26Feb

Sexual Harassment At The Workplace

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual behavior that makes someone feel uncomfortable, offended, or unsafe. It can be verbal, nonverbal, physical, or visual, and it can happen in a variety of settings, including the workplace, school, home, public places, and online.

06Feb

The Crucial Role of Company Secretaries in Facilitating Effective Board Meetings 

Delve into the crucial role of company secretaries in the heartbeat of corporate governance – board meetings. From meticulous legal compliance to bridging communication gaps, these unsung heroes play a vital part in steering organizations toward sustainable success. Discover the expertise that underpins their role and unlocks a culture of transparency, accountability, and informed decision-making within the intricate landscape of corporate governance.

31Jan

Disciplinary Process in Kenya 

The following list provides examples of offenses which normally warrant disciplinary action: 

  • Absence from duty without permission 
  • Unwillingness and inability to perform prescribed duties. 
  • Damage to Company property 
  • Loss of Company property 
  • Unauthorized possession / removal of Company property 
  • Insubordination 
  • Use of abusive language, harassment, discrimination or bullying. 
  • Gross negligence 
  • Willful damage to or theft of company property 
  • Fraud or dishonesty in dealing with the company 
  • Theft or misappropriation of Company funds 
  • Carrying or being under the influence of drugs or alcohol whilst on company premises or on company business 
  • Noncompliance to standard operating procedure 

Once a disciplinary matter has been reported the following steps are to be followed. 

Stage 1 – Informal action 

Informal action is appropriate in cases of minor misconduct. 

  1. The line manager will let the employee know that their conduct is unsatisfactory and make them aware of the standards expected without recourse to the formal procedure. 
  2. The line manager will hold a confidential discussion with the employee and ensure that they understand exactly what is expected of them. This discussion will enable the manager to provide constructive feedback and the employee to express their views on the issue. Where a need for improvement is identified, the manager will explain to the employee what needs to be done, within an agreed timescale and how the conduct will be reviewed within the agreed period. If the required achievements are not achieved or maintained, the matter will be dealt with formally.  

Stage 2 – Investigation 

  1. Before disciplinary action is taken, a full and thorough investigation into the allegation(s) will take place which takes into account any statements from witnesses or opinion(s) as appropriate. 
  2. The purpose of the investigation is to determine whether there is a case to answer at a formal disciplinary hearing. 
  3. Where the chosen course of action is a disciplinary hearing, the HR will chair the disciplinary hearing.  
  4. Proceedings are treated in confidence and records are kept as confidential as is practically possible and as is consistent with achieving a fair and thorough investigation. 
  5. Following the investigation, consideration will be given as to whether:
    a. The matter is closed; or, if further action is required: attempts should be made to resolve the matter informally without recourse to a formal hearing.
    b. A disciplinary hearing needs to be arranged: The employee will be issued with a show cause letter and notice to attend a disciplinary hearing.

Suspension 

When an employee has committed a serious offence, s/he may be suspended from duty pending investigation. The purpose of suspension is manifold and can be used when it is necessary to remove a member of staff from the workplace pending an investigation, for example, to allow time for a ‘cooling down period’ for both parties, for their own or others protection, to prevent them influencing or being influenced by others or to prevent possible interference with evidence.  

The following conditions shall prevail; 

  1. Notice of suspension shall be given in writing to the employee concerned and all business cards, office access card, staff identity card, office keys and access to email or internet will be suspended as well. 
  2. Every effort will be made to reach a decision on whether the employee should be reinstated or dismissed.  
  3. Upon conclusion of the investigation, the employee will be entitled to a fair hearing by the disciplinary committee.  
  4. If after investigations have been completed the staff member is found to be innocent of the suspected offence, a letter will be written to the employee communicating these findings and all withheld pay and benefits shall be reimbursed. 

Stage 3 – Disciplinary Hearing 

The HR chairing the hearing will arrange a formal hearing, ensuring the following: –  

  1. The employee is told in writing, no fewer than three working days in advance of the disciplinary hearing (unless an earlier date has been mutually agreed);  
  2. Written notification will include: 

    1. the specific nature of the issue;  
    2. the date, time and place of the formal hearing;  
    3. that the employee may be accompanied by a trade union representative or workplace colleague at the hearing;  
    4. the names of any witnesses and those in attendance at the hearing;  
    5. a link to the disciplinary policy and procedure and any written statements, reports and other evidence to be considered; 
    6. that the employee may provide evidence and/or call witnesses to the hearing, and the need to ensure that any witnesses are aware of the need for confidentiality. 
  3. All documentation relating to the disciplinary hearing must be reasonable and submitted at least 48 hours prior to the hearing to the HR Office. The number of witnesses and any supporting documentation must be in proportion to the level of misconduct itself and must be of a reasonable quantity. 
  4. Appropriate arrangements will be made to meet any special needs (e.g. interpreting in the case of language difficulties of the employee). 
  5. The employee, and any representative, should make every effort to attend the hearing. 
  6. If the employee fails to attend the hearing without good cause, a decision may be taken in his/her absence based on the information available. 

