GUEST BLOG: Xmas Social Media Commentary

At this somewhat festive time of year, we should expect that employees’ social media accounts (invariably it seems Facebook) will be feverish with activity. Office parties by their nature give rise to office banter, but that would be seen as being in the private work sphere. However, postings on social media accounts can render public what should have remained in the private work sphere.

So, for example, when an employee did not get a promotion he was hoping for, he was aggrieved. Unfortunately, he expressed his emotions on Facebook calling his employer “rats“. The employee was dismissed from employment.

While the Adjudication Officer, in giving her decision last month, accepted that the employer was “highly aggrieved” by the Facebook posting, her finding was that this was an unfair dismissal. The posting was taken down in less than 4 hours and no evidence was adduced of reputational damage (possibly the Adjudication Officer was looking for evidence of a few ‘likes’ on Facebook for the “rats” comment?).

Overall, the cases show that inappropriate comments on social media lead to dissatisfaction for both employer and employee. Prevention is better than cure: as we enter the rounds of office parties, maybe a reminder to staff to respect the company’s social media policy would help. It certainly would be evidence of how seriously the company regards social media commentary.

Remember that office parties are deemed extensions of the workplace.  Employers are responsible for conduct at these parties and should address planning events with this in mind.

About James

James Scanlon is Head of Employment Law at Maples and Calder’s Dublin office and was assisted by Sinéad Egan, Associate. Should you have any queries on this or any employment matter please contact James or your usual Maples contact.

t: +353 (0)1 619 2061 | e: [email protected] | |



GUEST BLOG: Goal Setting – Delivering a balanced life in 2017

Goal setting, when done reliably and consistently, is a great mechanism to help realise an organisation’s strategy. Goals help to translate the strategy into something more tangible and significantly more deliverable.

“The significance of a man is not in what he attains but in what he longs to attain.” [Khalil Gibran]

Why Set Goals?


In the 1960’s Locke’s work on goal setting and motivation gave us the foundation to the popular discipline of Goal Setting.   In 1990 Lock and Latham published “A Theory of Goal Setting and Task Performance” where they repeated Locke’s view on the need to set specific and difficult goals which push people towards their desired attainment. The harder to achieve the goal the harder you will work towards its achievement. Michelangelo once famously said that “the greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark” – so what is your Sistine Chapel for 2017? – what is your BHAG [Big Hairy Audacious Goal]?  Colin McGregor says it nicely when he states that if your goals don’t scare you they are not big enough.

Provides Focus and Direction

Goals provide focus and direction. If your company strategy is to grow, goals will translate that aim into more specific objectives to achieve. Business growth may be translated into raising revenue by 10% or reducing costs by 5%. When you are clearer about what it is you want to achieve it is a lot easier to achieve it.  Yet we are complex human beings that do more than work, we often have to combine that with personal and family aspirations and goals to live a “well lived life, in well led companies”. 

 Sample Simplex Goal Setting ©Margaret Considine 

These can be improved by making them SMART

Setting goals across these three interdependent realms of our lives can help us manage the interdependencies between the three – if I am personally trying to finish my MBA and give a weekend up of time with the children to do that or miss an afternoon’s golf classic with clients, then I do so in the full knowledge that I ‘controlled’ the choice and prioritisation of multiple goals. 

Aids Planning and Tracking

Once the goal is in place, you can then set about planning how you are going to achieve it. If I need to grow revenue by 10% that will mean I need ten new customers and in order to gain ten more customers I need to create 100 new meetings this month. Whatever your targets may be, your goals help you to make a plan, to break it down into manageable tasks that you can track at regular intervals.

How to Set Goals?

According to Locke and Latham principles there are five principles that will improve your chances of success when Goal Setting.

1. Clarity

Clarity is the key to success when it comes to goals setting. Whether the goal is something that only you can work towards, or a goal for your whole team, the clearer you are about the required outcome, the greater your chances of success. Clarity ensures no time is wasted in the pursuit of the wrong objectives. SMART Goals can help to gain more clarity, helping you make the goal more Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. Making sure your team are clear about the organisational goals will also help to motivate them towards a bigger purpose.

