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What is employee relations? Definition and best practices

Alana Rudder

Alana Rudder

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Published 7:51 a.m. UTC Dec. 14, 2023

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Employee relations is a key consideration for today’s business operations, as it can greatly influence an organization’s success. Healthy employee relations contribute to a more harmonious work environment, resulting in better job satisfaction and productivity. Therefore, it’s important for companies to invest time, effort and resources into strengthening the employee-manager connection. 

A survey by the American Psychological Association shows that 79% of people feel their workplace prioritizes positive interactions between employees and the management team. The following guide provides further insight into what employee relations means, why it matters and how business leaders can build rapport with staff members.

What is employee relations?

Employee relations is a human resource function that focuses on developing and maintaining constructive working relationships among company management and employees. The goal of this specialized field is to cultivate an organizational culture where employees are motivated and can thrive. 

It aims to promote respectful workplace behaviors while encouraging a collaborative environment. It also takes preventive measures against conflict and helps resolve any problems that may arise between employees and managers. Some businesses have their HR department oversee employee relations activities, whereas others hire an employee relations specialist. 

Why is employee relations important?

Improving employee relations helps establish a foundation of trust between an organization’s leadership and its employees. This connection often nurtures higher employee engagement and retention. Many involved employees are inspired to perform their best and are more likely to remain loyal to their company. 

Good employee relations is also vital to a company’s reputation because it can increase its ability to attract top talent, often a vital component of the company’s competitive edge. Additionally, it allows disputes to be handled more efficiently and effectively so as to maintain a calm and positive work environment.

Examples of employee relations issues

Employee relations covers a wide range of human resource matters. Generally, it covers everything involved in the employee experience, from onboarding new hires to addressing any areas of job dissatisfaction or workplace violations. 

Here are some of the most common issues that employee relations manages: 


One of the primary purposes of employee relations is to create the type of work environment that fosters a desire in employees to put forth their best efforts. When a person is regularly failing to meet their job expectations, it can negatively affect team members who have to make up for it and take on extra work.

If underperforming employees aren’t properly managed, other employees who were once enthusiastic and committed to their work may become disengaged and less productive. Employee relations helps to bring that employee up to speed through feedback, training and goal management. 

Employees who are consistently absent, late for work or taking unauthorized long lunches can disrupt the organization’s workflow and make it difficult to complete tasks on time. This will not only begin to impact the company’s bottom line but also cause a decrease in morale among the rest of the team. 

As such, employee relations managers must put attendance policies into place and follow through with disciplinary action if these policies aren’t followed. They may also work with employees who are struggling with attendance or promptness to resolve any personal issues that may contribute to such behavior.

Workplace safety

Employee safety is a top concern for businesses. There’s potential for incidents to occur in any situation regardless of a company’s risk level. Employees need access to safe working conditions at all times. Otherwise, they may lose trust and confidence in the organization.

In addition, businesses can be held liable if a worker gets hurt on the job due to employer negligence. The organization may have to pay penalties, higher workers’ compensation premiums or legal fines. Companies should periodically perform safety audits and provide safety training for new hires and seasoned employees to ensure everyone is up-to-date on and implementing the latest safety protocols.

Conflict management

Conflict is a routine part of any work environment. Personality differences and misunderstandings can lead to tension and discord between employees or an employee and leadership. When this happens, action must be taken quickly to keep workplace disagreements from escalating into conflicts that could start to interrupt company operations. 

Strong employee relations help encourage open communication with staff so they feel comfortable enough to discuss what’s troubling them and are able to work towards a resolution in a collaborative and constructive manner. Employee relations managers put tools, processes and events in place that help to foster open communication as a cultural norm. 

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Conducting employee relations investigations

Investigations are another significant component of employee relations. Unfortunately, employee and management misconduct can occur at any organization despite efforts to prevent it. This can lead to a hostile and unsafe workplace. Some of the more common issues that require investigation include:

  • Policy violations.
  • Allegations of harassment, discrimination or bullying.

Under these and similar circumstances, employee relations managers must conduct an internal investigation and enforce a zero-tolerance policy when necessary. Knowing that issues of misconduct will be handled appropriately and swiftly helps employees feel more at ease about voicing their concerns without fearing retaliation. 

Employee relations best practices

There are many strategies a business can use to enhance the employee experience and support mutually beneficial employee-manager relationships. A few effective employee relations practices including encouraging communication and feedback, implementing employee appreciation programs, providing regular leadership training, regularly monitoring policy compliance and compiling and disseminating a formal employee relations policy.

Encourage communication and feedback

Maintaining open and honest dialogue between employees and management helps alleviate frustrations and prevent a buildup of resentment so problems can be resolved faster. Also, engaging in meaningful conversations about an employee’s everyday life and asking for their feedback about company operations makes them feel important, more connected to the organization and so more willing to work to resolve disputes instead of simply leaving.

Implement employee appreciation programs

Recognizing employees for all of their hard work and showing that they’re appreciated goes a long way toward boosting productivity, engagement and retention rates. Companies may acknowledge employee achievements by, for example, implementing an employee recognition program, celebrating personal and professional milestones as a team, giving informal praise and offering bonuses. 

Provide regular leadership training

A crucial part of employee relations is ensuring company managers have the skills and knowledge to be successful leaders. Providing training allows them to develop leadership skills they lack and gives them practical tools and techniques to improve employee interactions.

Regularly monitor compliance

Being consistent with compliance monitoring helps to ensure that all company policies and procedures are properly followed by everyone in the organization. This reduces the chances of future disputes and creates a culture that favors ethical behavior and integrity.

Compile and disseminate an employee relations policy

Every business should have an employee relations policy that’s clearly outlined within the employee handbook. To reduce confusion and ambiguity, it should explain what behaviors are expected of team members and those in leadership positions. This document should include the organization’s mission and values, wage and benefits details and company procedures and code of conduct. 

It should also outline clear consequences for not adhering to the concepts within the document and ways employees can safely report noncompliance.

Employee relations issues should be handled by conducting and documenting investigations, mediating conflict, enforcing safety protocols, providing management coaching and development and promoting a collaborative work environment. 

Companies may use employee management tools, implement conflict resolution systems and adopt clear policies to help effectively address employee relations issues.

An organization may improve its employee relations by keeping open lines of communication, making sure employees and managers stay updated on policies and procedures and remaining consistent with compliance enforcement. 

It also helps to reward hard work, encourage growth through the company and foster an environment that values camaraderie and trust between a workforce and its leadership.

To measure employee relations, organizations may use surveys, interviews and data acquisition. These metrics typically assess employee engagement, morale, absenteeism, turnover rates, employee sentiments and the quality of workplace relationships. This analysis helps companies identify how satisfied employees are with their jobs, their concerns with management and areas that need improvement.

The four pillars of employee relations are open communication, showing recognition, giving constant feedback and investing in staff. These are essential for maintaining positive workplace relationships. Here is a summary of each:

  • Open communication: Managers should be willing and available to speak with employees at any time without judgment or consequence. A high level of communication makes employees feel valued and gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts, ideas and criticism in a safe environment. 
  • Recognition: Validating an employee’s performance and dedication is vital to engagement and retention. Knowing that management has noticed and appreciates their efforts motivates employees to work harder and remain loyal to the company.
  • Constant feedback: Employees want to feel heard and respected. Therefore, listening to any feedback they give is a good way for management to nurture better connections. However, employees should also receive feedback on a regular basis. When delivered thoughtfully, constructive criticism leads to growth and positive change.
  • Invest in staff: Employees need to know they aren’t just viewed as extensions of the company but as people with lives outside of work as well. Investing in them, whether through mentoring, skill development programs or gym memberships, will show they’re cared for and yield higher productivity.

Though labor and employee relations both deal with the prevention and resolution of work-related issues involving employees, labor relations focuses on the interactions between employees and unions. Employee relations, however, handles the connections employees have with the company that employs them.  Labor relations require specialized knowledge of labor laws and other labor matters.

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Gina Ponce

Gina Ponce has more than a decade of experience in journalism and copywriting. She is committed to providing readers with useful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. Her work has been featured on several online blogs and in various print publications.

Alana is the deputy editor for USA Today Blueprint's small business team. She has served as a technology and marketing SME for countless businesses, from startups to leading tech firms — including Adobe and Workfusion. She has zealously shared her expertise with small businesses — including via Forbes Advisor and Fit Small Business — to help them compete for market share. She covers technologies pertaining to payroll and payment processing, online security, customer relationship management, accounting, human resources, marketing, project management, resource planning, customer data management and how small businesses can use process automation, AI and ML to more easily meet their goals. Alana has an MBA from Excelsior University.

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Key Elements of an Effective Employee Relations Issues Framework

  • First, there must be a clear understanding of company policies and procedures, ensuring everyone knows their rights and responsibilities. 
  • Consistent enforcement of rules and regulations is essential to maintain a fair and equal work environment. 
  • Encouraging open and honest communication fosters trust and transparency within the organization. 
  • Fair and unbiased conflict resolution procedures should be in place to address any issues that may arise. 
  • Finally, continuous improvement based on feedback and evaluation helps to ensure that the framework remains effective and adaptable.

The Importance of Flexibility in Employee Relations Framework

  • Effective communication is vital in fostering understanding and trust between employers and employees. 
  • Conflict resolution skills are necessary for addressing disputes and maintaining a harmonious work environment. 
  • Empathy and understanding help create a supportive atmosphere where employees feel valued. 
  • Strong problem-solving abilities are essential for handling various issues that may arise. 
  • Active listening promotes open dialogue and encourages employees to share their concerns. 

Communication is the key to effectively managing relationships. Test your skills now.

Take the free communication skills assessment by Risely today to ensure that common mistakes do not create troubles for you.

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employee relationship assignment

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5HR01 Assignment Example

  • December 18, 2021
  • Posted by: Harry King
  • Category: CIPD Level 5

5HR01 Assignment Example

You are the HR manager for Makite Solutions, a small-medium sized logistics company which distributes products nationally. Makite provide high-performance logistics and supply chain management to customers. Starting by delivering in their local area, they have experienced explosive growth over the last 3 years, becoming one of the leading lights in their sector. Makite is a unionised workplace.

This growth, however, has caused problems for Makite Solutions. Employee relations have become difficult between Makite and their staff and conflict is starting to become commonplace. Employees have mentioned “differences in personality styles”, “lack of respect” and “lack of support”. There is currently industrial unrest within the organisation, with instances of go slow tactics and talks of strikes.

As the HR manager, you have been tasked to create a policy document or factual summary of key legal aspects and their implications, for Makite’s intranet library. You will also generate an advisory briefing note to senior managers facing industrial unrest in the organisation.

Preparation for the Tasks:

  • Refer to the indicative content in the unit to guide and support your evidence.
  • Pay attention to how your evidence is presented, remember you are working in the People Practice Team for this task.
  • Ensure that the evidence generated for this assessment remains your own work.

You will also benefit from:

  • Reflecting on your own experiences of learning opportunities and training and continuing professional development.
  • Reading the CIPD Insight, Fact Sheets and related online material on these topics.
  • You should relate academic concepts, theories, and professional practice to the assessment task(s), in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles and other publications.

Don’t forget to:

  • Complete the front cover sheet, sign with a “wet signature” and place at the front of your assessment.
  • Use the bullet points below each task as headings and sub-headings so your marker can see where your answer begins.

Task One – Policy Document

You are required to produce a policy document containing key legal aspects and their implications. This should be designed to sit on the company’s intranet and should be formal in style.

The policy document can be broken down into two sections:

A review of emerging developments to inform approaches to employee voice and engagement (AC 1.1)

Differentiate between employee involvement and employee participation and how it builds relationships (AC 1.2)

Assess a range of employee voice tools and approaches to drive employee engagement. (AC 1.3)

Critically evaluate the interrelationships between employee voice and organisational performance. (AC 1.4)

Explain the concept of better working lives and how this can be designed. (AC 1.5)

  • Explain the principles of legislation relating to unfair dismissal in respect of capability and misconduct issues . (AC 3.1)
  • Analyse key causes of employee grievances (AC 3.2)
  • Explain the skills required for effective grievance and discipline-handling procedures. (AC 3.3)
  • Advise on the importance of handling grievances effectively. (AC 3.4)

Task Two – Advisory Briefing Note

This task requires you to produce an advisory briefing note to senior managers facing industrial unrest in the organisation.

