5HR01 Employment Relationship Management

Introduction to 5HR01

5HR01 Employment Relationship Management is a unit that provides insights to learners on the approaches and practices that improve working relationships to better people’s working lives. Promoting employment relationships in the workplace has a significant impact on improving organisational performance.

Learning objectives

By the end of the unit, learners will be able to;-

  • Understand the concepts of employee voice and engagement
  • Understand conflict behaviours and dispute resolution methods
  • Get insight on how to lawfully manage performance, disciplinary and grievance matters
  • Understand the role of employee bodies in promoting employee relations

Employee voice and engagement in supporting better working lives

Approaches to employee voice and engagement

The approaches to employee voice and engagement derive from different perspectives that are intellectually, affectively and socially identified. Learners understand examples of engagement drivers such as leadership, management engagement, social media engagement and the use of engagement surveys to determine the relationships between employee voice and engagement. The learners get insight into the impact of employee voice on the workers including the gig economy workers. The concept helps students understand their role in airing their opinions and ideas towards promoting improved job quality. Additionally, learners differentiate between employee involvement and participation.

Employee voice tools that drive engagement, and the relationship between employee voice and performance

Examples of employee voice tools include surveys conducted to collect information from employees, use of suggestion schemes and engagement in team meetings. Other tools that enhance employee voice include engagements in consultative committees and the development of opportunities for employees to participate in forums.

Employee voice links to organisation performance through the engagement of high-performance work practices, evaluation of the different means to measuring performance and consideration of various variables that determine employee engagements to improve performance.

Designing of the better working lives concept

Learners need to understand the definition of good work by considering the fair and decent work, the quality of the job, and the terms that improve employment conditions. The important concepts that design better working lives include the nature of work assigned to employees, the responsiveness of the employers to employees’ complaints and the assessment of job quality towards improving organisation performance.

Conflict behaviours and dispute resolutions in work

Differences between conflict and misbehaviour

Conflicts arise from disagreements that are not solved between employers and employees. Conflicts in most cases result in strikes, go-slows, protests and negative employees behaviours that distract the normal working systems at work. Misbehaviour refers to the intentional negative behaviour on employee conduct. Misbehaviour is a result of fraud, absenteeism, lateness to work and theft among others. Conflicts may be formal or informal. Formal conflict arises from differences in leadership styles and debates arising from different peoples’ opinions. Informal conflicts are from spontaneous arguments, differences in peoples’ opinions and cultural differences.

When conflicts arise, employees and employers result in taking official or unofficial employee action. Official action is taken where trade unions get involved in solving disputes. The union representatives follow the relevant legislation and legal protection laws when managing conflicts officially. Unofficial action is taken when there is no trade union authorisation and when there is no legal protection for the parties involved in the conflict.

Differences between third-party conciliation, mediation and arbitration

Third-party conciliation is a method where a neutral person helps parties in conflict understand each other and support them in getting a solution to the conflict issues. Mediation involves having a mediator who helps explain the conflict and advice the parties on how to settle the issue. Arbitration is where an arbitrator makes a decision to resolve the dispute and the decision has to be binding to both parties.

Lawfully managing performance, disciplinary and grievance matters

Legislation relating to unfair dismissal

Dismissal may be as a result of capability or misconduct issues. Capability issues arise when employees fail to perform according to expectations or lack the qualifications that are needed to complete certain tasks. Misconduct is a result of misbehaviours that are against the organisation rules and regulations. Employers need to act fairly when making decisions to ensure that the dismissal is reasonable.

Employee grievances and discipline handling procedures

Grievances are a result of poor organisational management, lack of flexibility at work, unfair treatment, poor working conditions and cases of harassment and bullying. Employers should handle grievances and disciplinary cases in the most appropriate way to ensure that they are fair and free of bias.

Employers who follow procedures and processes in handling grievances protect organisations against legal claims. The employers create a positive organisation reputation where other employees would want to join. Effective management of grievances minimises cases of employee frustrations and reduces employees’ resistance to change. Cases of employee resignation are reduced and this increases levels of employee retention.

Role of employee bodies in employment relations

Improving employee relations requires employers to understand the provisions of employment law, including the laws relating to disclosure of information, legal laws on collective agreements and procedures in the official and unofficial actions.

There are different union and non-union bodies that represent employees in an organisation. Trade unions are organised and have union representatives taking part in the union issues. Other non-union examples include joint negotiation committees, work councils, employee forums, staff councils and pension bodies among others. trade union representatives take responsibility to engage in the collective bargaining process to jointly determine rules relating to industrial governance and other agreements that enhance effectiveness in decision-making.

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