At the third level Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development learners will be introduced to the employment law, including some of the elements that directly impact employment relationships. In particular, learners will be introduced to internal and external factors influencing employee staters termination of contracts, and individual rights will be covered.
Essentially, an organization’s growth is anchored on a healthy relationship between employees and their employers. However, the interests of employees and employers may diverge. For example, employers pursue profit maximization while employees pursue higher earnings and other employment benefits such as flexible working hours and bonuses.
The unit will help learners understand organizations where employees have positive attitudes, are perceived as healthy and successful and expounds on the best practices that can facilitate a fruitful relationship between employees and their employers. Good employee relationships premised on effective communication channels facilitate an open culture where issues raised by employees are resolved quickly and efficiently.
Factors impacting employee relations
In the previous section, we established that employee relations are affected by internal and external relations. While internal issues affecting employee relations exist within the organization and can be resolved by the organization’s management, external issues are beyond organizational control.
Internal factors affecting employee relations
Employment Contracts: employee contracts refer to agreements between the employer and employee stipulating essential details such as the length of the contract and employment terms indicated in writing or by word of mouth and implied terms that include unwritten rules of conduct such as avoidance of theft.
Statutory terms: statutory terms are presented in writing and reflect those terms imposed by law and whose violation could result in court action.
Employee motivation: it entails means of employee motivations, including performance appraisals. Appraisals may motivate employees to pursue and accomplish personal and organizational goals hence improved organizational productivity and performance.
External factors affecting employee relations
Social impacts: Organizations need to recognize that meeting the needs of employees motivates them to attain job satisfaction and become more productive when pursuing organizational goals. In addition, employees are affected by balancing work and family; organizations should accommodate them through policies such as flexible working hours, holidays working from home, paternity, and maternity leaves. Other external factors may include competition, technology, legal and political environment.
Employees can be employed in an organization under different terms such as temporary and fixed-term or permanent terms. HR professionals must understand all terms pertaining to employee’s status for effective explanation to their employees and eradicate violations and conflicts that may arise due to misinterpretation.
Apart from Human Resource professionals, employees must also be conversant with their legal rights. This will inform a better understanding of the contract and enhance positive relations in the organizations. Moreover, employees who understand their employment terms effectively may be more productive since they understand their organization’s expectations, hence improving organizational performance.
The unit covers employee rights and the role of employers in guaranteeing they are not violated. Most countries have enacted laws through which oversight of organizations’ enforcement of employee rights is managed to ensure there is compliance.
Notable legislation that has been enacted to guarantee employee rights include working hours that cap the number of hours that employees should work in a week, including overtime. In addition, some legislations underscore employment’s right to get sick leave, annual leave, paternity, and maternity leave when the need arises. Notably, these legislations and guidelines are crucial since they guide employers regarding how best to relate with their staff, hence improving employee relations.
Guidelines on employee rights underscore equal and fair treatment for all employees regardless of the organizations they work for. For example, countries have developed laws that cap the amount of pay an employee should receive and stresses that equal payments for individuals regardless of their background should be upheld. Learners need to understand how the rights of employees and employers are related and balance to achieve equal treatment.
Discrimination, harassment, and victimization
Learners enrolled in this unit must recognize the importance of equal treatment of all employees despite their race, age, religion, and ethnicities. Learners must also be privy to the corresponding legal laws that guide harassment, victimization, and discrimination within organizational entities. Knowledge of laws that impact discrimination, harassment, and victimization is central to streamlining employee relations and spurring growth. Failure to address discrimination issues, harassment, and victimization leads to the breakdown of employee-employer relations and stagnates organizational growth.
This unit covers the psychological contract, which entails the perceived obligations of the employees and employers towards one another. The psychological contract also entails an unwritten and intangible agreement between employees and employer detailing the informal expectations, informal commitments and understanding that define their relationship.
Learners must understand the concept of the psychological contract as it shapes the behaviours of each party in the workplace. Caution should, however, be made by differentiating psychological contracts from legal agreements. Leaners should understand that human resource management professionals are at the forefront of demystifying the psychological contract to both parties guaranteeing mutual understanding and trust.
Terminating employment contracts
Since employees may ultimately leave the organizations, learners must understand the importance of ensuring legal laws pertaining to employee termination or dismissal are observed by the human resource management personnel. A meticulous strategy for Human resource professionals to maintain good relationships with employees even after they exist is scheduling exit interviews.
By the end of this unit, learners are expected to:
- Have a good understanding of internal and external factors affecting employee relations
- Have a good knowledge of different employment status
- Understand legislations guiding employee relations at the workplace
- Have an understanding of the concept of psychological contract and its practicality
- Understand best practices underpinning peaceful termination of contracts
This unit provides learners with interest in pursuing a career in human resource managers with knowledge regarding effective workplace relationships. Learners who take on this unit will understand the dynamics of workplace relationships and how best healthy employee relations can be managed. This unit also equips learners with knowledge of the legislations that guide organizations concerning employee relationships.