7HR01 Strategic Employment Relations


An organisation’s employment relations strategy comprises of a range of influences from

outside the organisation (such as long-term and short-term competitive pressures, globalisation, and institutions such as the CIPD, employers’ organisations, and ACAS, as well as by internal forces such as its culture, mission and vision).

One such external influence is the independent review ‘Good Work: The Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices’ (2017). This review found that the labour market was changing due to the emergence of new business models and different forms of ‘gig economy’ working. Its aim was to consider how employment practices needed to adapt in order to keep pace with these modern business changes.

Write a report to your CEO or HR Director with reference to The Taylor Review on employment relations in your organisation, critically evaluating the following areas:

  1. Your current approach to employment relations.
  • The impact of one precarious economy (i.e., the gig economy, zero hours) on maintaining good working relations between these and other groups of workers.
  • The presence of employee ‘voice’ and its contribution to improved individual and organisational performance.
  • The perception that ‘the odds are stacked against individuals’ throughout a disciplinary or grievance process, from the point of decision to initiate action.

Your report should be well-referenced, using both academic papers/books and professional publications. All your key points of analysis and your recommendations should be persuasively justified. Your paper should be 4000 words in length (+/- 10%).


Table of Contents
1.0 Introduction. 3
2.0 Analysis. 3
2.1 Almarai Current Approach of Employment Relations. 3
2.1.1 Conflict and Co-operation. 3
2.2  Impact of Precarious Economy on Maintaining Good Working Relations 5
2.2.1 Identified group of workers in Almarai 5
2.2.2 Global, State or Changing Nature of Work Impact to the Group of Workers. 6
2.2.3 Workers Management Compared to other Groups in the Organisation. 8
2.3 Employee voice and Contribution to Improved Individual and Organisational Performance. 8 2.3.1 Employee Voice in Almarai 8
2.3.2 Contribution to Performance. 9
2.4 Disciplinary or Grievances Process From the Point of Decision to Initiate Action. 10
2.4.1 Driver/Influence of the Perception. 11
2.4.2 Almarai Disciplinary and Grievance Processes. 12
3.0 Conclusions and Recommendations. 13
References. 15    

1.0 Introduction

In the contemporary business environment, employee relations identify the relationship of the employers and employees. To affirm this, Suff (2022) identify employee relations as referring to individual and collective workplace relationships. This is while reflecting on the increasing individualisation of the employment rights owing to the established legislations and workplace policies. To understand an organisation employment relations, Taylor et al. (2017) identify the need to prioritise on the influences from outside the organisation and internal forces.

Almarai is a Middle East organisation operating as a food and beverage manufacturer and distributor (Almarai, 2022). It was founded in 1977 where over the years, it has been working towards offering high quality products in the entire region. Currently, they serve an upwards of 42 million consumers in 7 different countries. They engage more than 40,000 employees working in different sectors in entire Middle East. Hence, with this large number of human resources, employee relations is instrumental. In Almarai, their employee relations can be identified as being appropriate. Nevertheless, there is evidently areas for improvement which need to be considered to improve on their employee relations. The fact that there are no independent trade unions in UAE ILO (2022) means that the recent issues with workplace conflicts, harassment of employees, work-life balance and gender pay reporting need to be put into account.  

2.0 Analysis

2.1 Almarai Current Approach of Employment Relations

As aforementioned, the approach of employment relations is dependent on how employers equip managers with skills for effective management of relationships collectively or individually. According to Suff (2022) through this, managers develop confidence and competency for building a positive employee relations climate contributing to enhanced business performance. As a best practice, organisations can adopt conflict and co-operation, unitarist/pluralist/radical perspective and trade union/employee representatives.

2.1.1 Conflict and Co-operation

 To understand the usability of this approach of employment relations, the labour control theory can be used. According to Gould and Desjardins (2014), this theory is based on the assumption that employees compliance with corporate objectives is as a result of sociological concepts. These concepts include cultural hegemony, employers manipulating societal values and norms and manipulating group and social norms. It is in this regard that Khairuddin et al. (2021) noted that may employees are impacted by influences within and external to their work environment in viewing their employment as just a transitional career step. This is the case in Almarai where by adopting this approach, they are noted to have a voluntary employee turnover of over 20%. It is in this regard that Almarai (2022a) note that one of their core sustainability goal is to lower voluntary employee turnover towards achieving 12% between 2020-2024.

