Employee Relations Policies Meaning & Scope17th October 2020
Employee relations may be defined as those policies and practices which are concerned with the management and regulation of relationships between the organisation, the individual staff member, and groups of staff within the working environment.
An organization can’t perform only with the help of chairs, tables, fans or other non-living entities. It needs human beings who work together and perform to achieve the goals and objectives of the organization.
The human beings working together towards a common goal at a common place (organization) are called employees. Infact the employees are the major assets of an organization.
The success and failure of any organization is directly proportional to the labour put by each and every employee.
The employees must share a good rapport with each other and strive hard to realize the goal of the organization. They should complement each other and work together as a single unit. For the employees, the organization must come first and all their personal interests should take a back seat.
Every individual shares a certain relationship with his colleagues at the workplace. The relationship is either warm, so-so or bad. The relationship can be between any one in the organization – between co workers, between an employee and his superior, between two members in the management and so on. It is important that the employees share a healthy relationship with each other to deliver their best performances.
An individual spends his maximum time at the workplace and his fellow workers are the ones with whom he spends the maximum hours in a day. No way can he afford to fight with his colleagues. Conflicts and misunderstandings only add to tensions and in turn decrease the productivity of the individual. One needs to discuss so many things at work and needs the advice and suggestions of all to reach to a solution which would benefit the individual as well as the organization.
No individual can work alone. He needs the support and guidance of his fellow workers to come out with a brilliant idea and deliver his level best.
Employee relations refer to the relationship shared among the employees in an organization. The employees must be comfortable with each other for a healthy environment at work. It is the prime duty of the superiors and team leaders to discourage conflicts in the team and encourage a healthy relationship among employees.
Life is really short and it is important that one enjoys each and every moment of it.Remember in an organization you are paid for your hard work and not for cribbing or fighting with each other. Don’t assume that the person sitting next to you is your enemy or will do any harm to you. Who says you can’t make friends at work, infact one can make the best of friends in the office. There is so much more to life than fighting with each other.
Observation says that a healthy relation among the employees goes a long way in motivating the employees and increasing their confidence and morale. One starts enjoying his office and does not take his work as a burden. He feels charged and fresh the whole day and takes each day at work as a new challenge. If you have a good relation with your team members you feel going to office daily. Go out with your team members for a get together once in a while or have your lunch together. These activities help in strengthening the bond among the employees and improve the relations among them.
An employee must try his level best to adjust with each other and compromise to his best extent possible. If you do not agree to any of your fellow worker’s ideas, there are several other ways to convince him. Sit with him and probably discuss with him where he is going wrong and needs a correction. This way he would definitely look up to you for your advice and guidance in future. He would trust you and would definitely come to your help whenever you need him. One should never spoil his relations with his colleagues because you never know when you need the other person.
Avoid using foul words or derogatory sentences against anyone. Don’t depend on lose talk in office as it spoils the ambience of the place and also the relation among the employees. Blame games are a strict no no in office.
One needs to enter his office with a positive frame of mind and should not unnecessarily make issues out of small things. It is natural that every human being can not think the way you think, or behave the way you behave. If you also behave in the similar way the other person is behaving, there is hardly any difference between you and him. Counsel the other person and correct him wherever he is wrong.
It is of utmost importance that employees behave with each other in a cultured way, respect each other and learn to trust each other. An individual however hardworking he is, cannot do wonders alone. It is essential that all the employees share a cordial relation with each other, understand each other’s needs and expectations and work together to accomplish the goals and targets of the organization.
Every individual at the workplace shares a certain relationship with his fellow workers. Human beings are not machines who can start working just at the push of a mere button. They need people to talk to, discuss ideas with each other and share their happiness and sorrows. An individual cannot work on his own, he needs people around. If the organization is all empty, you will not feel like sitting there and working. An isolated environment demotivates an individual and spreads negativity around. It is essential that people are comfortable with each other and work together as a single unit towards a common goal.
It is important that employees share a healthy relation with each other at the work place.
- There are several issues on which an individual cannot take decisions alone. He needs the guidance and advice of others as well. Sometimes we might miss out on important points, but our fellow workers may come out with a brilliant idea which would help us to achieve our targets at a much faster rate. Before implementing any plan, the pros and cons must be evaluated on an open forum where every employee has the right to express his opinions freely. On your own, you will never come to know where you are going wrong, you need people who can act as critic and correct you wherever you are wrong. If you do not enjoy a good relation with others no one will ever come to help you.
- Work becomes easy if it is shared among all. A healthy relation with your fellow workers would ease the work load on you and in turn increases your productivity. One cannot do everything on his own. Responsibilities must be divided among team members to accomplish the assigned tasks within the stipulated time frame. If you have a good rapport with your colleagues, he will always be eager to assist you in your assignments making your work easier.
- The organization becomes a happy place to work if the employees work together as a family. An individual tends to lose focus and concentration if his mind is always clouded with unnecessary tensions and stress. It has been observed that if people talk and discuss things with each other, tensions automatically evaporate and one feels better. Learn to trust others, you will feel relaxed. One doesn’t feel like going to office if he is not in talking terms with the person sitting next to him. An individual spends around 8-9 hours in a day at his workplace and practically it is not possible that one works non stop without a break. You should have people with whom you can share your lunch, discuss movies or go out for a stroll once in a while. If you fight with everyone, no one will speak to you and you will be left all alone. It is important to respect others to expect the same from them.
