Month: April 2020

Introduction

There was this year at my former job when I had yet another annual performance review with my line manager. In the past he had pointed out some areas where I could improve, but I just ignored him.

Why? Because I had held on to an unhappy experience on a work-related incidence many years back which was never resolved and had made it hard for me to take on new challenges. Thus, I become less motivated at a job to which I had devoted my whole life. It therefore came as no surprise when I was made compulsorily redundant.

This may sound like you, the reader, but I want to assure you that performance reviews are actually good in that they help you to identify your areas of strengths and weaknesses and to set goals for your future performances. In order to ensure you get the best from of your annual appraisal, here are some of what you can do before, during and after your review:

 

Prepare well in advance

Familiarise himself with the criteria against which your performance will be judged. You need to think about issues raised during your last review as they would surely come up again. Then with confidence and a positive mindset, approach your manager armed with evidence to prove that you have resolved any issues raised since your last review.

 

Listen during the process

You’ve had a good night sleep, woken early and arrived well in advance before the review started. This tells your manager that you respect their time and it would also make you feel less agitated.

During the review, let your manager do most of the talking. Only talk when you are asked. But do ask them before the review starts if it is okay for you to take notes. Don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat any point that is not very clear to you, restrain yourself from getting upset or emotional and never argue with your manager!

After you’ve listened and taken all on board, ask your manager if they have any suggestions to help you resolve the new weak areas they have mentioned. This way you have demonstrated that you are willing to learn new skills and to take on new challenges. You’re also saying you trust this review is in your best interest.

 

Be grateful afterwards

When the review is over, thank your manager for acknowledging the areas you have improved since the last the last time which would not have been possible without their help and support. Also reassure them that all the new issues raised today would be dealt with before your next appraisal.  This time, it is your manager who would taking your remarks on board.

Managers are humans and they are not out to take anybody’s jobs. With the right attitude of mind, you should be able to keep your job.

I wish you every success in your next performance review!

Introduction

On Friday April 10th, the government of Ireland announced an extension of current COVID-19 restrictions to Tuesday May 5th, 2020.

The Government has put in place a number of support measures under the auspices of the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection. These measures are designed to ease the burden on the many businesses and households that are impacted by the spread of coronavirus.

I will look at a number of scenarios that are pertinent to employers, employees, and the self-employed.

COVID-19 Information for Employers and Employees

 

Employers

Scenario 1

Output in my business has dropped by at least 25% as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I want to keep my employees on the company payroll. What support mechanism is in place?

Employers who can prove they have lost at least 25% of their trade due to the coronavirus pandemic are eligible to apply for the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. Employers can apply for this scheme via Revenue.ie. Employers will be refunded up to 70% for each employee. The maximum refund is capped at €410 per employee per week.

Scenario 2

Due to a fall in demand I have been forced to reduce the hours my employees normally work. What can my employees do? They can apply for Short Time Work Support. You can apply via MyWelfare.ie

Scenario 3

My business is deemed to be a provider of critical services. I need to recruit qualified and experienced staff urgently to keep supply chains open. I normally recruit new employees via recruitment agencies. What arrangements are in place at present? If your company is deemed to be providing critical services during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can apply for recruitment support via the Jobs Ireland portal.

Scenario 4

My business is located close to the border with Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, I have made all my staff unemployed for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of my employees live in Northern Ireland. The remainder live in the Republic of Ireland. What can my employees do?

Those employees who live in Northern Ireland should apply for Universal Credit. Those employees who live in the Republic of Ireland are entitled to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Payment via MyWelfare.ie

 

Employees

Scenario 1

My employer has made me redundant for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. What am I entitled to claim for? You are entitled to claim for Pandemic Unemployment Payment. You can apply online via MyWelfare.ie

Scenario 2

I am self-employed and I pay myself through the business payroll. What benefits I am entitled to? You can apply for the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme via Revenue.ie

Scenario 3

I am self-employed but I don’t pay myself through the business payroll. What benefits am I entitled to apply for? You are entitled to apply for the Pandemic Unemployment Payment via MyWelfare.ie

Scenario 4

I am self-employed. My business has collapsed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. I am available for full time work if offered to me. Depending on your circumstances, you may be entitled to either Jobseekers Benefit for the Self-Employed or Jobseekers Allowance. You will need to apply for both Jobseekers Allowance and Jobseekers Benefit via your local Intreo office.

Scenario 5

I am an employee who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 by a doctor. I am absent from work and confined to my home or a medical facility. You are entitled to claim for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences. This benefit is also available to self-employed people diagnosed with coronavirus. You will need medical certification from your doctor or the HSE to support your claim. You can apply online via MyWelfare.ie

Scenario 6

I am an employee who has been told to self-isolate by a doctor or the HSE, because I have been identified as a possible source of infection. I am absent from work and confined to my home or a medical facility. You are entitled to claim for Illness Benefit for COVID-19 absences. This benefit is also available to self-employed people who have been told to self-isolate. You will need to support your claim with medical certification from your doctor or the HSE. You can apply via MyWelfare.ie

Scenario 7

My employer is based in Northern Ireland. I live in the Republic of Ireland. I have been made unemployed for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. What benefits am I entitled to claim for? You are entitled to claim for COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment via MyWelfare.ie

Conclusion

 

 

If you are an employer or employee who has been impacted by COVID-19 and you need more clarity on the issues raised above, I will be happy to give you some advice based on my own experience. These are uncertain times and the least we could do is support one another. My contact details are on this page. Any information you share will remain strictly confidential.

