(Solution) Supporting Good Practice in Managing Employment Relations

Executive Summary

This report entails an evaluation of employee relations while inferring to Peddie’s case study. The analysis follows three core sections. These include the theoretical frameworks surrounding employee relations, an evaluation of the short and long-term issues in Peddie’s case, and recommendations for addressing these issues while considering the possible resistance and challenges. Three core theories describe employee relations. They include pluralist, unitarist, and Marxist. From the analysis of the Bath, Manchester, and flagship stores, several issues impede good employee relations. These include poor communication, employees lacking voice, redundancy and dismissal, and the introduction of a new culture of uniforms without consultation with the employees. To address these issues, several recommendations have been presented that are specific to the employee relations concerns. In communication, for instance, the organisation should adopt a horizontal approach and democratic leadership model, which considers the decisions of every employee. All stages of the redundancy and dismissal process should be followed to avert the legal issues. These approaches are essential in promoting the organisational communication and relationship between the employees and the management.


Table of Contents

1.0 Introduction. 3

2.0 Theoretical Frameworks of Employment Relations 3

3.0 Employment Issues That Should Be Addressed in the Short and Long-Term.. 5

3.1 Short Term Issues to be Addressed. 5

3.1.1 Employee compensation and remuneration. 5

3.1.2 Providing the employees with a meaningful voice. 6

3.1.3 The mode of dressing. 6

3.2 Long Term Issues to be Addressed. 6

3.2.1 Working issues such as flexible working and leaves. 6

3.2.2 Redundancy and dismissal 7

3.2.3 Grievance and disciplinary process. 7

3.2.4 Communication process and inclusion in the decision-making process. 7

3.2.5 Negotiation and bargain process 8

4.0 Recommendations to Address the Short and Long-term Issues. 8

4.1 Employee compensation and remuneration. 8

4.2 Providing the employees with a meaningful voice. 9

4.3 The mode of dressing. 9

4.4 Working issues, including flexible working and leaves. 9

4.5 Redundancy and dismissal process. 10

4.6 Grievances and disciplinary process 10

4.7 Communication and inclusion in the decision-making process. 10

4.8 Negotiation and bargaining process. 11

5.0 Conclusion. 11

References 12

1.0 Introduction

Employee relations in contemporary organisations have become vital in enhancing the working relationship between employers and the workforce. According to CIPD (2020a), it is essential to establish a positive and supportive environment of employee relations, which is characterised by the involvement of the workers in the decision-making process, engagement, and commitment. These factors are foundational to promoting the employees’ well-being and organisational efficiency. Several factors characterise employee relations. Drawing from the theoretical frameworks that guide employee relations, among the core factors is conflict management. According to Abbott (2006), conflicts are inevitable in an organisation, as described in the pluralist theory. It is, therefore, the role of the human resources management (HRM) to establish effective mitigation strategies to these conflicts. Some of the sources of these conflicts include reward management, redundancy, and employee involvement in the decision-making process. To ensure profound employee relations, the organisational leadership and management should focus on establishing effective policies and practices that demonstrate diversity, excellent communication, and involvement and participation of the workforce in the decision making process. In addition, proper structure and culture should be present to address the issues of grievances, discipline, redundancy, and dismissal.

This report involves Peddie’s case study, a family run book retailer that is facing several employee relations issues. The company, commenced expansion programs in London and has extended to include Manchester and Bath. It is also focusing on establishing more branches. However, there have been issues of concern as reflected in the report findings as requested by the HR advisor. These include dissatisfaction with the pay, the need for creative approaches to handle redundancy, an alarming rate of sickness absence, limited awareness by the employees regarding the organisational matters, employees feeling that they lack a voice, and the resistance by the employees regarding wearing of uniforms. This report, therefore, entails a critical analysis of the leading employment relations issues that should be addressed in both short and long-term and recommendations to the problems identified. Also considered are the implementation of issues and tensions.

2.0 Theoretical Frameworks of Employment Relations

Employee relations in broad focus on the functional activities of the individuals and the interactions between the employees and the HRM. Some of the factors that describe employee relations are the individuals’ flexibilities, skills, conflict management, the role of trade unions, and the organisational high performance. The HRM is central in employee relations, whose core responsibility is to establish the issues affecting the relationship and developing effective management strategies (Ali et al., 2018). It is the responsibility of the HRM to ensure adequate collaborative management practices, which are presented in the form of performance appraisal, workplace teams, reward management, and employment contracts. In the Peddie’s case study, the reward management and limited involvement of the employees in the decision-making process are among the main challenges in employee relations.

