How ER teams can overcome overwhelming case-loads

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It is clear to see the impact that rising employment claims is having on Employee Relations (ER) and HR teams across the country.

With the 2017 Supreme Court ruling the tribunals fee scheme – introduced in 2013 – was unlawful, it has subsequently unleashed a wave of cases, that many organisations continue to battle with to this day.

With no financial barrier to limit the number of claims landing on HR and ER’s desks either, the workload for teams continues to rise – with little sign of slowing down.

Additionally, such growth has the potential to really threaten organisations – even those with robust structures and procedures in place. Why? Because the cost, time and energy required by everyone, in order to handle each case, is a real challenge with limited resources and can seriously (and quickly) drain the energy out of a business.

More than ever, firms need to address the root cause of the issue, but many are unsure where to begin. There is a way to meet such challenges though – here are my three examples.

1. Better training of stakeholders

Effective upskilling and training of line managers can help shut down issues at their source.

Online training allows for a self-paced learning environment which can fit into a normal working day for colleagues. Having the best tools in place to continually develop line managers can prove to be a cost-effective, time-saving programme that can provide a highly scalable learning environment.

Managers need to demonstrate a base level of knowledge and learning in key areas of ER, before HR commit further training budget at face-to-face workshop events.

Technology-based methods – such as E-Learning modules, webinars and downloadable guides – can also track people’s progress, be utilised remotely and kept legally up-to-date so company leaders are at the top of their game when it comes to managing their team and understanding key areas of employment law regulation.

2. Increasing the level of legal understanding of the ER and HR teams

The roles of ER and HR professionals has vastly evolved over the years, and they are now required to know so much more about everything relating to their colleagues.

That also means they have to be savvy in their employment law knowledge. By educating and mentoring ER teams in potential legal issues they may come across, it can help to further empower teams to come up with robust solutions independently of any external support.

A great way to do this is to allow and encourage ER and HR professionals to work more closely with practising specialist employment lawyers on a day-to-day operational basis. And this needn’t be the usual expensive option at all.

3. Using technology to manage workloads

Digital methods are developing at a rapid rate across the globe, and it is crucial for HR and ER teams to keep up with innovation, in order to further enhance their offering to colleagues who need their help and guidance.

Embracing technology not only aids the management of the increasing complexity of employment law and HR concerns, but it also helps to maintain audit trails, provide real-time reports and swift feedback.

And, the companies with a robust ER case management system will maximise internal efficiencies, meaning that departments can focus on preventative activity, and employees can focus on individual case-load priorities.

By targeting the ways in which organisations can develop their teams to meet the rigorous demands of ER and HR issues, businesses can work on ways to regain control of the situation and mitigate their rising work – all without increasing existing budgets or headcount.

Indeed, by embracing news ways of working, overall ER budgets should fall substantially!

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