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Employee Relations

Introduction To Employee Relations

Task 1

1.1 Unitary and pluralistic frames of reference

Organization is a place where many people come together to achieve the common goal and objectives of the organization. When many people come together it is likely to have conflicts between them. The organizational management team plays an important role in resolving these conflicts. There has been a huge change in the methods of solving the conflicts between the employee and the employer. Today managing employee relation (ER) is more focused on the strategic and integrated framework. These frameworks are based on the employee commitment instead of the traditional conflict control method that was used in the past. These frameworks depend upon the employee perspective (Chan, Tong-qing, Redman and Snape, 2006). There are three common kinds of employee relations perspectives viz. Unitary, pluralist and neo-unitary. For this assessment, we will consider only the unitary and pluralist form of ER perspectives.

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There are many elements which are considered in the unitary perspective of employee relations likely, Which is only the single source of authority in the organization which is managed by the organizational management and the other opposition party does not exist. The organizational leaders who promote loyalty and commitment in the minds of the workers working with them and last.

Different teams and groups in the organization who come together to achieve a common goal or purpose.

The main advantage with unitary perspective of employee relation is that it helps the employee to enhance their loyalty and commitment today’s the organization. In this method, the management treats the employee as the stakeholder of the company and hence the employee also feels that he is important for the organization. the wellbeing of the organization is carefully considered and taken care of. It also ensures that all the stakeholders of the company have common interest in achieving the goals and objectives of the organization.

While we talk about the pluralist form of reference of employee relations it is believed that the workplace is a place with diversity in values, beliefs, attitude and behavior of the employees that come together to work for the organization (Choudrie, 2005). It is also believed that the conflicts that take place in the organization can be resolved with proper approach. It is the role of the management to solve the conflicts between the employer and the employee. In pluralist approach, it is believe that the human resource management team can resolve the conflict between the employer and the employee, which is not possible in unitary form of reference. In this form of reference conflicts are overlooked and managed with the participation of the stake holders. The conflicts are discussed with the management and solution is implemented with proper form. The major disadvantage with this form of reference is that it can lead to more focus on worker interest and initiates inefficiency of collective bargaining processes.

The above-mentioned forms of references should be applied by taking the situation into consideration. The form of reference can be chosen by discussing with the organizational management team and conflicts can be resolved in proper manner.

1.2 Changes in trade unionism have affected employee relations

Trade unions play a significant role in employee relations. The positive and negative effects of trade unions directly impact the employee relations in the organization. The employees who are a part of trade unions have different aspects towards the organization. The influence of these trade unions is being diminishing these years but they still have considerable effects on the employee relations.

When the organizational management tries to solve the conflict between the employees, the employees turn to the trade unions to form relations and impose legal constraints on the employees. They use their bargaining power technique to improve the employee relations. The changes in trade unionism have helps the industries to gain power over the employees. The management can now take appropriate steps to improve the employee relations.

They can now use their techniques in the influence of the employee commitment and help to resolve conflicts between the employer and the employee. Diminishing of trade unionism have increased the industrial power to change and make decisions without having the influence of the trade unions (Chuang, Church &Zikic, 2004). Today a woman with higher education and qualification is likely to become the leader of the union member than a male who does not qualify for this position. There have been lot more changes in trade unionism which has improved employee relations instead of making decision only on the union leader. Discussions and suggestions take place when the industry or the organization is to make certain decision for the welfare of the employee and the employer. The union leader actively participates in the discussion and understands the employee opinion before imposing his/ her decision on the committee.

1.3 Role of the key players in employee relations

Key players play an important role in maintaining employee relations in the organization. key players are those who actively participate in maintaining employee relations for their groups and team. These players are the human resource managers and the top managers of certain department. Human resource management team is the team who takes appropriate actions in making these relationships stronger. Making relationship stronger means eliminating conflicts between the employee and the employer. These conflicts can be in any form. An employee who is not motivated at workplace can create conflict, employee not happy with the job profile or the salary can create conflict. It is the duty of the human resource manager to ensure that these conflicts do not arise. If it does arise, they should eliminate it at the right time.

Identifying the conflict at the right time is also a task of the managers. People involved in the conflict and the other employees who can get affected with this conflict is also an important aspect (Curseu, Kenis &Raab, 2009). Organising various activities with which this conflict can be eliminated should be initiated with the participants who are a part of the conflict.

Identify the reason behind the conflict: There can be many reasons which can arise a conflict. It is the duty of the managers to ensure that they themselves do not give any reason to the employee which can generate conflict in their minds.

Find measures to eliminate the conflict: Proper measures and employee engagement programs should be carried out to eradicate conflicts from the employees minds. Managers should encourage their team members to participate in employee engagement programs and extracurricular activities which will divert the employee mind from the conflict situation (Cully, Woodland, O’Reilly and Dix, 1999).

Ensure that the same conflict do not arise again: It becomes a duty of the human resource manager and the managers at the top level that the same conflict does not hit other members of the team or the organization. If it does than it is a failure on their part.

