The use of good employee relations

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"For there is but one problem the problem of human relations. We forget that there is no hope or joy except in human relations."-- Antoine de Saint. He was so true. Human relations played an important role from the Stone Age era. Even at that time when humans had to survive for their livelihood they had to help each other. They formed clans to protect each other. Whenever they needed food they went in groups so that they can hunt down animals easily. And they were successful because they were well co-ordinated. This is possible because they were well planned. Each individual was assigned a job. Everyone was supposed to be taking care of each other survival. Similarly in an organisation to achieve goals each employee has to work in co-ordination with other employees. Each individual is supposed to take care of organisation's progress. This is a part of human relations. This is what we call Employee relations. It fosters belongingness among the employees. When the employees don't have the feeling of the need to co-operate, they work in different directions trying to achieve different goals. Human relation is the stepping stone to develop employee relations. Employee relations basically focus on the relationship between employer and employee. It involves the bond shared by the employee with the organisation and also with his colleagues. Employee relations can be seen primarily as a skill-set or a philosophy, rather than as a management function or well-defined area of activity. It has majorly to do with the psychology of employer and employee. If employers and employees don't share a good relation then reaching a fair decision becomes unachievable. Good relations between employers and employees are only possible if both feel that they can discuss major problems and anticipated changes, if there can be discussion and consultation about key issues and if they genuinely want to work together to find a solution. If we try to understand how this term employee relation was coined, we will see that it was basically a replacement for industrial relations. This is because industrial relations refer to the relationship between employers and employees collectively. Industrial relations is a broader concept. It defines relationship between employer and employer, between employer and employees and now the times have changed in the sense that today we don't have such a set of employment relationships except for some sectors and that too in a modified form. In retrospect employee relations gives a personal feel of each employer and employee relation. It focuses on individual employees. Employee relations are a subset of Industrial Relations. It involves welfare for employees, terms and contracts with employees, employee development, and employee productivity and so on. Industrial Relation includes all, but the focus is more on Union. Employee relations play a very crucial role in achieving performance benefits. It is the skill set of an employee that helps in achieving these performance benefits. For organisations to use these skill sets optimally to their benefit it is essential for them to recognise the capabilities in their employees. After employees have been involved in a consultative process they are usually more likely to accept a negotiated outcome.

Every organization has something to boast about. It could be their retention rate, for some, it could be their training programmes or the company mascot or its working environment. They also take pride in their policies because they know that these policies are reason why most of their employees are still sticking around. These policies are developed with the help of HR department. These policies do not last long and need to revised. These policies help the organisation to develop within the changing environments. A policy is considered to be success when its benefits can be reaped by both organisation and the employees. An organisation should not view their employees as resources or materials to gain profit. They need to understand that employees are those resources which can't be thrown after use. They are those resources who can analyse when they are being exploited and consequently know how to resist that. Such resistance is dangerous to organisations credibility. It spoils the working environment for everyone. It may create an unnecessary competition. Every person in the company is diverted from their original goal. It should be understood that every employee comes with certain amount of expectations from company as well. They expect that they will be given jobs as per their capabilities; they will be given good amount of salary, benefits and facilities. They expect that working in this organisation will help them increase their standard of living. The HRD department takes the role of being a mediator between the employees and the organisation.

