7 key take-aways from our workshop on Employment matters

The Employee’s journey in an organisation: from recruitment and on-boarding to policies and procedures.

The Employee’s journey in an organisation

1) Recruitment

Every employee’s journey within an organisation actually starts with the recruitment process. Whenever a company identifies the need for a new person to fill a particular post, a recruitment process is set in motion. You should be clear as to why that particular job is needed, and the kind of skills and experience required. This information will be the basis of a job specification, as opposed to a job description, which focuses primarily on the skills and experience required for that specific position.

You can now take your job vacancy advert online and present a picture which potential candidates can relate to.

When analysing CVS, be aware of unconscious bias and potential discrimination issues, such as pregnancy or potential pregnancy, sex (including gender reassignment), racial or ethnic origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, trade union membership, and political opinion.

In recruitment, there are also potential discriminatory treatments such as distinction, exclusion, restriction, and difference in treatment.

2) Employment contract

There are a few considerations that you need to keep in mind when drafting an employment contract. First of all, is it going to be a fixed or an indefinite contract? Other factors to consider are:

  • Severability
  • The Agreement as a whole
  • Governing Law
  • Data protection
  • Confidential information
  • Intellectual property

3) On-boarding process

The onboarding process revolves entirely around the probationary period, and for that reason, it is important to map out this period, both in terms of tasks and gateways. The employee needs to have regular contact with supervisors and managers so that he/she can have a clear view of what the role entails.

The onboarding process is so delicate that if it’s not working out, the employee will see it coming immediately. After the probation period, if the candidate does not fit the role, no extension is necessary, and there is no need to give a reason for dismissal. Usually, the probation period is of six (6) months, but this can be extended to up to 12 months for managerial positions.

For certain sectors, especially the regulated ones, such as financial services and gaming, a police conduct certificate is often needed. A letter of reference and medical certificates are also common requirements. Sick leave, sickness certificates, overtime, and the organisation of working time, should also feature in a typical employment contract.

4) Health and Safety

Chapter 424 of the Laws of Malta states the Health and Safety (H&S) obligations that should apply to all workplaces and all work activities (although with some exclusions).

It is mandatory to ensure the H&S at all times of all persons who may be affected by the work being carried out by the employer.

Obligations in this regard include:

  • the provision of safe systems of work and training
  • the provision of adequate supervision
  • the provision and maintenance of adequate equipment
  • the election of an employee to act as a workers’ representative
  • the carrying out of risk assessments
  • the provision of rapid access to first aid

5) Training and appraisal

In today’s work environment, Generation Y (Millennial) individuals make up of 70% of the workforce; soon we will have four generations of people in the workplace: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.

Generation Y individuals are often described as being in a constant desire to learn all the time. They want to make a difference in the workplace. Like it or not, they want to know what are you going to do for them. They want to push forward the boundaries of their role, and want to go outside their comfort zone.

Meanwhile, having effective retention strategies will allow you to hang on to your best people and avoid high rates of turnover.

6) Termination

A contract of employment can be terminated in many ways:  this could follow a resignation, the end of a fixed contract, retirement, the end of the probation period, as well as redundancy or dismissal (with the requirement of providing a good and sufficient cause).

As an employer, you should be aware of what is considered justifiable grounds for dismissal. The employee recently giving birth, or breastfeeding, for example, do not offer a just cause for dismissal.

Disciplinary procedures are another sensitive topic. While it is important to have procedures in place, these should be established following internal consultation with management, and ideally, be tailored to the nature and requirements of the organisation. These procedures should also pass the test of ‘valid counter-arguments’. Once drafted, it is vital to communicate them effectively throughout the organisation, including all new employees coming on board.

7) Final Note – On Policies and Procedures

Today’s workplaces do not require wieldy policies and procedures.  However, there are a number of policies that should be in force, such as disciplinary and harassment.  An important point to keep in mind is that procedures should be established following internal wide consultation and tailored to the nature and requirements of the organisation. These procedures should also pass the test of ‘valid counter-arguments’.  Once completed, it is vital to communicate them effectively throughout the organisation, including all new employees coming on board.