For Almarai, the rationale of adopting the conflict co-operation approach of employment relations is informed by the fact that conflicts will always arise. This is supported by Gould and Desjardins (2014) report which note that conflicts and cooperation lead to yielding of creative outcomes. This is with a trusting team established communicating and tackling disagreements with an eagerness for resolution. Also, Bray et al. (2020) had observed that through conflict and cooperation, the parties involved are in a position of elaborately articulating their vison for the employment relations and developing processes and structures. These processes and structures are aimed at achieving and sustaining a shared ambition. This approach is even more relevant for Almarai since in Middle East, over the years, there has been an immense suppression of trade unions and employees representatives. Also, the unitarist which view the employment relations as a province of only managers and employees with zero role of the third parties is not applicable in Almarai. Operating in larger Middle East, the organisation engages quality assurance bodies who regulates the performance of their employees. This is in terms of job security, workplace health and safety and administrations.

As a best practice, conflict and cooperation approach of employment relations is based on an integration of traditional bargaining for handling distributive issues and integrative bargaining, solving of problem, and co-determination for addressing issues of common interest. According to Nechanska et al. (2020), through success and sustaining this approach, information sharing which is detailed is attained with high-level trust established. This approach has been in place in Almarai organisation where they have been prioritising on improving their efficiencies, developing skills, process improvements and organisation innovation. By jointly addressing the control and development issues in Almarai, they have managed to implement true cooperation. For instance, after the emergence of COVID-19 pandemic, in Almarai a conflict emerged amongst the management and employees on restructuring their supply chain to eliminate retailers. This was meant to use online selling to reach out to the customers directly. The outcome of this conflict was development of SAP S/4HANA intelligent suit which ensure optimisation of production and distribution to tens of millions of consumers in the entire GCC region (SAP, 2022). Through this, they managed to navigate the challenge that occasioned many organisations in the period of COVID-19 lacking sufficient human resources to run their production and manufacturing strategies.

The main strength of conflict cooperation approach of employment relations used in Almarai is its capacity to providing all stakeholders with an opportunity of sharing diverse perspectives. This is supported by Gopinath (2020) which observed that apart from sharing diverse perspectives, conflict cooperation approach present new ideas, offer opportunity for pursuing innovativeness and identifying new opportunities. The rationale of this is that employment relationship is in most instances viewed as either a continuous conflict or purely a consensus building process. In the organisation, while introducing new initiatives or product lines, dissenting employees are encouraged to share their perspectives and ideas to mitigate the risk of such initiatives failure. Nevertheless, often, the leadership and management in Almarai often put in resistance as an approach of managing their conflicts. This is with an intention of avoiding the conflicts at all. This occurs due to what Nechanska et al. (2020) identify as lack of leadership and management training to acquire appropriate listening skills and understanding that conflicts are a normal occurrence in the workplace. Also, Bray et al. (2020) had recommended on the need for a holistic and extensive training in language and behaviour of conflict and cooperation and establishing new consultations and effective decision-making structures. The bottom-line would nevertheless entail effective communication driving systems, processes, productivity and the capacity for meeting the entire organisation goals. This is supported by Boxall (1995) findings which highlight that the conflicts and cooperation ought to be embedded in the employment relationship.

2.2  Impact of Precarious Economy on Maintaining Good Working Relations

2.2.1 Identified group of workers in Almarai

In Almarai, their workers are grouped in different categories as illustrated in figure 1;

Figure 1: Economic group of workers in Almarai

All these group of workers are distributed to different types of work in the organisation which include part-time working, self-employment, agency work, temporary work and full-time working. As evidenced in Almarai (2022b) this is in the areas of Dairy, Bakery, Poultry and infant Nutrition. From these groups, the short-term outsourced employees have been selected for evaluation. For this group of workers, comparing with the permanent employees working for the organisation, they have an average of 3 years of work experience where their pay is determined by the outsourcing organisation.

2.2.2 Global, State or Changing Nature of Work Impact to the Group of Workers

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