Advice And Representation – The Need For Speed
• “I never thought they would do it to me.”
• “I didn’t expect it to go any further.”
• “I thought I could trust my manager.”
• “No one told me they thought I was an under-performer.”
We hear these comments every week and are not surprised by members’ reactions when they have problems at work. After all, most of us want to go to work, do a good job, be appreciated and work free from stress.
The reality is sometimes different, indeed it’s often very different, but one thing is obvious and that is that problems can be prevented entirely or nipped in the bud with early advice and occasionally intervention. So if you have a problem that affects your work, either directly or indirectly, we want to hear from you right away. That gives us the best possible chance to help you.
Whatever the issue, you’ll find us understanding, sympathetic and non-judgemental. We know that very few problems at work are simple and most are a complex of factors.
Some issues develop over lengthy periods of time and some of our most constructive work is done when we can help members solve problems and guide them on how best to manage their managers.
I’m thinking now particularly about performance management problems. Another newsletter will cover this in more detail but it’s worth saying now that in most cases, where it exists, responsibility for under-performance is shared with neither employee nor employer being totally to blame.
A wide range of factors affect performance and from an employee perspective you are normally best advised to get your points on the record before your performance is criticised. Once that happens you are already on the first rung of the ladder towards dismissal and often it then becomes difficult to change employers’ minds, so that the threat of being sacked becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It may well be that you need to do things differently yourself. In that case we will tell you because giving only advice that you prefer to hear is easy but probably pointless. We will certainly tell it the way it is!
Whatever problem you face we will help you develop an action plan to address it.
If You’re A Manager
Surprisingly perhaps, many requests for support come from managers who want help with workplace problems. They may be unsure of how to approach some issues, unclear on their own liability or see themselves at risk from, for example, bogus bullying or harassment claims.
In these situations, we can help managers navigate difficult areas and protect themselves, in their own interests and often everyone else’s.
And of course there is complete confidentiality. In an age when most trade unions have given up any pretence of independence, and indeed are utterly dependant on the employers with whom they deal, Affinity is an absolute exception. Your interests are our key concern and we have no conflicts of interest.
The list is virtually endless of course but issues we deal with regularly include:
• Disciplinary action and unfair dismissal
• Pre-employment scrutiny of contracts
• Work location changes
• Appraisal and balanced scorecard
• Working time/ changes in working hours disputes
• Contract disputes
• Flexible working requests
• Redundancy and job security
• Performance improvement
• Sickness absence
By now you will understand our view that waiting for a problem to crystallise or hoping it will go away usually doesn’t work. So please speak to us as soon you think you may need our assistance. The Advice Service is available to members 24/7, 365 days a year and you will always have someone on your side when you need it most.