Are we creating unrealistic expectations of a “perfect” workforce?

With constant changes in employment law, increased press coverage of “bad” employers and no tribunal screening processes in place it seems like employers just can’t get it right!

In the small business arena, I network with, in some cases it can put employers off employing staff altogether. This can lead to some small business owners preferring to take on the additional stress and workload rather than run the risk of employing people with the increased risks of a claim being raised against them. Not because they’re potentially “bad” employers, but because they’re busy running a business and simply don’t need the hassle!

If you read the high-profile cases in the news it really does beg the question…

Does the perfect workforce really exist?

When it comes to managing people, businesses are expected to be perfect. It’s almost an considered that mistakes are not allowed to happen. Yet it is one of the best ways in which we can learn.

As an HR consultant one of the most difficult situations we face, in todays blame and claim culture are that of discrimination. It would seem that at the first sign of trouble employees can raise a claim against a company at the drop of a hat and employment law doesn’t do anything to protect you, the employers. It all seems to be in the employees’ favour whilst employers are forced to pick up the cost of litigation and try their best to salvage their reputation. Many cases don’t even make tribunal as settlements are made before it gets that far with businesses not wanting the trouble or exposure.

While there are “bad” employers out there it can seem that if they do just one thing wrong it automatically places them in that “bad” category. We all know that these situations are preventable, but one thing it doesn’t consider is the human element which is exactly what HR is about. Many businesses would rather avoid having HR support because they fear that they’ll be told they’ve done something wrong! We don’t ever know everything, yet employers are expected to.

 Does the perfect employee exist? No. Apart from Mary Poppins as she was practically perfect in every way!

So why are employers expected to be perfect when the perfect human being simply doesn’t exist?

My advice to employers is to make sure you have your ducks in a row and proactively protect your business – even if you employ just one person. Make sure your policies are clear and jargon free. Don’t hesitate nipping any people issues in the bud. Manage your employees’ expectations and treat every employee fairly.

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