By Sarah Childs
How many times have you found yourself wishing you could go back and change one little thing so you wouldn’t have to deal with the huge fallout down the track?
As HR professionals, one of the first questions we tend to ask when investigating a workplace claim is, “Do you know where it started?”
Recent reports show there has been an increase in the number of claims being made to the Fair Work Commission that have initially stemmed from a small issue. These small issues have resulted in workplace bullying and harassment claims, lost time injuries and workers’ compensation claims by employees who felt they had nowhere else to go.
When you get down to the details of the events leading up to a claim, the investigation usually uncovers the cracks appearing weeks or even months prior to the claim being made. Each of these small cracks are a range of minor issues; such as the once off remark about a weekend activity from a colleague that rubbed them the wrong way, being constantly cut-off in conversations, or the time a manager rolled their eyes when an opinion was given. These seemingly small issues build up over time and create a fragility in the employee until they can’t take any more and break.
Immediately responding to each of these incidents would have completely nipped them in the bud, working with the employees directly involved to air out differences or addressing behaviour standards and company code of conduct would allow everyone to move forward from the incident.
But I don’t like having uncomfortable conversations or creating problems where there aren’t any?
Unfortunately, when working with people, having difficult conversations is part and parcel of any workplace.
Having these conversations soon after the fact is much easier than trying to probe into the issue months down the track. Not everyone goes into defence mode when issues come up and the key thing to remember is not everyone is aware of how their behaviour affects others. They may not even realise that they have been perceived as a bully by their colleagues and swiftly move to make amends. If they don’t know how they are being perceived, then maybe consider further training for this individual…
How IHR can help
One of the benefits of an outsourced Human Resourcing consultant is that the emotion of many situations is immediately eliminated. We certainly are not heartless beings only interested in results; more so we are not personally familiar with the individual involved so our ability to distance ourselves from the emotional influences and provide a commercial unbiased perspective can often ease tensions.
If you are experiencing difficulties with employees in your workplace or need some assistance in handling a potential conflict matter reach out to our team on 07 5613 1846 to see how we can support you and your business and “nip it in the bud.”