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What makes a “good” employer? – Part 3

Last week, a report commissioned by the Prime Minister stating that ‘unproductive workers should lose their right to claim unfair dismissal’ was leaked. The report went on to argue that this would mean more capable people would replace those sacked, boosting economic growth.

This solicited comments from a variety of eminent people and organisations but perhaps the most pertinent of these was from John Philpott, the Chief Economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Mr Philpott said that the changes would be counterproductive and would not address the real problems. He went on: “If you look at the evidence on unfair dismissal, I mean there isn’t anything to suggest that watering down those rights would create any more jobs and indeed the job insecurity it would create would actually be bad for the economy and business.

“I think that if you look at our productivity problem, it’s down to poor investment, poor training and poor management”.

That last statement says so much and leads me seamlessly into the third part of our series on “what makes a good employer”.

At the end of Part 2, we touched briefly on creating a happier working environment and the fact that, from an employer’s perspective, this will reduce the number of grievance and disciplinary issues that will arise.

One sure-fire way of engendering a positive ethos within the workplace is to operate a robust and, more importantly, transparent, performance appraisal system. Performance appraisal is not just a means of measuring an individual’s performance but should be seen as an opportunity for the employer to engage with its employees.

This should take the form of a meaningful two-way dialogue to guide and manage an individual’s career development. It should look at the employee’s strengths and weaknesses, recent successes and failures and should also be used to identify training needs that will benefit both the individual and the business.

However, performance appraisal is only part of the process of what is known as “performance management”. Performance management starts from the moment that an individual commences employment and is an on-going process. It is not only used as a means of maximising the performance of an individual or a team but is also a process for dealing with underperforming individuals or teams.

Introduced in the right way, and as a benefit to both the employee as well as to the employer, an open and consistent performance management process that incorporates regular performance monitoring and appraisal of staff can only help to bring about a positive ethos in the workplace.

In turn, this can only be of benefit to both the individual and to the business – bringing me nicely full circle to the point made by John Philpott.

This article only scratches the surface of the issue of performance management and we will revisit this in more depth in future HR Talk columns.

“There is evidence to suggest that good HR practice and people management in SMEs are key factors in strong business performance and can lead to increased productivity.”

- CIPD people Skills Project 2017


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