- An individual feels motivated in the company of others whom he can trust and fall back on whenever needed. One feels secure and confident and thus delivers his best. It is okay if you share your secrets with your colleagues but you should know where to draw the line. A sense of trust is important.
- Healthy employee relations also discourage conflicts and fights among individuals. People tend to adjust more and stop finding faults in each other. Individuals don’t waste their time in meaningless conflicts and disputes, rather concentrate on their work and strive hard to perform better. They start treating each other as friends and try their level best to compromise and make everyone happy.
- A healthy employee relation reduces the problem of absenteeism at the work place. Individuals are more serious towards their work and feel like coming to office daily. They do not take frequent leaves and start enjoying their work. Employees stop complaining against each other and give their best
- It is wise to share a warm relation with your fellow workers, because you never know when you need them. You may need them any time. They would come to your help only when you are nice to them. You might need leaves for some personal reasons; you must have a trusted colleague who can handle the work on your behalf. Moreover healthy employee relations also spread positivity around.
- Sound employee relations are based on
- effective mechanisms for communication and participation.
- a safe and effective work environment.
- commitment and motivation of all staff.
- Accordingly, the University’s policies and practice are aimed at
- promoting channels of communication at all levels.
- identifying and expanding common areas of interest between all staff.
- anticipating and defusing conflict wherever possible.
- encouraging staff to articulate concerns and conflict and seek resolution of underlying issues.
- providing channels for conflict resolution and developing mutual trust in their reliability.
- The University Council recognises the principle of freedom of association.
- Where staff members choose to have a trade union represent them, the University will make arrangements for recognition, collective bargaining and dispute resolution.
- All staff members have the right to join the representative body of their choice, but this does not mean that the University will recognise all such bodies for collective bargaining or other purposes. Moreover, while acknowledging that the membership policy of the representative body is the prerogative of its members, the University is committed to maintaining non-racial conditions of employment.
- Staff members have the right not to belong to a representative body. The University Council will not therefore agree to membership of a representative body becoming a condition of service or appointment.
Victimisation / coercion
- No staff member shall be victimised by University management as a result of his/her membership of a representative body.
- University management will seek to protect staff members from being coerced into membership of any association against their wishes, or from being coerced in any way as a result of their non-membership of any association.
- The University Council will recognise a representative body for the purposes of collective bargaining on behalf of staff members in a defined common interest group (the bargaining unit) where the majority of staff members in the bargaining unit demonstrate their wish to have that body represent them.
- Such recognition shall be formalised in a recognition (or procedural) agreement with the representative body. This agreement shall include details of the following:
- The bargaining unit – definition of the common interest group.
- Procedures – how negotiations, disputes, grievances, disciplinary matters etc. will be handled. Recognition and procedural agreements between the University and the NEHAWU, the recognition agreement was revoked in 1999 and a new recognition agreement concluded in 2000. Recognition and procedural agreements between the University and the UCT Employees’ Union were signed in 1986 and 1991 respectively. Recognition and procedural agreements between the University and the Academics’ Union were signed in 2010.
Communication and consultation
The University Council recognises the importance of open communication and joint consultation between management and staff. It therefore encourages the exchange of information, ideas and views about matters of mutual interest and concern through both formal and informal channels.
- Informal systems
The University Council encourages informal communication and consultation at all levels. Department and section heads are encouraged to develop appropriate arrangements to promote discussion of any matters of interest and concern at the workplace.
- Consultative committees
Where a recognition agreement has been entered into, the administration will arrange regular consultative committee meetings between Human Resources Department staff and other key members of management and the union. The role of the consultative committees is to provide a formal channel of communication between management and employee representative bodies. In particular, management will seek staff members’ views prior to taking decisions affecting their interests. In the same way, staff members bring their issues of concern to the attention of management.
The University administration and employee representative bodies are free to initiate agenda items.
The University Council considers it essential that, where a staff member (or a group of staff members) is dissatisfied for any reason arising from the work situation or employment relationship, this should be articulated and resolved as quickly as possible, at the lowest possible level.
A procedure for addressing grievances has been agreed with the NEHAWU, the UCT Employees’ Union and the Academics’ Union.
A staff member is required to maintain certain standards of conduct. Any staff member who fails to maintain acceptable standards of conduct in accordance with his/her employment contract, specific position requirements and/or the University’s rules, renders himself/herself liable to disciplinary action. Such disciplinary action is designed to be corrective and to improve conduct (other than where dismissal is warranted) and should be taken as soon as possible after the event.
A staff member is required to maintain certain standards of performance. A staff member who fails to maintain laid-down standards of performance in accordance with his/her employment contract, specific position requirements and/or the University’s rules, renders himself/herself liable to corrective action.
Employee relations training
The University provides staff training to promote informed and sound employee relations practices.
- Staff induction course
Induction courses and refresher training sessions are provided to ensure that staff are familiar with the University’s policies and procedures.
- Management/supervisory training
Staff who manage others are provided with training in the skills necessary to give effect to the University’s policies (eg. communicating and consulting).