The advisory note should contain:

  • Distinguish between organisational conflict and misbehaviour, and between informal and formal conflict. (AC 2.1)
  • Distinguish between official and unofficial employee action. (AC 2.2)
  • Assess emerging trends in the types of conflict and industrial sanctions. (AC.2.3)
  • Distinguish between third-party conciliation, mediation and arbitration. (AC.2.4)
  • Explain the main provisions of collective employment law. (AC 4.1)
  • Compare the types of employee bodies, union and non-union forms of employee representation (AC 4.2)
  • Evaluate the purpose of collective bargaining and how it works. (AC 4.3)

a) A review of emerging developments to inform approaches to employee voice and engagement (AC 1.1)

In today’s business world, giving employees more say over how they carry out their responsibilities and soliciting their views during decision-making has enormous benefits for both employees and employers. Employee involvement research focuses on employee choice in completing job operations and making workplace decisions through various workplace innovations such as teams and quality circles (Rasheed et al., 2017). Employee voice accelerators of employee engagement. Employee engagement, retention, innovation, and effectiveness can help boost workplace productivity (Rasheed et al., 2017). There is a wealth of information that draws parallels between productivity and employee engagement. Gallup reported that individuals in the top quartile of employee engagement were 18% more productive than those in the lowest quartile in a sample of over 23,000 business units (Nechanska et al., 2020).

Voice further helps to strengthen the organisation’s resilience. In this respect, engaged individuals with an effective voice are more likely to lend support to a company during times of change, whether caused by internal or external forces (Nechanska et al., 2020). Employees who are disengaged and do not have access to an appropriate system for objective dialogue are more likely to exacerbate these pressures by looking for alternative ways to vent their concerns (Rasheed et al., 2017). In normal operations, employee voice can provide a crucial early warning system for concerns such as technological breakdowns or consumer and supplier behavioural changes.

b) Differentiate between employee involvement and employee participation and how it builds relationships (AC 1.2)

Employee participation refers to employees having a part to collectively play in company operations to attain a shared goal (Bai et al., 2019). A computer security firm, for example, might assemble a group of workers and task the group with building doomsday security scenarios. Every employee is encouraged to contribute by coming up with suggestions based on real-life occurrences that could jeopardise computer security. The team provides a platform for employees to offer suggestions for completing the work. Employee morale is boosted, and a more inclusive workplace is established when the company’s leadership fosters the ideal climate in which participation is collaborative, team-oriented, and also exploits of each individual’s particular skill set (Wang et al., 2018).

Employee involvement encompasses opportunities offered to employees to participate in the decision-making process at work; it refers to the direct relationship between management and staff that allows staff members to take ownership of the project’s outcome (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employee involvement activities can further encompass facilitating opportunities for employee training, various motivational approaches to bolster employee performance, and creating a corporate structure conducive to freethinking and autonomous decision-making.

Employee participation differs from employee involvement in that participation relates to the actual business tasks that workers execute. In contrast, involvement refers to the level of influence that staff members have in decision-making over which corporate activities they undertake. Employee participation encourages a collaborative approach in which a team of employees completes a project by combining their varied skill sets to reach a shared goal. On the other hand, employee involvement comprises a direct line of communication between management and staff to facilitate better communication and ownership of how workplace decisions are made. Both methods can improve the commitment to achieving a common objective.

c) Assess a range of employee voice tools and approaches to drive employee engagement. (AC 1.3)

Organisations may use employee voice tools such as surveys and collective bargaining. Employee perceptions are measured in an employee culture survey used to assess if they fit with the organisation’s or departments’ (Holbeche, 2018). Employee engagement surveys assess employees’ dedication, motivation, a feeling of purpose, and enthusiasm for their jobs and employers (Saks, 2019). Thus, surveys grant employees a say in the organisation’s strategies and goals. Collective bargaining empowers employees to safeguard their employment interests by seeking unions and authorised representatives to negotiate with employers regarding employment terms (Jiang and Luo, 2018).

Organisations may further employment approaches to drive employee engagement, such as reward and organisational culture. When a firm adopts a total rewards plan, it can offer its staff bonuses, wage raises, extra vacation or paid sick leave, and improved perks throughout their career (Holbeche, 2018). Such an approach yields employee engagement by offering a series of long-term projections and goals to an employee for which they may earn rewards. Corporate culture encompasses a wide range of organisational practices. For instance, employees are also drawn to settings where management is approachable, communication is open, firm executives exemplify accessibility and approachability, and the corporate direction is clear, yielding increased engagement.

d) Critically evaluate the interrelationships between employee voice and organisational performance. (AC 1.4)

Effective employee voice mechanisms guard defend against a slew of issues arising from the psychological pressures in an organisational setting. Employee voice bolsters organisational agility. If businesses adjust swiftly to changing market conditions, they must create an environment where people feel free to speak up (Bai et al., 2019). Managers frequently lose sight of how front-line services are provided to clients. It can be challenging to transform the organisation unless individuals can be frank about the reality of how it runs daily, as sustainable change begins with transparency and honesty. HR can create incentive schemes that effectively orient employees toward accomplishing organisational goals if individuals can speak up regarding what they find essential vis-à-vis what is attainable (Duan et al., 2017). Organisations that cannot swiftly construct a picture of how they need to adapt–and then take proactive action–are likely to lag as the business landscape evolves.

Employee voice helps to prevent the loss of knowledge and skills. Many employee voice mechanisms are closely linked with employee retention; when staff members feel able to speak up and have avenues to do so, grievances are addressed at the source before harming well-being, job satisfaction, and the psychological contract (Jiang and Luo, 2018). In an environment where tacit information is a crucial component of competitive edge, high retention is critical for all businesses. As it is costly to replace knowledge and competencies, it is critical to engage and nurture existing employees (Bai et al., 2019).

e) Explain the concept of better working lives and how this can be designed. (AC 1.5)

A better working life refers to a healthy balance between an individual’s professional and personal life. A growing number of businesses are counting on their staff to live more balanced lives, as balanced workers are more productive and driven. Suppose a firm purposefully or unconsciously undermines an employee’s private life by forcing them to work excessive overtime or under excessive pressure. In that case, it will inevitably lead to discontent and stress, leading to health issues, poor performance, and alienation from the employer (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employee dissatisfaction demonstrates how distant the company is from attaining a work-life balance. However, the working environment is steadily evolving as more businesses embrace the concept and actively promote it (Jiang and Luo, 2018).

The employer should lead by having a positive attitude towards a healthy work-life balance. Employers must see themselves as a reliable ally who promotes a healthy lifestyle rather than as the supreme authority in the lives of their employees. Employers can encourage a healthy work-life balance by providing workplace amenities that advance employee welfare, such as gyms and daycare facilities (Bai et al., 2019). Management aims to balance a fulfilling personal life and a healthy level of working strictness. However, employees who work for companies that operate on a highly “loose” basis may take advantage of the employer’s benevolence, yielding negligence and indiscipline (Jiang and Luo, 2018).

Section 2        

a) Explain the principles of legislation relating to unfair dismissal in respect of capability and misconduct issues. (AC 3.1)

The Employment Rights Act 1996, as revised by many provisions, is the principal source of UK law regarding unfair dismissal. Unfair dismissal law is based on the principle that employees have a right to fair treatment. The employee must show that they were dismissed before filing a claim; the employer must prove that the dismissal was fair and was for a specified reason and handled appropriately, to effectively defend the claim (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Managers must first ascertain the facts before taking action. Before contemplating dismissal, they should assess whether a more constructive strategy that does not include dismissal is more likely to be beneficial (Wang et al., 2018). Where an employee’s conduct is in question, the threshold of proof that the employee perpetrated an offence is not as stringent as it is in criminal court (Holbeche, 2018). The employer, however, must show that it conducted a comprehensive inquiry into the claimed misconduct. The employer must demonstrate that the investigation yielded a reasonable belief that the employee committed the offence in question and that the decision to terminate them was justifiable (Jiang and Luo, 2018). When an employee’s capability is a concern, things may traverse their control. Suppose concerns are the consequence of poor leadership, management, or work systems. In that case, the employer should implement suitable solutions (often incorporating learning and development) to help the individual improve their performance (Wang et al., 2018).

b) Analyse key causes of employee grievances (AC 3.2)

An employee grievance refers to a complaint made by one or more employees about salaries and allowances, working conditions, and the implementation of service terms, including overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, tenure, job responsibilities, and service termination (Wang et al., 2018). Therefore, an employee grievance encompasses any dissatisfaction or feeling of injustice related to one’s employment situation brought to management’s attention. Broadly, an employee grievance is any form of staff discontent that harms organisational relations and performance (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employee grievances may arise from a variety of reasons:

  • Salaries and wages

The most profound source of employee dissatisfaction is inadequate compensation. Furthermore, pay and wage-related issues such as regular salary delays, unfair deductions, insufficient raises and overtime pay, failure to revise salaries over time lead to employee grievances and dissatisfaction (Holbeche, 2018).

  • Workplace environment

Employees have the right to operate in a secure and comfortable environment. Here, factors such as insufficient lighting, improper ventilation, inadequate sanitary facilities, the use of malfunctioning tools and machines, and a lack of washrooms and drinking water facilities may cause employees to clash with management.

  • Unfair workplace practices

Employees are subjected to excessive stress and dissatisfaction due to activities such as unfair promotion policies, coerced transfers, a lack of proper training, and unsuitable job designs (Shuck et al., 2017). These practices further increase absenteeism and staff turnover.

  • Disciplinary actions

Due to frequent absenteeism, conflicts of interest, impulsive behaviour, or a lack of punctuality. Management may be forced to demote or suspend an individual for a period, bringing the individual shame and embarrassment (Holbeche, 2018). The employee may believe the punishment to be unjust; such misunderstandings must be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.

c) Explain the skills required for effective grievance and discipline-handling procedures. (AC 3.3)

Managers must conduct grievance meetings and disciplinary hearings effectively by planning, familiarising themselves with applicable policy, and having faith in their skills:

  • Proactiveness

Some problems can be avoided before they spiral out of control and necessitate intervention. It is advisable to be direct with employees when dealing with a grievance or disciplinary matter (Bai et al., 2019). Thus, a manager should not be hesitant to be forthright about what an employee is expected to do. Managers must communicate with their employees and teams frequently. People are significantly more likely to turn to a manager to discuss a problem if they perceive them as approachable.

  • Focus on facts

Managers must take charge whenever grievance or a disciplinary matter proceeds to a formal level by equipping themselves with the facts. They must concentrate on the features of the employee’s behaviour that are potentially inappropriate and whether they have broken any specific policies (Shuck et al., 2017). If attendance is a problem, an accurate account of the employee’s timekeeping should be kept. If they have already been told about it through frequent feedback, they have already been allowed to improve. Therefore disciplinary action should not be unexpected. An investigator must show that he or she can design a strategy that focuses on elements such as timeframe and appropriate evidence sources.

  • Soft skills

A majority of the skills required for engaging people are soft skills, particularly when discussing potentially sensitive topics. Roleplaying and planning can help a manager to practice and improve their active listening and questioning skills. During grievance and discipline discussions, different questioning tactics must be employed, such as open questions to stimulate dialogue, probing questions to obtain the necessary information, and closed questions to verify facts (Bai et al., 2019). Active listening demonstrates the prioritisation of the employee’s perspective and point of view while also strengthening working relationships; it may include nonverbal cues such as body language and voice tone (Jiang and Luo, 2018). The manager must allow the employee in question to have a say without addressing them in an adversarial manner.

d) Advise on the importance of handling grievances effectively. (AC 3.4)

Employees are advised to follow a relevant mechanism to escalate their grievance after an issue has been identified formally. A grievance procedure is intended to provide employees and employers with an impartial and transparent framework for raising and reviewing critical issues and complaints (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employees have an avenue to voice concerns about a safe working environment without fear of negative ramifications if they use a formal grievance procedure. Knowing that any issues will be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately may boost employee morale and productivity (Bai et al., 2019). Employees are also protected against management’s arbitrary decisions if a comprehensive process is followed (Jiang and Luo, 2018). A systematic grievance process assists businesses in identifying any inappropriate or unlawful gaps in their current grievance handling procedures while also working per employee contracts and assisting in the enforcement of corporate contracts (Bai et al., 2019). By preventing the unfavourable publicity associated with a mishandled grievance, having an agreed-upon and approved process also helps safeguard the brand or company image.

