The entire assignment is based on the handling and dealing with the employee relations. I have been appointed as an Employee Relations Officer in one of the organization. I need to prepare a Unit 20 Key Features of Employee Relation Assignment for the HR Director of the company who is my immediate line manager on the concepts, principles, practices and the way the employee relations should be addressed. The organization where I have joined is a manufacturing unit of FMCG Company named Gillette. The Unit 20 Key Features of Employee Relation Assignment will be divided into 4 tasks. Task 1 will discuss concepts like trade unions, role of main players, unitary and pluralistic frames of reference. Task 2 will give an insight into conflicts situations, their addresses, key features and effectiveness in procedures in handling of conflict situations in employee relations. Task 3 will discuss on the role of negotiations in collective bargaining and impact of negotiation strategy for a given situation. Task 4 will analyse influence of EU on Industrial democracy, impact of HR department on employee relations and various methods for involvement and participation of the employees within an organization.
This task will Unit 20 Key Features of Employee Relation Assignment on the unitary and pluralistic framework of references. It will also highlight the role played main players in employee relations and the way trade unionism and changes affect the employee relations.
ER refers to Employee Relations. It has gained importance as a separate department in the last decade as employees are important and so are their matters and grievances. It is very important department as viewed from the perspective of employees, employers and the other associates. This department maintains harmony among the employees and employers.
1.1 Explain the unitary and pluralistic frames of reference.
Unitary Framework of reference is employee relations refer to:
- Employer being the point of authority within the organization.
- Leaders working for the company help in promotion of harmony and cordial relations between employer and employee.
- It believes that employee and employer have to work towards the common objectives.
- This integrates the employer and employee together towards the work and organizational objectives.
- It defines the role of managers in attaining a situation that is win-win for all.
- It is weak as there always exists a difference of power between the employee and employer. For example the proprietorship companies where the one man army rules as an employer.
Pluralistic Framework of reference is employee relations refer to:
- Workplace consists of various types of beliefs, attitudes, behaviours and values in the various individuals.
- There is bound to be conflicts between employee and employer.
- There is a great role that management plays in safeguarding and fulfilling the conflicts in interests.
- It helps in effective industrial relations in resolving of conflicts (Vakola & Nikolaou, 2005). ). For Example IT Companies where the employer gives equal respect and benefits for employees.
- This framework is working with Trade Unions to improve policies and procedures and also to improve working conditions and matters affecting employees.
Marxist Framework of Reference
It is based on the society conflicts and the relations that are based on various classes. For example German Companies and their style of operation.
1.2 Assess how changes in trade unionism have affected employee relations.
There has been a great change in the trade unions and their operations in the last 30 years. There has been a great competition in terms of the outsourcing, employee participation and involvement in the decision making in the company. It has been seen that Trade Unions help in shaping and developing the lives of the people working in the manufacturing unit of Gillette. The employees or the workers working for the company can take up their issues and make their decisions raised to the management of the company from the means of trade unions only. There has been a great competition and benchmarking in the market due to which the companies have to face competition and pressures of the market. Based on these pressures, the companies are developing the policies and practices that need to be implemented within the company. These are enforced and done in worker interest through trade unions only. There were times when the employee relations and involvement was not accepted by the various employers.
There was a great emphasis on the Trade Unionism up to the period of 1979 but the major motives were Industrial Relations and Collective Agreement with the various employees and workers. After 1979 changes were observed due to the following reasons:
- Political Changes and meeting the objectives.
- Collective Bargaining and various labour legislations.
- Providing rights to the people.
- Rise of full fledged HR Department
- Changes on economic and social front.
- Industrial Relations converted to Employee Relations.
- Employees have now become the stakeholders within the company.
It was in 1999 that the Employee Relations Act was legalized and recognized. This led and gave significant importance to the development and enforcement of the trade unions. The trade unions helped in recognizing the markets and based on the employer-employee relations in the industry and the market, the trade unions used to make decisions considering goodness of all the workers. It is through Trade Unions only the voice of the workers and employees was being heard by the management. Trade Unions and Leaders ensured that the rights of the workers are taken care of in all ways. All the conflicts at the workplace were resolved through the means of indirect meeting of worker with the employer through a third party that is trade unions.
Trade Unions studied the labour rights and laws and enforced in the companies. Trade Unions have increased and made good employee-employer relations by acting as an intermediate party in between and resolving employee grievances. Therefore trade unions have helped in generating equal employment opportunities for all, safeguarding individual, family and collective rights of the workers. It has even ensured that workers and all employees are paid as per the minimum wages set by the government (Matlay, 1999).
