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Employee Relations and the Application of HRM Practices

Paper Type: Free Assignment Study Level: University / Undergraduate
Wordcount: 3204 words Published: 6th Nov 2020

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There are many factors that affect organizational performance and organizational success. The effectiveness of HRM practices in a company like Ocado is one of the main components that determine business success in finding a competitive edge over other market players. Developing a strategy and policy for HRM practices is an integral part of the strategic business plan. Investments in training, careers, motivation and health at work are increasing. Ocado is a business that values ​​its people. The idea that people are different from financial capital and technology creates an opportunity for a unique and long-term advantage for the organization. Aligning HRM practices with the business strategy creates an appropriate corporate culture. The optimum use of human potential is achieved through consistent and concerted actions that foster collaboration, motivation, the unfolding of talent and the inspiration of employees. This strikes a balance between individual and company interests.

Analyse the importance of employee relations in respect to influencing HRM decision-making

Factors that affect HRM decision-making can be external and internal to the Ocado Company.

As external, we look at legislation, the demographic climate, the economic situation and competition, and technological progress. The legislation defines a mandatory framework for employment and organizational relationships to be followed and respected. The demographic analysis would give a picture of the working population. The state of the economy - in growth, in stagnation or in decline, as well as actions by competitors, determine the strategy and plans for hiring. Technological advancement brings cost savings and improved efficiency, which requires the search for talent with qualifications, skills and experience.

Internal factors influencing HRM decision-making are budget, staff skills and experience, as well as overall productivity, employee relations, compensation and compliance.

Employee Relations

Employee relations programs are usually part of a human resources strategy designed to ensure the most effective use of people to fulfil an organization's mission.  The concept of employee relations refers to the company's efforts to manage the employer-employee relationship (Rea, 2019). Employee relations include individual and collective relationships. Relationships with employees focus on issues that affect employees, such as pay and benefits, maintaining work-life balance and safe working conditions.  The positive climate of employee relations can improve business results and contribute to employee well-being. (CIPD, 2019)

Key Elements of Employee Relations

Building a strong employer-employee relationship takes time. Understanding the key elements that go into effective workplace relationships, can help to focus on building trust and respect with employees.

Source (Islam, 2019)

Employee Involvement

Enhancing employee engagement with the organization is achieved by allowing workers to have a say in decision-making, directly or indirectly through representatives of Union employees.

Employee Communication

Communication must be two-way, vertical (up and down) and horizontal. Down by giving employees information about all aspects of their employment at Ocado. Horizontal and upward, sharing ideas and suggestions without worrying or fearing the reaction of the superiors.

Employee Counselling

Employee Counselling is a process that provides independent and confidential support to employees. Employee counselling is expected to be a timely and short-term mechanism. Counselling can be on personal issues: financial, family relationships, suffering, etc., as well as on work-related issues: stress, fatigue and rest.

Employee Discipline

Discipline refers to actions imposed by an organization on its employees for failure to comply with the organization's rules, standards or policies (Paul Hersey; Kenneth H Blanchard; Dewey E Johnson, 1996). When employees violate organization rules, they often need help to change their behaviour so that they work within the established parameters through consultation and training. There are times when the employer must use disciplinary procedures. The formal disciplinary procedure usually begins with an oral warning and progresses through written warning, suspension and ultimately discharge.

Employee Rights

Employee rights are governed by law, but to achieve good employee relations, Ocado has procedures in place to handle employee complaints. They guarantee a fair and equitable response to protect employees against unacceptable behaviour on the part of managers and colleagues, as well as the ability to express disagreement and seek redress.

The Importance of Employee Relations

Good employee relations is a prerequisite for retaining employees, less absence from work because employees are motivated and committed to work. Good employee relationships ensure a safe working environment, reduce costs and lead to company success.

The Role of Trade Union

A Trade Union is an organization that represents employees who seek to protect their members in labour disputes or layoffs. The Trade Union participates in the drafting of collective agreements and other labour agreements on behalf of the members. Provides representation and advice on work-related issues: disciplinary, complaints, etc. Trade unions are fighting for a fairer society, decent pay and adequate working conditions.

Improving Employee Relations

Co-operation is a key to improving Employee Relations: Workshops, Seminars, Training programs, Hot News boards every week. This will increase the level of involvement of all employees. Feedback is highly beneficial and makes an effort to change - An anonymous suggestion form is used in Ocado. People work better and are more productive when they're motivated by encouragement and inspiration. Corporate-branded t-shirts, ball caps, accessories, Bonuses, Free lunches come to the rescue of the 'Employee Relations' mission. Last but not least, I will point out the fair treatment of all employees as personalities in resolving conflicts in the workplace.

