Empowering people through people development programs is a good approach in engaging employees to commit to partnership. “The achievement of business goals and financial returns is increasingly dependent on delivery by front-line employees. ‘Engagement’ has been described as a combination of commitment and organizational citizenship. These are both shown by CIPD surveys to be routine outcomes of a positive psychological contract. ” (CIPD, May 2007). Human Resource programs, policies, and guidelines which are well implemented, monitored, and sustained are the best methods of initiating the change in shop floors.
Consistency and transparency in these programs would determine the degree of commitment that employees would give to the partnership initiative. “It is important for managers, at all levels, to appreciate that the effectiveness of the business can be undermined if issues relating to conduct, capability and performance are not handled professionally and consistently, or, even worse, if such matters are ignored altogether. ” (Daniels, K. Employee Relations in an Organisational Context). Communication plays a big part in conveying to the employees their stake in the human resource programs.
Obstacles are expected. Some failures may be experienced. But where honest intentions are very evident, employees will understand and they will continue investing their time and efforts in ensuring that these programs will succeed. They will support these programs because these are programs which they see as vehicles of change in their work life. “Communications per se, without involving employees, make no difference. There has to be substantive involvement and consultation. ” (Brian Sheehan, Colman Higgins, Tony Dobbins & Kyran Fitzgerald.Ireland, 28-06-2005).
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The communication line is from top to bottom, between departments and among members of the same department. Communication of well conceived policies, rules and guidelines which promote strong employer-employee partnership should also involve the TU’s. The latter has the primary task to inform its members of necessary changes which will redound to work productivity and eventually to employee benefits. At this point where everyone is rooting for the building of strong partnerships, there are no disadvantages that can readily be advanced.
There are only good intentions and all these are advantages for all – employers, employees, the government, and the society in general. To the employee, a strong partnership means work security, work life balance, fair compensation and more importantly, his personal and career development. This redounds to the benefit of his family and community. To the employer, a strong partnership means stability of the organization, high employee morale, high productivity, and manageable costs.
To the government, a strong partnership means economic growth and industrial peace. To the society in general, a strong partnership means good moral values, positive work attitude, peaceful communities, and good economy. All intentions and initiatives, for as long as they are for the common good, are very important at this stage of organizational and economic life. Employee motivation at work needs to be sustained in order to continuously promote work efficiencies, productivity, harmonious relationships, and industrial peace.
Thus, the role of human resource departments in any organization, taking from the initiatives and advocacy of the CIPD, is very crucial in ensuring that partnership between employers and employee is nurtured and strengthened. It must be well communicated and understood that the support of all stakeholders in the quest for industrial peace is crucial and a non-committal of any would lead to failure of this initiative. All stakeholders must understand their roles and commit to realize these by positively and boldly taking the first steps and sustaining their actions.
Employers should realize that employees are as much important as the financial capital that they have. The age of technology has brought about stiffer competition to the global market. Employees have become marketable through their own personal initiatives and if employers fail to recognize this fact, they will eventually lose. Employees, on the other hand, should commit to the programs that employers painstakingly set in their workplace and allow these programs to realize and be sustained. There are no instant cures, there are only sustainable programs to be nurtured.
Trade unions should commit to the partnership initiative by promoting membership education and skills development. They owe it to their union members to make the latter highly marketable and employable in this age of technology. Their efforts should be geared towards equipping their members to make them ready to face future challenges. Governments should lay down laws, rules and regulations which ensure the continuous strengthening of this partnership initiative through the creation of councils for implementation, monitoring, and benchmarking purposes.
Best practices should be recognized by the government in order to promote partnership initiatives. The role of the human resource departments is crucial and strategic. As an organization, CIPD and similar institutions should pursue the advocacy of partnership at all levels. It is their role to ensure acceptability of this initiative from top management down to the rank and file. It is their role to make all stakeholders commit to this program as they continue to educate, disseminate information, record and recognize early wins.
Salamon, M. Industrial Relations Theory & Practice. 4th Ed. Prentice Hall. 2000 Dickens L & Neal A. The Changing Institutional Face of British Employment Relations. Kluwer Law International. 2006. Rose, E. Employment Relations. Financial times. Prentice Hall. 2001. Maitland, Roger. “A Question of Trust. ” People Management. Nov 6, 2003, Vol. 9 Issue 22. Matlay, Harry. “Industrial relations in the SME sector of the British economy: an empirical perspective. ” Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development. MCB UP Ltd. 2002. Vol 9 Issue 3. pp 307-318.