2. Challenge

People are motivated by challenging goals, but it is also important not to set goals that are too difficult to achieve as this will have the opposite effect. Think about how you can inspire your team to stretch themselves. How can you create healthy competition or motivation for a reward once the goal is achieved?  Make sure your challenging goals are realistic as you do not want to set your team up for failure and risk demotivating them.

3. Commitment

In order to gain commitment towards goals it is a good idea to allow your team to set their own goals, According to Dan Pink, author of Drive, the surprising truth about what motivates us; ” Autonomy is one of our chief motivational factors. If employees feel they have freedom over their goals and these goals are in alignment with the organisational goals it will be a win win for all.”

4. Feedback

Once you have selected the right goals together, it is important to both listen to and give regular feedback. Give your team members feedback that is objective and useful. Listen to their feedback and adjust the goals’ complexity if necessary. Setting goals should be a dynamic process, one that is adjusted when required.

5. Task Complexity

It is important to make sure that your employees are sufficiently trained to take on complex goals. A training needs analysis could help to ensure all the necessary skills are present to undertake the task. Keep regular checks and adjust tasks if they appear too complex.

When you take all of these areas into account, goal setting can become a powerful medium for realising the vision and strategy of an organisation and personal achievement. Goals can give you better awareness as to where you are now and what you need to achieve. With this better awareness you can make better choices, and better choices always lead to better results.

We largely find ourselves living in a world we later realise we largely helped create.  

Shape your 2017. 

About Margaret

Margaret Considine is CEO of EQuita Consulting. 

‪EQuita Consulting are global experts in delivering Executive Education, Strategic Consulting and Workplace solutions. With specialist expertise in Commercial Negotiation, Mediation, Conflict & Dispute Resolution, Bullying & Harassment Investigations and Personal Productivity. ‬‬

t: +353 (0)1 293 4741 | e: [email protected]   | |


GUEST BLOG: Christmas Crackers – 3 Networking Tips to remember this time of Year

No 1 – Saying Thank You

Networking is all about starting and building relationships. This is the perfect time of the year to look back and see who has helped you over the past 12 months and let them know that you appreciate what they have done for you.

This can be revenue for your business, or if you work in an organisation, a colleague may have assisted you personally or professionally during the year. It can be as simple as a handwritten Thank You card or Christmas Card. I find a Thank You card stays around the office for longer. Spend a little on getting it designed professionally so that your brand is conveyed in the best possible light.

If you really value the person/client, a voucher or hamper is a nice way of showing your appreciation. Show this person that you really value them being part of your network. A strong network is worth its weight in gold.

No 2 – Christmas Parties

This can be social or professional. Either way please be careful. I’ve seen too many reputations ruined at Christmas parties over the years. A few items to note.

  • What is the dress code? Gents and Ladies, remember to dress appropriately.
  • Within organisations, some senior level members choose not to attend as they still have a duty of care to their employees and are obliged to report any activities deemed inappropriate to HR.
  • Social media. With everyone having the capability to broadcast pictures and videos worldwide through their smartphones, once you step outside your own home, you could potentially be on camera. Anything you can or do could potentially be online and found by your clients or employers. I’m not trying to scare anyone, but just be sensible.
  • The last two points lead into this final point regarding the Christmas party season. Watch the alcohol levels. This works both ways. Your own consumption and also of those around you. Nobody wants to hear what you really think of them and you probably don’t want to hear what they think about you. My tip would be arrive early and leave before the levels of inebriation start to get a little too much for some people to handle.

No 3 – Time to Plan

With some down time usually on the cards for most of us, the end of year is the perfect opportunity to sit back and evaluate your networking strategy and see what return on investment you have received be it monetary, personally or professionally.

It can sometimes be difficult. You may have joined a networking organisation and you have not earned a single euro from it yet. That last word is the most important, yet. Building relationships and in essence, trust, takes time. It doesn’t happen overnight. Look back and ask yourself a number of questions.