Identify the key elements of employment legislation and the impact it has upon HRM decision-making

Human resources management covers a wide range of activities aimed at achieving the goals and objectives of the organization. Regardless of the nature of the business, it must comply with employment laws and regulations, which have a serious impact on HRM decision making by formulating standards and policies when developing an HR strategy.

Employment law provides rules or statutes for regulating and managing employment relationships.

The Purpose of Employment Law

It is the job of the Employment Law to provide a basis for good employment practices. The aim is to encourage people to work, ensuring fairness and fair treatment from the beginning to the end of the employee's contract, with the potential for dispute at any time, despite the existing workplace strategy.

Employment Rights Act 1996

The Act provides a package of employment protection rules. The Act address to:

  • Minimum procedures for making wages payments;
  • Requirements to the employer to make a ‘guaranteed payment’, even when the employer cannot provide work;
  • Employees have a right to receive a detailed statement covering their terms and conditions of work;
  • A requirement for a company to have a fair disciplinary and grievance procedure;
  • Employees have a right to refer an employment dispute related to employment, dismissal etc. to an employment tribunal. (Archives, 2019)

Employment Act 2002

The Employment Act 2002 introduces provisions concerning 'family-friendly' workplace, rights during maternity, the resolution of individual disputes at the workplace, equal treatment for fixed-term employees Employment tribunals reform and other matters. (Archives, 2019)

Employment Relations Act 2004

The Employment Relations Act 2004 regulates trade union recognition issues; Industrial action ballots; unfair dismissal of strikers; rights of trade union members, workers and employees; flexible working and employment agencies. (Archives, 2019)

Data Protection Act 2018

The Data Protection Act 2018 controls how personal information is used by organisations, businesses or the government.

Everyone responsible for using personal data has to follow strict data protection principles. Must make sure the information is:

  • used fairly, lawfully and transparently;
  • used for specified, explicit purposes;
  • used in a way that is adequate, relevant and limited to only what is necessary;
  • accurate and, where necessary, kept up to date;
  • kept for no longer than is necessary;
  • handled in a way that ensures appropriate security, including protection against unlawful or unauthorised processing, access, loss, destruction or damage. (GOV.UK, 2019)

Employment Equality

  • Ensures equality for all employees in the work place.
  • Protects against discrimination on the grounds of:
  • Age (Employment Equality Age Regulations 2006)
  • Religion and Belief (Employment Equality Regulations Act 2003)
  • Sexual-Orientation (Employment Equality Social Orientation Regulations Act 2003)
  • Disability (Disability Discrimination Act 2005)

Statements of Employment and Employment contracts

A statement of employment must be provided to an employee within two months of starting work if the employment lasts for longer than one month. A statement of employment must include:

  • the name of your employer and your name
  • the date your employment started
  • your job title and a summary of your duties
  • the period of employment, stating whether it is a permanent position
  • the place of work
  • how much you will be paid, how often, and the method of payment; it should also include information such as travel allowances and any deductions from pay
  • hours of work
  • holiday entitlement
  • procedures for dealing with absence from work through illness, or for other reasons, and how to notify the employer if absent
  • details of pension scheme if applicable
  • details of how to terminate employment (for example, length of notice required by both you and your employer)
  • disciplinary rules and procedures (these are usually contained in a separate document such as a staff handbook)
  • grievance procedures (which again could be contained in a staff handbook) (GOV.UK, 2019)

Illustrate the application of HRM practices in a work related context using specific examples


(These Job Description and Personal Specifications are fictitious and inspired by job offers in Ocado Technology) (Group, 2019)

Job Title: “Robot Hand” Tester

Reporting to: Product Development Team

Location: London

Contract: Permanent (Full-time 48 hours per week)


You will be paid a competitive salary for this role from £22,000 - £24,000 per annum, which is dependent on previous experience and qualifications.

Working Days/Hours:

This is a shift based role where our Engineering Team work 12 hour shifts on a panama rota. You would be required to work both day and night shifts from 7am - 7pm or 7pm - 7am weekdays and weekends.


Job purpose:

Ocado Technology is launching a robotic arm to pick up and pack products. We are currently looking for an observer and QA Tester to join our team at the latest Ocado Customer Service Centre based in Erith, Kent.