1.3 Explain the role of main players in employee relations.
There has been a role that is played by the main players in keeping the employee relations. The government is one of the key and main players in business. It helps in framing the rules and policies for the workers. IT helps in generation of employment and provision of equal opportunities for all the workers working for the company. It acts as a legislator. It even enforced the labour laws that have been made for the betterment of the workers. Trade Unions help in implementation and reminding of the labour laws and regulations with regard to the rights and opportunities for all the people. Trade Unions help in getting the pay and wages improved for the workers. Government as well as Trade Unions are two major key and main layers in the employee relations and help in the following activities:
- Protecting the rights of the people.
- Providing equal opportunities at work for all the workers and employees.
- Effectively implementing the governmental and statutory policies and practices.
Trade Unions play a great role in conflict resolution and handling of the employee and employer relations. This party helps in enforcement of the rules, regulations and legislations within the organization as per the key groups that are existing within and outside the organization which control and help in keeping good relations.
Other players are:
- Employers and Employer Organization – Here lies the role of Human Resource Management that will frame the laws, rules, regulations and the legislations.
- Trade Unions – This was being developed so that the rights are preserved for various employees.
This task would have a detailed discussion on the procedures in the organization for dealing with the conflict situations. The various key features would be analysed for the employee relations in a specific conflict situation. It will also evaluate the effectiveness of procedures in conflict situation. It will even tell whether conflicts could be resolved or not.
2.1 Explain the procedures an organization should follow when dealing with different conflict situations.
Conflict refers to a situation where the two parties involved are not in agreement to a common goal or objective. There are two types of conflicts: Major Conflicts and Minor Conflicts. Minor could be grievance on pay and can be resolved by informal procedures. Major ones could be policies grievance or working conditions. They should be handled with formal approach. Conflicts are very sensitive and have to be handled with care and lot of precision. The process or the procedure that is adopted for resolution of conflicts is:
- Setting of Scene – There is a need to first understand and set the scene for resolving the conflict. This will summarize the conflict and the problem situation.
- Gathering of the information –This will comprise of the information and data related to the problem and the conflicts that are arising. This information will help in finding the exact reason for the problem.
- Agreement on the problem- This will comprise of the phrases where both the parties are agreed for their points and assured that correct action would be taken in this regard.
- Brainstorming on the possible alternatives and solutions – This will comprise of the various solutions and possible options that exist for resolving the situation of the conflict.
- Negotiation on the Solution – Based on the possible options and the alternatives for the solutions, the best possible option or the solution is being selected. This solution could be discussed and enforced accordingly.
The process for the Conflict Handling is:
2.2 Explain the key features of employee relations in a selected conflict situation.
Employee relations play a great role in resolving the conflicts of any kinds. The key features of employee relations in a selected conflict situation would be:
- Corporation – Working together.
- Trust and Relationship Building.
- Unity in diversity.
- Employee Relations help in getting the attention of the listener.
- Employee Relations help in getting the attention of the listener.
- It helps in understanding the situation.
- It predicts the various possible signs of the conflicts.
- It finds out the reason for the occurrence of the conflict situation.
- It will help in managing the conflicts.
- It will even specify the way in which the future occurrence of the conflicts could be prevented.
2.3 Evaluate the effectiveness of procedures used in a selected conflict situation.
The effectiveness of the procedures could be evaluated in a selected conflict situation in the following ways and through the signs as mentioned below:
- The level of acceptance and interests that both the conflicting parties are showing.
- The level at which the solutions are being implemented and enforced.
- The time that it takes to resolve the conflicting issues & problems.
Conflicts situations will arise but with the help of employee relations, the problems could be resolved and evaluated for their effectiveness. This could be referred to the case study of British Airways. There are majorly two phases of negotiations. In case first stage is not able to resolve the conflicts then surely the second stages the queries and conflicts are resolved.
This task would be discussing on the influence of the European Union on the industrial democracy in the country of United Kingdom. It will also compare on the methods that are being used for the gaining of employee involvement and participation in the process of decision making within the organization. It will also highlight and lay down the importance of the human resources on the employee relations and maintaining good and long terms relations.
4.1 Assess the influence of the EU on industrial democracy in the UK.
European Union plays a great role in evaluating the industrial relations and development of the industry and employee related policies. It designs and cerates the way the organization should be working and handling the worker and employer relations. It could be referred to a Treaty that was signed in the year 1994 Maastrich Treaty. It will work upon the trade union and even define the way it should be operated and carried out. It will implement the policies in coordination with the government of the United Kingdom. EU once made a policy will be adhered and strictly followed within the country of United Kingdom. It will help in employee handling & resolution of the conflicts. European Working council helps in development of the legislations and the policies that will work in favour of the people. Later in the year 2002, there was an obligation being imposed by Informational Councilative Directive that the agreements and legislations have to be abided by. There was again a co-determination of the benefits that should be mandatorily given to the employees and workers working for the company.Industrial Democracy will comprise of the people involved in the industry, trade unions, employer and workers.
