Ad Hoc HR Support Case Study

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Client sector: Financial Services
Number of employees: Fewer than 10
Location: Swansea, South Wales

Issue to be resolved

A company employee had an underlying health issue which was making it difficult for her to carry out even basic parts of her role effectively. The company was sympathetic and wanted to try and make it easier for her to do her job, but they were unsure how to manage the situation.

The company understood the benefits of tackling potential problems sooner rather than later. They were aware of the possible costs of not dealing with issues and wanted to protect their reputation and avoid an employment tribunal.

My initial actions

I asked the employer about the employee, particularly:

  • The underlying health condition
  • The job role
  • Examples of where they believed the employee was under-performing
  • What they had done already to try and remedy the situation

Because the client was confident in the process, they were able to focus on supporting their employees through this period of change.

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Recommended steps

Once all the basics were in place, I worked closely with the client to make sure everything was done in line with best practice.

1. Occupational health

I recommended that the employee was referred for an occupational health assessment which would:

  • Assess how the employee’s health condition was impacting on her performance
  • Advise on any reasonable adjustments the company could put in place to keep the employee in work and performing to an acceptable level
  • Advise if they believed the employee was no longer fit to continue the role

2. Third party support

I also suggested using third party support, such as Remploy or Access to Work. Both of these schemes are funded and their aim is to help keep people with underlying health conditions in the workplace.

 Remploy provides career opportunities for disabled people and is Britain’s largest employer of people with disabilities.

 Access to Work is a government initiative which can pay for practical support for those with a disability, health or mental health condition to help them stay in work.

What happened

Following an occupational health assessment, adjustments were made to the employee’s role. This included reducing telephone contact and removing any unplanned work such as dealing with ad hoc customers which caused her to become flustered and make mistakes.

Unfortunately, these changes did not make enough of a difference to the employee’s performance and she was still unable to complete tasks basic to her role.

Both employer and employee found this incredibly difficult as they had enjoyed a long and positive relationship. The employee was valued but was becoming increasingly stressed by the role.

My subsequent advice

I advised the employer to find out if there was anything else the company could do to support the employee and help her remain in her job. She felt nothing could make a difference, which meant she had to be dismissed on grounds of ill-health capability.

As well as making sure the correct paperwork was in place, I guided the employer to manage this delicate situation sensitively, so the employee felt supported even though she was being dismissed.

Outcome

During the final meeting the employee thanked the employer for all the help she had been given throughout her time at the charity and particularly during this difficult time.

Neither employer nor employee wanted this outcome, but understood it was best for both of them.

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