Just in case you weren’t aware, the World Cup is starting this week in Russia. Of course, it would be insanity for us not to jump on the bandwagon but how do you make an international football tournament relevant to HR?
We did originally think about looking at employment engagement; ensuring your staff were able to watch matches at work, or given leeway with regards to extending lunch breaks or coming in later/leaving earlier. However, the England matches are either after standard working hours or at the weekend. So, it seemed a bit pointless.
Not ones to be put off, we decided to take a slightly different approach, and actually think about HR within the football world.
That’s when we asked ourselves, what would happen if football managers were held to the same standards office managers are?
For example, in May 2015 it was reported that the then Manchester United coach, Louis Van Gaal dished out on the spot fines to 10 players. You might be wondering what their unforgiveable faux pas was. The answer? Being one minute late for lunch after a training session.
Van Gaal has always had a reputation for being a strict authoritarian, who was keen to instil, and maintain, discipline at MUFC when he took over the helm. You might argue he’s doing nothing wrong, and timekeeping is vitally important (plus respect for the canteen staff). Besides, the players can afford it, right?
Well, that might well be the case; however, what would happen if the manager of a call centre decided to hand out on the spot fines to staff members who come back on to the floor a minute or two later than expected?
In a real-life scenario lateness can be an issue, especially if you are in a situation where other people’s breaks are being delayed whilst waiting for the return of other staff. Many managers might be inclined to let the occasional bout of tardiness slide, knowing there was a good reason for it, but repeat offenders will need to be spoken to about the impact their lateness is having.
An employer has no rights to deduct “penalty” payments directly from staff wages, especially if there is no pre-agreement to this. If it were to happen, and certainly if it happened over a prolonged period of time, it would be possible for an employee to argue the charges represent a detrimental change to the terms of the job. As such, they may feel they have no alternative but to resign, and pursue a claim for constructive dismissal.
It would be far more beneficial to all concerned parties for the manager to treat such offences as a conduct issue, and follow the company procedures for such circumstances. Take the time to ascertain why staff are coming back late, and see if there is anything that can be done differently to ensure it ceases to be an issue in the future.
Do you find it hard to manage disruptive managers or employers in the workplace? Do you need HR advice or support? Speak to the team at People Matters on 0161 738 1808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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