G is for Grievances

All managers will encounter disciplinary and grievance issues in their day-to-day running of their organisation or enterprise.

Grievances can vary from staff requests to work flexibly around childcare needs to complaints about treatment and workplace behaviours. Disciplinary procedures need to reflect the gravity of the issue and to be underwritten by sound management practice.

We are experienced in undertaking complex disciplinary and grievance investigations – including those that involve medical staff. As external investigators, we can investigate issues objectively and quickly, sending a powerful message that management is taking the issue seriously.

If you’re interested to know how we can help you with your disciplinary and grievance issues please visit our website

Learning From French Industrial Relations

I was at an event with a client last night celebrating the success of a major project that I have been involved in over the last few months.   I normally don’t like such events as they are usually attended by an “interesting” array of individuals turn up to drink the wine & fill themselves up on canapes.  I much prefer impromptu, informal celebrations.  

But I decided to attend as I am really proud of the work that we’ve achieved together to make this project a success.  And as predicted, although I have been heavily invovlved in the project, I only knew about 15% of the people in the room.

As I was gathering a plate-full of canapes a man turned to talk to me:

“And what brings you here?”

Although I groaned inwardly, I embraced the moment:   that simple question lead to an interesting conversation.  

The man was a partner from one of the consulting companies I have working with.   He had not been involved in the project, but he was aware of some of the challenges I had faced on the project – particularly in relation to the trade unions and staff engagement.

He shared with me the experiences that he’d had working in France:   the trade unions have a particular ritual that accompanies any major change, including mergers or TUPE-type scenarios. 

The staff KIDNAP the boss for 3 weeks and lock him in his / her office. 

It’s all part of the peacock-display as they protest their objections to the proposed plans.  And after the 3 weeks, it’s business as usual and the changes are made regardless.

Apparently, it’s such a common occurence that some management consultancies are now recommending that this 3 week interruption is actually factored into the road-map.

Which leads me to think:  with the current challenges facing the NHS accompanied by the increasing amount of union unrest, we could find ourselves in a similar position.   In a pragmatic move, should NHS Trust start factoring into their PRINCE2 gant charts time-delays caused by collective grievances, ballots and industrial action?

I don’t think that I’ll be advising any of my clients this particular to factor this into their planning just yet, but it’s worth thinking about (just in case).

PS – I’m not sure if it’s a true story or not, but thought it was one worth telling.