Mu0012 - Employee Relations Management

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Sikkim Manipal University

- MBA -

MU0012 Employee Relations Management

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 1

Q.1 List the core issues of employee relations management? Ans:Employee Relations Management (ERM) is a vital business process that manages employer employee and employee-employee relations. It goes by the maxim that a satisfied employee is a productive employee. Organisations following good employee relations realise that employees are important stakeholders in the organisation. Employees who are content with their employers contribute more effectively towards the goals of the organisation. This course explains the importance of ERM in organisations and the organisational aspects that govern employee relations in a organisation. ERM is influenced by organisational strategies, culture and other factors like employee commitment and employee engagement. Managing organisational conflicts is also an important part of ERM. This course familiarises you with behavioural aspects like motivation, leadership, decision making and communication that play an important role in employee relations management. ERM is facilitated by tools like Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS). Importance of organisational discipline and grievance handling are also discussed in this course. Further in this course we will see how trade unions contribute towards maintaining good employee relations in an organisation. Many laws govern employee relations, and an effective ERM considers the laws of the land. We will learn how factors like employee participation, empowerment and employee rewards influence ERM. Further, we will study how to manage employee relations in organisations that have a global presence. The contemporary issues like managing employees during crises like recession are also discussed in this course. In this unit, you will study the concepts of Employee Relations, Employee Relations Management, and the importance of ERM in an organization. This unit introduces ERM tools and core issues like career management and employee retention addressed by ERM. The objectives of Employee Relations Management are as follows: Improve the effectiveness of the workforce. Ensure employee satisfaction. Gain and retain employee commitment. Prevent conflicts amongst employees Promote retention of employees. Improve employee-management and employee-employee communication. some of the core issues of ERM. Conflict Management Conflict management refers to the manner in which mangers handle grievances and disputes. According to Gennard and Judge, Employee Relations aims to resolve difference between the various interest groups regardless of whether these groups comprise different categories of managers or employees. Workplace conflicts arise due to differences in perceptions, culture, employee biases, gaps in communication, and so on. A win-win approach is used to resolve conflicts. Mediation and counselling are adopted for resolving conflicts rather than using formal discipline measures. Managers are trained both to avoid and to resolve disputes. External mediators can also be called in if necessary. Large organisations like public sector companies prefer to use internal mediators to resolve conflicts. Unresolved work place conflicts can have a negative impact on the organisation. For example, if the production manager and the quality control manager have differences about implementation of quality

Sikkim Manipal University

- MBA -

MU0012 Employee Relations Management

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 1

procedures, then the work of both the divisions is affected. Figure 1.1 depicts some causes of workplace conflicts.

Figure: Causes of Workplace Conflicts Conflict management skills help employees get along with the other employees, their managers and the customers. These skills help managers identify conflicts, respond to them, get better co-operation from the employees, and avoid conflicts from spreading to other parts of the organisation. The following skill set help managers deal with conflicts: Conceptual skills: Managers need to first understand the causes of conflicts and the different strategies and tactics they can use to resolve the conflict. Communication skills: Managers require good listening skills and the ability to ask the right questions to ascertain the cause of the conflict. They must avoid harmful statements and remain rational. Negotiation skills: Managers need to know the policy of give and take required to resolve conflicts. Conflicts are resolved by adopting the following strategies: Counselling: Only a few organisations have professional counsellors on their staff. Many organisations train their managers to counsel their subordinates. Often, just by employing nondirective counselling (listening and understanding), managers can help frustrated employees. Discussions and Debates: Task conflicts are resolved by discussing or debating the options. Consensual decision is made after considering every option. Compromise: This method tries to resolve conflicts by arriving at a solution which satisfies at least part of the requirement of each party involved. Using third parties: As serious conflicts have a negative impact on organisations, third parties with specialised skills are used as arbitrators, mediators or ombudsmen to resolve them.

Internal Communication Employee engagement can only be obtained if the senior management communicate frequently on a wide range of business and organisational issues. Organisations with good employee relations give a

Sikkim Manipal University

- MBA -

MU0012 Employee Relations Management

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 1

high priority to internal communication. Such organisations ensure that the employees completely understand the communications made to them. For example, The South-West Trains Company has a very good relationship with its unions. But when the management realised that not all employees were being kept informed about the different issues, they decided to use more direct means of communication. At present, ad-hoc forums are held to get feedback from employees. Time with the manager sessions keep the line managers in touch with the operations staff. The intranet and e-mail are used in addition to team briefings to communicate with all the employees. Employee Engagement Mike Johnson describes employee engagement as a combination of commitment and organisational citizenship[2]. Organisations can be successful only if the employees have a feeling of job security, respect, recognition, and purpose. Organisations that have good employee relations value teamwork and employee feedback. Engaged employees are more committed, helpful, productive and less inclined to take leave. Figure 1.2 depicts the indicators of employee engagement.

Figure : Employee Engagement Indicators People management and development activities like training and job design contribute to employee engagement. A positive psychological contract with the employees enhances performance. HR professionals are employee champions and focus on the needs and aspirations of the employees. Employee involvement can be achieved by the following practices: Having formally designated teams Having regular team briefings Undertaking performance appraisals Using problem-solving groups Involving employees in decision making Dell is a computer manufacturing company and has been ranked among the top ten companies by Fortune magazine. It aspires to be a great company and a great place to work. It focuses on the team and individual contributions to the team. Line managers interact with individual team members. All employees are judged on the basis of how they interact with people and their technical proficiency. Quarterly results meetings are held across the business and senior managers answer questions posed to them. Managers share results with the team and develop team action plans. Tell Dell surveys are held every six months. These surveys help in finding if the managers give regular feedbacks, manage

Sikkim Manipal University

- MBA -

MU0012 Employee Relations Management

Semester: 3 - Assignment Set: 1

people properly, set a good example of ethical behaviour and so on. Thus Dell engages its employees by constant employee involvement. Career Management Career development of employees is organisationally supported, manager facilitated, and employee driven. The career management process is based on the establishment of specific goals and objectives. The career management process commences with the formulation of specific goals and objectives. The goals can be of the following kinds: Short-term goals: These are goals to be achieved within the next 1 to 2 years. These are more specific and easy to formulate. Intermediate goals: These are goals to be achieved in the next 3 to 5 years. These are more difficult to formulate as compared to short-term goals. Long-term goals: These are goals to be achieved after 5 years. They are more fluid and very difficult to formulate.

Figure : Employee Career Development As the nature of the work changes employees may have to modify and update their goals. Figure 1.3 shows the employee career development cycle where managers guide, motivate and provide opportunities to employees in every step towards developing career. Organisations exercising good employee relations have an environment in which employees take control of their own development and maintain their employability. Such organisations ensure that employees are given fair career advancement opportunities. Discriminations are not made on the basis of race, gender or ethnic group. The framework of such organisations enhances employee potential. Commitment Employee commitment can be defined as the psychological bond of the employee with the organisation and t