Employee industrial relations and strategic HRM plays an important role in how the organization manages its resources. There are many aspects of industrial relations and strategic HRM that impact employees. Following are few major ones.
Engaging employees: Employee engagement is very important aspect of Industrial relations and strategic HRM. Employee engagement means putting employees first. As mentioned in an interview with Gary Burkett (managing director of FedEx). He said he joined FedEx Canada because of its people first philosophy and the fact that people first philosophy is an emphasis on employee engagement which is a key scorecard metric for manager’s accountability. People first philosophy: means taking care of the people who work for the organization (i.e. their employees).
This means taking care of them from many aspects such as their education, career development, career opportunities, personal development, challenges faced and the job security. From this perspective every organization has different setup and challenges faced by their employees.
Some companies may provide online course or computer based courses to their employees so they can develop soft skills such as communications and behavioral sciences etc. Some larger organizations may send their employees to learn new tools that will help them do better job. One good way of employee engagement is meeting and listening the employees.
As mentioned in the report about FedEx Canada that company officers and MD’s meet their employees at each station across Canada quarterly to go over business updates and employee questions. In addition they also have a good system developed for job posting and internal hiring because they listened to the complaints of their employees.
Now employees at FedEx can look at all the entry level positions and career paths within each functional area and can understand the minimum requirement and can determine where there are career opportunities for them. Also this new system automatically sends email to employees and the hiring manager about the qualified candidates based on their published profile that then save time and provides the relevant resources efficiently.
Another example of employee engagement is presented by the director of human resources at BC Biomedical laboratories. They have been number one employee in Canada for past three years due to their employee engagement. They have an employee advisory group that meets every two months and updates the CEO about their employee feelings, thoughts and if there are any problems.
This way they communicate with their employees and then the employees understand them. For example when they had to lay off significant number of their workforce in 2004 they communicated honestly with their employees that this was the last resort and there was no other way left and they explained them the situation and their employees understood.
Sometimes changing the physical environment and to acknowledge employees dedication, hard work and contribution to the organization by rewarding them with awards such as 10 to 15 years award and cash prises.They also invested in polishing their manager’s leadership skills by providing training and promoting education by providing tuition reimbursement. An example of this is a Montreal based software company Ingenuity Technologies Inc that specializes in computer simulation programs.
They created a taskforce of 15 employees who volunteered to meet periodically and come up with solutions of pressing issues. One of the changes that they proposed was to overhaul the physical environment to bring everyone together and feel more involved. To accomplish this task they invested in new furniture and changed their workplace dynamic.
Employee performance and documentation: When employees work hard and go out of the way to achieve the business goals then their performances should be recognized to make them feel that they did a good job and most importantly the company recognizes it. In order to make it official, it should be documented. This motivates the employee to continue to do great job and contribute to the success of the organization and their own future.
Complaint systems and whistleblowers: Whistleblowers can be from present or former employees. They can be customers or high level executives. Their concerns can be about securities fraud, sexual harassment and other contentious areas and can be very demanding and challenging for companies.
Effective investigation process may include but not limited to timing, consultation with counsel, notification to board of directors and auditors, involving human resources, create investigative plan, preparing for interview and making a decision and communicate it.
Communications and trust: Communications have big role in building trust. If employees are well informed and are explained honestly about the changes in the organization then employees understand and it also builds trust. To communicate with their employees and to motivate them many companies have banners in their front desk and around the workplace to communicate their goals with their employees.
As mentioned by the Watson Wyatt Worldwide study that the companies with high integrity generate twice the financial returns than those of less integrity levels. Here integrity levels were based on employee assessment of senior management’s consistency. Employees usually don’t meet senior managers so each interaction between senior executive and workforce is an opportunity to build or break trust. Following are 6 ways to build trust: 1.Define corporate values.
2.Translate and train 3.Be consistent in fairly treating workplace 4.Involve employees to build better workplace 5.Communicate thoughtfully 6.Measure and manage In essence senior leadership should have trust in HR to develop trust and integrity building strategies and HR have faith that management will execute these strategies. Unions and management: Incorporating Human Resource Management policies within the regulatory and institutional framework that governs contemporary industrial relations has always been problematic. We need to understand the nature and causes of this problem, noting understandings that underpin each form of labor management when being applied in organizational settings.
Then we need to look at a range of industrial relations realities confronting managers when trying to apply HRM practices, and how these practices might be accommodated within the context of such realities as a means of improving organizational effectiveness. In so doing it delineates four approaches an organization might take in its relations with trade unions when bargaining and concluding labor contracts and which of these are consistent and inconsistent with the coexistence of HRM and industrial relations.
Conclusion: The role of the government on industrial relations is very important as it sets the legal framework that industrial relations operate in. Appropriate industrial relations legislation should recognize the requirements of both employers and employees. Both the employee and the employer want to profit from each other but are also reliant on each other. This means that the equal bargaining power of employers and workers must be recognized.
Appropriate industrial relations laws should address any imbalance of power and give both groups an equal degree of control. Appropriate industrial relations should not only allow a mixture of both collective and individual bargaining but also facilitate employee participation in day to day workplace decisions. After all it’s the structure and framework of the employment relationship, which is governed by legislation that leads to good Industrial Relations.
References: •Abbott, K. (2007). Employment relations: Integrating industrial relations and human resource management. Problems and Perspectives in Management, 5(1), 61-71,147. Retrieved from: http://www.proquest.edu •Anonymous. (2005, September). Employee engagement. Canadian HR Reporter, 18(15), 7-9. Retrieved http://proquest.edu •Mittler, J.
E. (2007, January). Dealing effectively with unions. Industrial Management, 49(1), 26-30, 5. http://www.proquest.edu •Pomeroy, A. (2006, July). Great communicators. HR magazine, 51(7). http://www.proquest.edu •Schreiber, M. E., & Marshall, D. R. (2006). Reducing the risk of whistleblower complaints. Risk Management, 53(11), 42-44, 46. http://www.proquest.edu