According to Acas, one in three of the calls to their helpline last year were related to discipline and grievance: a clear indication that this continues to be a contentious – and confusing – area for both employees and employers.

And, while the introduction of employment tribunal fees have resulted in far fewer cases, preparing for, and defending yourself against a claim is expensive and time-consuming – and can occasionally result in costly fines.

For the most part, minor disciplinary or grievance issues can be resolved informally. A quiet word with someone who is persistently late, or has developed the knack of rubbing colleagues up the wrong way can work wonders. But, if problems with performance or attitude persist, or an employee raises a formal complaint, it’s essential that the right steps are followed.

An HR system can’t possibly understand the nuances of every situation, and manage the process for you, but it can help you be better prepared – and ready to deal with grievance and disciplinary issues in a professional and timely way.

For example, with Cezanne HR you can:

  • Upload your Grievance and Disciplinary policy to your Cezanne HR portal. That way it’s always available, so everyone can check it should they need to.
  • Add a link in the portal to the ACAS website, and ask line managers to review the relevant guides – so they understand just how important it is to follow the right process. It may be even more to us the workgroup feature in your Cezanne HR software to set up a private area just for managers, so you can provide more detailed guidance. For example, when they should get HR involved, or how to hold a difficult conversation.
  • Make sure that you share all of your key policies – including grievance and discipline – with new joiners. You can make use of the document tracking feature in Cezanne HR to ensure that employees have received – and know they need to read – documents that have been sent to them.
  • Use the dedicated Grievance and Disciplinary screens in Cezanne HR to record when meetings were held, who was involved, what was discussed, and the agreed next steps and expiry dates. That way it’s easier to see where you are in the process with an employee (for example, at the verbal or written warning stage), and who else has been involved at each stage of the process.
  • Keep an eye on absences, and record of any health or family issues the employees has reported to you, so you can be aware of them from the very start. Special circumstances need to be taken into account.
  • Store a copy of letters or documents provided to participants against the employee’s disciplinary and grievance record, so that you can retrieve them easily if you need to.
  • Make standards visible through your performance review process, so there is an opportunity for regular and constructive discussions. Where poor performance needs to be addressed, supplement your standard process with an employee-specific Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) with agreed goals. That way it’s clear to the employee, and their supervisor, exactly what’s expected, and how you are aiming to help them improve.

It’s important to note that the grievance and disciplinary screens in Cezanne HR are only ever visible to the HR manager with responsibility for the employee involved. Information gathered during the process may include sensitive information about other employees that must not be shared.
For best practice guidance on Disciplinary and Grievance, visit the Acas website.

Read more about Cezanne HR features here

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