  • Did I invest enough time networking this year?
  • Did I invest enough time upskilling and becoming a better networker?
  • Did I invest enough time building the new and existing relationships I have?
  • What am I going to do next year to make my networking efforts better?
  • Who am I going to ask to help me?

The first 3 questions involve reflection and asking about your investment of time. The best networkers I know understand these two key points. It is an investment and it does take time.

The last two questions are looking to future plans and you need to realise that no-one is an island. The best business owners and employees out there see the value in being mentored by someone else.

In my previous 4 blogs I also cover interesting networking points such as “Listening and asking questions”, “Acting like a host and not a guest”, “Networking Goal Setting” and “5 Tools for Networking Successfully” which will all help you with networking over this holiday period. Enjoy and I hope to see you at a networking event very soon. 

About Derek Reilly

Derek Reilly is a recognised expert in the areas of face to face and online networking. He previously worked with BNI (Business Network International) for nearly 10 years and has trained thousands of businesses on the power of networking. Derek is a regular guest speaker at conferences and company in-house trainings. He is proud to have spoken and trained on 3 continents (Europe, America and Asia). His progression within his own networks is testament to his knowledge of networking.

t: +353 (0)86 683 9709  | e: [email protected] | w: | LinkedIn |


GUEST BLOG: Managing employee underperformance is essential to deliver business performance

Many companies today often neglect the importance of managing employee underperformance. This can frequently lead to poor standards, missed deadlines and general mediocrity. Also, if not tackled properly and thoroughly, it may lead to increased disciplinary and dismissal problems at a later stage.

Managing underperformance is a fundamental requirement for all line managers. Where underperformance is taken seriously, companies will often implement a Performance Improvement Plan (often referred to as a PIP). This is a structured process to deal with underperformance. 

The PIP can be very effective if correctly implemented and it is the preferred way for many companies as opposed to simply going down the disciplinary route. It can also be seen by other employees as being somewhat fairer to the employee as it creates engagement with an employer with a view to returning the employee back to acceptable performance levels.

The PIP should be used when clear factual evidence exists of underperformance and not to wait until the appraisal review at the end of the year takes place. The key steps to implement a PIP are as follows:

  1. Gather the evidence / facts in relation to the employee underperformance. This is usually a series of issues / events as opposed to just one single issue. Although if a very serious issue arises, this in itself could merit a PIP.
  2. Arrange a meeting with the employee and explain why the PIP is being discussed / implemented.
  3. Discuss with the employee a) the facts in relation to their underperformance (i.e. missing targets), b) the impact or potential impact to the Company. Ask the employee for their response to the evidence presented.
  4. Explain what is required in terms of the employee’s performance and that the intention of the PIP is, with sustained improvement, to take the employee off the PIP. Also, explain the consequences if no improvement is forthcoming i.e. could lead to disciplinary matters.
  5. Check with the employee they fully understand their role and its requirements and if any training / coaching could help them improve their performance.
  6. Agree a date to meet up again to review improvement.
  7. Complete the PIP, document the discussion, and give the employee a copy of both documents.

A well-structured PIP can be both beneficial to the Company and the employee if properly implemented in a fair, structured and just way.

About Niall Glynn

Niall Glynn & Associates Limited was established in 2010 to provide Business Solutions and HR Advice to companies and Senior Executives. 

Our approach is to work closely with Senior Executives in a confidential way and coach them to both prepare and overcome any barriers in terms of achieving their future career goals / ambitions.  

We also help SMEs improve their business performance by successfully implementing tailored Core HR Processes and Business Performance Improvement Models. 

t: +353 (0)1 276 6598 | e: [email protected] | |



SPOTLIGHT: Conor Kinsella from ckhr

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Conor Kinsella, Director, ckhr.

