Improving Employer-Employee Relations

Influences on the Extent and Methods of Employee Involvement in Decision Making

In the UK, employer/employee relationships are founded on the contract of employment which lays out the roles, responsibilities and obligations of both employer and employee.

Duties and Rights of Employers and Employees Include:

  1. Contract of employment
  2. Health and safety
  3. Dismissal
  4. Equal opportunities

Trade Unions

An organised association of workers in a trade, group of trades, or profession, formed to protect and further their rights and interests.

Trade unions act on behalf of groups of employees when negotiating with the employer on rates of pay and working conditions.

By joining a trade union an employee strengthens his or her bargaining power in a way that wouldn’t be possible if he/she tried to bargain as an individual with the employer.

People join trade unions for:

  1. Collective bargaining
  2. Representation
  3. Health and safety
  4. Equal opportunities
  5. Range of services

Works Council

An organisation within a business that represents the workers at a local level. They can act like a trade union but are formed for that particular business, so will be more familiar with the needs of that business.

How to Manage and Improve Employer-Employee Communications and Relations

Inevitably there is a separation between the employer and employee when it comes to communications. Effective communication and relations overcome this and other barriers.

Improving Employer-Employee Relations, figure 1

An employer expects quality and efficiency from an employee. The hope is for innovative solutions for problems and ideas on how to advance the business.

An employee expects fair pay and good working conditions. They may hope for stimulating work, a chance for promotion and a say in the way the business might grow or be managed.

The main difference in point of view arises comes from the need to be profitable where the employer will have to control pay and other benefits in order to make a profit.

Key Ways to Manage the Relationship

  1. Understand the objectives of both parties.
  2. There will need to be some form of compromise.
  3. Both will want the business to prosper, but not at the expense of workers’ rights and benefits.
  4. Strong culture of mutual benefit
  5. A soft human resource approach understands that the workforce is the key asset.
  6. Both parties must trust each other to want to develop the business.