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This month I thought I would keep the subject matter ‘light but topical’ with a couple of reminders about the softer, more contentious policies within HR. I hope you find the reading informative, but hopefully non applicable to your business!

If not, you know where I am…… 

1. When Non-verbal Communication goes sour………..

Office politics in the physical sense has been in the media recently as the Liberal Democrats launched an investigation into the allegations concerning Lord Rennard.

HR non verbal communication

Clearly this is a difficult and contentious subject. What may be reasonable to one person may be deemed unacceptable to another. A touch on a person’s shoulder or a squeeze of the arm may be construed as a sympathetic gesture. Do this numerous times over a working week however, and this may then be construed as an inappropriate gesture and an invasion of a person’s personal space or harassment.

Working conditions and the work environment have evolved greatly since the 1960’s when it was more acceptable and common place for a female member of staff to be touched by a male member inappropriately during their working day. Now anyone, either male or female, who is touched inappropriately at work, has protection from legislation and company procedures.

We have seen so many times the numerous case law and employment legislation which is present and necessary, to protect employees and it is therefore a useful reminder to all business owners to revisit their current policies which detail harassment in the workplace.

2. To Tweet or not to Tweet - where is the Policy……….

You probably remember the recent case where the retailer HMV was forced to make large scale redundancies. However, rather than this information coming from an official company statement; people ‘on twitter’ were treated to a real time running commentary as the affected and unhappy employees were told about the company intentions and then vented their anger and frustration by ‘tweeting’. When HMV bosses left to make the public announcement, the press – already armed with the gory details – were ready and waiting. This hopefully will never happen to you, as small business owners, but it would still be useful to remind you of the following:

Negative information can be transmitted to others in a flash; and once this happens it is a matter of damage limitation…….

hr body languageSo, again please ensure you revisit or create a comprehensive, sound policy which stipulates that the posting of negative comments about the business on all forms of social media will be viewed as gross misconduct. Furthermore, if this occurs the action taken may result in summary dismissal.

Equally, at the start of any meetings where you have to deliver bad news, it would be useful and sensible to remind your employees of the social media policy provisions.

E.g. If a Social media comment could affect a potential redundancy payment, employees will be far less inclined to ‘tweet’ such juicy news.

As always remember I am here to assist you with further advice and/or Policies or Procedures to eradicate or minimise the risk of any unwanted behaviour.

Prevention is always better than cure…………

Julie Page, an experienced HR & Training Specialist, works with companies of all sizes to ensure they utilise Employment Legislation, Best Practice and their own Aims and Objectives to maximise their Business Potential through their Staff. 

To find out more about the contents of this Newsletter or ways in which Julie can work with you for your HR and staffing requirements, please contact her on 07776 135350 or through this website for an initial discussion and free consultation.

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