HR BLOG: The art of tending your HR garden

To be a good people manager you really need to be a good gardener. The first part of planting a good herbaceous border is selecting strong and healthy plants that are suitable for the soil you are going to grow them in. Not much different to recruitment is it? For those plants to survive they need nurturing and you need to ensure they have the space to grow and blossom.

Not all plants will thrive in your garden

The nasty side of managing and gardening comes in the pruning and weeding. Amongst your beautiful blossoms and across that wonderfully manicured lawn are the dreaded weeds. This is why probationary periods are in contracts. If staff are struggling – and sometimes it’s simply because it’s not the right job for them rather than being incompetent – it is better to call it a day. Hold regular review meetings and give the training and support needed, but be honest.

The difference between termination during the probationary period and out of it can be a much longer notice period, which can prove to be expensive.

Constricting your business

Then imagine seeing a Japanese Knotweed around the perimeter of your house. Unless drastic action is taken, the whole building will be under attack. This happens when staff deliberately undermine your culture and their attitude affects the whole team. And worse still, it extends to poor customer service.

The other risk that comes from eradicating badly behaved staff is the fear that you get the process wrong and you end up facing an expensive tribunal claim.

Effectively managing redundancies

Pruning is like redundancy, and the key here is selecting the right branches or jobs that need to go. Many managers think redundancy is about individuals, but it is much more complicated than that. Huge care needs to be taken when drawing up selection criteria.

The key always is to follow the correct processes and never act in haste. Companies fall down because they rush things and forget to give the employee all their statutory rights, such as the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative. That’s why our customers love having their head gardener on hand to provide step by step guidance. And they also enjoy the peace of mind our unique legal expenses insurance provides.

Gardeners can improve productivity too!

According to a recent survey, well-cared for and well-maintained plants can boost productivity. The placement of one plant per square metre at eye level improves it by 20%. A well-planned display increases productivity by up to 38%, creativity by 45% and well-being by a staggering 47%.

Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.