Relationship Management

Handling Disciplinary and Grievance matters

Taking action to address an issue of conduct or handling a staff grievance can be time consuming and challenging. We are on hand to guide you on how to handle the processes and/or can take the lead for you in meetings and communicating with your employees.


Complex disciplinary and grievance issues frequently require more in-depth investigation. This is particularly relevant where key managers have been cited or reserved to deal with a different stage in the process, such the appeal stage. This creates a conflict and prevents them from being involved in an internal investigation. Alternatively, due to sensitivity of the allegations, it is preferable to involve an external third party.

Our HR consultants can conduct investigations with independence and impartiality, providing recommendations on potential next steps but leaving the decision making to the business itself.

We have experience in complex investigations across a range of sectors and industry, and have been instructed by a variety of employers including NHS Trusts and independent schools.

Managing Poor Performance and Capability

Performance management is about creating a culture that encourages the continuous improvement of business processes and of individuals’ skills, behaviour and contributions.

Poor performance can be detrimental for a business both in terms of productivity and motivation of its workforce.

In order to manage performance it is essential to have a clear job description which confirms the expectations and performance levels. Regular reviews through 1:1s and appraisals are important in ensuring that an employee’s performance does not fall below par.

At the 1:1s the manager and employee will be able to discuss the employee’s work load, any issues which are preventing them achieving their objectives and identify any additional support or training required.

Regular catch ups will enable the manager to pick up any performance issues at an early stage, discuss the reasons with the employee and develop and agree a performance improvement plan.

If an employee fails to improve the employer may need to follow the Disciplinary Procedures in order to follow a fair process.

Managing Sickness Absence

Each year billions of pounds are lost by UK businesses owing to sickness absence. It is inevitable that sickness absence occurs, however, with clear policies and procedures businesses will be able to manage sickness, whether it be persistent short time absence or for a longer period.

It is recommended that you require staff to phone their manager, or nominated person, by their normal starting time. They should provide basic information such as:

  • First day of sickness
  • Reason for their sickness
  • How long they anticipate they will be absent from duty
  • Anything that the business should be aware of whilst them are absent e.g. appointments to be rearranged

For absences up to 7 days, staff should complete a self-certification, and thereafter obtain a ‘Fit note’ from their doctors.

The majority of staff will be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay for days which they are normally contracted to work, after an absence of 4 or more consecutive days of sickness. Statutory Sick Pay is available for a maximum of 28 weeks.

If an employee is not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay you will need to issue them with a form SSP1 within 7 days of their reported illness. This will enable the employee to apply for Employment and Support Allowance instead.

In order to manage sickness absence you need to collect the data so that you can continually monitor absences.

This data should be kept in a ‘user friendly’ format. These records will enable you to spot any patterns e.g. days/dates and reasons for absences. This will identify when you need to meet with staff to discuss their sickness absence and how the company may be able to assist them if appropriate. We can assist with introducing sickness management systems, such as the Bradford Factor.

If an issue arises where you need to discuss an employee’s sickness absence the first step should be a 1:1 meeting to discuss their health and recent absences. At the meeting you should discuss the frequency of their absences, the reasons and any under-lying causes, and what can be done to prevent or reduce the number of sickness absence days in the future.

If the reasons are legitimate you should discuss what, if any, reasonable adjustments may need to be implemented. You may need to look at the job itself, working hours, or location to help the employee return to work and manage their health.

If the reasons are unsatisfactory you should explain this to the employee and explain that you will be instigating a disciplinary hearing to investigate the matter further. You should notify them that you will be in touch and will write to them to confirm the time and date of the hearing in accordance with the company disciplinary policy. You would then follow the steps detailed in your Disciplinary Policy.

We can assist you with the processes to be followed for managing sickness absence, draft documents and correspondence and participate in meetings with your employees.


Issues of work place conflict often arise as a result of relationship issues between two colleagues or a manager and a member of their team. Such situations can often be nipped in the bud to achieve an informal resolution in a mediation meeting between staff to reconcile any areas of conflict, before they turn into a more serious dispute. The mediation will focus on ways to change behaviours in the future, rather than dwelling on past conflicts.

Our trained mediators will come into your workplace and mediate the dispute on your behalf, meaning you are not involved in time consuming internal disciplinary or grievance issues, saving you management time and cost.