When a fee-paying scheme was introduced for UK employment tribunals in 2013, it led to an estimated 70% cut in the number of cases. If that statistic was predictable, then it’s hardly a surprise that the recent decision to abolish those fees is set to open the floodgates.

This summer the UK Supreme Court ruled that charging fees for employment tribunals was inconsistent with giving employees access to justice. Once again there’s no direct monetary cost attached to bringing a tribunal action. But everything costs something.

What’s the emotional and professional cost to an individual of nursing a grievance? Even when a tribunal gives someone the opportunity to make themselves heard and gain compensation, restitution or closure, the road to that outcome can be hard and damaging. It’s difficult not to wonder what’s gone so badly wrong with HR procedure and practice that this is the long-drawn-out result.

Sometimes people and organisations just don’t fit, and the sooner they part ways the better it is for all concerned. But how often do relations between good employees and good employers reach breaking point for avoidable reasons?

In HR, as in all things, good practice is good business. When line managers are well versed in your company policies and procedures and follow them because they believe in them, results will follow.

Make those policies understandable and transparently fair. Not just following the letter of employment law but the spirit. Let your people know they really are your people, and see how that impacts on their loyalty and performance.

And have a system in place that smoothly converts your good intentions into good practice.

How much easier would it be for you to manage your team if your HR software offered you “big picture” performance monitoring and absence monitoring, identifying positive and negative patterns that you could either encourage or nip in the bud?

How much easier would it be for you to build on your people’s skills and motivation if their training needs could be logged via appraisals, business plans, project workflows or direct requests, and the training itself could be monitored at every stage, enabling you to audit and evaluate its effectiveness?

How much easier would your life be if your workforce had no reason to drag you and themselves through divisive, time-consuming tribunal procedures, regardless of whether or not they had to pay a fee?

Everything costs something. Unmotivated, unproductive, unhappy people cost far too much. Jane software, on the other hand, costs a fraction of what you’ll recoup in higher productivity, lower staff turnover and, yes, far less time and cost expended on employment law tribunals. Are you ready to invest in your future?

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