Advice

Could HR solve...? Nativity

12 Dec 2019 By PM Editorial

Workpace nepotism could be to blame for a dangerously unsuitable hire

The problem

Teacher Paul Maddens is tasked with putting on a show-stopping nativity at St Bernadette’s school but finds himself hindered by teaching assistant Mr Poppy, whose endearing enthusiasm is matched only by his disregard for safety. Worst of all, he turns out to be the headteacher’s nephew – which may be the only reason he got the job in the first place. 

The solution

While the children enjoy Mr Poppy’s techniques, it’s clear they are not safe to be left in his care. And that’s where his relationship with headteacher Mrs Bevan may come under scrutiny, says Denise Jennings, head of HR at RotaCloud.

“To avoid conflict, many organisations allow the employment of relatives only if they do not work in the same department, or are not in a reporting relationship,” she says. Hopefully, St Bernadette’s recruitment process will have been sufficiently objective to stand up to scrutiny but, having hired the madcap assistant, it’s vital the school manages him effectively.

“Mr Poppy should have regular probationary reviews with his line manager, who should not be the teacher with whom the familial relationship exists,” says Jennings. Proper performance management could consider issues such as his removal of children from school premises or bringing animals into the classroom without a full risk assessment.

However, Jennings points out that it is important not to write Mr Poppy off based on first impressions: “Once he is given feedback and the support he needs, he may shine.”

Explore related articles

Director of HR

Director of HR

New Cross Gate, London predominantly, but also working across our school sites in south London

Competitive to reflect experience and expertise. To be discussed on appointment.

Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation Trust

HR Manager (new standalone role with international Group overview)

HR Manager (new standalone role with international Group overview)

Livingston, West Lothian

Competitive package including bonus, pension, private health

Edinburgh Instruments

Learning and Inclusion Manager

Learning and Inclusion Manager

Wallasey Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Merseyside, CH44 8ED

£49,416 - £52,256

Wirral Council

View More Jobs