Focusing on compliance leads to problems


Our clients include large Japanese companies and governmental organisations but their operation in the UK is often small. And at the head of the organisations are Japanese expatriates who are, in most cases, new to HR. They often want to concentrate on compliance with employment legislation.

Needless to say, compliance is important. But, paradoxically, problems occur when companies focus on compliance – employees normally do not appreciate this. They may perceive the company to be concentrating on the more negative aspects of HR (such as grievances/disciplinaries) as opposed to the positive contribution which employees make to the growth of a company. In addition, such companies often do not conduct performance appraisals because they are not a legal requirement. Therefore, employees may feel that they are not evaluated fairly and, in short, compliance with legislation cannot, necessarily, satisfy employees.

Unhappy employees cannot concentrate on their jobs. They are not satisfied and are more aware of the negative aspects of the company. However, they may not voice their concerns because it is difficult to get another job and they may go home every day after finishing just enough of what they need to do.  This has a knock-on effect for their supervisors who might not be able to deal with the problem. This affects business operations. Eventually, supervisors look for ways to terminate an employee’s contract. Good performers may leave their companies by finding other jobs, leaving only the less productive employees. This perpetuates the ongoing cycle of termination of contracts by companies. This scenario is not rare.

In brief, if your organisation wants to avoid HR problems, more than solely complying with legislation is required. This is not necessarily expensive or complicated, and there are many positive ways of improving work relations. I cannot stress enough the importance of performance management.

If you, as a manager, cannot find time for HR matters because you are buried in everyday work, I recommend that you focus just an hour a week on HR as an important task and make sure you have time to think regularly about ways to improve the working environment which employees need to give the best of themselves.

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