▪ Distinguish between organisational conflict and misbehaviour and between informal and formal conflict. (AC 2.1)

Any planned activity by members of the organisation that breaches essential organisational or social norms is referred to as organisational misbehaviour (Bai et al., 2019). In this case, there is enough proof of the organisation disrupting processes, harassing others, theft, misappropriation or damage of corporate property, defrauding the government, and deceiving customers. The fundamental thread in defining misbehaviour lies in the intention behind the misbehaviour.  This viewpoint results in the classification of misbehaviour as either type S (misbehaviour meant to benefit self, such as theft), type O (misbehaviour meant to benefit the organisation such as defrauding the government), or type D (misbehaviour meant to inflict damage such as damage to company property or systems) (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Thus, management must be proactive in detecting misbehaviour at the workplace, taking relevant action to address it at the source.

Conflict differs from misbehaviour in that it is a natural occurrence in all workplaces, associations, and groups where people from various backgrounds interact. Conflict occurs more frequently when unmet expectations or when the persons involved are obligated to work together for an extended period to achieve personal or business goals (Patton, 2020). Differences in thought, personality, or perspectives at work frequently lead to tensions, which harm workplace productivity. Workplace conflict refers to any problems that arise in the workplace or among employees, and it can also refer to conflicts that occur outside of regular working hours (Nash and Hann, 2020). Interpersonal conflict, which can arise from personality clashes and obstacles in working with one another, is now included in modern definitions of workplace conflict, in addition to traditional disagreements (Asante, 2020). Workplace complaints, such as opposition to established procedures and managerial decisions, can also lead to conflict between employees and their employer or between employees and the employer’s representatives, according to modern definitions of workplace conflict. Formal conflict entails clashes between an organisation and the staff regarding organisational policies and procedures, while informal conflict entails interpersonal clashes in the organisational context.

▪ Distinguish between official and unofficial employee action. (AC 2.2)

The current trends in labour relations indicate that unionisation is on the rise. Many employees join trade unions willingly to safeguard and advance their employment interests. in the event of an unresolved issue between employers and employees; trade unions intervene to pursue a solution; if they fail, industrial action ensues. Industrial action is considered official if endorsed by a trade union and involves union members (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Because industrial actions violate employment terms, the proper legal procedure must be implemented to defend the action against illegal employment actions such as dismissals and non-payment of wages and benefits (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Without the support of their labour unions, some employees may call for industrial action such as a go-slow. Such activities are considered unofficial, they are frequently unprotected, and these employees risk being terminated.

▪ Assess emerging trends in the types of conflict and industrial sanctions. (AC.2.3)

The contemporary business landscape has seen significant evolution around conflicts and industrial sanctions. In contrast to ancient times, trade unions have friendly relationships with employers (Nash and Hann, 2020). Similarly, the focus in employment relations has shifted from just paying salaries on time and enduring difficult performance reviews to nurturing employees (Nash and Hann, 2020). Organised expressions of dispute articulated through a trade union or other employee representation amount to a formal industrial conflict. Its most common form is the organised strike, which comprises a temporary suspension of work to avoid punishment and achieve changes in wages or working conditions by utilising the collective strength of employees (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Strikes can be bolstered by other forms of official action, such as go-slows and work-to-rule agreements. Strikes are considered official if they are authorised by the trade union leadership and are executed per the law and procedural collective bargaining arrangements (Nash and Hann, 2020). The informal industrial conflict is purely expressive, as it is not based on any structured organisations and arises from a sense of grievance (Nash and Hann, 2020).

▪ Distinguish between third-party conciliation, mediation and arbitration. (AC.2.4)

Conflicting parties seek the assistance of an objective and neutral third party during mediation, which promotes dialogue about possible solutions. As a result, mediation produces a solution that is acceptable to all parties. Mediation is usually faster, less expensive, and less stressful than litigation (Nash and Hann, 2020). The mediator instructs the disputing parties what to do, offers advice on problems, and asks questions that help the disputants reflect on their behaviour (Patton, 2020). Mediation is an effective technique to take during the early phases of a conflict, and it can even be used as part of a grievance procedure in some cases. Nevertheless, the opposing parties must consent to mediation.


Although conciliation and mediation have certain parallels, conciliation is often used to resolve specific legal problems rather than more general issues. During the conciliation process, an objective and independent expert speaks to the disputing parties separately and collectively, as needed to encourage them to reach an agreement.  A conciliator urges disputing parties to reach an agreement among themselves, while a mediator proposes a solution to the problem at hand (Patton, 2020). A qualified conciliator discusses the issues with all parties concerned, explains the legal issues, analyses resolution options, and assists the disputing parties in reaching a legally enforceable agreement (Nash and Hann, 2020).


Arbitration involves a neutral third party functioning as a judge who decides between opposing viewpoints and renders a definite ruling in a case. The disputing parties usually agree ahead of time whether the arbitrator’s ruling is legally binding (Asante, 2020).  Alternatively, they may decide that the arbitrator’s ruling is not legally binding, allowing them to pursue the dispute in court or before a tribunal (Nash and Hann, 2020). When a trade union considers industrial action, for example, they may seek the assistance of an independent arbitrator to assess the situation and make a rational conclusion. However, the disputing parties must agree to arbitration.

▪ Explain the main provisions of collective employment law. (AC 4.1)

The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines who an employee is in the UK; a person who works under a contract of service or apprenticeship. The primary legal requirements around a contract of employment entail items included in the primary document or the principal statement. The principal statement’s minimum requirements include necessary items such as pay, including the frequency and time of payment, working hours, holiday and holiday pay, including its formula of calculation, amount of sick leave and pay, and any other paid leave (Pugh, 2020). These terms form the basis of collective negotiations. In many respects, an employment contract is identical to any other contract. Broader dynamics influence contractual working arrangements in this regard. As a result, contract law governs the employment contract. In this case, contract law mandates that the employment contract include an unambiguous job offer from the employer.  The offer can be conditional, but it must be accepted by the employee who receives it. It must include a consideration between the parties involved, such as the employee’s job in exchange for the employer’s wage offer. It must also express a desire to enter into a legally binding agreement (Pugh, 2020). Nonetheless, as the employer has more power in the employment arrangement, the law may require additional aspects to protect the employee’s rights.

▪ Compare the types of employee bodies, union and non-union forms of employee representation (AC 4.2)

Some of the nuances that create a distinction between union and non-union workplaces are characterised by complexity. However, the real difference boils down to the party that is responsible for defining the work culture. In a non-union workplace, the employer wields the bulk of power; in this regard, the employer determines work expectations, work schedules, sets remuneration and maintains disciplinary independence, promotions, and other work culture aspects (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). On the other hand, in a union environment, employees enjoy a higher percentage of control; using their union, employees can negotiate contracts at the workplace, including details regarding subjects such as wages, work expectations, schedules, promotions, and discipline.

Employees prefer a union environment owing to its accompanying advantages such as support, benefits, wages, and security. According to some estimates, union workers enjoy higher wages than non-union employees (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Also, union workers typically enjoy medical benefits more often than their non-union counterparts; more than 90% of union workers are granted medical benefits while less than 70% of non-union employees enjoy medical benefits (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). Furthermore, the spouses of union employees are often incorporated in this benefit coverage, unlike for non-union employees. An added advantage of working in a union workplace is job security. In this regard, the only way of dismissing an employee in a union environment is in a just manner; this means that the employee must display gross misconduct (such as stealing from the employer) to suffer dismissal (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Also, their peers’ support enables collective action, should an employee feel that they have received unfair treatment. In some instances, there are rules in a union environment to shield more senior staff members from being disregarded during promotions or transfers to new positions (Sarvaiya et al., 2018).

Working in a union environment also comes with some drawbacks compared to a non-union environment. For instance, all union members must pay union fees which is sometimes a significant cost implication. Furthermore, with membership to a union, the employee is part of a group or collective and, in turn, loses some degree of autonomy (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Whether or not the employee agrees with the decisions of their union, they are bound to the employment contract terms negotiated (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). Also, a significant number of workers cite that supervisors tend to be less collaborative, resulting in unionised workers having less support, trust, and partnership with the management.

▪ Evaluate the purpose of collective bargaining and how it works. (AC 4.3)

Workplace conflicts between employees and employers can be resolved through discussion and negotiation to reach a decision; this is termed collective bargaining because both parties agree to a decision reached after extensive negotiation and consultation. Therefore, collective bargaining is instrumental in determining employment terms through negotiations between an organised group of employees and an employer or employee association operating through recognised agencies. Ultimately, the essence of collective bargaining is communication between relevant stakeholders, not outsiders (Sarvaiya et al., 2018).

Collective bargaining can take many different forms. First, negotiating may occur between a single company and a single union, referred to as single plant bargaining (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Secondly, the negotiation may occur between a single company with multiple plants and the people who work in each of these plants. Multiple plant bargaining is a type of collective bargaining in which workers negotiate with the same company through separate unions (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). Thirdly, instead of an individual union dealing with an individual employer, all unions existing in the same industry negotiate with the employer’s federation of that industry through these unions’ federation. This arrangement is referred to as multiple employer bargaining, which is feasible at both the municipal and regional levels.

Reference List

Asante, O., 2020. Leadership Strategies to Manage Workplace Conflict.

Bai, Y., Lin, L. and Liu, J.T., 2019. Leveraging the employee voice: a multi-level social learning perspective of ethical leadership. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 30(12), pp.1869-1901.

Dobbins, T. and Dundon, T., 2020. Non-union employee representation. In Handbook of research on employee voice. Edward Elgar Publishing.

Duan, J., Li, C., Xu, Y. and Wu, C.H., 2017. Transformational leadership and employee voice behavior: A Pygmalion mechanism. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 38(5), pp.650-670.

Gall, G., 2020. Twenty Years of the Third Statutory Union Recognition Procedure in Britain: Outcomes and Impact. Industrial Law Journal, 49(4), pp.657-662.

Holbeche, L.S., 2018. Organisational effectiveness and agility. Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance.

Jiang, H. and Luo, Y., 2018. Crafting employee trust: from authenticity, transparency to engagement. Journal of Communication Management.

Nash, D. and Hann, D., 2020. Strategic conflict management? A study of workplace dispute resolution in Wales. ILR Review, 73(2), pp.411-430.

Nechanska, E., Hughes, E. and Dundon, T., 2020. Towards integration of employee voice and silence. Human Resource Management Review, 30(1), p.100674.

Patton, C.M., 2020. Breaking the healthcare workplace conflict perpetuation cycle. Leadership in Health Services.

Pugh, J., 2020. The United Kingdom’s Coronavirus Act, deprivations of liberty, and the right to liberty and security of the person. Journal of Law and the Biosciences, 7(1), p. lsaa011.

Rasheed, M.A., Shahzad, K., Conroy, C., Nadeem, S. and Siddique, M.U., 2017. Exploring the role of employee voice between high-performance work system and organisational innovation in small and medium enterprises. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development.

Saks, A.M., 2019. Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement revisited. Journal of Organisational Effectiveness: People and Performance.

Samuels, A., 2020. Coronavirus Act 2020: An overview by a lawyer interested in medico-legal matters. Medico-Legal Journal, 88(2), pp.86-89.

Sarvaiya, H., Eweje, G. and Arrowsmith, J., 2018. The roles of HRM in CSR: strategic partnership or operational support? Journal of Business Ethics, 153(3), pp.825-837.

Shuck, B., Osam, K., Zigarmi, D. and Nimon, K., 2017. Definitional and conceptual muddling: Identifying the positionality of employee engagement and defining the construct. Human Resource Development Review, 16(3), pp.263-293.

Wang, Y., Zheng, Y. and Zhu, Y., 2018. How transformational leadership influences employee voice behaviour: The roles of psychological capital and organisational identification. Social Behaviour and Personality: an international journal, 46(2), pp.313-321.

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What is Employee Relations and Its Important Pillars?

  • By Snehil Prakash
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Employee Relations

You would hear big companies tell and take pride in the fact that the employees are their greatest assets. Owing to this statement, you would expect that there is a considerable investment in the creation of a conducive workspace that fosters a collaborative approach to work. This idea is right in most cases of these companies. However, there is still a lag in employee relations, which is undermining productivity in the workspace .  

“Relationship” issues are highly detrimental in the workspace, either amongst the employees or between an employee and the manager . In the case of the latter, it could lead to a bridge of trust, and could ultimately lead to dismissal.

Proper communication can, more often than not, resolve relationship issues in the workplace environment. As simple as this might sound, most workspaces do not quickly achieve this level of communication. Employee relations influences nearly every human resource decision made in an organization. There are numerous factors on which we premise employee relations. However, it is pertinent first to review the concept of employee relations.

