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What should you be able to tell your staff to do?

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What should you be able to tell your staff to do?

Every company has its set of conditions for employees such place of work, hours, compensation and conduct in the workplace. All standard things for a contract, but what about staff behaviour outside of the office? Do companies have to right to control employees’ conduct outside of working hours?

A balancing act

An employees’ behaviour outside of working hours falls outside the scope of the employment relationship. However, there are various occasions where their conduct can affect their employment relationship. If their actions impact their capability to do their job, damages key business relationships or the business’ reputation, then the employee could end up under disciplinary action or being fired for gross misconduct.

While it can be argued that staff conduct can negatively impact the business in some way, this shouldn’t be treated as a catch all reason to put demands on your team members’ behaviour when they are off the clock.

How to manage tricky behaviour

It’s wholly unprofessional for staff to bad-mouth your company or be offensive on social media for the rest of the world to see.  Along with social media use, another problem area for staff conduct is work events.

Although not part of the ‘9-5’, work events can cause some concern. At such functions, your employee is an ambassador for your business so inappropriate or offensive behaviour will ensure they and the business will be remembered for the wrong reasons. Employers could indirectly find themselves legally responsible for the employees’ bad behaviour and be taken to court.

You can help avoid these situations by having easily available policies and codes of conduct for staff to familiarise themselves with. The clear expectations in the employee handbook set the tone for behaviour.

Romance at the watercooler

Office romances are not uncommon whatever the type of company you work in. Some companies have strict no relationships policies as it can cause a conflict of interest in the workplace along with other sorts of complications.  Should an employer have a say who you spend time with in your personal life?

Coincidentally, this is the next topic of discussion of Wote St HR Professional Peer Group on Wednesday 23rd Feb 2022. During this Zoom meeting professional peers from the local area will discuss the complications that can arise from romantic work relationships. If you’d like to join, contact Maxine (details below) for further information.

No jab no job

Conduct policies are par for the course in the day-job, but should employers be allowed to influence staff health? People’s health records are personal confidential information, and employees have the right to keep it private.

In recent months big name companies such as IKEA, Next and Morrisons have ceased all sick pay for unvaccinated staff who have to self-isolate. Some interpret this as workers being forced to have a vaccine. Others say it’s a response to curb down on staff absences and rising costs.

The NHS has implemented a rule for all workers to be fully vaccinated by 1 April to continue in frontline roles or they could face the sack. This where the waters can get muddy – how can an individual’s right to consent to a vaccine be balanced with an employer making staff get jabbed as a condition of employment?

Please don’t think this is an anti-vax piece, we’re asking you to think about if the NHS’s stance as an employer is morally acceptable. Is it a slippery slope or is it a duty of care for NHS workers to be fully vaccinated?

Are your company’s rules putting candidates off?

If you are struggling to get people to join the business, perhaps the rules you have are putting people off joining. Are they outdated, too strict or overbearing? Perhaps assess if any areas of your business need to be addressed to ensure they fit with modern thinking. Some rules are necessary and some will get resistance, but it is possible to strike a balance.

Let’s not forget it was only 15 years ago that it became illegal to smoke in public places like pubs and offices. Think of the stink (pun intended) people made about this. Today it’s accepted that it was actually a pretty good rule. I think most now enjoy the fact that the workplace is smoke-free and there aren’t any strong tobacco smells lingering around.

If you instigate a new rule or way of working you need to ensure you have aligned with your company culture and the way people work in the business. It’s important you have communicated the need to do it and showing the reasons for the change. Relationships of any shape or size can break down due to change, including rules.  Employee engagement is absolutely critical.

Wote Street People can find the perfect match between candidate and company

Our approachable team has nearly 70 years of recruitment experience between us and we are highly knowledgeable about the Basingstoke recruitment market.  Wote Street People is a member of TEAM (the largest network of independent recruiters in the UK), which means we get more visibility of additional jobs and candidates. This helps us find the perfect match between candidate and employer.  Give Maxine a call on 01256 236997 or email maxine@wotestreetpeople.co.uk to see how Wote Street People can get the best candidate for you.

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