4.2 Compare methods used to gain employee participation and involvement in the decision making process in organizations.
Employee participation refers to a process in which each and every process, an employee is given opportunity to play a role in the function that is carried out. Employee Involvement refers complete involvement and participation of the employee that is also comprises of the decision making. There are several methods that could be used to gain employee participation and involvement in the decision making process in the organization. The ways in which it could be carried out are:
- Participation at the level of the board or the management – The employees who are performing well could be included in the board team who are seen as assets within the organization.
- Through means of giving them the ownership within the organization – When the employees are given the ownership then they have to perform and take the right decisions. This is the way of including their active participation.
- Collective Bargaining could also be used as a process of making decisions – When the negotiations are done and the process of collective bargaining is in place.
- Various suggestion and idea schemes – This will include people in giving their remarks, ideas and suggestions related to a specific situation.
- Enriching and enlarging the jobs and roles of the employees – When employees are given more responsibilities then they even become accountable for them. When they become accountable, they tend to research on various ways in which the problem and issues could be resolved. This makes them involved and participative in various activities within the organization at a greater level. This will broaden their horizons and area of working making them responsible and accountable in all ways (Blyton & Turnbull, 2004).
Through the way of Quality circle – Quality Circles represent the group of skilled and expertise people who have efficiency and expertise in a specific area. These people could be involved in the discussions and resolution of various kinds of situations at work. These people when would be involved in the decision making will always give a great advise in terms of their knowledge and skills that they possess. The benefits are achieved from employee participation and that are: they feel satisfied and happy working for the company. Their rights, duties and accountabilities are being taken care of.
4.3 Assess the impact of human resource management on employee relations.
Human Resource Management is a department that helps in development of good employee relations. It is a department that ensures that the legislations, policies and the practices are implemented within the organization and strictly adhered to. It unites and acts as a third party in resolving the issues and various kinds of conflicts and issues. HR and its effective management will keep the employees very harmonious and working in a team with each other. HRM helps in consolidation of the ideas, views and take them to the management in case they are in benefit for the organization. HRM also acts as a substitute of the IR or the employee relations department within the comp any. In case any conflict arises in the company and the IR or ER department is not that well established then HRM plays a great role in the negotiations and the resolution of the conflicts.
HRM only ensures that the employees are satisfied and working with their performance and potential. IT will map the company requirements with that of the employees working for the company. HRM also acts as a trade union handling in case the IR division in the company is not separate. HRM will ensure that the incidents of any kinds could be ignored and neglected to a greater extent.
There has been a great role that EU plays for carrying out smooth employee relations within an organization. There are several methods discussed as above for negotiations and involvement and participation of the employees working within the company. HRM has been called as a substitute in case a company does not have full-fledged IR or ER department in place.
HR has been trying very hard to positively influence the employer-employee relation by:
- Effective Communication.
- Providing empowerment to the employees.
- Making employees participate and involved in the various activities in the company.
Employee Relations play a great role in the company. The times have really changed. Initially when the concept of Trade Unions was founded then they were not given due importance. It was later that they acted as an intermediate party between the employees and the employer in resolving their conflicts and enforcement of the right policies and practices within the organization. This was done in the best interests of the employees and even the employers. There are always conflicts that exist between the employees and employers. These conflicts are handled with the process of collective bargaining. This process involves a key role of negotiations. Negotiations done will depend on the way and style of working of an individual. This could be done by gathering of information and data on a specific situation so that suitable and correct action is being taken in the conflicts (Hislop, 2003).
Employee involvement and participation in the decision making of a company is very necessary. It is important that this is carried out as per the requirement of the company. We have discussed various methods through which this process of employee participation could be carried out like collective bargaining, giving ownership and including the employees in the company board. HRM as a department ensures that employees or the workers working for the company are satisfied and remain happy working for it.
In the nutshell employee relations within an organization is mandatory and important as a department as it resolves the conflicts and encourages team work within the company.
Blyton, P. R., & Turnbull, P. J. (2004). The dynamics of employee relations. Palgrave Macmillan.
Cully, M. (Ed.). (1999). Britain at work: as depicted by the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey. Psychology Press.
Hislop, D. (2003). Linking human resource management and knowledge management via commitment: A review and research agenda. Employee relations, 25(2), 182-202.
Marchington, M., & Parker, P. M. (1990). Changing patterns of employee relations. Harvester Wheatsheaf.