Table of Contents

What are Employee Benefits? | Employee Relations Defined

We can define employee relations as a concept, as industrial relations. It is primarily concerned with the contractual, emotional, physical, and the functional relationship between an employee and his employer.

At its core, employee relations include the processes of developing, implementing, administering, and analyzing the employer-employee relationship. This relationship comprises maintaining organization culture, developing engagement of employee , resolving workplace conflict, conducting workplace investigations, and managing employee discipline.

Hence, employee relations’ central concept is meant to cover the scope of the relationship between employers and employees as well as the co-workers’ connection. Relationship between employees and managers can vary greatly, as it can be one that individuals based on trust, respect, appreciation or fear, and even secrecy.

Relationship between managers and employees can either be good or bad, and most companies always put in their best to make sure they avoid bad relationships. The practice of preventing those sour relationships is because it can affect the effort put in by the employee, hence, compromising on the productivity level. 

The concept of employee relations also spans through various efforts of the organization to ensure that a wholesome relationship exists between the manager and the employee. This duty is committed to the Human resource management of the company. In a company with good employee relations, there is the assurance of treating employees with all fairness. The company also has frameworks and structures in place to bolster the relationship between employees and managers, as well as mediating issues that might arise in the course of work.

What are the Benefits of Good Employee Relations Management?

Moving companies preach the development of positive relationships between managers and their employees because they understand that employee relation is the basis of growth and productivity of a company.

In situations of a positive relationship between the manager and employees, there is a birth of a collaborative and more productive environment. Previously mentioned is because there is an elevation in the morale and motivation of both parties.

In this case, employees are more excited about work, and enjoy every bit of activity they are engaged with, while at it. The feeling of positivity brings about a wholesome work experience. When employees are happy, they work harder and produce better service to the customers; hence, the growth of the business.

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employee relationship assignment

The Four Pillars of Employee Relations

Establishing and maintaining good work relationships is the key to a positive workplace, and it doesn’t have to take much time. There are several ways in which a manager can foster a better employee relationship in a company. We have summarized them in four simple tips; 

1. Open Communication

Just as it is in any form of interrelation, communication is critical. Workers spend the chunk of the day at work. Hence, it is very pertinent that employees feel comfortable in their places of work. They have to find fulfilment and comfort at work. Anything short of that would compromise the quality of work. In ensuring this comfort for employees, the core is effective communication. 

As a manager , you should ensure that your employees are free to talk to you whenever. You can guarantee this communication when you make them realize that you are always available to speak. As an employer or manager, you should also note that your employees would prefer it when you are entirely truthful with them as to what you need from them.

This simple tactic makes employees loyal and productive; they know what to do and want to do it. A high level of open communication promotes retention and motivation, foster loyalty, and improves organizational performance . Most managers already understand that communication directly affects an organization’s financial health and profitability.

If you want to be sure of how your employees feel about you as the manager , you can create a survey, and ask them to give anonymous feedback. Feedback is one way to know things going on in their minds and be able to relate to their level of commitment and connection to the organization. Other than these, you should engage with your employees on a personal basis. Take more interest in them beyond what they do for you. Talk to them and show sincere interest when you do. They want to know that you are listening.

2. Show Recognition

Do you know that a simple “Thank you” can go a long way in affecting how someone’s day goes? Appreciation and gratitude mean a lot to your employees, and when you sincerely recognize them for a good deed, they do more. It’s simple logic. Appreciation brings about engagement. Engagement is about the active investment of an employee in their work and the value it adds to the organization.

Gallup employee engagement survey says only 32% of workers say they engage them at work.

Therefore most managers have much work to do to unlock the full potential of their workforce. One way you can improve engagement is showing appreciation by giving public praise. By doing this, you are providing such employee a more profound sense of worth. He feels better about himself and does more of what he has done. This way, he is more functional, and the overall benefit is of the company. 

It will help if you reward your employees for a job well done. This act would cultivate a culture of appreciation, and your company’s profit will be grateful for it. By making them know that their efforts count and are appreciated, they would be inspired to work harder, working harder for you and the company at large.

3. Constant Feedback

Feedback is another way in which you can foster a robust relationship with your employees. Employees want to feel valued and respected; they want to know you hear their ideas. As an employer, you should enable feedback in your workplace. Also, as an employee, offering frequent positive feedbacks on areas your managers are doing good is a great one. Also, in cases where they are lacking, the onus lies on you to know how to bring it to their notice constructively. With these coming from both ends, you can nurture a vibrant team.

As a manager, you should understand the fact that your employees want to know how they are faring. They want to know what area to improve on, and what they are lacking. However, it would help if you were careful of the presentation so that you don’t end up destroying the morale with which they work. You should also provide them with tips and guide on how they can be more effective at their jobs. As the manager, you can decide on having feedbacks every fortnight or month.

4. Invest in your Employees 

You need to show your employees that you see them as people and not as machines or robots. They are not just workers; they are people with flesh and blood, with families only as you. It would be best if you made them know that you understand this. Making them know that you are more inclined towards their fulfilment as a person and a professional is a big statement, and this will make them respect you the more.

Invest in your employees. Invest in them means going beyond what they merit as wages or salaries; it goes towards affecting them more as a person. Once they are happy in their personal life, you can be sure of an increase in productivity at work . Hence, you should invest your time, money, and resources to ensure that they are balanced personal. Only then can your business enjoy their potentials optimally.

Final Take:

It takes more than just employing people and having a structure laid down, to build a team. You want to go beyond the structure or framework if you are going to make a productive team. Workers are people, and they want you to treat them as such. Take out time to consider issues with your employees, know what they are lacking, and know what they want or how they feel about you. Only then can your business grow. 

How else do you think we can inculcate an excellent employer-employee relationship? Share us your thoughts in the comment section. 

employee relationship assignment

General FAQ on Employee Relations.

What is employee relations, why is employee and labour relations important, what is the role of hr in employee relations, how to measure employee relations.

Snehil Prakash

Snehil Prakash

Snehil Prakash is the Digital Marketer at CuteHR. In addition to marketing, he takes an interest in human resource management, business management, innovation, and startups. He's all about reading, good coffee, and music.

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employee relationship assignment

employee relationship assignment

The worker-employer relationship disrupted

If we're not a family, what are we.

Jeff Schwartz

  • Jeff Schwartz

United States

Jeff Schwartz

Jeff Schwartz, a principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, is the US leader for the Future of Work and author of Work Disrupted (Wiley, 2021). Schwartz is an adviser to senior business leaders at global companies, focusing on workforce and business transformation. He is the global editor of the Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report, which he started in 2011.

Kraig Eaton

Kraig Eaton

Kraig Eaton

Principal | Deloitte Consulting LLP

Kraig is a principal in Deloitte Consulting LLP's US Human Capital service area and serves as the co-lead of the Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends team. Kraig has more than 28 years of experience working with senior business and HR executives to transform their Human Capital strategies and capabilities to better support the business goals of the organization. Specifically supporting some of the world's leading organizations on efforts spanning the full spectrum of HR and workforce transformations; from upfront strategy development through large-scale operating model, organization, and technology implementations.

David Mallon

  • David Mallon

David Mallon

Vice President and Chief Analyst

David, a vice president with Deloitte Consulting LLP, is Chief Analyst and market leader for Deloitte’s Insights2Action team. He and the Insights2Action team help clients to sense, analyze, and act—with purpose and precision—at the ever shifting intersection of work, workforce, workplace, and industry. Part of Deloitte since 2013, David is the former Head of Research for Bersin. He brings more than 20 years of experience in human capital and is a sought-after researcher, thought leader, and speaker on organization design, organizational culture, HR, talent, learning, and performance. David is an author of Deloitte’s annual Global Human Capital Trends study and a co-host of the Capital H podcast.

Yves Van Durme

  • Yves Van Durme

Yves Van Durme

Yves Van Durme is a partner with Deloitte’s Belgian consulting practice and the global leader of Deloitte’s Strategic Change practice. He specializes in leadership and organizational development, as well as talent and HR strategy, in business transformation contexts. Van Durme has more than 20 years of experience as a consultant, project manager, and program developer on human capital projects for multiple European, Japanese, American, and Belgian multinationals; family businesses; and small and mediumsize enterprises.

Maren Hauptmann

  • Maren Hauptmann

Maren Hauptmann

Maren Hauptmann is the German Human Capital leader and Organization Transformation offering leader. Hauptmann has 21 years of experience in strategy and human capital consulting across multiple industries and has supported German, European, and global companies in large organizational, digital, and cultural transformations.

Nic Scoble-Williams

  • Nic Scoble-Williams

Nic Scoble-Williams

Nic Scoble-Williams, a partner with Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting LLC, is Deloitte’s Asia Pacific leader for Future of Work. With more than 20 years’ cross-industry experience in information technology services, talent strategy and advisory, and mergers & acquisitions, Scoble-Williams works with businesses and governments to embed future of work vision into enterprise transformation strategies. She is a frequent speaker on work, workforce, and workplace strategies to thrive in today’s world of perpetual disruption

Shannon Poynton

  • Shannon Poynton

Shannon Poynton

Shannon Poynton is a manager in Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice with nearly 10 years of experience advising global clients on complex organization, workforce, culture, and strategic change solutions. In addition to co-authoring the report, Poynton was Global Human Capital Trends’ 2020 program manager and coordinated the design and delivery of this year’s survey and report.

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The pandemic strained and tested the worker-employer relationship beyond anyone’s anticipation. Going forward, thriving in an uncertain future depends on having a compelling vision for where that relationship should go.

If we’re not a family, what are we?

“Shopify, like any other for-profit company, is not a family. The very idea is preposterous. You are born into a family. You never choose it, and they can’t un-family you. The dangers of ‘family thinking’ are that it becomes incredibly hard to let poor performers go. Shopify is a team, not a family.” -- Tobias Lütke, CEO, Shopify

Shopify reminded workers that they’re a business, not a family. 1 Basecamp banned societal and political discussions at work. 2 Fujitsu took the first steps to end “solo work” practices. 3 Goldman Sachs came under fire for workers’ 100 hour weeks. 4 And Danone set its sights on becoming the world’s largest B-Corp. Whatever you thought the worker-employer relationship was before, there’s no doubt that it is under stress and evolving now.

What’s less clear is what form it will take moving forward. How will the worker-employer relationship shift as employers and workers push and pull each other in the pursuit of their various needs? Will organizations continue to embrace their role as social enterprises? Will workers’ trust in business remain steadfast, or will they look for leadership outside of organizational walls?

  • Take the 2023 Global Human Capital Trends survey
  • Watch the On the Line video series
  • Read a perspective from Deloitte’s US Human Capital leader
  • Listen to The worker-employer relationship disrupted podcast

employee relationship assignment

This special report explores one set of possible answers to the central question: How might the worker-employer relationship evolve to meet the opportunities and challenges of the post–COVID-19 world?

In a world full of uncertainties, we’ve used scenario planning to explore the possible futures of the worker-employer relationship, seeking to challenge conventional wisdom, stretch our thinking and horizons, and chart a new course. The insights on the following pages leverage our scenario planning methodology and are fueled by research findings from a combination of social media polling, live survey polling, artificial intelligence (AI)–enabled focus groups, and interviews with business and HR executives across industries and workers all over the world.

COVID-19: Testing the limits of the worker-employer relationship

The pandemic strained and tested the worker-employer relationship. Employers were called upon to support workers’ health, livelihoods, and dignity to an unprecedented degree, and their success—or failure—to do so came under unprecedented scrutiny. The result was that developments that might have played out over a period of many years were compressed into a matter of months.

Sometimes, these pressures yielded great benefits. Workers showed remarkable resilience and adaptability as they rose to the pandemic’s challenges, and with their employers’ support and mandate, they achieved innovative results that could otherwise have taken years to materialize. But many questions also arose about whether organizations were doing enough to support and safeguard their workers. People quickly pointed to organizations’ shortcomings in protecting workforce segments that were disproportionately impacted by the health crisis and pursuant economic downturn—young workers, who were most likely to be unemployed or underemployed; 5 minority groups, whose labor force participation steeply declined; and women, whose employment was found to be 19% more at risk than men. 6 Organizations also faced backlash for their role in encouraging high-pressure working conditions. Eighty-nine percent of workers in a February 2021 global Harvard Business Review study said that their work life was getting worse, 85% said that their well-being declined, and 56% said that their job demands had increased. 7

Perhaps then it’s no surprise that we find ourselves in a moment of reflection. Workers are reconsidering everything from who they want to work for—with 40% of the global workforce considering leaving their employer this year 8 —to the role they expect employers to play in supporting their purpose and values. Likewise, organizations are contemplating their role in society and their relationship with their workers—with some leaning in and others backing away.

