(Solution) Strategic Employment Relations

Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction. 2

2.0 Accommodating Short-Term External Competitive Pressures (2.2) 3

Globalisation and Trade Liberalisation. 3

Technological Changes, Computer Revolution and Information Economy. 4

Unanticipated Demand fluctuations. 4

Industrial Restructuring primarily from Manufacturing to Polarised Services. 5

3.0 Fostering Positive Employment Relations (1.4) 5

4.0 Promoting Informal and Direct Voice (Implications for Employee outcomes and organisational performance) (3.3)  8

5.0 Third-Party Options in Resolving Disagreements at work. 11

6.0 Conclusion and recommendations. 13

References. 15


1.0 Introduction

In the highly competitive modern business environment, employee relations strategies is instrumental for organisations leverage on competitive advantage and market dominance. Adopting the definition of Bingham (2016), employee relations are defined as the interactions, behaviours and outcomes based in and around the workplace. Since workplaces does not prevail independently, economy of their operations, cultures, philosophies, styles, and norms of those working within them and the desires, wishes and expectation of those reliance on them have an impact on the employee relations. Further, considering the new CIPD HR Professional Map CIPD (2021), employee relations is a specialist knowledge. Its relevance is based on the capacity to ensure that relationship between an organisation and its people is managed transparently and in line with existing laws. In line with this background information, this report to the board of IHCC organisation evaluates on the current employment relations strategy (or strategies) and the practices in the organisation. This is in respect to effectiveness in a set of areas.

2.0 Accommodating Short-Term External Competitive Pressures (2.2) (1062)

According to Gunderson (2015), in the modern business environment, majority of existing policies and legislations had significantly been designed and developed to fit the Old World of Work. This old world of work was being characterised by enormous fixed-worksites, male dominance in the blue-collar jobs particularly in manufacturing. According to Bennett et al. (2020), the Old World of Work was characterised by employees protection through set tariffs, less competition and employees having life-time job positions under protection of their union of viability of unionisation threat. This is no longer the case in the modern world of work which is characterised by internal and external short and long-term competitive pressures. For instance, considering IHCC organisation which operate in the new world of work, the employees are under consistent pressure of adjusting to  new changes/realities. For instance, IHCC employees are pressurised into adjusting into pressures placed by employers and requirements of work-life balance. This is with Saudi Labour Regulators who are prompted to adjust their organising strategies for stemming their declined influence. The employee relations in IHCC organisation entail adoption of open-door policy where employees have the opportunity of raising concerns with no fear of inappropriate judgement. This is with their workload sharing, working from home and flexible schedules initiated for maintainance of work-life balance. This is with competitive salary and benefits offered to the employees. Nevertheless, there are a little awareness and knowledge among the line managers and employees on best practice in implementing the identified employee relations particularly in current COVID-19 pandemic.

Amidst the heightened short-term external competitive pressures, employment relations is tasked with their accommodation. The best practice entail;

Globalisation and Trade Liberalisation

According to Kolcava et al. (2019), products and services markets of organisations are significantly globalised, informed by aspects of tariff reductions, free trade agreements and lowered transportation and communication. This pressure to employers is filtered down to the employees and their workplace as labour demand is obtained from the products and services of a firm. For example, Gunderson (2015) note that in the construction sector where IHCC operates, organisations which once enjoyed enormous tariffs protection are today subject of immense international competition with low-wage developing nations (China), moving up to value-added chain. This is form a low-wage with reduced productivity to being low-wage and medium to high productivity.

Further, considering IHCC, the identified short-term pressures have prompted an increased mass layoffs and subsidiary closings prior their accommodation to the organisation. This phenomenon had been worsened since in Saudi Arabia, is ranked 62nd Arab News (2021) in terms of minimal protection of employment standards and unions involvement. To ensure an increased accommodation of the identified short-term issues, IHCC adopts a hybrid with immense bargaining streams such as centralised and decentralised, regulation and deregulation. The people professionals in IHCC appreciates on the role played by institutions and policy choices by Saudi Arabia (KSA) government and other parties in respond to this globalisation.

Technological Changes, Computer Revolution and Information Economy

In modern business environment, technology and transformation of the knowledge economy has prompted multiple trends including global networking and offshore outsourcing of the skills. According to Krishnan (2021) these changes linked with computerisation and internet prevalence, just-in-time-delivery systems and sharing economy are most common leading to pressures in the labour  market. This pressure is exerted since technology influence demand for skills-based and knowledgeable workers. To accommodate these changes, IHCCC adopts the Atkinson’s model of workplace flexibility Zhao (2020) for obtaining and implementation of flexible staff arrangements and relevant outsourcing of some of their operations to save costs, improve efficiency and maintain their market dominance. For instance, to achieve numerical flexibility, IHCC has introduced part-time contracts, temporary contracts, subcontractors and homeworking. This is while their functional flexibility prioritising on achievement of multi-skilling of their core employees with a less demarcation between jobs apart from the technical ones in the organisation.

Unanticipated Demand fluctuations

Despite of the organisations business cycle fluctuations being categorised as long-term pressures Cefis and Marsili (2019) in already developed nations, COVID-19 pandemic emergence have had a short-term pressure impacting employers. This has eventually filtered back to the labour markets where they engage employees. To evidence the severe impact of this pressure, Newhouse and Weber (2021) note that this has elicited effects on 39 developing nations with 36% of individuals noting to have ceased working, 20% noting as only receiving partial or no pay and 9% changing their jobs. In specific, in Saudi Arabia where IHCC operates, Koettl and Rivera (2022) report noted that Saudi citizens quitting their jobs in 2021 had increased to 95% from past year. This is with resignations surging to reach 3% of the overall private sector employment. This is with unemployment rates reaching all-time high of 11.5%. For IHCC, to accommodate these effects, part of their employee relations has been harnessing performance management effectively by encouraging frequent performance goals, employees and managers evaluation and delaying formal reviews. The outcome of this is a seamless interaction among all stakeholders for the optimum benefit of the organisation and their people practice professionals. As evidenced in Hays (2021) guidance, communication and engagement ought to be two-way practice, harnessing recognition hence motivated particularly in the uncertainties of covid-19 pandemic. IHCC for instance need to employ social media platforms and other technologies for successful in promoting relevant employees relations approaches.

Industrial Restructuring primarily from Manufacturing to Polarised Services

As evidenced in Bradshaw et al. (2019) a strategy that has been prominent in Saudi Arabia and Middle East has entailed a diversification from an oil dominance sector to a service-based industry. As a result, the manufacturing and other processing job are in short-term categorised as middle of pay distribution often offering life-time job roles in large fixed working sites and protected by tariffs. This is with a less competition and unions or the credible threat of unionisation Visser (2019). Conversely, in the service sector where IHCC has primarily based their operations, they are characterised by polar end of pay distribution in same class with business, managerial services and personal services. Compensation in these jobs is primarily informed by the need to harness bargaining power and protection by licensing arrangements restricting competition. IHCC employee relations accommodates this by partnering with the Employment and labour laws regulators Kumar et al. (2019) who ensure that issues with employment and labour laws particularly in representation and industrial relations, discrimination and family leave rights are prioritised.

3.0 Fostering Positive Employment Relations (1.4) (913)

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