The Standard is the Standard: Key takeaways from our webinar ‘Managing Workplace Behaviour’

Workplace Law’s managing director, Athena Koelmeyer, recently presented our webinar entitled ‘Managing Workplace Behaviour’ during which she discussed many of the challenges faced by employers when it comes to managing workplace behaviour.

For those who missed the webinar, below are our three key takeaways:

1. Understand the difference between behaviour, performance and misconduct
It is crucial that managers and HR understand the differences between behaviour, performance and misconduct, and that they correctly diagnose the problem before taking any further action.

Poor behaviour can include a variety of things such as an employee being uncooperative or unprofessional, acting in a way that is passive aggressive or creates low-level tension in the workplace, or displaying poor email or online etiquette with customers or colleagues.

Poor performance is generally defined as a failure to achieve certain standards or output, usually measured against pre-existing goals or responsibilities that are relevant to an employee’s position, such as Key Performance Indicators (or KPIs) or an employee’s Position Description.

Misconduct most often concerns an act (or acts) committed by an employee that is unacceptable and calls for some corrective disciplinary action.

As we discussed in a blog last week (In the driver’s sheet), improper diagnosis of the employee’s actions can lead to issues of substantive and procedural fairness and can have costly consequences.

2. Realise the importance of developing and implementing a Code of Conduct
Developing a Code of Conduct that sets out the employer’s values and culture will go far in minimising the risk of employee misbehaviour.

Employers should consider the standards of behaviour that they will expect from employees and set this out in a clear and unambiguous document, along with the possible consequences of non-compliance. A strong Code of Conduct, along with a leadership team that abides by its standards, will ensure that every individual employee knows what is expected of them, regardless of their position within the organisation.

A Code of Conduct should also serve to remind employees that they are representatives of the employer and their behaviour will be seen as a reflection of the employer, including when it comes to social media.

3. Act swiftly and fairly when poor behaviour arises
Poor behaviour can have toxic consequences for an organisation if it is not dealt with in a prompt and fair manner. It can lead to worse things like bullying, workplace gossip and low morale.

When an employer becomes aware of an employee behaving poorly, it should take appropriate steps to address and rectify the poor behaviour and remind all employees of the importance of upholding the employer’s standards of behaviour.

In many instances, a simple reminder to employees as a group will be effective.

However, where an employee refuses to adjust their behaviour in the workplace, managers and HR staff should not hesitate to address these issues directly with the employee, including in the form of disciplinary action if necessary.

Shane Koelmeyer is a leading workplace relations lawyer and Director at Workplace Law. Workplace Law is a specialist law firm providing employers with legal advice, training and representation in all aspects of workplace relations, employment-related matters and WH&S.

02 9256 7500 | sydney@workplacelaw.com.au

Information provided in this blog is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Workplace Law does not accept liability for any loss or damage arising from reliance on the content of this blog.

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