When we talk about a complete organization it is likely to have conflicts between the employee and the employee but the main task here is how the human resource team identifies these conflicts and eliminates them out of the minds of the employee. The managers should ensure that they are in win-win situation when any type of conflict occurs. It is important that the employees as well as the employer both are happy and satisfied with the solution that has been implemented.

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Task 2

2.1 Procedures an organization (NHS employer) should follow

Dealing with the conflicting situation at workplace including the negotiation over contract or work performance and grievances can be a time consuming and costly process. Such disputes and conflicts at workplace also lead towards creating poor motivation and low morale in staff. If the dispute not handled correctly, the situation can become worst. Here we will look some key procedure which help NHS employer to make correct and ethical decisions over conflicting situation of strikes of junior doctors and negotiating contracts. Employers should follow following procedures when dealing with disciplinary or grievance matters:

  • Prompt action on the concern is needed
  • Employers need to provide consistent follow-up on conflicting situation
  • Matters should be investigated thoroughly
  • Junior doctors should be given the right to be accompanied about their problems

Negotiation is settled in better way while communication performed within junior doctors and government, British Medical Association and NHS Employers. Hence, the situation needs to be sorted out but it goes worst due to BMA members who voted against the contract. The BMA had announced strikes against the upcoming contract for junior doctors. The NHS employers would take the initiative and has to start communication with junior doctors and should convince them that strike is not the way to resolve the dispute. Carrier of junior doctors and medical reputation will be impacted due to strikes and this entire grievance situation and hence, they should try to settle down the situation. Consultation with employees would solve the problem in effective way.
If the procedure of consultation and communication with employees will not work as predicted then NHS employer have right to take strict actions. The employer has the last choice to issue final written warning to the strikers or can choose to dismiss the employees (Dabscheck, 1989). Such actions can be seen as unfair but such steps could give required or favorable results. Transparent procedure should be followed while dealing with conflicting situation. Finally, it is important that both employees and employer should follow the ACAS Code of Practice to solve the matter of grievance.

2.2 Ley features of employee relations

Skilled communicator is needed to resolve the conflict in effective way. It is required to create an open communication environment between the parties involved in the conflicting situation. Employees should get open communication environment, so that they can frankly talk about their issues. Listening to employees concern will enrich the bond between employees and employers. Employer should ensure that they could understand the actual problems of employees and should focus on perception of their problems. The difficult situations should be acknowledged. To resolve any problem and lighten the situation, honesty and clear communication plays important role (Esquivel and Kleiner, 1996).

This conflict situation could be resolved with the key features of employee relations and that are ideological framework, cooperation, consultation and negotiation. The goal of ideological framework and conflict resolution feature is not to decide which party is right or wrong (Danford and Richardson, 2008). Instead, the objective is to reach towards the solution which is fair to both parties. In this conflicting situation court has provided their judgment which is fair to both parties and now, it is their turn to accept the decision. To generate fair solution for both parties, it is recommended to find needs, rather than the solutions.

Consultation and mediation features ensure resolving and managing conflict in the best way possible and within shortest time period (Dzimbiri, 2008). Meeting of all parties affected with the decision should be conducted. A representative should take initiative to explain the situation taking favor of all parties and not being partial to particular party. The open communication is again a key for resolving conflict and solving the problem. It can only be facilitated by trained and skilled mediators, who can influence both parties to leave their stand and make compromise with actual situation.

2.3 Effectiveness of procedures

CONFLICT RESOLUTION IN THE WORKPLACE: In this conflict resolution the key features can be used to resolve the conflicts are cooperation, consultation and negotiation. In such a conflicting situation it is important to handle the problem in constructive way. In this case, NHS employer should act actively as soon as it aware about the problem. They need to arrange consultation with British Medical Association to talk about their opinion and their decision to go for strikes. The strikes and other violent actions do nothing but will make the situation worst to handle. The preparation for conflicting resolution can be done by understanding the intensity of dispute (Deery And Mitchell, 1999). NHS employer should focus on the behavior of employees, and not on their personalities. Situation would handle effectively by understanding what is the action that causing the problem, and how does it affect to the parties involved in conflict.

RESPONDING TO A CONFLICT: In this situation negotiation proposed by government and the new contract terms and condition is bothering to junior doctors and BMA. When NHS is aware about the conflict, it is up to government and court decision about resolving conflict and to provide possible solution.

UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM: Conflict can be solved in constructive way by listening to other involved parties and try to understand their point of view. If the decision taken is correct and contract does not impose unfair conditions on junior doctors then NHS should get down to discuss those contract conditions with its staff. The procedure used can perform effectively when both parties would avoid the statements of blame, and find out what specific actions would correct and fair for both parties.

WORK ON A SOLUTION: When you understand the problem, build an environment of working together on a solution. To do this, agree with some aspect of what the other person has said.

