So we have a new person that started and all the other staff are friendly and are keen to welcome the new staff member to the Team.
One of the first things that needs to happen on the Monday is Induction. This is where you are showing the new staff the office, where things are kept, introducing them to the team, giving them access to log ins, a copy of the Policy and Procedures manual and generally settling them into the workplace. This is when you provide training for any software that your business is using, organise for any uniform if your agency has one.
This honeymoon period is great- Everyone is polite, helpful, friendly and forgiving of any errors that the new kid on the block makes.
Then the honeymoon is over !
True characters start to show themselves, and this is where the Policy and Procedures manual is important. Not only should this reflect that inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable, but also point to the rules regarding Discrimination or Bullying. If any staff member acts in a way that can be viewed as Discriminatory, Sexist, racist or bullying, then you, as the Business Owner, need to take steps to make sure this stops. It is not acceptable for ANY business let alone a real estate agency that is reliant on its good reputation and its staff. All staff are entitled to a Safe working environment.
So, what happens if it doesn’t work out?
This is when the probation period is a really good idea. If during the nominated probation period, you don’t think this person is going to work out, then you are able to terminate the agreement. This goes for both parties. (Check the agreement !)
If you need to terminate the staff but its after probation, then you need to take several steps to protect yourself and the agency.
- Provide a warning to the staff member, allowing the staff to reply. Document this warning. The cause for the warnings can be Underperformance and includes such actions as:
- Not carrying out their work to the required standard or not doing the job at all,
- Not following workplace policies, rules or procedures.
- Unacceptable behaviour at work
- Disruptive or negative behaviour at work eg constantly speaking negatively about the company.
- Give the staff member a chance to rectify any issues that you have identified and follow up with discussions. If performance has not improved or changed, then perhaps another warning or further training may be needed.
- Termination is the last resort. If termination is the option you as the business owner want to take-
- then you need to ensure you are taking the right steps because what you DON’T want is an Unfair Dismissal case against you.
- You need to ensure you have given the proper Notice of Termination
- You have provided the correct Final Pay.
- If termination is a result of Serious Misconduct– then that’s another kettle of fish.
Serious misconduct is when an employee causes serious or imminent risk to the Health and Safety of another person or to the reputation of the employers agency. This area covers such issues as Theft, fraud, assault, being drunk or under the influence of illegal drugs at work, refusing to carry out work duties.
Dismissing someone is not an easy action to take. But there is a great Checklist you can consult on the Fair Work Ombudsman website- This is a reference tool so that you can check you have taken all the right steps when dismissing an employee. The last thing you want is an Unfair Dismissal case against you.
The Fair work Ombudsman is an excellent site for seeking professional advice and guidance. As I have stated a several times before, its not just he OFT that we need to be in tune with, but other government agencies and laws.