Saturday, January 24, 2009

Importance of Employment Relations

Employment or human relations covers all types of interactions among employees such as cooperative efforts, interpersonal and group relationships. The purpose of employment relations it to deal with the people the business employs and the issues arising from their employment. Acquiring, developing, maintaining and motivating staff are all aspects that are covered by the employment relations area. Employment relations are necessary as the employee is the most important part of a business and any troubles that affect them in turn effect the business.

Realising the potential effect that employees have on the business, Companies are providing incentives and programs to keep their employees happy and productive.
‘A happy worker will work twice as hard and more efficient than an unhappy worker.’
Incentives provided for e.g. are (case study) Coca Cola providing twice the amount of shares in their company that the employee purchases, (case study) McDonalds providing employees discount purchases from companies that are connected to McDonalds.
Programs such as employee dinners, lunch, Christmas parties, weekends away are all effective in keeping the employee happy and to build relationships with fellow employees so to work better as a team.

Business managers have come to recognize that their employees are the most important part of a business and through effective management a business can gain the competitive advantage. The skills, knowledge and creativeness of employees is the main potential that a business has over it competitors and thus the realisation that the employee has the most influence over important aspects such as its profitability, competitiveness and adaptability has led to the idea that managing these human resources to develop their maximum capabilities. Human resource management or employee relations is the process of finding the people the business needs, developing their skills, knowledge, talents, careers. Motivating and maintaining their commitment to the business.

The relationship between the employee and the business will vary depending on the businesses culture (How things are done around here) and must be determined wisely as to produce maximum efficiency and effectiveness. E.g. (case study) Shelf packers at the local grocery market packing shelves in groups of two to three people. While packing shelves workers would chat and not concentrate on task at hand. By splitting workers up into each istle each worker could work more efficiently but was unhappy at not being able to talk to fellow employees which led to poor work ethic.

The way in which a business communicates this ‘culture’ to all employees is extremely important as employees must know what the business is about and where it is heading if the business it to be successful in achieving its prime goal.

After WWII and the influx of younger people to the workforce new approaches in human resources were made. The younger workers valued their jobs and were more motivated. Education of employees was considered and came to recognise that a workforce is better educated and skilled.

Completing in secondary schooling and tertiary courses increased thus showing that the workforce was looking for more challenging jobs.
Women’s role in the workforce soon grew with higher divorce rates, women’s rights and laws removing discrimination toward women. Managers soon had to give more consideration towards discrimination and child rearing.

In its simplest form employment relations is described as the effective management of the formal relationship between the employer and the employee. With management realising the potential of this many businesses have created approaches to enhance that factor. Acquisition and selection, development and training, maintenance and motivating, separation of staff. These are all approaches which can be taken.

Acquisition and selection is the gathering of information about each applicant for the position and then using that information to choose the most appropriate person for that position. The chosen applicant must be able to do the job perfectly and thus management must first identify staffing needs.
Training and development is needed for employees as to teach staff to work efficiently and effectively. Training must be continual so skills are not lost and to provide maximum efficiency.
Maintenance and motivating of staff is to keep staff within the business and to work to the best of their ability. A relaxing and friendly work environment, decent wages and benefits are all needed. Without this staff will leave the business and thus require new employees, resulting in more training, poorer efficiency and decreased workload, in result the business wastes needed resources and becomes less productive. Motivating employees is highly important as motivated employees result in increased productivity. The carrot and stick approach in which the carrot is the reward (money/pay rise) and the stick being punishment (demotion/fired) has been widely relied on as a motivator.

Money is seen to be the biggest motivator but in recent years this has been found not to always be the case. Work conditions, time of work, fellow employees all affect motivation.
Separation is the ending of an employment relationship and this comes in many ways. Dismissal is when the employee contract with the business has been suspended due to the employee not doing their job properly or behaving unacceptably.
Redundancy is when the employee is no longer needed and leaves on their own will or not. Retrenchment is when a business is unable to pay their employee and thus they must leave.

Employment relations is a key function in which business must manage to improve their employees and thus lead to improving their business. With good human resource management a business can gain the edge they need. Without good human resource management a business will probably not succeed.

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