An employee needs to be emotionally secure right from the day he is recruited. He needs to be assured of a proper salary, good facilities, good working environment, a well-coordinated work group. An organisation goes through many phases. It undergoes many changes. . Changes in technology, government regulations, competitive forces etc., compel organizations to shift gears and change direction quite often. At times there could be too many changes in too little time, leading to shocks and surprises in the market place. All firms are impacted by political, legal, economic, technological and social systems and trends. In such a scenario organisations have to make sure that their employees are able to adjust to those changes. They are comfortable in those changes. Their performance is not affected by those changes. For instance during organisation restructuring employees are paranoid about their job profile. They doubt if the organisations will do justice to them. If these needs are not taken care of it may lead to insecurities and grievances. Such problems if not identified on time and not addressed properly may affect workers, managers and the organisations as a whole. It may lead to lower quality and quantity of production, increase in the cost of production per unit. The employees under such pressure may not feel like working and do not attend office. This increases the rate of absenteeism and turnover. This in turn reduces the level of commitment, sincerity and punctuality. When employees are not working adequately the pressure is passed on to higher levels. The higher authorities are compelled to become stricter. They have to increase the degree of supervision, control and follow up. Such inadequacies affect the overall performance of the company and lead to decrease in profit. Thus employee dissatisfaction not only affects the employees and managers. Together these elements comprise the macro- environment of business firms. Because these forces are so dynamic their constant change presents myriad opportunities and threats or constraints to strategic managers. It affects the organisation as a whole. The management has to address these problems promptly. The management may try to know the opinion of employees and their feelings towards the company's policies and practices. The employee in this way gets the chance to ventilate his feeling. He feels that his opinion matters to the organisation and makes him feel an integral part of the organisation. Their problems and the changes they suggest should be understood and should be accordingly implemented. Certain policies designed by the organisation help reap benefits but some do no good. Sometimes the benefit incurred is short term. Organisations develop attrition and retention tools for employees. These include Employee Reward Program, Career Development Program, Performance Based Bonus, Employee Referral Plan, Loyalty Bonus, ESOP's etc. The problem faced is that these tools might not last long. These tools are favourable to a company at times. However not all the times. For instance bonuses are one of the innovations devised but have to be paid back if the employee quits within a stipulated time and thus it acts as a retention tool. However, the perception is that sign-on bonus is an instant solution but they don't buy loyalty. Many times they cause an additional turn-over within the industry and can cause resentment amongst employees at various levels. And in any which ways it has to be understood that in today's buoyant times, professionals today are highly discerning need more than the mere 'lure of the lucre' to attract them to an organization or to be retained by one. HR practitioners are getting convinced that a general purpose benefits strategy does not give the required solution as organizations need a bouquet of retention benefits programs and recognize that every employee's need varies with time with specific situations and they need to take into account their problems and personal priorities.

It should be understood that when we speak of employee relations we are not just speaking of the role that the organisation has towards its employees but also vice-versa. Besides a strong knowledge base, the global industry needs dedicated and persevered individuals with integrity for whom management is an outlook. Amid modern approaches and infrastructure industry experts find certain fundamentals like right perspective, professionalism and commitment missing. This happens because people hanker after jobs instead of excellence. One's attitude tells on performance. If we are aspiring to be a superpower we need to bring about big changes. The employees should understand that organisation's profit and benefit should be the ultimate goal for them. Every employee should understand the work that he is given and should give his 100% to finish it efficiently. One should set high standards of excellence and meet them. If the employee fails to understand the job he is handed, he should get it clarified from his superiors or colleagues. This strengthens the bond of employee not only with the superiors but also between colleagues. Employees should understand the efficient use of available resources in the organisation. These resources should be utilised optimally because it is this optimisation that will help increase profit of the company. Employees should have good participation skills. Active participation strengthens the team spirit and coordination. This will facilitate in employees learning new skills and reaching organisational goals with more effectiveness. India is a superpower. Indian companies are dealing with many global companies. It is important that the behaviour Indian professionals exhibit displays the attitude of the company and the nation. However on a closer analysis it is seen that Indian professionals have acquired an infamy for evading commitments. This happens because many professionals who accept the job offer but just don't show up at the date of joining. It is popularly known as `no-show' behaviour. This not only jeopardizes operations but also leads to delays in delivery schedules. Based on the candidate's acceptance of an offer, companies plan project schedules, inform clients and set client expectations. When candidates do not turn up on an agreed date without informing, it obviously spells disasters. It also means dwindling of company resources in terms of time and money invested for hiring these candidates. It is fine if the candidate collects the offer and reverts with his/her decision to not join. But a silent 'no-show' hits the companies when they're completely unprepared." When clients frequently notice these phenomena they hesitate in investing in these companies and the company loses out on its prospective clients. Thus the damage that such a practice could cause is not merely internal. This phenomenon is hurting the global Indian talents' loyalty image.

At the end the conclusion that can be drawn is when an organization has to make a mark or wants to stand out in this global market it is highly dependent on its employees. Such is also the case of employees. It is a give and take relationship. While companies continue to hold on tight to their high fliers by filling their pockets and massaging their egos, as and when they get offers from competition, it is a shame that they are yet to realize the brutal mistake they are making in the process. The mistake of making others in the organization realizes that this is a great tool to make a fast buck. It is not rocket science, its common sense! Reward your people timely and make sure people get what they deserve and you won't have to beg them to stay with you!

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