And while the worker-employer relationship may be top of mind for both workers and executives, they may not be aligned on how  it will evolve. Sixty-three percent of the workers we surveyed in our research for this special report felt that their relationship with their employer will stay the same or become a stronger partnership, while 86% of executives told us they believe workers will gain greater independence and influence relative to their employers in the future.

Talent supply and government impact: Key contexts for the worker-employer relationship

Understanding how the worker-employer relationship could evolve begins with identifying which factors will have the greatest influence on the relationship moving forward. We used focus groups to get executives’ perspectives on what those factors could be, discussing possibilities such as economic growth, the use of technology in business, unexpected disasters, climate change, and social divides in access to resources such as education, wealth, and health. But beyond the rest, the two factors that stood out as being the most influential on the future of the worker-employer relationship in our research were talent supply and government impact.

Talent supply: How talent availability will influence how workers seek employment and how organizations access and retain them . The most evident impact of talent supply is the different actions that organizations or workers might take depending on how easy or difficult it is to get a job or secure an appropriately skilled worker. For instance, talent supply could influence whether organizations are likely to invest in reskilling; to what extent workers will seek changes in their employers or careers; how organizations could use the alternative workforce to access the skills and capabilities they need; and how heavily an organization might lean on technology to replace, augment, or collaborate with their workforce.

Talent supply is already a key concern and growing in importance. The pandemic exacerbated growing digital, education, and skilling divides around the globe—putting further strain on talent supply considerations and trends. In 2020, 80% of job losses were among the lowest quarter of wage earners, many of whom work in hard-hit sectors such as leisure and hospitality, government, and education. 9 And a new study estimates that 100 million global low-wage workers will need to find a different occupation by 2030. 10 At the same time, the demand for skilled workers is growing, with seven in 10 employers globally saying they are struggling to find workers with the right mix of technical skills and human capabilities. 11

Government impact: How government action will affect workers’ and employers’ roles in the new world of work . In our research for this special report, government regulation rose to the top as the most influential external factor behind an organization’s and its workforce’s ability to thrive. The type, consistency, speed, and effectiveness of government action could all influence the worker-employer relationship. For instance, government effectiveness in driving social change, such as policies around worker representation or protection, or actions to address concerns such as climate change or social injustice, could shift workers’ expectations of their employers to attend to such issues. Public policy and regulation protecting jobs and wages, enhancing social safety nets and benefits, improving access to education, or investing in reskilling could decrease workers’ reliance on their employers for these things. And public policies that restrict or create an additional burden on organizations seeking to create work in new geographies, access talent across borders, or leverage alternative workforce segments could influence workforce planning and talent strategies.

We use these two factors, talent supply and government impact, to explore four potential futures that illustrate how the world of work and the worker-employer relationship could evolve:

  • Work as fashion:  In a “work as fashion” future, employers are in constant motion as they chase worker sentiments, competitor actions, and marketplace dynamics.  The worker-employer relationship is REACTIVE: Employers feel compelled to respond in the moment to workers’ expressed preferences, and to competitor moves, without connecting those actions to a sustainable workforce strategy.
  • War between talent: In a “war between talent” future, workers compete for limited jobs due to an oversupply of talent. The worker-employer relationship is IMPERSONAL: Employers view workers as interchangeable and easily replaceable, and workers are more concerned with competing with each other for jobs than with the quality of their relationship with their employer.
  • Work is work: In a “work is work” future, workers and employers view organizational responsibility and personal and social fulfillment as largely separate domains. The worker-employer relationship is PROFESSIONAL: Each depends on the other to fulfill work-related needs, but both expect that workers will find meaning and purpose largely outside of work.
  • Purpose unleashed: In a “purpose unleashed” future, purpose is the dominant force driving the relationship between workers and employers. The worker-employer relationship is COMMUNAL: Both workers and employers see shared purpose as the foundation of their relationship, viewing it as the most important tie that binds them together.

employee relationship assignment

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These four futures are illustrative, not exhaustive. They can be either positive or negative, depending on the choices that workers and employers make. Organizations will likely find themselves in some combination of these futures depending on the needs and expectations of their workforce, their industry, their regions, and the communities in which they operate. The increased complexity of the world requires us to abandon “one-size-fits-all” views in lieu of a more nuanced approach and understanding.

Charting your course

The narrative that follows explores each possible future in detail and outlines the risks that succumbing to its pressures could raise. In each future we offer an instinctive response —the path we believe most organizations would take when faced with the dynamics and conditions of that world. But the instinctive response is just that—not a conscientious strategy.

The alternative to taking the instinctive route includes actions that can allow organizations to survive —the basic elements that must be in place for an employer to do well in each future. Organizations that embrace a survival mindset will be able to tread water—leveraging near-term strategies to navigate the future, with an expectation (or hope) that the world will revert to business as usual once external pressures cede. While survival strategies are important in the near term, they do not give an organization the tools they need to chart their own destiny for longer-term success.

Moving beyond a survive mindset to a thrive mindset requires a recognition that disruption is continuous rather than episodic, and a willingness to use disruption as a catalyst to drive the organization forward. The 15% of the 3,630 executives in our 2021 Global Human Capital Trends research who said their organization was very prepared for COVID-19 were already adopting a thrive mindset. 12 This could be especially important as organizations consider the future of their relationship with workers, since those who adopted a thrive mindset were three times more likely than their peers to bring human strengths to the fore—leveraging worker adaptability and mobility to navigate disruption.

In these futures, you will read about how organizations can take a greater leap to ideas and practices that may seem unconventional or aspirational, but that can be essential to an organization’s ability to build purpose and meaning in work, unleash the potential of the workforce, and employ new perspectives.

As you read on, challenge yourself to avoid concluding that the coming years will accelerate the changes you already expected or believed were inevitable. Instead, imagine how the future might assume a different course—and how you might address the opportunities and challenges that future course might present. As Peter Drucker famously said: “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence itself, but to act with yesterday’s logic.”

employee relationship assignment

Work as fashion

In a “work as fashion” future, employers are in constant motion as they chase worker sentiments, competitor actions, and marketplace dynamics. The worker-employer relationship is REACTIVE: Employers feel compelled to respond in the moment to workers’ expressed preferences, and to competitor moves, without connecting those actions to a sustainable workforce strategy.

The “work as fashion” future is transitory and constantly changing. It’s akin to how brands introduce new clothing collections seasonally and cyclically, moving them rapidly from runway to retail to capture consumers’ fleeting attention and desires. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle in which the latest trends substitute for a sustained strategy. Even an employer’s stance on societal issues is used primarily as a way to attract, retain, and motivate workers, adopting the purpose that’s currently hot in a bid to keep the workforce engaged.

Conditions that could lead to the “work as fashion” future

A “work as fashion” future could arise from the convergence of low talent supply and low government impact.

employee relationship assignment

A low talent supply creates a seller’s market for workers, especially for skilled workers. Workers can base their choice of employer on what each is offering and how well those offerings meet their immediate desires. Employers, meanwhile, become acutely attuned to their workforce’s preferences, as well as what their competitors are doing, to compete for workers’ attention and approval. It’s a mirror image of the “war between talent” future, in which workers compete for employers’ attention and approval.

Low talent supply is already a reality in many industries and geographies today. A Korn Ferry analysis estimated a global talent deficit of 85.2 million workers by 2030, predicting a skills shortage that could result in US$8.452 trillion in unrealized annual revenue. 13 Many companies large and small are struggling to find enough workers amid the economy’s rapid recovery from the pandemic-spawned recession. 14 A recent study in Japan revealed that 79% of Japanese companies are concerned about the shortage of talent. 15 In the United States, there were 8.1 million vacant job openings in March 2021—a record high. Further exacerbating the problem, the study showed that there were approximately half as many available workers per open job when compared to a historical 20-year average. 16

Low government impact can also help create the conditions for this future. When government does not offer support what workers feel they need, such as access to health care, workplace protections, and reskilling opportunities, workers will expect employers to provide what they’re not getting elsewhere—and because they have the upper hand, they are in a position to demand it.

We see Work as Fashion as possibly 2021’s and 2022’s dominant future, especially in light of the hotly debated issue of the return to the workplace. A case in point: After initially planning to mandate an “office-first” environment as the pandemic subsides, Amazon now says that it will allow most office workers to work remotely two days a week. It’s likely that this move reflects the fact that flexibility has become “table stakes in tech, where competition for talent is always fierce.” 17 These types of situations led a recent New York Times article to observe, “For the first time in a generation, workers are gaining the upper hand.” 18

Signals that the future could be headed toward “work as fashion”

  • Increased employer reliance on worker surveys and other listening tools.
  • Increased employer activity in measuring themselves against competitor and industry benchmarks, and of adjusting practices to align to benchmarks.
  • Continuous changing and rollout of worker programs and policies.
  • Increased external marketing of worker incentives.
  • New levels of social activism from employers.

Navigating the “work as fashion” future

employee relationship assignment

The instinctive response

The instinctive response in a “work as fashion” future is to be highly responsive—constantly listening to workers and reacting at speed. But this approach can mislead employers into substituting responsiveness for a relationship. A productive long-term relationship between workers and employers must have a deeper basis than responding to the loudest and most recent voice. Transitory solutions can create several risks, including:

• What matters first may trump what matters most . Moving too quickly to address worker sentiment doesn’t allow employers time to explore deeper root causes behind workers’ expressed feelings and needs. For instance, if employers treat meaning and purpose mainly as attraction and retention tools, they may overlook that what workers are actually looking for is consistency and a more sustained commitment. They may also miss the opportunity to use purpose to cultivate belonging among the workforce and thereby improve their performance.

Case in point: Ping-pong tables

Despite the popularity over the past decade of bringing ping pong tables into the workplace as a means to build a fun workplace culture, less than a quarter of millennials surveyed at the height of this trend said that an informal work environment is extremely important to them when looking for a job. Instead, the group favored other factors such as the opportunity to learn and grow, the quality of their manager or management, and their interest in the type of work. 19

  • Diverse voices are drowned out. Employers who prioritize speed of response may not take the time to examine whether the way they collect and interpret their data promotes an equitable environment. Many people hold unconscious biases that reinforce prevailing but discriminatory social values, and this may affect the way they develop and execute organizational workforce strategies. In many organizations, diverse individuals are underrepresented to begin with. Listening efforts may not be designed to adequately capture their views. And even if employers manage to avoid this difficulty, diverse populations’ views may be ignored as outliers if they systematically diverge from those of the majority.
  • Listening becomes surveillance.  Using technology to understand the workforce may cross the line into worker surveillance, raising potential risks around data privacy. The pandemic may have increased this risk by accelerating employers’ adoption of listening and monitoring tools. More than one out of four companies purchased new technology during the pandemic to passively track and monitor their workers, 20 and 95% of IT leaders increased the frequency of worker listening since COVID-19 began. 21
  • Differentiation gets lost in competition. Trying to match or one-up competitors’ actions can devolve into a copycat strategy that results in a race to the middle or, even worse, the bottom. And when every employer is matching what competitors are doing to “make the sale” to workers, their offerings lack differentiation. Worker loyalty may last only until someone else offers them incrementally more compensation, training, or other incentives that have come to be commodities.

