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Consultation should not be seen as a formal process usually connected with disputes but rather as a key part of an employer’s day-to-day management skills. Effective consultation can build trust and engagement within your business, improve strategic decisions, help implement change more efficiently and potentially reduce costs associated with absence and high staff turnover.
Consultation is the use of communication and discussion. It means listening to the views, opinions and proposals of your employees, which can affect changes in a business. By engaging in consultation employers ensure they are promoting an inclusive and transparent business culture, which helps make certain that any steps taken are fair, reasonable and proportionate.
As your business grows and develops, you will inevitably face the need for change. This could be large-scale change (such as adapting your business structure) or small tweaks to internal processes and systems. Changes proposed by a business may be temporary or permanent but, either way, employers need to be mindful of how and when potential change is communicated to the wider workforce and consider if there is a legal requirement for consultation.
There are some scenarios where it is a legal requirement that certain rules around consultation are followed. Examples include consulting with employees in the event of a proposed restructure or redundancy, or when changes are proposed to their legally binding terms and conditions of employment. In these circumstances the steps required in consultation will differ depending on the number of employees affected.
There may be other types of general business change, such as adjustments to internal processes or the introduction of new IT systems, where consultation is not necessarily a legal requirement but engaging in discussion with your employees will help promote an inclusive working environment.
Consulting with employees can help to build trust, improve engagement and may uncover alternative solutions of which you were previously unaware and potentially lead to better business decisions. Consultation is a key tool for your business which can help you find the very best solutions to challenges when they arise.
For further information or reading around this topic, please see ACAS current guidance, available here: https://www.acas.org.uk/consulting-employees
If you believe that you have a scenario which may involve the need for a consultation process or have any questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will be able to assist you. Our HR team is here to help. Reach out to us today for expert advice and resources tailored to your specific needs.
Contact us at HR@skaltd.co.uk or call 01427 420 404 and #oneoftheteam will be able to help.