My aim is to keep companies out of court and reduce compliance costs. All companies are required by law to follow proper procedures and act in accordance with their statutory and contractual obligations. Robust contracts, plain-English documentation and straightforward policies and procedures—if used by properly trained managers—limit legal risk and reduce the cost of doing business. Good processes applied by trained managers result in substantially fewer grievances and make legal claims easier to defend. Best practice also helps create a good corporate culture.
Early advice is key
Management is an art not a science. Mistakes are easily made. Much of my work involves getting around bad processes and dealing with rash actions by management. Management training and good systems help but the single most important factor is early advice. When I have a relationship with the company—and a training relationship with managers—taking advice may involve nothing more than a short phone call.
I advise and act for large companies operating nationally in addition to acting for small and medium sized companies in and outside of Auckland. I have travelled the length and breadth of New Zealand and pride myself on resolving employment problems quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. When I am briefed by a company I learn their business and absorb their culture. This is intellectual capital which makes giving ongoing advice easier, quicker and accordingly also cheaper. The continuity of dealing only with me is much more cost-effective than paying for a stream of solicitors or consultants going through their learning curves. Continuity is personal. I acted for The Warehouse across the country for seven years and have acted for McDonald’s for over thirteen years where my training and compliance systems have been implemented. A similar implementation was done at Fulton Hogan with whom I have had an equally long relationship. I have introduced my system and trained the managers in many other companies with which I have also developed long client relationships.
Make managers accountable: Empower managers to manage
My system of documentation and training can be implemented in large and small companies. This system enables even rank-and-file managers to be trained not to make mistakes. Well-trained managers can also be held accountable for the way employees are treated both on the job and in any disciplinary process. Employers have rights that they are entitled to enforce. Employees are bound to work in accordance with their contracts. Employers must be fair and reasonable, employees are free to challenge anything they do in court. The conduct of a manager affects the reputation of a company as corporate citizen. Good policies and procedures not only show companies to be in compliance; they make grievances more difficult to bring, improving prospects of resolution at mediation and providing a better evidentiary basis when litigation is unavoidable or is a matter of principle.