Task 3

3.1 Role of negotiation

Negotiation is a discussion which happens between the parties who arise a conflict between them. Negotiation is done between both the parties to arise on a solution and an agreement. This negotiation is done with the managers of the organization to arise on a conclusion which is favorable to both the parties (Ruhemann, 2010). There are certain skills which are required to solve the conflict with respect to the negotiation.

Separate both the parties from the issue: When we separate both the parties from the issue we ensure that both the parties have right to express their views over the issue. It is important to consider point of view of both parties on the dispute. The employees should be given a chance to accompany about their problems. Here, junior doctors should consult their issues and problems in a court about the given contract.

Note the objectives and desire of resolution of the issue: Both the parties have different objectives on the issue. They might take up the issue differently and expect a different solution. Here, both parties government, NHS employers have agreed on the current negotiation but other part the British Medical Association denied to accept the contract and called strikes to oppose government decision over the contract.

Listen to both the parties separately: We respect both the parties when we listen to them separately. When they talk to the management about the issue they also express their feelings and gratitude towards the organization in spite of falling in a conflict situation. The dispute was handled within the court where both parties stated their points with evidence and court has provided judgment on it. Court stated to apply the contract and now both parties should need to follow court’s decision.

Discuss the situations specifics: Both the parties are in different situation when they generate conflicts between them discussing the situations specifics means discussing what exactly they are going through because of this conflict (Samuel, Peter and Nicolas, 2010). The conflict can affect the carrier of junior doctors, due to the constant strikes and disputes. Patients are unnecessarily dragged into this matter and are going to suffer more than anyone else.

Acknowledge and give feedback to their point of views: By acknowledging their viewpoints we respect their suggestion over the conflict and make them realize that we are here to solve their issue.

Focus on their viewpoints: Focusing on the viewpoints will help us solve the issue quickly. Court has provided their judgment and the BMA need to focus on the viewpoints and judgment statement of the court and should not go for further strikes. It is beneficial for both the parties. NHS employees would also in the favor of the decision and not 42% junior doctors also voted on the side of new contract. So, it is time for the BMA to resolve this dispute and take a fresh start.

Think about the consequences along with the team members: There are numerous consequences lead due to the conflicting situation. The patients are going to suffer; they would not get treatment on time due to strikes of doctors. Hospitals also going to suffer, junior doctors could lose their focus from practice and studying etc.

3.2 Impact of the negotiation strategies

Negotiation can be successful when both sides involved in the situation have agreed on most of the terms in a contract (Williams, Steve, Brian and Edmund, 2011). Good faith bargaining is a complete process of conduct and negotiation which does not mean forcing either side to make or accept particular offers made by other side. In the given conflict situation, the negotiation first held in May which resulted in a contract with junior doctors and it is being agreed between government, the BMA and NHS employees. But one party in the negotiation voted against the contract and that is BMA. But, the government has decided to apply new contract from October 2016 and the BMA announced strikes to oppose the decision. This means negotiation conducted between the parties was unsuccessful and it raised new dispute among the parties. The government and NHS employers failed to handle the negotiation and it raised the concern over patient safety due to upcoming strikes. These are the highlights of the impact assessed due to the negotiation strategies adopted by the employers.

It would be suggested that when the parties have concluded their negotiations, the contracts needs to be submitted to the British Medical Association to ask their views or suggestions on contract. The government and the NHS employers should think on the fair recommendation of the BMA. It can be the fair negotiation procedure followed by both the parties. The contract should be signed by the employer and the BMA representatives acting on the behalf of junior doctors. This is to certify the validity and fairness of the contract on both the sides. To be the fair on both sides, the contract should include

Genuine evidence that both junior doctors, NHS employees and the NHS employer agree to the terms and conditions of contract.

The employees and junior doctors should be consulted about the new terms and conditions in contract.

The contract should not include any unfair or unlawful provision that could contradict with equal employment opportunity regulation.

To create a fair enough contract for junior doctors is like well-constructed building and is the only way to resolve the conflict. Before initiating negotiation procedure it is important to provide the confidence to employees. Ensure that both parties have clearly understood the strategic plan and objective of the contract. Negotiation is considered as a part of an ongoing employee engagement process and hence, such conflicts should not be raised after the end of the procedure (Willman, 2009). At the end of the negotiation process, it is important to ask participants to provide their feedbacks. This will help both parties to identify the success of the negotiation and the points to be cleared for the future. The suggested changes are taken under the process and the fair suggestions can be considered for incorporation. All the terms and detail incorporated into contract need to be thoroughly communicated with all stakeholders. A negotiation process is considered to be successful when it sets clear priorities with the help of thorough planning and maintaining clear communication with all parties.


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  • Samuel, Peter and Nicolas Bacon (2010) ‘The contents of partnership agreements in Britain 1990-2007’, Work, Employment and Society.
  • Whitfield, K. (2004), The Evolution of the Modern Workplace, Cambridge University Press: Cambridge.
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