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Reputation and Control

24 May 2017

Aoife O'Donovan

IBEC’s Employment Law conference in Croke Park on the 11th of May was a fantastic insight into the future of employment law, in particular how it is influencing best practice in the workplace.

Throughout the day, many case studies were explored, many examples were given and many lessons were learned about how important following best practice is, not only in any workplace, but across recruitment in particular where honesty, openness and following best practice can put you in control of any situation.

Terry Mac Namara of IBEC gave a great insight as well as offering a real eye opener into to how both employees and employers can suffer if correct protocol isn’t followed in internal investigations. Or if any protocol isn’t followed for that matter. Our jobs and our reputations are too important to cut corners and slack on simple things like waiting, being patient and gathering correct information. Another terrific and highly informative presentation was given by Gillian Verrecchia of IBEC who walked us through case studies of fair procedures and gave us an overview of emerging patterns in case law.

Barry McLoughlin from The Communications Clinic gave a gripping presentation in the afternoon on ‘managing your external reputation in a crisis’ including an eye opening account of how your organisation’s reputation can be crushed overnight. Barry left his audience thinking about what we need to do differently and how we can prepare in such situations. He also advised that this shouldn’t be left to management, this applies to every employee whether an intern or a senior stakeholder.

As HR and legal professionals, it’s vital that we recognise the importance of the fact that if you are an employee of a company, not only are you representing them, but even more importantly, you are representing yourself, your name is on it and your reputation is on it. Some of us are very proud of what we do.  David Bloch, the MD of Brightwater ended his presentation with a small but meaningful anecdote: “A man came upon a construction site where three people wereReworking.  He asked the first, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am laying bricks.” He asked the second, “What are you doing?” and the man replied: “I am building a wall.” As he approached the third, he heard him humming a tune as he worked, and asked, “What are you doing?” The man smiled, “I am building a cathedral!”

David’s point was that if you communicate with your employees the purpose and goals of the company, then those employees will never just be working in a job, they will be working with you to make a difference and provide solutions. It is those proud people I believe that go above and beyond to represent and protect their companies’ and their own reputation. This can only be done by following best practice, by earning a person’s trust and by being open and honest with everyone –colleagues, managers, clients, customers, the list goes on. 

Brightwater’s Aoife O'Donovan -  HR Consultant