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How can employers prevent a breakdown at Senior Level?

In one of the biggest fallouts of political history, we recently saw a tidal wave of resignations within the Government, ultimately leading to Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s, resignation. How can you prevent a Senior Level breakdown within your organisation?

Senior Leaders can fall out in any organisation, and boards can break down at any time; you only have to read the recent news concerning the departure of some of Twitter’s executive team. Thankfully there are preventative measures that employers can put in place to help avoid conflict or disagreement spiraling out of control as, when this happens, it can have an extreme impact on the business. There is no “one size fits all” solution however, here are our five practical tips to help keep the senior team cohesive and effective: –  

Agree and document business practices 

Ensure to have in place board level agreed documentation that clearly defines how the business is to be run. Having written clarity regarding business practices means any disputes between board members concerning such matters will have a better chance of being dispelled quickly and easily.  

Bring in a skilled mediator  

If a dispute can’t be easily resolved, then consider bringing in a neutral third party to mediate. It’s in the best interest of all parties if an amicable resolution can be found. The mediator will evaluate both sides of the argument and suggest paths to reach a resolution, without bias.  

If an informal resolution is out of reach, check the company’s essential HR documentation for information on how to handle the dispute. There should be a clear roadmap detailing how to proceed in such circumstances, stating clearly how such issues should be handled. 

Performance based dispute  

Where the dispute is related to performance issues, a proper procedure must be followed before dismissal can occur. This will involve a performance management process, which, although it may take time to complete, could successfully aid in preventing a claim for unfair or constructive dismissal. In cases where a director is suspected of dishonesty, a proper disciplinary and investigational process must be followed to avoid legal repercussions. 

Seek or prosper a skilled board chairperson 

An effective board chair is crucial to managing conflict. An effective board chair comes from clarity regarding the chair’s responsibilities/role, personal integrity, an understanding of the significance of process and the application of a few tested facilitation methods.  

Establish a code of conduct for directors  

Finally, it’s useful to have a written code of conduct for directors that outlines expectations and guidelines for their relationship with the other directors and the wider workforce. This should offer direction on workplace issues such as confidentiality, conflicts of interests, interactions with employees.  

If you would like more advice on how to resolve any contention within your senior leadership team or beyond, please do get in contact with our expert HR team – Hertfordshire’s leading HR consultancy, bringing your business the benefits, protection and experience of an entire HR department.  

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