'THERE'S BEEN A CHANGE I SHALL BE DEALING WITH YOUR GRIEVANCE.'
Knights has axed all of its HR managers and is not replacing them, RollOnFriday has learned.
One quit and the other three were made redundant last month. “Apparently we don’t need them for a 1,500 workforce”, said an insider.
The HR managers dealt with employee issues like mental health and grievances, but those matters will now be handled directly by the firm's Client Service Directors, RollOnFriday understands.
Equivalent to regional managers, a CSD's main role is “chasing invoices, increasing revenue and reducing costs”, said a source.
Concerns have been raised by insiders that CSDs do not possess the knowhow to deal with complex employee issues. “They're not trained as people managers, let alone have any HR experience”, said a source.
"If we have health issues we're expected to go to our team leaders", an amused/horrified employee messaged ROF after learning of the change.
Knights has retained its HR admin assistants, however their job is primarily to process routine requests in relation to sick leave and holiday.
Others queried whether the CSDs had sufficient capacity to deal adequately with HR matters, given they oversee multiple offices and frequently manage upwards of 100-200 staff.
“Have they got time to sit with people for an hour and a half to talk about their mental health issues?” asked a source, who pointed out that the listed firm was set to expand even more.
“Knights has no intention of staying the size that it is. We recently had the annual conference and our CEO made the announcement that we’ll be doing probably three to four acquisitions a year for the next five years - so we will be double the size we currently are”.
“You're talking about a company with potentially 3,000 people with, in their minds, no HR. Good luck with that one.”
The change appears to mean that staff now have to raise any grievances directly with their manager, which has puzzled some staff.
“Would you go to your boss, who on one hand is telling you to increase your hours, chase your bills, and make sure that you're making money for the business – and talk to them about potential discrimination, poor management and mental health? I doubt that”, said one.
Knights insiders predicted that the absence of HR managers in meetings to ensure client service directors acted “professionally and legally” would result in more employment claims.
However, they said it could also increase staff turnover at the listed company. “Several more claims will come through, but I think turnover will increase quite drastically because people will make the decision to just leave because they're not able to communicate or talk about their problems”, said one individual.
Knights’ HR-free strategy was described by sources as “short-sighted” and a “cost-cutting” exercise which “shows quite clearly to their employees what they think of them”. Or, maybe: it's a brilliant plan.
Knights declined to comment.