The Games Employees Play…
Now this article may be a little tongue in cheek, however, there are some certain tactics that are used by (a minority of) employees, but I’m hopeful that my ‘game play’ descriptions below may help you to identify when you have an issue with an employee and provide you with a little guidance on steps that you can take to stop play!
Delay the Disciplinary
Aim of the game: To elongate the process to ensure that the disciplinary becomes irrelevant as it has taken too long and is now null and void.
Common tactics: Advise the company of illness. Provide fit note detailing illness. Raise an unfounded grievance (see Pie Slinging 101 – below). Resign with a long notice period.
Corrective Actions: React quickly to verify nature of sickness and the possibility of return for a meeting. In the case of fit notes speak to your HR service. Allocate a grievance investigation manager swiftly, to ensure there is no impact on the disciplinary process. Carry on with the disciplinary during the notice period.
Hide a Duvet Day
Aim of the game: To ensure that any other reason is given for absence other than, I’m tired in bed.
Common tactics: Usually occur after a bank holiday, weekend, or on a day when an unwanted task is due. Notification is given in time, but reasons are repeatedly minor.
Corrective Actions: Keep records of absences and ensure that you discuss each absence on the employees return. If necessary, ask them to visit a GP due to the number of absences and out of concern for their health. If any major concerns, contact your HR service for occupational health support.
Pie Slinging 101
Aim of the Game: To detract from employees wrong-doing or lack of performance by indicating the same or worse behaviour in a colleague.
Common Tactics: Revealing issues during performance or disciplinary processes from recent history that involves others. The ‘but look what they did’ approach.
Corrective Actions: Investigate all issues, however don’t forget to deal with the initial issue that brought about the initial conversation! Don’t get distracted.
Hide and Seek
Aim of the Game: To avoid any and all communication from the company to remain in denial about a situation.
Common Tactics: Not answering the phone, not responding to messages and stating that letters have not been received.
Corrective Actions: Record details of phone calls made, and messages left. If hand delivering letters, take a photo of the letter and the front door and record the person delivering and the time of delivery. If sending recorded delivery/ signed for ensure that you keep all records together with the file. This will allow you to move forwards with the process should the employee still not engage with the process.
Dodgeball aka The Artful Dodger
Aim of the Game: To avoid any and all responsibility for issues.
Common Tactics: Well timed delegation to colleagues or reports. Declarations of lack of training or knowledge. Claims of no knowledge of the situation.
Corrective Actions: During 121’s record the responsibilities for the individuals, ensure that resources are available, track progress and results in further 121’s and ensure that difficult conversations are tackled appropriately.
I realise that this may all sound slightly cynical, however, it does happen and as with everything else people orientated the key is being prepared. There will always be scenarios where the employee will not be playing a game and there will be genuine issues mixed within those scenarios. The above are the most common instances we come up against.
If you are unsure about the issues that you are having and need some support to navigate the HR maze, please give us a call on 01536 215240 and we can support you to untangle the cats cradle.
Author: Lindsay Baker, Head of HR