Introduction

Many years ago, while working for a cable manufacturing company in the UK, I was among the 20 staff selected to attend a management development course. I found the course tough going as I struggled with some of the role playing exercises. I wasn’t particularly fond of my course tutor. I was clearly out of my comfort zone! I became an apprehensive and stressed individual. I didn’t know who to turn to or how to ask for help.

The experience I have outlined is an example of disconnect between an employee and their employer. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Let us turn our attention to discussing potential solutions.

Potential Solutions

 

(1) The Employee Resigns

One option available to an employee when faced with the above issue is to resign. By resigning the employee is running away from the issue. The same issue could arise with another employer. They are also foregoing the opportunity to learn valuable skills, and to gain promotion further down the line. I would not recommend this course of action.

 

 

(2) The Employer Terminates the Employees Employment

An employer can terminate an employee’s employment by way of dismissal or redundancy.

To dismiss an employee, the employer must prove fair grounds for dismissal. The employer will need to take the employee through a formal procedure. If an employee has worked for 13 or more weeks, they are entitled to a statutory minimum period of notice. For more information on dismissal click here.

To qualify for redundancy payment an employee must be over 16 years of age and paying class A PRSI. The employee needs to be in continuous employment with the employer for a minimum of 104 weeks. Their job must cease to exist. For more information on redundancy click here.

Note. Employers must act reasonably when dismissing an employee in a redundancy situation. The employer must consult with the person in question beforehand and consider possible alternatives. If an employer makes a reasonable offer of alternative work, and the employee refuses it, they could lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment.

Dismissal or redundancy should be a last resort in situations where there is disconnect between an employee and their employer.

 

 

(3) The Employee and Employer Collaborate to Find a Solution

This solution will take time and effort. It will also require patience on the part of both the employee and employer.

The employee should take the following steps before approaching their manager. Firstly, the employee needs to be clear in their in own mind what issues they have. They need to rise above the situation and take ego out of the equation.

Secondly, the employee needs to practice what they are going to say. Avoid getting over emotional, or sugar coating the issue.

Thirdly, the employee needs to consider how they are going to approach their manager. If the manager in question is a dominant personality, consider approaching them through a trusted intermediary.

If you are confident enough to approach your manager yourself, clearly state why you want to talk to them. Give them options in terms of meeting dates & times. Be reassuring. Let them know you are aware of an ongoing issue, and that you are willing to collaborate to achieve a win-win solution.

As a manager, what role should you have in overcoming a disconnect with one of your employees? Aside from having an open door, encourage the employee to bring potential solutions to the table or have one ready yourself. Listen to what the employee is saying. Consider giving some ground in negotiations to win the employee’s trust.

If the employee and manager are genuine in their attempts to achieve a collaborative solution, both parties should be prepared to give a little ground.

Conclusion

If you are an employee or employer who is struggling to embrace a constructive challenge, I can empathise with you. If you would like to talk to me, please contact me. My contact details are on this page. Any personal information you share will remain strictly confidential.

Introduction 

On June 4th, 2010 I was made compulsorily redundant from my job as a finance manager with DHL Supply Chain Ireland. 

My initial reaction was one of happiness. The business was being restructured. New structures were being put in place. I no longer enjoyed my work. 

 

Reality Strikes Home 

Disappointment set in before long. I had to face into signing on for unemployment benefit. Not alone that, but I went from giving my life to my job, to paddling my own canoe. My confidence was shattered. My self-esteem was very low.  

I enjoyed working for DHL. 3rd Party Logistics is a busy and dynamic environment. What I liked most about my job was the variety of work. I engaged on a regular basis with the operations director and general management on commercial issues. I was also involved in a number of projects both financial and nonfinancial. 

DHL rewarded my efforts and dedication with corporate tickets to 6 nations matches at Croke Park, and Twickenham 

On a personal level I had to make some difficult choices. My monthly income was greatly reduced. No more paid holiday’s for a while. Discretionary expenditure needed to be sharply cut. I needed to watch every cent, as I had a mortgage to pay. Fortunately for me, I had no outstanding car or personal loans. 

I missed the camaraderie of the workplace. One day I was used to having my colleagues around me, answering the phone, replying to emails. The next day total silence. Not one phone call. Aside from the initial shock of being made redundant, this was the most difficult part of the whole experience for me.  

I spent endless amounts of time asking myself in my own mind – why me? Why was I made redundant? What could I have done differently? 

My way of dealing with redundancy was to sit at home all day browsing the internet. To fill in time, I set up a Udemy account, and subscribed to several courses. 

Aside from going out for a run 4 – 5 times a week I had no social life. I was very lonely.  

To overcome my loneliness, I decided to rejoin Toastmasters International. I started to get my confidence back slowly. I participated in club meetings. I got the opportunity to present speeches and evaluate other people’s speeches. I also took on the role of general evaluator who evaluates the overall meeting and toastmaster who chairs the entire meeting.  

I went a step further. I took on voluntary roles at club and district level. Soon enough Toastmasters became a full time role for me. But I was still unemployed. After two years of voluntary roles I decided to take a back seat from Toastmasters and concentrate on starting my own business.  

 

What I Should Have Done! 

In hindsight, I should have taken positive action much sooner. Rather than blaming myself for what happened to me, I should have used my time to follow my dreams of running a profitable business, that gives me financial independence, and an opportunity to travel the world.  

Why do I say this? Because redundancy is the closing of one chapter in your life. It can be the beginning of a new brighter chapter. Only you can make these choices for yourself. 

 

Conclusion 

If you have been made redundant recently, or you are in the process of being made redundant, I can empathise with you. If you would like to talk to me, please provide your contact details. I will listen to you. Any personal information you share will remain strictly confidential. 

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