Introduction to Employment Relations Management Essay
Employment relations and adopting an approach that works
Employment relations take two forms: the first is when an employee is part of a union and legal concerns in regards to his/her work place are handled through this union, and when an employee deals with his employer on a one on one basis. In the second case, should there be legal issues to be handled such as redundancy, the employee chooses representatives to stand on his behalf (Slabbert & Swanepeol, 2002).
Between an employer and his employee, there are two sets of contracts: the formal contract that stipulates what the employer expects in terms of productivity and output in the workplace, and the informal contract which is psycho-social and has got to do with employer-employee relations. Though the informal contract is more of abstract, it is also fundamental because it lay determines the atmosphere of the workplace (Slabbert & Swanepeol, 2002).
The older approach to employee relations, that of having unions to fight for employee rights is dying out, being replaced with employers dealing with their employees on an individual basis. While the older approach adopted the attitude that the employer was a disciplinarian, issuer of instruction, and someone a kin to a dictator, the newer approach sheds the employer as someone who is in charge while at the same time seeks the active participation of employees in the decision making process of the firm or company (Smith, 1997).
The older approach to employee relations did not really seek to understand the needs of the employee, be they personal or in connection to his workplace. The employer was less willing to listen to what those under him had to say, thus the need for unions who acted as litigators for employees. However in the new setup of employee relations, the employee has been given a voice and can have a say in not only how to improve the work place but also to contribute to managerial decisions that affect the running of the firm or company (Slabbert & Swanepeol, 2002).
For a small firm like Starky HR, it would be more appropriate to adapt the one on one employer-employee interaction. When an employee thinks of his employer as someone who is always looking over his shoulder, just waiting to pounce on his mistakes, it might cramp his/her productivity. It would be better for the employee to see the boss as someone who is approachable, more so in a setting where they are few and have to come into regular contact resulting in knowing each other individually (Smith, 1997).
An employer interacting more freely with his boss will create an environment where if the former has any creative and innovative ideas that might push the company forward, he can table them without hesitation. This will result in more positive output from all the employees (Williamson& Moreton, 2004).
There is need for playing as a team in small firms since every single person plays a major role. If an employee is not made to feel as if he/she belongs to the team, then it might slow down the whole team. Thus, the boss is called upon to integrate himself into this team completely.
What are the effects of business cycles on a small business?
It is interesting to note that the business cycle has different effects on different business types, depending on which sector the business is in. overall, recessions and expansions do affect small and large business in quite contrary ways with
According to Berman and Pfleeger (1997), businesses which are sensitive to cyclical changes such as construction, are made up mostly of small businesses while service industries are comparatively less sensitive to cyclical changes.
Businesses which show the trends for steady upwards growth appear to be less impacted by cyclical changes, while in reality; this impact for them is seen more in the long term (Berman & Pfleeger, 1997). An example of such a small size business would be an insurance company and real estate.
Berman and Pfleeger also explain that the financial variables during recessions have a greater impact on small business than they would on large businesses. This is because, during recession when cash is tight, there are fewer loans awarded be they to the corporate or none corporate sectors.
The response of small businesses to cyclic trends is to capitalize during periods of expansion and to cut back in recessions. A crucial thing for small businesses is their ability to adjust during the lean times. Small businesses during periods of recession are forced into cutting back expenses, be to on the form of laying out employees, downsizing employees salaries or cutting down on production.
For a small firm such as Starkey HR, there are still obligations that have to be met towards the employee if he/she is to be made redundant in case of a recession that calls for downsizing. The first is to inform the affected employee well in advance of the pending termination of his employment. This should be done in a civil manner because the employee is not being fired or dismissed.
The employee should be given the option of having representatives in the review of his case or if legal litigation is to arise. Upon his release, the employee should be given solid references that hold up to his record of productivity in his years of employment. There should be adequate monetary compensation made to the redundant employee on losing his employment (Williamson& Moreton, 2004).
While a small firm like Starky HR might not be in a position to provide retraining like Dan’s former employers did, the employer should not be out to make an enemy of his former employee and should work to see that he and his employee part on at least civil terms.
The European Union has over the years reviewed the policies and guidelines used so as to make them applicable in the diverse business environments for the different member countries.
Initially, it was not possible for a no-union employee to get representatives on his behalf in litigation in case of redundancy, but this was reviewed, and currently it is possible for a no-union member to choose representatives who will be recognized in litigation (Williamson& Moreton, 2004).
Furthermore, the amendments made to the EU guidelines were adjusted to incorporate not only those employees who might have been made redundant, but also those who faced the threat of being made so. This provides a greater sense of security to employees. The amendments also account for employees who are left with a firm after others are made redundant in regards to the ensuing workload and their own job security (Williamson& Moreton, 2004).
The guidelines also stipulate that if a non-union member employee is to be made redundant and he or she does not choose representatives, the employer should furnish the affected employee with the same information he would have given the representatives so that the employee is fully aware of what is to befall him/her (Williamson& Moreton, 2004).
On the other hands, the guidelines which are now in place do have their shortcomings. For one, the employee being made redundant is entitled to only ninety days extra pay, which is not adequate compensation. Another shortcoming is that the redundancy consultation regulations are only effective if a company is making more than twenty employees redundant. This means that there is a loophole by which an employee might be shortchanged if he is made redundant (Williamson& Moreton, 2004) .
Good management and the ability to forecast
According to Williamson & Moreton, (2004) among other things, a good manger is a peoples’ person. He is called upon to diffuse potentially volatile situations, make snap judgments, push reluctant employees, handle tremendous pressure without snapping and come out smelling like a rose. It is said that the best mangers are those who are able to forecast (Williamson & Moreton, 2004), where forecasting is the ability to observe market trends and predict using the available information what are the possible future outcomes, and based on these, make decisions that will be favorable to the growth of the company or organization.
According to Deal and Kennedy (1991), corporate culture refers to the values, principles, philosophies, moral and work ethics that are the guideline of any given organization. These cultural statements are usually put don in writing by employers to be used as a guideline by employees and as a point of reference in the case of misdemeanor. All employees have to integrate the culture of their work place if they are to create an amicable working atmosphere.
A good corporate culture entails having a common shared vision or goal that is the drive of the corporation, and overrides personal differences. If the employees are passionate about this vision and work as a team to achieve it, there will be greater output. It also means there has to be great teamwork with none left lagging behind, so that at all times, everyone involved knows what is going on. This calls for having clear communication at all levels of management. Good corporate culture calls for discipline, be it on the part of the management or employee, and the management has to be exemplary so as to keep the team focused, involved and driven (Deal & Kennedy, 1991).
The most suitable corporate culture for a small firm such as Starky HR is, as has been outlined above, one that would embrace a shared vision while promoting teamwork and discipline and at the same time having leaders who lead by example (Deal & Kennedy, 1991).
Berman, Jay, Janet Pfleeger. (1997). “Which Industries are Sensitive to Business Cycles?”
Monthly Labor Review, February.
Deal E T., Kennedy A., A. (1991). “Corporate Cultures: the Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life”
Published by Addison-Wesley, 1991
Slabbert, J.A. and Swanepoel, B.J.( 2002)
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a Global Perspective”. Durban: Butterworths.
Smith E D. (1977). “Quantitative Business Analysis”
Published by Wiley (Original from the University of California)
Williamson, D.Moreton. M, K. (2004). “Strategic Management and Business Analysis”
Published by Butterworth-Heinemann