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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Minnikin

How can we prevent crimes being committed against employees?

What are crimes against employees?

These are not •actual• crimes that are committed against employees - stuff that will land you in jail / in trouble with HMRC / ACAS / Health & Safety Executive - like people being forced to work while on furlough, discrimination or modern slavery. I’m talking about those things that are technically legal, but are totally impacting the lives of your employees, causing unnecessary (and avoidable) pain and suffering.

I facilitated a Work Pirates Gathering session in February to talk about the things that really gets our goat. The ‘crime’ that got the strongest reaction was working with a ‘high performer’ (AKA someone who brings lots of cash into an organisation) who seems to get away with behaving badly. Because they’re generating income, they’re never challenged. It seems that management are completely oblivious to problems this causes in the wider team. Motivation, engagement and happiness are impacted. It doesn't seem particularly fair. Please have a word with your ‘superstar’ and ask them to behave, and if they don’t - not managing their performance broadcasts that it’s ok to behave badly around here and soon you’ll have lots of fires to put out!

One of my big bug bears is when you see people promoted into management positions and then left. Are they just expected to know how to do all the things managers have to do without any kind of support or training? Surely this is setting people up for failure / stress. Leading and managing people is really quite tricky, please give your people a little support with it.

I could write a book about this topic… but this is the last one (honest!). This one makes me facepalm… when you are given feedback about your performance not being up to scratch in your annual review. Seriously? Why have you waited a year to give this feedback? Surely when the performance started to dip, having a quiet word could have rectified the problem. Feedback in your annual review should not be a surprise, receiving regular feedback helps people.

What do employees want?

It is not rocket science. Employees want to feel safe, like they belong and that they are protected.

1. Psychological Safety - this is the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake and is key to collaboration, risk-taking and innovation. Psychologically safe teams have higher levels of engagement and happiness, increased motivation to tackle the more tricky problems, more learning and better performance.

2. Sense of Belonging - I think we all enjoy belonging and being included, feeling a part of the team. Having some kind of shared purpose, with an understanding of what is expected from your employees, how they contribute to the success of the team. People want to feel accepted, included, heard and be a part of something bigger than themselves.

3. Support - so that they can do a good job. People do not go to work to do a bad job. There needs to be systems, resources and support in place to help them do a good job. Employee wellbeing is so important - their physical, mental, social and financial wellbeing needs to be carefully considered. Workplace stress and burnout are major concerns (globally!) at the moment because they have a real and tangible impact on businesses. Frequent feelings of stress and burnout directly cause declines in productivity, engagement and loyalty.

Are you doing enough as an employer to prevent crimes from being committed against employees?

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