The disciplinary hearing

  1. In addition to the HR Office, those in attendance at the disciplinary hearing should include the person who conducted the investigation, minute taker, with witnesses, as appropriate. 
  2. The HR Office will explain the issue and go through the evidence gathered during the investigation, including any evidence given by witnesses appearing in person. The employee will be allowed to set out their case and answer any allegations that have been made. The employee will also have a reasonable opportunity to ask questions, present evidence, call relevant witnesses, and be able to raise points about any information provided by witnesses. 
  3. The outcome of the hearing is to be communicated to the employee within five working days, unless agreed otherwise. 

After consideration of all factors, including any mitigating circumstances, the possible outcomes are as follows: 

Verbal Warning 

Verbal warnings are not cumulative and attract no higher penalty. However, they may be taken into account at the annual performance evaluation.  A verbal warning will be given for unsatisfactory work and /or conduct.  When a verbal warning is given, the Supervisor will follow this up with a file note which will be given to the HR Office and a copy to the staff for record. 

Written Warning 

A written warning consists of a formal letter containing a brief description of the circumstance of the offense and the reason why the action has been taken.  

A. First Written Warning 

If conduct or performance does not meet acceptable standards, the staff member will normally be given a formal verbal warning. They will be advised of the reason for the warning and that it is the first stage of the disciplinary procedure. The warning will be confirmed in writing to the employee and recorded in the employee’s file as a verbal warning. 

B. Second Written Warning 

If, during a consecutive period of twelve months (12) months from the date of the first warning letter, the employee commits another offense, following the first warning, a second warning in writing shall be served by HR. The decision to give this warning letter shall be arrived at in consultation between the supervisor and HR. 

C. Third and Final Written Warning 

If an employee, having received two warnings, commits a third offence within a period of twelve months (12) from the date of the second warning letter, s/he shall receive a third and final warning from the HR. With the third and final warning, the employee is liable to termination of service upon committing further offense. 

NOTE: 

  • All warnings shall be entered in the employee’s records. 
  • If an employee completes one full year without a further warning, the effect of any previous warning entered in his record, in terms of disciplinary action, shall lapse.  However, the warning letter will remain in the employee’s file and will be considered in matters of performance evaluation, salary, and promotion.

Dismissal 

The Managing Director, or in his/her unavailability, an authorized nominee, a report of all relevant facts leading to a recommendation for dismissal. 

Dismissal may be recommended if: – 

  1. the employee is found to have committed an act of gross misconduct as outlined in the company policy manual guided by the Employment Act. 
  2. following review there is continued unsatisfactory conduct and or performance. 

Stage 5 – Appeal  

To appeal against disciplinary action short of dismissal, the employee must write to the HR Office within five working days of receipt of the letter informing them of the outcome of their hearing, stating clearly the specific grounds of appeal. 

The appeal will be arranged as soon as practicable. The employee receives notice, in writing, five working days in advance of the hearing. The letter will state the date, time, and place where the hearing is held and the name of the person chairing the hearing. The employee will be informed that they may choose to be accompanied by a witness this has to be or a workplace colleague.  

The HR may reach the following decisions: 

  1. uphold the disciplinary action or; 
  2. remove the disciplinary action entirely or; 
  3. impose a disciplinary action of their own, short of dismissal, which they consider appropriate. 

Appeals against dismissal 

Where a decision to dismiss is taken, the employee may appeal within five working days by writing to the Managing Director or equivalent. Appeals against dismissal are heard by a committee consisting of the HR Office, Managing Director, and respective line managers. In the case of appeals against dismissal, the decision to dismiss shall not take effect until the appeal panel has determined the outcome of any appeal, unless the recommendation is for gross misconduct and the Managing Director has upheld the decision to dismiss. 

The appeal process is a review of the decision to dismiss based on one or more of the following grounds: 

  1. that new evidence is available which was not presented at the first hearing; 
  2. the dismissal hearing was materially flawed on procedural grounds; 
  3. the decision to dismiss was not reasonable in the circumstances. 
23Jan

Categories of Work Permits in Kenya 

Step into the vibrant world of Kenya’s revamped immigration rules, where each work permit class tells a unique story. Whether you’re digging into mining with Class A or finding refuge with Class M, the adventure begins with documentation – forms, photos, and fees. Renew your permit, but don’t miss the beat on hiring locals. The State Department for Immigration Services holds the key, weighing economic impacts and the presence of a Kenyan understudy.

15Jan

Enhancing Organizational Success Through Employee Engagement and Retention

In today’s competitive business environment, prioritizing employee engagement and retention is paramount. This article delves into the vital aspects of fostering a positive work environment and the pivotal role leadership plays. Discover strategies for boosting morale, including open communication, recognition, professional development, work-life balance, and team building.

12Sep

Deed of Secondment

A secondment is a temporary employee assignment, often within the same organization or to another organization, without creating a new employment contract.

