knowing how you would react to workplace disputes before they happen can often be the key to avoiding costly mistakes for your business.

1. Employ the right people

To make your life as easy as possible, an employer should pay close attention to recruiting the right member of staff. Recruiting is an expensive process costing thousands of pounds at a time. Not only is it important to make smart recruitment decisions for financial reasons but it is also likely to save you a great deal of stress and time in the future.

Of course it is important to remember not to cut out people at the interview stage based on any discriminatory factors. A tribunal case can be brought against you even if someone was never employed after the interview but feel they were not given a fair opportunity at the interview stage based on discrimination.

2. Inductions are a requirement

Comprehensive inductions are something which are often considered ‘nice to have’ but in fact they are essential. If you’re pressed for time with a new employee and the work they need to do is piling up you might feel like you’re saving time by rushing their induction and ushering them into work. The reality of rushing an induction is that you will be inhibiting the new employee from doing their job correctly and make them less productive in the long run.

For more tips on how to induct an employee the right way read our post on best practice for staff induction.

3. Issue staff handbooks & employment contracts right away

Spending time on creating and issuing staff handbooks will be really beneficial for your business. Outlining your policies and procedures from the start is the best way to avoid confusion and problems down the line.

A new employee should receive their contract of employment no later than 8 weeks after they start.

Thoroughly outlining your terms in an employment contract will protect you from financial burdens in the future. For example, if you have outlined terms in your contract for employee’s leaving without working the notice period you could be legally entitled to take financial compensation for the costs incurred to your business directly out of their final pay. It is often the case that without terms like this you will need to take the employee to court to regain your costs.

Of course it is important that any employment contracts are done by an employment law professional to ensure that they hold up in court. Cobbling your own contracts together negates the security that employment contracts are devised to provide.

4. Communicate effectively

Make sure that both senior management and middle management are kept informed of internal policy changes and employment law updates. This will help to avoid any mistakes which could lead to employment tribunals.

By communicating with staff even at the very bottom level of your business you will create a sense of community that helps keep staff happy. This includes letting your staff know about company performance and new employment laws which may affect them.

5. Performance reviews

A structured performance review system will provide regular insights into your workforce, enabling you to foresee problems as they are beginning to develop and reward good work appropriately.

It is vital to keep the records from these performance review meetings, if problems do develop with employees down the line, having these records to refer to will help in the disciplinary process.

A final word of advice

If you are in doubt over how to deal with an employee dispute that is either on the horizon or in full swing, consult a legal professional. The expert employment law advice offered by Employer Advice is completely free and could help you avoid costly tribunals. Contact us today on 0161 115 6164.

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