Em­ploy­ees must be rea­son­able too

Matamata Chronicle - - News - By JOHN BROS­NAN

What can be more frus­trat­ing for an em­ployer than the em­ployee who turns around and sim­ply says ‘‘no’’ to a re­quest? Many times re­cently I have had frus­trated em­ploy­ers call­ing me to say things like: ‘‘ He just looked at me and said ‘I’m not do­ing that’ and walked off!’’, ‘‘ He just told me he was tak­ing this weekend off and that was it!’’, ‘‘I told her what I wanted her to do this morn­ing and she said ‘ not in my job de­scrip­tion’ and re­fused to do it!’’, ‘‘I went to ask them to do some­thing and as soon as I found them they abused me for in­ter­rupt­ing them and then I couldn’t get out any­thing be­fore they stormed off. I felt it was all just to put me on the back foot’’.

Some add that, when they have tried to re­tackle the sit­u­a­tion, the em­ployee threat­ens them with a lawyer or sim­i­lar ac­tion so they are even more frus­trated with the sit­u­a­tion.

Well the news on this is ac­tu­ally good – there is help.

Em­ploy­ment law is for both par­ties and helps the em­ployer as well as the em­ployee.

The Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Act 2000 re­quires em­ploy­ees to act in the best in­ter­ests of the em­ployer at all times and to fol­low ev­ery le­git­i­mate in­struc­tion they are given.

Most job de­scrip­tions also cover them­selves with a state­ment like: ‘‘ and any other le­git­i­mate in­struc­tion given by the em­ployer’’.

This is done pre­cisely be­cause people do not al­ways re­call ev­ery as­pect of a job when they are writ­ing the job de­scrip­tion.

Also jobs can evolve and re­quire dif­fer­ent tasks to be taken on.

For the sim­ple rea­sons of com­mon sense and not want­ing to have to mi­cro-man­age people this rider is usu­ally in­cluded.

Good em­ploy­ees al­ready know this and have no is­sues with it.

They do not want to be mi­cro-man­aged and thrive on op­por­tu­ni­ties to im­prove.

They also re­alise that all jobs have un­pleas­ant el­e­ments to them that are sim­ply part of the job and best done well and with a good at­ti­tude.

These people are val­ued in the work place be­cause of these at­tributes.

So how do you deal with the ones who do not re­alise this?

Firstly, as soon as such an in­stance arises calmly cor­rect them.

Say some­thing like ‘‘I hope you’re only pulling my leg be­cause I re­ally do need that done please’’.

If they re­peat the ob­jec­tion then re­act a lit­tle more firmly.

Stop what you are do­ing and sim­ply say: ‘‘Look, is there a valid rea­son you can­not do this?’’.

If there is then ob­vi­ously lis­ten to it and deal with it. It could be as sim­ple as a train­ing need. If not, you state that: ‘‘ We can go and re­fer to the em­ploy­ment agree­ment which will show you that you do need to do these tasks as re­quired. I would rather not have to be so force­ful but I need you to do things like this and it is more pleas­ant for all of us if we un­der­stand this and do our jobs with a good man­ner’’.

If they do not have a good rea­son why they can­not do a task and still refuse, calmly ad­vise them that re­fusal of a le­git­i­mate in­struc­tion is un­ac­cept­able and you will have to pro­ceed to for­mal per­for­mance man­age­ment if they choose to con­tinue to be­have like this.

If they still con­tinue to refuse then you need to move to for­mal pro­cesses.

The same ap­plies if the em­ployee is abu­sive to­wards you, other staff or an­i­mals or if they turn up and de­part when­ever they feel like it.

Em­ploy­ment law pro­tects and as­sists both par­ties. Some­times the em­ploy­ees just need a re­minder that they have obli­ga­tions to the em­ployer as well.

As cov­ered in pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles, a good pre-em­ploy­ment process com­bined with a good ori­en­ta­tion plan, fol­low up and on­farm com­mu­ni­ca­tion sys­tems re­duces the like­li­hood of these is­sues aris­ing.

If you have any ques­tions or need any as­sis­tance with em­ploy­ment is­sues, please call: John Bros­nan, HR ad­vi­sor, Coop­erAitken, ac­coun­tants in Mor­rinsville and Mata­mata on 07 9022 838.

John Bros­nan

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