23Aug

Getting employment contracts right 

A well-structured employment contract forms the bedrock of a harmonious employer-employee connection. The Employment Act No. 11 of 2007 in Kenya delineates the rights, obligations, and varied contract types for both parties. These contracts encompass essential details like responsibilities, compensation, and benefits, acting as a blueprint to avoid disputes and ensure a productive working partnership. Delve into the nuances of contract types, crucial clauses, and factors influencing contract selection for a well-informed employment landscape.

07Jun

6 Essential Tips For a Successful Interview

Getting the call to interview is a bittersweet moment. Sweet because you passed the first round of shortlisting and bitter because the interview process can be daunting and nerve wrecking.

But, with the right preparation, you can increase your chances of acing your interview. In this article, we will explore Tips for you to have a successful interview.

Research The Company

It is important for you to know about the company that you are looking to work with. Dedicate a few hours learning about everything you can about the company. This information can be accessed online via the company website, professional social platforms such as LinkedIn as well as Google. It is advisable to use different sources of information, to make sure that you get a broad picture of the company and also be ready to answer questions on why you’d like to work there.

Prepare and Practice

You can prepare by understanding the role that you applied for, by taking a closer look at the Job description and matching it with your skills.

You can also prepare by practicing answering the common interview questions, and answering them in relation to how your skills fit what they are looking for.

Also prepare some questions for the interviewers as well, this shows interest in the position.

Dress Appropriately and be punctual

First impressions last and it is in your best interest not to get to your interview late. In fact, consider arriving a few minutes earlier. This will give you time to get settled in, calm your nerves and brush up on areas you might need to.

Dress appropriately for the interview, this shows professionalism.

Improve your interview skills

Interviews are not only about the questions the interviewer asks, but also about how you answer them.

How good are you at active listening? Small talk? Body language? Know that the interviewer is keen about these aspects and you should too.

Prepare for off guard questions

Or rather, know what to do if caught off guard. It’s a good idea to avoid dead air after being caught off guard by having a tactic to buy some time to think.

Repeating the question thoughtfully before answering is one tactic you can use to avoid stalling.

Send a thank you note after the interview.

This is a courteous gesture that can leave a positive impact on the interviewers. Purpose to send the note 24-48 hours after the interview, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity to interview and briefly stress on your interest to work with the company.

 

By applying the above tips, you will be prepared for your interview. Remember, an interview is a chance for you to showcase your skills, and by preparing you increase your chances of landing your dream job!

02Jun

Promoting mindfulness and self-care in the workplace

Mindfulness in the workplace refers to maintaining a present state of mind, and being aware of one’s thoughts, feelings, and actions. In the current fast-paced work environment, mindfulness ensures employees stay focused on the task at hand amidst internal and external stimuli eventually achieving the required productivity and efficiency. Mindfulness plays an important role in reducing stress by promoting a sense of calm, resulting in a positive impact on individual and collective mental health.

Self-care goes hand in hand with mindfulness, it means intentional actions that an individual takes to boost mental, physical, and emotional well-being. It has traditionally been reserved for outside work hours but we can all agree that work is invariably intertwined with our life routines. Self-care in the workplace looks different, it involves having boundaries, catching onto signs of stress, and prioritizing your own mental health.

To have a satisfying and beneficial experience with self-care and mindfulness, employees are encouraged to practice tips including but not limited to;

Mindfulness tips:

  • Being consciously present while handling a task, for instance, if you’re preparing a report give it your full attention.
  • Indulge in short mindful exercises during your work day, this may look something like a minute off work activity to take deep silent breaths.
  • Be a ‘single-tasker’ – monotasking is a reminder to focus on one task at a time, multitasking is much more likely to degrade our performance on each of the tasks at hand.
  • Slowing down to speed up – the mindful way of working is to decelerate for a short while and reflect, thereafter get back to a project fully rejuvenated which results to more productivity and efficiency.
  • Make stress your friend – Sounds ridiculous right? Viewing a problem that causes stress as a positive challenge improves productivity and achievement at work.

Self-care tips:

  • Organizing and setting limits on tasks handled per day.
  • Utilizing one’s breaks to engage in an enjoyable activity such as taking a walk.
  • Including items on the workstation that evoke joy, could be a small family portrait or motivational quote.
  • Set defined boundaries such as turning off emails during the weekend and taking sick leave to prioritize physical health.
  • Constantly hydrating and having healthy lunch.

How can employers support self-care and mindfulness in the workplace?

  • Offer mindfulness coaching – A coach can help employees develop coping skills to better handle daily challenges and regulate emotions.
  • Support employee breaks – Getting some time to recharge is fundamental in preventing burnout, therefore, improving productivity. Employers need to create clear leave policies that truly support clocking out of staff to relax.
  • Design an ergonomically friendly workplace – This is a work environment with adequate lighting and offers options for a variety of working postures where employees thrive and are more comfortable.
  • Recognize accomplishments – Intrinsic and/or extrinsic rewards not only encourages employees but also make them feel valued. Such small gestures make a difference in employee retention, morale, and motivation.
  • Foster good habits – Encourage employees to log off and shut down to promote work-life balance, discourage eating lunch at the computer and practice what you preach. Set an example by living your own self-care rules!

It is important to integrate self-care and mindfulness in both our professional and personal lives to maintain positive mental health.