The survive strategy

Employers in a “work as fashion” future will need to go beyond simple responsiveness to gain a competitive edge. Survival in this future entails being thoughtful, action-oriented, and selective. Ways to accomplish this include:

  • Dig deeper. Ask nuanced questions that get at more basic issues of concern to the workforce than their desires in the moment. In our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research, we discussed the importance of asking better questions that guide organizations to better results. Examples of those questions include why workers leave, not just who might leave; whether diverse populations wield organizational influence, not just whether the population is diverse; and how workers across the entire workforce ecosystem are treated, not just how full-time employees are treated. 22
  • Walk the talk . In a “work as fashion” future, workers want to see that their employer is actually doing what it has promised them, not just talking about it. A June 2021 survey of US workers found that 55% felt that leadership only addressed racial justice by writing or speaking about it, not by taking action. 23 Leaders should be prepared to highlight the organization’s actions in areas that have been identified for changes, clearly communicating what the priorities are and how the organization is addressing them now. This could be a significant challenge for organizations, with 80% of respondents in our executive focus groups saying that leadership readiness will be the biggest internal barrier to their ability to achieve their future strategies.
  • Focus empowerment where it matters most . Most workers want to be empowered where it matters most, which is in the work they do and how to advance their careers. By providing internal mobility via opportunity marketplaces, employers may be able to satisfy workers’ desire for empowerment by putting them in control of their careers. As the 2020 Deloitte-MIT Future of the workforce  study noted, “One of the most significant research takeaways for top management is that opportunity marketplaces both demand and elicit agency—the perceived ability to influence one’s future—and fundamentally flip a perennial top talent and workforce management question.” 24

Case in point: Giving workers agency through an opportunity marketplace

Schneider Electric decided to implement an internal opportunity marketplace when it found that almost half the employees who left the organization did so because they felt it was difficult for them to find future growth opportunities within the company. The marketplace is used not to dictate career paths but to enable employees to take the initiative and own their careers. According to Andrew Saidy, Schneider’s vice president of Talent Digitization, Employer Branding and University Relations: “We’ve always told our employees that they own their careers, that they are in the driver’s seat.” 25 Besides surfacing reskilling and upskilling opportunities, the company’s AI-based platform can guide workers to projects that align with their own purpose and goals. 26

The thrive differentiator

Being thoughtful and selective in responding to worker needs is necessary, but it’s not sufficient to thrive in this future. For that, employers need to build a sustainable and differentiated worker-employer relationship built around a core set of ideals that are important to both the worker and the employer. A sustainable relationship is one that lasts through shifts in worker sentiment and marketplace conditions, evolving with the times but always tying back to fundamentally constant values. And a differentiated relationship is one that is uniquely tailored to appeal to the workers the organization most needs to engage, regardless of what competitors are doing.

Waste Management is an example of an organization that is successfully considering its workers’ broader needs. Most recently, the company has demonstrated this by focusing on a perennially important issue: the ability to pay for a college education. After hearing from their employees how much of a burden this was, Waste Management launched “Your Tomorrow,” an education and upskilling program in partnership with Guild Education, in April 2021. Not only does the program offer the company’s nearly 36,000 US employees access to more than 170 fully funded programs—including undergraduate and graduate degrees, short-term technology and business certificates, and high school completion 27 —but the company is planning to expand it to cover its employees’ nearly 34,000 benefits-eligible dependents, including children and spouses, as well. As Tamla Oates-Forney, chief people officer for Waste Management, said, “It didn’t take long for us as a company to realize that [extending “Your Tomorrow” to families as well as employees] would be a key differentiator for us”: a commitment to workers that is an enduring part of the organization’s style. 28

A sustainable, differentiated relationship is only partly about benefits, policies, and programs. Rather, it extends the consideration of worker needs to the broader workforce experience. Everything from well-being, personal and professional growth, and meaningful work is on the table. The relationship also can’t be one-sided. For an employer to be able to address the entire workforce experience, it needs to have an ongoing conversation with workers about what is important to them and why it matters. The point is to engage workers in a dialogue that gives the employer insight into what truly drives them, and that gives workers a meaningful voice about these deeper values.

In a “work as fashion” future, the pressures to respond and keep up with the pack can lead to an organization chasing its own tail as it instinctively responds to workers’ immediate requests and desires. Going past that entails being deliberate about where to invest in the employer brand, and creating a sustainable, differentiated relationship that grounds the worker-employer relationship in consistent and mutually valued ideals. Doing this makes an employer a trend setter in a world of fashion followers. As actress Lauren Hutton observed: “Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. Style is what you choose.”

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. Style is what you choose.” –Lauren Hutton

employee relationship assignment

War between talent

In a “war between talent” future, workers compete for limited jobs due to an oversupply of talent. The worker-employer relationship is IMPERSONAL: Employers view workers as interchangeable and easily replaceable, and workers are more concerned with competing with each other for jobs than with the quality of their relationship with their employer.

The “war between talent” future takes a mechanistic, supply-chain view of talent. It’s the embodiment of Taylorism, the embrace of scientific management to increase economic efficiency and labor productivity. In applying this approach to factory workers, Taylor is said to have deconstructed each job into the specific motions it required, determined which of these motions were essential, and timed workers’ execution with a stopwatch—all in the name of increasing the ratio of output to input. 29

Conditions that could lead to the “war between talent” future

A combination of high talent supply and low government impact could create favorable conditions for a “war between talent” future.

employee relationship assignment

It’s self-evident how a high talent supply can contribute to this future. When the market is awash with qualified workers, employers can find and retain workers simply because they are desperate for employment. High salaries, attractive benefits, and a positive work environment are less necessary than in the “work as fashion” future, where employers compete for scarce workers by continually adjusting their programs around workers’ expressed needs.

Low government impact would further exacerbate this dynamic. Labor laws and social safety nets in a “war between talent” future would be minimal or absent, unlike in a “work is work” future, where government worker protections are high. Regulations to limit employers’ ability to fire workers, set standards for minimum wages, keep jobs onshore, or require employers to provide a certain level of benefits will likely be spotty at best. Government-supported worker training and education programs would also be limited, exacerbating employers’ lack of investment in reskilling.

The result could be a free-for-all among employers to see who can take fullest advantage of the government’s lack of impact to reduce labor costs. Even today, we are seeing examples of employers lobbying governments to limit worker protections, a phenomenon that is playing out in regulations relative to gig workers around the world. And when workers operate outside the regulatory framework altogether, as do “ghost workers” who perform atomized tasks on an ad hoc basis, they are subject to poor working conditions and low incomes more often than not.

Signals that the future could be headed toward “war between talent”

  • Organizations put limited investment into developing their talent.
  • The amount of gig and fractional work, including ghost work, is growing.
  • Organizations’ AI and automation initiatives focus on using technology to replace workers.
  • Organizations increase their use of offshoring.
  • The proportion of people funding education out of their personal resources is increasing.

Navigating the “war between talent” future

employee relationship assignment

The instinctive response to this future is to take the mechanistic view of talent to the extreme. Under this view, employers don’t just treat workers as interchangeable; they treat them as commodities, cogs of fixed value in which it is pointless to invest. The focus is not on “human” but on “resources,” with the prevailing employer ethos being to tap into those resources as cheaply and efficiently as possible. Employers pursuing this response will focus on accelerating trends that allow them to get work done in the most efficient way possible: globalize and offshore for labor arbitrage, digitize and automate to reduce headcount, and lean heavily on the alternative workforce to avoid the costs of employing people full time. They will also minimize investments in areas such as retention and reskilling: Because labor is so plentiful and cheap, these types of investments seem not worth making.

However, treating workers as commodities—eliminating investment in workers because it’s seen as an unnecessary cost—has long-term consequences that may be hard to undo. Leaders may assume that marketplace conditions and business needs will not shift, talent will always be plentiful, and the skills and capabilities one needs today will be the same as will be needed tomorrow. But that’s not the future we know is coming. Marketplace disruption has been accelerating for years. The pandemic brought this point home in a very big way: Sixty-four percent of the executives in our 2021 Global Human Capital Trends research said they need to be prepared for multiple, unlikely high-impact events, compared to just 29% before the pandemic. 30 A case in point: In the United States, the unemployment rate fell from almost 15% in April 2020 to 5.8% in May 2021, taking us from an oversupply to an undersupply of talent in a matter of months. 31

The certainty of change makes the instinctive response possibly the riskiest strategy in a disruptive world. These risks could include:

  • Workers are here today, gone tomorrow. As the environment shifts, so do the capabilities an enterprise needs, and with them, the worker segments that add the most value. Today’s commodity workers may be tomorrow’s essential workers, hotly pursued and empowered with greater choice. A case in point: Grocery store workers, who had been considered a highly commoditized workforce segment, became essential workers overnight during the pandemic. In response, employers scrambled to offer additional pay, enhanced leave policies, and decreased store hours to retain them in a time of high need. 32
  • Innovation is stifled at the source. Engaged, motivated workers look for opportunities to improve the way things are done, identifying unseen intersections that drive enhanced innovation. Workers who know they are viewed as commodities, however, are not likely to be engaged and motivated, damaging an organization’s competitiveness as a result.
  • Certain roles go from “hard to fill” to “impossible to fill.”  When employers do not invest in reskilling, workers are thrown upon their own resources to reskill themselves. This means that only the privileged few who already have the means to do so—both time and money—will be able to acquire newer skills that are in higher demand. This could lead to a dearth of qualified candidates with hard-to-find skills even in a large labor pool. And the need for new skills is already intense. Fifty-three percent of executives in our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research expected that between half and all of their workforce would need to reskill by 2023 to provide the capabilities needed at that time. 33
  • The social divide becomes a social chasm. Workers who can afford to invest in their own reskilling  will be in a position to command higher compensation, while others without the resources to reskill will be left behind. The result could be an increasing gap between society’s haves and have-nots. As one of the executives in our spring 2021 focus groups observed: “[A social divide means] the weaker and less skilled will be left behind unless specific measures are adopted to support them.” And the social divide is an organizational issue. Seventy-two percent of executives in our focus groups agreed that social divides driven by investment patterns in education could impact their future workforce strategies.
  • Stakeholders question the organization’s investment in them. Today’s talent world is highly transparent. Workers are vocal about the way they are treated and the investments, or lack thereof, their employers make to support them. If an organization’s resulting employer brand is negative, customers, investors, and the general public may at least wonder whether its failure to invest in its workers suggests a failure to invest in its products and services as well.

Commoditizing workers and competing on cost is a clear temptation in a “war between talent” future, but this should likely be done with caution. While cost management is important, an employer can pull ahead of others by making selective workforce investments in the areas that are most important to the organization. Actions to consider include:

  • Onboard with expediency. Onboarding remains one of an organization’s most complex processes. If an employer needs to do it often, it pays to make the processes as streamlined and effective as possible. We expect this to be especially true as postpandemic economies reopen, with employers hiring more than 6.1 million workers in April 2021 alone in the United States. 34 Workers who can get up to speed quickly on organizational culture and workflows will be more productive sooner, whether they are entirely new or being moved to new roles.
  • Invest where talent is scarce.  Employers can compete on cost for  roles that are easy to fill. But even in a world with an aggregate talent oversupply, there will likely be “spot markets” where talent and skills are highly contested. Modern tools and analytics can allow employers to not only identify such spot markets today, but predict where those spot markets might exist in the future. Using this insight effectively means employers should be prepared to make investments in identifying, attracting, developing, and retaining top talent in these areas.

Case in point: Using labor demand analytics to source data center talent

Facing competition in hot growth markets for data center talent, a data storage organization sought to understand the competitive talent landscape and skills trends for technicians and engineers to differentiate their talent strategy. Leveraging global labor demand data and localized supply data, they developed insights for HR leaders and hiring managers around data center hiring trends, talent availability, and differentiating skills in the market. Based on the insights generated, the organization shifted its talent strategy to attract more outside-of-industry talent, re-focus job postings around the future-focused skills necessary to open their newest data center, and built a strategic talent framework to help define when the organization should engage contingent labor vs. employees.

  • Mitigate turnover costs. No matter how easy it is to replace workers, employers will still incur the cost of bringing those replacements up to speed, creating an incentive to retain workers who are hard to find and to train. And when workers do leave, it’s important not to burn bridges. Again, today’s commodity worker could be tomorrow’s essential worker.

The strategy for thriving in a “war between talent” future revolves around recognizing that workers deliver more value when they are respected and invested in. This may sound counterintuitive given that employers in this future view workers as interchangeable—but just because workers are interchangeable doesn’t mean they can’t be motivated to work harder and perform better. Even in a market with excess labor supply, investing in workers across the board will produce disproportionately better results. And if those investments include reskilling, it will better prepare employers for the future as well.

One way to enhance worker performance through investment is to create a “good jobs” environment in which job quality is high, workers have a voice, and the employer offers training and skill development. 35 The motive is not altruism: Research shows that employers where “good jobs” prevail—jobs with higher wages, better hours, more predictable schedules—reap financial gains that put them ahead of competitors with less “good” jobs. 36 This was as true back in 2012, when the recent Great Recession had spawned a glut of unemployed workers, 37 as it is today, when a “good jobs” strategy continues to give organizations that adopt it a competitive edge. 38

Though it’s important, there’s more to creating a good job than paying workers more. According to MIT researcher and author Zeynep Ton, “The economist’s [view is that] if you pay more, you attract a better talent pool, and then they work harder and that’s the outcome. But what I found in my research was [also that] companies designed the jobs in a way that enabled their employees to be more productive and contribute more to the company’s success.” 39 Actions such as authorizing front-line workers to independently resolve customer problems, or giving on-the-ground workers the license and mandate to identify improvement opportunities, are examples.

