Returning from furlough tip #7 - stop ticking boxes

I want to talk today about box-ticking, especially from two aspects.1) Risk assessments when it comes to health safety, and 2) redundancy consultations.


A lot of organisations do treat many aspects, including those two examples, as just box-ticking. From a risk assessment perspective, it's a form that they've got to fill in. It's probably generically completed already - or they've copied and pasted from a previous assessment. They sit in an office, fill the assessment out, sign the form - box ticked - risk assessment done!


From a redundancy consultation perspective, they'll see that there's (x) number of days to consult with employees. So they will have some conversations, but they don't really engage in the right way. As long as they can have conversations over a period of time - box ticked - consultation done! In that example [redundancy consultation], it's often that they've already made their mind up on what the decision is, and they're just going through the process of what they call “consultation”.


In both of those examples proper consultation - proper discussion, and proper involvement with the right people (Health & Safety Reps, Health & Safety experts from a risk assessment perspective, Employee Representatives or Trade Union representatives from a consultation perspective).  Actually involving those people - telling them what you think, asking what they think, and really importantly listening to what they think and testing their ideas. Probably seven, eight or maybe nine times out of ten, those people have got better ideas than you have. That's not any slight on the people (the managers) who are doing those consultations.


If you've got the right people involved, they're the people who do the jobs. If you take a risk assessment perspective - they know what the risks are, and they know the corners that they could cut.They also know what help they need to minimise the risk and to make things work.


I've seen some brilliant examples recently with employees coming up with some fantastic, and very simple, ideas to make the place safer. Like little ledges on the door (at the bottom) where people can open them with their feet rather than their hands. Things like cages where people go in and they can actually reduce the social distancing because they've got screens.

Some brilliant ideas!


From a consultation perspective - I've been involved in lots of consultations where the manager leading the consultation has almost kicked themselves because they haven't thought of the great ideas that the employees have come up with.




The alternative structures, and some of the pitfalls that the employees can see on the proposals that the company is presenting. It really does make an incredible difference if you can actually do it properly. My guidance would be start those risk assessments, and start those consultations at the earliest possible opportunity. The legal requirements are just the minimum standard. If you can do these at a much higher level than the minimum standard then you're going to get a better result for the employees, and for the organisation.

I hope that helps and if you need any further advice or want to know more about workplace mediation please give us a call.

Other Videos in this Series:

Returning employees from furlough tip #1 - employees reluctant to return to work.

Returning employees back from furlough tip #2 - don't see it as a HR task.

Returning employees from furlough tip #3 - commuting and car parking.

Returning employees from furlough tip #4 - ensure you have good quality return-to-work discussions

Returning employees from furlough tip #5 - part-time furloughing

Returning employees from furlough tip #6 those who refuse to return

Returning from furlough tip #8 - managers and HR are employees too

Returning from furlough tip #9 - short term measures shouldn't turn into longer term issues

Returning from furlough tip #10 - produce a plan for next time


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