Managing Consistently

One of the overriding principals that we try to instil in our clients when supporting with people management issues is to manage consistently. This not only applies to managing and applying rules fairly and equally to all employees, but also in measuring the consequences of employees’ actions or failure to act regardless of position or perceived level of seniority.

You may have heard the anecdote of the man who sweeps the floors at the NASA Kennedy Space Centre who, when asked what his job was replied “I put rockets into space”. This story demonstrates how everyone who works in an organisation should be aware of their contribution to the overarching goal; but this also works in reverse.

For example, in a company that makes meat pies, the failure of the cleaner to keep the assembly area clean and free from dust and other contaminants could potentially have an equal or more damaging effect as the person who is a bit slap-dash with how the chicken has been stored or cooked. But would you treat them differently because they’re on different pay scales?

Practicing a “them and us” policy, even if it is unintentional or subconscious, is a sure fire way of damaging staff morale and creating resentment. It doesn’t take much to be seen as having favourites that are treated more leniently because they support the same football team or share a common interest. But the potential damage could be much worse than just sour grapes.

Custom and practice means that even if your policies and procedures say one thing, but you actually do something differently and have done so regularly or on a number of occasions, then it’s not unreasonable for your employees to assume that it is normal and acceptable. If nothing happens if employee A misses his or her targets for three months, why would employee B think that anything is going to happen if they miss theirs? And then what about for four or five months?

If you have need to take a situation down a disciplinary route, consistency is key. You won’t be able to hold one member of staff accountable if another is allowed to get away with something of equal gravity, even if their jobs or tasks are wildly different. If a case ever has to go as far as Tribunal custom and practice and consistency in dealing with other employees will come very high up in a Tribunal’s considerations.

So, to re-iterate, manage consistently and consider the overall potential effect for all staff of your decisions and actions

For help with formulating management strategies and advice with management and disciplinary issues, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail info@hrchampions.co.uk

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20 April 2018, 09:21
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