Case in point: Good jobs at QuikTrip and Mercadona

QuikTrip, a US-based gas station/convenience store chain, and Mercadona, Spain’s largest supermarket chain, are two “good jobs” companies featured in Ton’s book The Good Jobs Strategy . Both stores pay store associates above-average wages, invest in training them, and empower them to solve problems on their own, including making merchandising decisions. 40 The strategy is paying off for both companies. The cost of QuikTrip’s higher wages is offset by cost reductions elsewhere in the organization. 41 And during the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, Mercadona was able to cut prices by 10%, 42 a move that has been attributed to greater worker productivity due to its “good jobs” environment. 43

An example of a “good jobs” strategy that makes particular sense in a “war between talent” future is to develop education and career paths to move workers from areas of talent oversupply to areas of talent undersupply. Some retailers today are doing this by, for example, retraining cashiers to work in their health clinics. To support this kind of reskilling, employers can evaluate potential in their candidates and hire for it, even for commoditized jobs.

Thriving in a “war between talent” future may be a matter of focusing on improving outcomes instead of reducing costs. And improving outcomes means adopting strategies that motivate and develop workers—not for its own sake, but because it produces better results than strategies that commoditize workers. Though employers may have a slew of workers to choose from, those toward the “good jobs” end of the spectrum will be able to increase those workers’ value to the organization, and this will empower them to move ahead of the competition. Actor and amateur boxer Chuck Zito may have said it best: “You treat me good, I'll treat you better.”

“You treat me good, I'll treat you better.” –Chuck Zito

employee relationship assignment

Work is work

In a “work is work” future, workers and employers view organizational responsibility and personal and social fulfillment as largely separate domains. The worker-employer relationship is PROFESSIONAL: Each depends on the other to fulfill work-related needs, but both expect that workers will find meaning and purpose largely outside of work.

To be clear, workers still care about work in this future. In the context of their employment, they conscientiously do their jobs, and they expect their employer to provide fair compensation, paths to advancement, and learning and growth opportunities. What is less important is the degree to which people expect to find work fulfilling. People care about work and strive to perform well because it provides a livelihood and the means to pursue outside-of-work priorities. They see the rewards they gain from work—such as financial stability and time off—as enablers that allow them to pursue fulfillment elsewhere. They look to sources such as government, interest groups, and nonprofits to help advance their societal and community agendas, while turning to sources such as family, friends, and communities for emotional connection.

Conditions that could lead to the “work is work” future

Low talent supply combined with high government impact could set the stage for a “work is work” future.

employee relationship assignment

The pandemic led many workers to reflect deeply on what they need from work and from their employers, and in a world with low talent supply, workers are in a position to have employers respect those needs. And many workers may well have realized that their primary need is to place a certain distance between work and “life.” One reason for this may be the psychological impact of the pandemic. The frequent experience of working overtime to pick up the work of laid-off colleagues, or of suddenly feeling “always on” because of the workplace invading the home, has given many workers a new appreciation of finding space to invest in one’s personal interests and passions. In fact, the New York Times ’ April 2021 feature “Welcome to the YOLO—You Only Live Once—economy” pointed out that many workers, “burned out and flush with savings” after a year-plus of the pandemic, are reevaluating their priorities and dedicating themselves to their passions, even if it means taking a professional risk. 44

Growing evidence of health consequences of work may also lead workers to rethink their relationship with their jobs. A May 2021 World Health Organization study concluded that working 55 hours or more per week is “a serious health hazard.” The study noted that between 2000 and 2016, heart disease deaths associated with working long hours increased by 42%, and stroke deaths by 19%. 45 In certain parts of Asia, some workers are actively revolting against the pressure to “work themselves to death” by adopting an ethos of “lying flat”—a movement that espouses lying down, both literally and metaphorically, instead of joining the “rat race” of professional advancement. 46 In fact, well-being has been steadily rising in importance: Eighty percent of executive respondents in our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research said that well-being was important or very important to their organization’s success, making it the top-ranked trend for that year. 47

High government impact in the “work is work” future could reinforce this sense of detachment by lessening workers’ dependence on employers. In this future, government effectively addresses citizen needs such as health care, retraining, and even social justice—things that workers might otherwise expect from their employers. Workers who feel less of a personal or communal risk in terms of their own employability or seeing social justice done may feel less of a need to push their employers to address those issues.

The ability to psychologically separate work from “life” could be especially strong under governments that enact strong worker protections such as a universal living wage or “right to disconnect” legislation. 48 Several European countries have already enacted such legislation, and Ireland has even enacted a “code of practice” extending the right to disconnect to cover remote work. 49 Indeed, one 2019 Harvard Business Review article noted that the desire to find fulfillment in work is lower in European countries, whose governments are generally more active in worker-focused regulation, than in the United States, where worker protections are less prevalent. 50

Case in point: Government investment in reskilling

One interesting area to watch will be the role governments play in growing skills shortages around the world. In our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research, 73% of our 9,000 global respondents identified organizations as the entity in society responsible for workforce development—far exceeding the responsibility of individuals themselves (54%) or governments (10%). Yet despite this expectation, only 16% of our respondents expected their organization to make a significant investment increase in this area and only 17% believed they could to a great extent anticipate the skills they would need in the next three years. 51

As organizations find themselves unprepared to take sole responsibility for these mounting skills crises, some governments are stepping up to help. For instance, SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) is a government-funded movement that provides Singaporeans with learning credits to empower citizens with access to education, training, and reskilling. SSG even offered aid to employers in hard-hit sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 540,000 individuals and 14,000 enterprises benefitted from SkillsFuture programs. 52

Similarly, in April 2021, England refreshed its government-sponsored training program to offer qualified individuals a free, fully funded college course. The refreshed program also makes higher education loans more flexible, allowing people to “space out their study across their lifetimes, take more high-quality vocational courses in further education colleges and universities, and to support people to retrain for jobs of the future.” The government also committed to invest more than £1.5 billion in college buildings and facilities. 53

Signals that the future could be headed toward “work is work”

  • Workers are increasing their use of benefits that enable outside-of-work activities, such as sabbaticals and paid time-off.
  • Workers are putting in less overtime and spending fewer hours at work.
  • More employers are proactively communicating guardrails around what is and is not acceptable work behavior.
  • Governments are becoming more active in addressing citizen needs and enacting worker protections.
  • Membership in nonprofits and other social impact organizations is increasing.
  • Worker participation declines in employer-sponsored nonwork-focused programs.

Navigating the “work is work” future

employee relationship assignment

The instinctive response to a “work is work” future is to do nothing—to assume that the worker-employer relationship is fine and that no effort is needed to strengthen it. Operating under this assumption, employers would do little to build connections with workers or imbue the work with purpose and meaning, because they believe that the compartmentalization of work versus social and personal concerns means that the latter have no place in work. The approach is to simply avoid rocking the boat, confident that workers understand that when they’re at work, they’re there to work and nothing more.

If this view sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the way society has thought about work until the last decade. People considered the separation between work and life to be clear-cut and immutable. Organizations competed on “scalable efficiency,” pursuing standardization and economies of scale to push costs ever lower. In behavioral science terms, employers saw workers as “econs,” rational agents who would always gravitate toward maximal gain, rather than “humans,” beings with biases and emotions that play an enormous role in their decision-making. 54 This led many organizations to deemphasize the emotional component of the worker-employer relationship, an approach that we now know is suboptimal for engagement and performance.

A “let it be” attitude toward the worker-employer relationship may seem like the rational and obvious course in a “work is work” future, but it can raise several risks:

  • Easier said than done.  Maintaining the separation between the professional and the personal is often easier in theory than in practice. The assumption that workers will naturally keep their personal interests and values outside the workplace may lull employers into a false sense of security that they need not worry about workplace conflicts unrelated to work issues—only to be rudely awakened if a conflict around personal opinions or values erupts. And some workers may not want to work for an organization that makes a strong delineation between personal and professional objectives. After Coinbase announced that the company would adopt an “apolitical culture” and not debate causes or political issues unrelated to work, represent personal beliefs externally, or take on activism outside of their core mission at work, the company lost 5% of its workforce. 55
  • A compromised external brand.  Employers that assume that separating the professional from the personal also entails separating the enterprise from social purpose may risk weakening stakeholder trust. A shared social purpose may not be very important to workers’ relationship with their employers in this future, but it may be very important to customers and investors who want to know where the organization stands. Eighty-six percent of global respondents in 2021 Edelman Trust research expect CEOs to publicly speak out about societal challenges. 56 And the 2021 Axios-Harris Poll 100, which ranks US organizations for their reputation in the marketplace, noted that organizations “with a clear point of view and that deliver not only great products but also an impact on society” ranked at the top of the list. 57  
  • Suboptimal performance.  Just because workers pursue personal fulfillment outside of work doesn’t mean they shouldn’t feel comfortable at work or connected to their leaders and teams. Ninety-three percent of respondents in our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research agreed that belonging drives organizational performance—one of the highest rates of consensus we’ve seen in a decade of this study. Organizations that fail to encourage this can miss out on the enhanced adaptability, resilience, and innovation that these elements can bring. A lack of belonging can even lead to skills gaps: Disconnected workers can be unmotivated, unmotivated workers may not prioritize reinventing themselves, and that lack of reinvention means that workers won’t be gaining the new skills that employers need to keep up in a shifting world.

A survival strategy in a “work is work” future, one that mitigates the risks raised by letting the worker-employer relationship manage itself, is to help workers separate their work from their personal lives while still cultivating their sense of comfort in the workplace—creating an inclusive environment where workers feel respected and treated fairly. It’s important because comfort is fundamental to establishing a sense of belonging, with 25% of the respondents to our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research identifying comfort as the biggest driver of belonging. 58 Steps to take could include:

  • Define acceptable and unacceptable workplace behavior. There’s a difference between finding one’s passions outside of work and leaving one’s personal views and opinions outside of work. Leaders in this future may need to step in more than they might expect to maintain a harmonious environment. The ground rules for discussions among workers will need to be thoroughly thought out and clearly drawn. Managers and leaders at every level will need appropriate tools and training to defuse situations where workers clash because they have crossed the line between their work responsibilities and their outside-of-work beliefs. And organizations will need to think very carefully about how to manage workers’ self-expression at work without treading on their rights. One example of an attempt to manage workplace conflict by limiting discussion of outside-of-work concerns is the software company Basecamp’s ban of workers from discussing politics on company social media boards. CEO Jason Fried explained: “[Political discussions are] a major distraction. It saps our energy, and redirects our dialogue towards dark places. It's not healthy, it hasn't served us well.” 59
  • Make everyone feel like they belong.  Even in a “work is work” future, individual workers have preferences that need to be met. In our research for this special report, 68% of executives agreed that workforce strategies will be more customized in the future to individual needs. Establishing belonging through comfort requires organizations to create an environment where workers can represent both their authentic selves and their unique needs to their employers.

Case in point: Focusing on underserved workforce segments

A broader understanding of workforce needs could include looking at workforce segments that have traditionally been underserved or overlooked. Unilever is providing a leading example in their reimagination of employment models that will serve a broader set of worker preferences. In a new program called “U-Work,” Unilever is giving its workers “the freedom and flexibility associated with contract roles with the security and benefits typically linked to permanent roles.” Unilever employees who participate in U-Work do not have fixed roles but work on assignments. They get paid for each assignment but are free to do other things that are important to them between assignments. These U-Work workers receive a monthly retainer and are offered company benefits—whether they’re actively working on an assignment or not. 60

Beyond these baseline tactics, gaining a greater competitive advantage in a “work is work” future depends on one paramount factor: motivating workers based on the merits of the work alone. Organizations that thrive will design work in ways that engage workers, so that workers do not shortchange work in favor of their outside-of-work priorities. The goal is to encourage workers to feel as invested in their work as they are in their personal lives so that they are inspired to do their best.

To accomplish this, re-architecting work to bring out human strengths becomes critical. When organizations design work with a primary focus on cost and treat workers as “econs,” they leave very little room for workers to bring human strengths such as relationship-building, creativity, and innovation to the fore. But when organizations shift their focus toward value and ultimately meaning, they create space for workers to unleash their potential at work in ways that benefit both the organization and the workers themselves. This means designing work so that workers know that their discretionary effort matters, their contributions to work outcomes are visible and meaningful, and that the work itself gives them the chance to grow professionally. In this way, work becomes connected not just to economic goals but to psychological satisfaction as well.