Company formed in:

September 2016

Elevator pitch:

ckhr partners with clients to deliver pragmatic HR consultancy, designed to enhance the culture, leadership and performance of their business. We offer objective, impartial insights to deliver measurable results. Applying agile techniques to HR issues, ckhr will help your teams become more adaptable, innovative and collaborative.

Who would benefit from your service/product?

ckhr is building an impressive client list of start-ups, SMEs and multinationals. We are especially interested in working with business that are scaling, particularly those in the #HRTech, #PropTech and #RegTech sectors.

Biggest achievement in the last 12 months:

As a new business, simply getting established and onboarding our first few clients has been particularly satisfying. It is early days but having spent over 20 years in senior HR leadership roles, it is exciting to be building something from scratch.

Plans for the next 12 months:

The immediate focus for ckhr is growth. We intend expanding our client list while continuing to deliver effective solutions. In 12 months’ time, I’d love us to be congratulating those businesses we’ve worked with, on having achieved everything they set out to do – knowing that ckhr helped them along the way.

Biggest challenge to your business:

Staying current and relevant is always a challenge. ckhr prides itself on being extremely well networked and therefore able to leverage the latest technologies, thought leadership and regulatory advice for the benefit of its clients.

Best advice you can give other business owners:

It is early days for ckhr but one of the key things I’ve learned so far is that you cannot do everything yourself. Of course, it is important to be prudent about expenditure but there is value in leveraging the expertise of others. Concentrate on what you’re offering to the market and commission other businesses to support you. The adage stands: it is a marathon not a sprint.

If I was Minister for Finance, the first thing I’d do is:

The 2017 budget was a missed opportunity for start-ups and SMEs in relation to the tax relief for entrepreneurs and business owners. The Irish start-up ecosystem must at the very least match that of our nearest neighbour. As has been widely advocated, I would increase the qualifying gain ten-fold, to €10M and extend the eligibility criteria. Successful entrepreneurs reinvest their gains; the government should be doing everything it can to incentivise such opportunities.

Reasons to be cheerful:

I’m a recent first time Dad so I must say there’s nothing better than being greeted with a smile…even at 5 o’clock in the morning! 

t: +353 (0)1 86 3378981 | e: [email protected] | |


The Inner City Helping Homeless Christmas Shoebox Appeal 2016

It has been a very busy week here at The Panel HQ, and this morning one of our charitable involvements saw us bringing down a whole stack of boxes to the Inner City Helping Homeless, in collaboration with the Luas, #HelpFillaTram initiative down by Connolly station.

We are very grateful to the team members who helped make this happen and delighted to have been part of such a worthy cause.

It was fantastic to see so many people and companies take part in filling up the tram parked up by Connolly Station, before 8am this morning. A special thank you to our colleague Grace Leonard for organising and coordinating everything.

Please note that the tram will be there today Thursday 8th December from 7am to 7pm, so there is still time to make your contribution.

For more information on this specific Christmas Shoebox appeal contact ICHH on 01-8881804.


Cheque Handover Ceremony – The Calcutta Run, 2016

On Wednesday 30th November the Law Society of Ireland held an official “cheque handover ceremony”  following the hugely successful Calcutta Run 2016.

The ceremony was opened up by Stuart Gilhooly (President of the Law Society of Ireland) who then had the pleasure of handing over cheques totalling €180,000 to Aidan Stacey, Head of Fundraising at GOAL and Pat Doyle, CEO the Peter McVerry Trust.

Both Aidan and Pat thanked the sponsors, organisers and everyone who took part in the event, noting that the money raised was greatly appreciated.

Sarah Kelly (Partner, Legal & HR) attended the event on behalf of The Panel.

If you or your firm are interested in taking part in 2017 and want more details on the event/fundraising ideas, please contact Hilary Kavanagh, Event Coordinator and Promoter,

President of the Law Society of Ireland Stuart Gilhooly
President of the Law Society of Ireland Stuart Gilhooly
Aidan Stacey, Head of Fundraising at GOAL and Stuart Gilhooly
Pat Doyle, CEO the Peter McVerry Trust and Stuart Gilhooly