Unitarism theory holds that the conflict at the workplace is not inevitable in the relations between employees and the management. According to Abbott (2006), disagreements may arise between employees and management. Unitarists perceive conflicts as the products of inappropriate recruitment and promotion of the employees, deviance, and poor communication. The administration is, therefore tasked with eliminating the sources of these conflicts and ensuring an equitable and fair recruitment and promotion process. Also, the communication systems should be in place to alert the employees on where their interests lie. In the case of Peddie’s, communication is identified as a critical challenge, which is usually face-to-face for the flagship and email updates for the other branches. As reflected in the recent interview for the employee from the Bath store, the workforce does not understand various organisational matters, including the financial results. Another issue is deviance by the employees, as reflected in the issue of uniform.

Pluralism theory considers conflict in the workplace as inevitable. As described by Abbott (2006), pluralists perceive the organisation as a complex social construction composed of various interest groups, including the employees and the management. This theory also considers conflicts as the foundation of a healthy organisation. The managers are, therefore, tasked with establishing a suitable working environment that addresses these conflicts. Trade unions are essential in this theory, who are responsible for assisting in the reduction of workplace conflict and enhancing the working environment. In Peddie’s case, the pluralist theory is reflected in the collective bargaining issue, where the employees are dissatisfied with the lack of increasing the hourly rate, which is presently similar to the National Minimum Wage.

Another employee relations theory is Marxism, which is drawn from Karl Marx’s view of society as organised along with the class-based values and political systems. In employee relations, social conflict is considered as capitalism’s natural outcome, which results from the continuous struggle between two social classes that compete. This theory is also concerned with the distribution of power. In Peddie’s case, the management is at the centre of authority, while the employees are expected to abide by the organisational decisions and decisions. An example of a model that draws its concepts from the Marxism is feminism, which is concerned with equality at the workplace in various issues (Abbott, 2006). In addition, inclusivity is a crucial element in the decision making, interactive and flexible job designs, and equitable income distribution, which all apply in the case of Peddie’s.

3.0 Employment Issues That Should Be Addressed in the Short and Long-Term

There are three forms of engagement that reflect on the importance of employment relations. They include intellectual, affective, and social engagement. In intellectual engagement, it is concerned with the job and how to enhance it, whereas affective engagement focuses on the positive feelings and emotions of doing a remarkable job. The social engagement, on the other hand, is associated with the active participation of the employees in work-related issues and discussions with other stakeholders. According to CIPD (2019a), achieving these forms of engagement is essential in promoting the employees’ motivation, innovation, quality services and products, and satisfaction. To promote employee relations, some of the critical factors that should be considered are conflict management, effective communication, providing the workforce with a meaningful voice, role modelling, and equality, and fairness in the reward systems.

3.1 Short Term Issues to be Addressed

3.1.1 Employee compensation and remuneration

Employee compensation is a crucial factor that determines the relationship between managers and employees. For most organisations, they want to employ competent individuals and ensure high productivity and loyalty. On the other hand, compensation and remuneration are the foundations of conflict in case there are inequality and fairness issues (Magnan and Martin, 2019). In Peddie’s case, the reward package has been suitable until recently. Previously, the hourly rate was higher than the National Minimum Wage. The booksellers used to perceive their pay rates as excellent. However, they are disappointed since it was not increased upon the introduction of the National Living Wage (NLW). Addressing these disappointments regarding the remuneration and compensation is essential in ensuring the employees are motivated for quality work.

3.1.2 Providing the employees with a meaningful voice

Employee relations are centred on all stakeholders, feeling a sense of belonging to the organisation. To employees, their concerns should be acknowledged by the organisation. This reflects on their involvement in the decision-making process and ensuring that their suggestions and ideas count (Jena et al., 2017). The employees at Bath and Manchester feel that they have no voice. For instance, they consider operational decisions regarding the stores being made by the family members in London that may not understand the differences in location and how they impact the business. Addressing this issue is essential in the short term to ensure that the employees’ concerns are recognised.  

3.1.3 The mode of dressing

The organisational culture reflects on the behaviours and values of the organisation and how they contribute to meeting the firm’s objectives. Altering the culture is not an easy process. At Peddie’s, the introduction of a new mode of dressing, uniforms, is a short-term issue, which is based on streamlining the organisational culture. For the workforce at Bath branch, they have been wearing the uniform and the staff badge since it opened a year ago. For those at the flagship store, they have expressed their dissatisfaction. Addressing this resistance is a short term issue based on the need to ensure that every individual dress in a similar manner.

3.2 Long Term Issues to be Addressed

3.2.1 Working issues such as flexible working and leaves

According to the CIPD (2020b), flexibility in the working hours is essential in enhancing the individual’s productivity and performance. The HRM is tasked with ensuring flexibility for the organisation’s working practices. Besides the average working hours the employees are entitled to other benefits, including paid leaves. At Peddie’s, there is a need to address any issues that may arise with regards to the working hours. Notably, there should not be any discrimination based on the employment contract. For the full-time employees, they work 40 hours a week and receive statutory rates that are paid for absence due to sickness, among other leaves, including adoption, paternity, and maternity. For the co-workers, they express their displeasure with the sickness cover. Also, there are issues with taking leaves and breaks for some employees.

3.2.2 Redundancy and dismissal

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