The main purpose of this role will be to provide guidance and support to the engineering team to ensure the smooth running of the operation within the CFC. You will work with software and work on a reliability test. You will provide ongoing monitoring and control where you will advise corrective action when appropriate. You will also assist in identifying poor reliability and informing our engineering and operations teams.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Liaise with the operating team to prioritize equipment availability
  • Look at key areas of warehouse automation to identify errors and error history; alerting our engineers to these alarms to repair and clear
  • Analyse error history data to identify recurring errors and violations and any areas of low reliability - transfer this back to our engineering team to plan for reliability improvements
  • Watch our Dash Reporting System and Analyse to identify robot problems and problem areas on the network, helping to solve all problems before they occur
  • Use our CMMS to set and prioritize work orders
  • Support our support administrator with KPI reporting to identify trends and advise on corrective actions and improvements as needed
  • Keep track of current issues that present themselves and place engineers in order of priority using our CMMS
  • Provide the engineering team leader with a shift report that can be maintained at operations meetings every day that will cover all current issues, planned peripherals, and maintenance plans.


Essential Experience & Qualifications

  • Previous experience in software testing.
  • Understanding of quality assurance and/or test automation processes.
  • Exposure to Cloud/AWS
  • Exposure to web technologies including JavaScript, TypeScript, XML, JSON, RESTful services or similar related technologies.
  • A degree or postgraduate qualification in Computer Science, Software Engineering or equivalent

Optional Skills

  • Robotics Experience (ROS)
  • Mechanical Experience
  • Automation Experience

Personal Qualities

  • Strong IT skills with the ability to use Google Docs, Excel and a CMMS (Computerised Maintenance Management System)
  • Experience of working within a busy, high pressurised environment
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to communicate clearly across multiple teams and departments
  • Good interpersonal skills with the ability to meet demanding targets in a fast paced environment
  • Analytical skills with good attention to detail
  • Well organised and able to prioritise workload to ensure tasks are completed in a timely manner.

What we offer you

Our employee benefits are designed for you, we care about people and we've ensured we have a wealth of benefits that focus on your well-being. Within our flexible environment we can offer technically stretching work, a competitive salary and share schemes. Benefits include pension scheme, Life Assurance, train season ticket loan (interest-free) and of course, healthy Ocado staff discounts across Ocado.com

Right to Work

Applicants must have the right to live and work in the United Kingdom for the duration of the job.

Equal Opportunities

We are looking for individuality and we value diversity above gender, sexual orientation, race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, age, disability or union participation. We are an equal opportunities employer and we are committed to treating all applicants and employees fairly and equally.

Our Application Process

Please note that due to the high volume of applications we will be in contact with shortlisted candidates only. If you have not heard from us within 4 weeks, please assume your application has been unsuccessful on this occasion.

Recruitment Privacy Notice

Ocado Retail Limited will process and store your personal information in according with our Recruitment Privacy Notice. By submitting your CV/resume and application information, you confirm that you have read and understood this privacy notice.


Archives, T. N., 2019. Employment Act 2002. [Online]
Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/22/contents
[Accessed 6 October 2019].

Archives, T. N., 2019. Employment Relations Act 2004. [Online]
Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/24/contents
[Accessed 4 October 2019].

Archives, T. N., 2019. Employment Rights Act 1996. [Online]
Available at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/18/contents
[Accessed 6 October 2019].

CIPD, 2019. Employee relations. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/employees/factsheet
[Accessed 10 October 2019].

GOV.UK, 2019. Data protection. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gov.uk/data-protection
[Accessed 4 October 2019].

GOV.UK, 2019. Employment contracts. [Online]
Available at: https://www.gov.uk/employment-contracts-and-conditions/written-statement-of-employment-particulars
[Accessed 4 October 2019].

Group, O., 2019. Careers. [Online]
Available at: https://www.ocado.jobs/search-apply?category=Engineering%20and%20technology
[Accessed 12 October 2019].

Islam, Z., 2019. employee relations strategy. [Online]
Available at: https://image.slidesharecdn.com/chap-18employeerelationsstrategy-170524073211/95/chap-18-employee-relations-strategy-16-638.jpg?cb=1495611180
[Accessed 8 October 2019].

Paul Hersey; Kenneth H Blanchard; Dewey E Johnson, 1996. Management of organizational behavior : utilizing human resources. 7th ed. s.l.: Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall.

Rea, A., 2019. What Is Employee Relations. [Online]
Available at: https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-employee-relations-definition-lesson-quiz.html
[Accessed 8 October 2019].


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