A brown woman with a head covering dressed smartly wearing a compassionate smile. Those who know better recognise where the could be gaps in their policies and have them reviewed

Those Who Know Better Should Do Better – Is Your Team Ignoring Policy Gaps

“Those who know better should do better.” However, exercising compassion and reason is not always at the forefront of the minds of those in charge. CAS Ltd is not only about having your HouseRules tailored to serve your business and internal community. Equally important is about applying ethical strategies to succeed in all endeavours.
 
Through a close examination of the recent judgement against Duncan Lewis (in Orogbu v Duncan Lewis), this article will demonstrate why regular policy reviews and considering the human element are vital for companies in any industry.

Background

Mr Orogbu was taken on as the Housing Director of the new department. It was agreed that he would bring in three times his salary as a team of one. He later suffered a bout of illness which at its worst, within a six-month period, included 70 days off sick and did very little work on the days he was working. After a number of meetings, the firm concluded that Mr Orogbu was grossly incompetent. He was dismissed for gross misconduct as he failed to follow the absence procedure.

When Procedures Fail to Serve

Firstly let’s recap on policies and procedures. Policies are the rules of the organisation and procedures are the guidelines to comply with those rules. Where the guidelines fail to successfully achieve the outcomes, they need to be reviewed, amended or an expectation can be made.
 
There was evidence to support that Mr Orogbu’s illness was so debilitating that he was unable to carry out the simplest of tasks. Moreover, this was discussed in a meeting but minds had already been made up and the firm’s representative stuck firmly to the procedures that were not followed.
 
Notably, the report states how the situation was exacerbated by the personal and professional commitments of members of the firm. The indication that some procedures and processes were either outdated or incomplete.

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Avoiding Rigidity Through Reviews

This situation demonstrates that even industry veterans need policy reviews as no one is immune from getting policies wrong. Policies and procedures impact every employee, so reviews should come from an objective lens. Often, the person responsible for enforcing a policy day-to-day is unable to take a step back. Over time, wearing procedural blinders can inadvertently develop.
 
CAS Ltd recommends a third-party periodic review to remove bias. Some key benefits include:
  • Brings a fresh perspective from someone not entrenched in the status quo
  • Allows patterns causing inefficiencies or conflicts to surface
  • Ensures policies continue reflecting the organisation’s changing needs and values.
 
Long-standing members of the company provide important context during the review process. However, an outsider’s analysis is vital for highlighting areas where rigid thinking may have settled in. Together with The Ethical Strategist, we can combine external expertise with internal knowledge to collaborate on impactful policy optimisation.

The HouseRules approach guides companies to avoid the rigidness that led to the law firm’s common oversights here. Through structured and periodic reviews, it is possible to identify areas where procedures may enable bias or no longer reflect company values. This prevents siloed thinking from becoming entrenched.

Administering Policies Compassionately

For this reason, the rules in business should apply to everyone. It will ensure the fair treatment of all and that everyone understands what is expected of them. It is a calculated assumption that the focus was more on the hierarchy and financial gains (or in this case losses) that best practices to serve the firm were not adopted.
 
No assistance, referrals or well-being checks were revealed to have been carried out for someone who has an extended period of sick leave. The lack of compassion and consideration for another human being is telling.
 
At the time of drafting any policy, the intention is to attempt to look at all possible eventualities but you can’t account for everything. That’s why it’s equally important to capture the principles and values with the rules. When circumstances arise that don’t align with the policy it is possible to ensure the ethos of the organisation continues.

Without adequate administration and monitoring, policies risk becoming heavy-handed directives rather than living documents. The approach of CAS Ltd is for business owners and their trusted teams to be in a position of understanding.

To clarify, being in a position to comprehend why the policy is in place and to flag, question or alert when a situation doesn’t fit. Interpreting the rules fairly and compassionately before issues escalate; everyone has a level of accountability.

I am The Ethical Strategist working with business owners who know that they are destined to be a leader in their area of expertise. Right now, it’s important to have in place HouseRules so you can continue to level up in business. Tired of being in this state of stalling, book your slot on the calendar and let’s get to work.

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