Making workers feel like their contribution matters takes the feeling of belonging beyond comfort. In our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends research, a plurality of our executive survey respondents (44%) identified contribution as the biggest driver of belonging at their organization. 61

One way to show workers the value of their contributions is to emphasize outcomes in performance management, since outcomes speak more directly to a worker’s contributions toward organizational objectives. There’s evidence that the shift toward outcome-based performance management is already underway. More than 65% executives in our research for this special report agreed that they believed metrics would need to shift from capturing outcomes rather than outputs in the next five years. Executives also thought that outcome measures would also need to capture what workers want and value, not just the organization’s wants and values—outcomes such as well-being, diversity, and growth in skills.

A “work is work” future is not without its challenges. The re-architecture of work around human principles is of prime importance, since it’s the work itself that matters most in strengthening the worker-employer relationship. The biggest competitive advantage will accrue to employers that can make work engaging enough to inspire workers to do their best. As US president Teddy Roosevelt once said: “Work hard at work worth doing.”

“Work hard at work worth doing.” –Teddy Roosevelt

employee relationship assignment

Purpose unleashed

In a “purpose unleashed” future, purpose is the dominant force driving the relationship between workers and employers. The worker-employer relationship is COMMUNAL: Both workers and employers see shared purpose as the foundation of their relationship, viewing it as the most important tie that binds them together.

Purpose is an organization’s North Star

Purpose  grounds organizations in a set of values, a North Star, that do not depend on circumstance. Those values, which sit at the intersection of economic, social, and human interests, serve as a benchmark against which actions and decisions can be weighed. In the face of circumstances that are difficult to predict and plan for, organizations that are steadfast in their purpose are able to infuse meaning into work to mobilize workers around common, meaningful goals. 62

In this future, purpose is so important that it trumps the importance of the work itself. The centrality of purpose to employers’ relationships with workers pushes organizations further toward stakeholder capitalism, where social concerns and business concerns—purpose and profit—are equally important. An organization’s commitment to purpose becomes critical to its employment brand: It shapes everything from its ability to attract and retain workers to the extent to which workers experience meaning and fulfillment in their employment.

There’s evidence that this future could already be emerging. Over the past two years, 44% of millennials and 49% of Gen Zs said they have made choices over the type of work they are prepared to do and the organizations for which they are willing to work based on their personal ethics. 63 In our research for this special report, when we asked executives what workers will increasingly value in the next five years, 86% predicted that they would value a meaningful mission and an opportunity to make an impact on that mission. One respondent observed: “An organization’s stance on key issues such as race, climate change, and others will become key components of the employee value proposition.” And purpose is important to worker engagement too: A recent Gartner survey found that when an organization acted on today’s social issues, the proportion of workers who were considered highly engaged increased from 40% to 60%. 64

Conditions that could lead to the “purpose unleashed” future

Organizations that see two forces in play—high talent supply and high government impact—may be operating in a “purpose unleashed” future.

employee relationship assignment

When talent supply is high, employers can pick and choose workers not just for skills and capabilities, but for alignment with the organization’s purpose as well. Doing this adds an extra layer of commitment and connection to the worker-employer relationship, which can motivate workers to work harder and perform better on behalf of their employers.

High government impact supports employers’ ability to go “all in” on purpose. When the government deploys funding, resources, and other levers to address weighty issues of importance, it frees employers from obligations that might otherwise have been left to them to address. This in turn allows employers to design their own purpose agenda and pursue it with a singular focus, without being distracted by pressures to meet more basic needs. High government impact could also give organizations more opportunity to advance their purpose agenda in collaboration with government, further embedding it in everything they do.

Signals that the future could be headed toward “purpose unleashed”

  • Workers, customers, regulators, and interest groups are requesting or mandating new purpose-aligned measures from employers.
  • Purpose is showing up in job descriptions, hiring practices, and performance metrics.
  • Organizations are taking stances, internally and externally, on issues they otherwise may have stayed silent about in response to growing demands from workers and customers.
  • Strengthening both purpose and business is a stated criterion for leadership positions and driving key executive promotion/succession decisions.
  • Increased depth and transparency of reporting on purpose-driven outcomes.

Navigating the “purpose unleashed” future

employee relationship assignment

When an employer’s relationship with workers revolves around purpose, the instinctive response might be to take vocal and visible stances on issues so that workers know what the employer is offering them. Communicating one’s purpose and the importance of that purpose becomes the number-one priority. Employers may appoint a chief purpose officer (CPO), make visible investments into their area of purpose, or build their marketing and PR campaigns around purpose as a way to not only build its external brand but to engage current and potential future workers.

However, this response may turn purpose into a surface-level activity, with communication outweighing commitment. This raises a number of risks:

  • Suspicions of greenwashing become the order of the day.  Employers may assume that delivering a loud message around purpose is enough to satisfy workers’ expectations. But if that message is overstated, it may become impossible to live up to it, and workers could start to question the organization’s sincerity. Meanwhile, the organization’s external brand suffers because customers, investors, and the public also perceive it as insincere.

Case in point: Perceptions of greenwashing

Following the death of George Floyd last year, 53% of US workers said their companies made public commitments to address racial justice and equity issues. Today, 61% of those workers say their companies have not fulfilled all of their commitments. When asked about specific actions taken, the majority said the commitments have largely materialized through verbal and written messages (40%), whereas far fewer can point to dedication of company resources (27%); engaging customers, partners or suppliers in issues (23%); or allowing employee-run company events and campaigns (21%). 65

  • Public statements may have unintended consequences. When communication and visibility are top priorities, leaders may not take the time to think carefully about the implications of what they’re communicating. Committing an organization to a stance may raise workers’—and the marketplace’s—expectations to act accordingly. If those actions get in the way of an organization’s fundamental goals, it may be stuck between a rock and a hard place, unable to either back away from its public commitments or act on those commitments to its stakeholders’ satisfaction.
  • Some workers are pushed to the fringes.  Overcommunicating one’s response to social or political issues could isolate workers who do not agree with it. This could exclude others who are not aligned and become a source of division, not a source of community. Workers who feel marginalized could begin to question whether they belong at the organization at all.
  • Purpose becomes a prison. Like everything else, an organization’s purpose may need to evolve with the times. But the situation can devolve quickly if workers think their employer is “all in” with them on a specific issue and the organization has to modify its position. Without adroit management, this can lead to disillusionment and discord among the workforce, and the disruption can spread to external stakeholders as well.

As organizations shift from shareholder to stakeholder capitalism, their world becomes increasingly complicated and challenging. So, too, does the worker-employer relationship. To survive when this relationship is founded on purpose, an organization needs to live and breathe purpose; to integrate purpose into all that it is and everything it does. This doesn’t mean solving every societal problem or insisting that workers agree with every decision. But it does mean incorporating communal values and aspirations into every part of running the business: its operating model, governance structure, supply chain, recruitment and development programs, and marketing. This, not just external action, is what will convince workers that the organization’s commitment to purpose is genuine.

Employers can take several actions to help them do this well:

  • Incorporate purpose into core talent programs.  Make sure purpose is reflected in the organization’s core talent programs: benefits and policies, measurement and performance management, recruitment and retention, and learning and development. The aim is to make sure the organization’s values come clearly through in the way workers are treated.
  • Model commitment to purpose.  Workers look to their leaders for clarity and expect them to model commitment to purpose. It can’t be the first thing leaders jettison when the road gets bumpy. In fact, 67% of executives in our focus groups told us that their organizational measurements and metrics will evolve over the next five years to take societal goals, and things such as internal and external community involvement and impacts to well-being and diversity and inclusion, into account. Yet when asked about the biggest internal barrier to achieving their future strategies, 80% pointed to leadership readiness.
  • Clearly communicate real, tangible progress.  Backing up statements of purpose with action is a powerful force in solidifying the worker-employer relationship. But action only helps an organization’s relationship with workers when workers know about it. Everyone in the organization needs to see, hear, and understand that the organization’s commitment to purpose is real—and not just from seeing it in the media, but from understanding the behind-the-scenes effort and investment that goes into it.

Organizations that engage their workers as co-creators of their purpose will be positioned to go beyond surviving to thriving. This is because co-creation—giving workers a meaningful voice in both defining and executing the organization’s purpose—elicits a sustainable sense of loyalty and connection that inspires workers to perform at their best. Co-creation goes beyond merely soliciting workers’ input; rather, it’s about workers having influence and decision rights over what the organization stands for, what outcomes it wants to achieve, and what actions it takes to pursue those outcomes. It’s about collaborating to find ways to build purpose into the work, tying purpose into what workers do every day. And it’s about encouraging a “creator’s mindset” in which workers know they have the agency to actively shape the organization’s purpose and feel highly invested in the organization as a result. 66

Employers can pursue co-creation with workers in several ways, such as forming worker councils or “action committees,” or inviting workers to define success metrics. One way to give workers decision rights is to involve them in board discussions or even to name them to the board of directors outright. Delta Air Lines, for instance, convenes a team of on-contract employees who are invited to attend board meetings. 67 Representing workers on boards could help organizations make purpose-driven decisions that help realize a financial benefit as well. A study of 560 public European companies shows that those where employees “have a seat on the supervisory board” do better than those that do not, including in operating profits, capital market valuation, employment development, and investments in capital assets and research and development. 68

There’s a caveat, though. Both workers and employers must be committed to sharing decision-making power in real and meaningful ways. If workers have only a token say, and if leaders resist giving workers influence over decisions, efforts toward co-creation can be useless if not actively harmful. An illustrative case is the initial success and subsequent decline of one large company’s employee stock option (ESOP) plan. Marketplace value and employee engagement skyrocketed in the ESOP’s first year, during which workers actively participated with management in making day-to-day decisions. But the company’s workers and leaders had a long history of clashing with each other—and when they slid back into old behavior patterns, employee morale and company performance plummeted. 69

Case in point: Cocreation with workers and ecosystems

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) demonstrated co-creation with workers during the pandemic, when the organization quickly mobilized organizational resources to answer their communities’ immediate needs. The company asked employees to submit “ideas for good,” aligned to the company’s purpose and core principles, to aid the communities in which they worked. The idea to use AB InBev’s breweries to make hand sanitizers and to use its plastic injection molding machines to make private protective equipment for health care workers were two ideas born out of this program.

AB InBev is also taking an ecosystem approach to its social efforts, taking action to help clean the water they source to produce their beer, supporting the financial well-being of farmers whose crops they source, and helping make safe beer with indigenous crops for consumption in local communities. In this way, their aim is to operate in their ecosystems in a symbiotic manner, growing together with their suppliers, consumers, and communities instead of apart. 70

Perhaps most important of all, employers should recognize that they still operate in a disruptive world. As a result, they will have to evolve their purpose to navigate a growing, evolving portfolio of complicated social, environmental, and marketplace issues. In a cocreative environment, this will require constant reengagement and renegotiation between workers and employers, which is a fundamental departure from the traditional worker-employer relationship.

Organizations that want to truly unleash purpose—to propel themselves forward through a purpose-based relationship with their workers—have to do more . Leaders must understand that being vocal about their purpose is not enough, and that advancing purpose through external action is only half the battle. Workers who know that purpose matters, that it guides their employer’s attitudes and interactions with them every single day, and that they have a voice not just in providing feedback but in shaping the organization’s path forward will bring the best of their passions to bear on their employer’s success. Says Starbucks’ Howard Schultz: “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.”

“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” –Howard Schultz

Setting direction in a world of uncertain futures

The worker-employer relationship has no single future, only a multitude of possibilities. But examining the question in light of what could happen can help us better chart a course toward our chosen destination, the place where we ultimately want the worker-employer relationship to go. Without a clear course, without a point on the horizon to aim for, strategies for the evolution of the worker-employer relationship risk running in circles.

It’s hard to think about choosing a future destination when the here and now is so tumultuous. Yet it’s essential to look up from in-the-trees tactical concerns and the pressures of short-term survival to consider broader priorities and a longer timeframe. There’s more to nurturing a productive relationship with workers than the immediate question of how much flexibility to offer. And figuring out how to bring people back to the workplace is not the same as creating a sustainable workforce strategy. Building a worker-employer relationship that empowers an organization to thrive depends first and foremost on a clear, compelling vision for differentiating and sustaining that relationship.

What principles can help guide employers toward that vision? In our 2020 Global Human Capital Trends report, we called on organizations to embed the three attributes of purpose, potential, and perspective into their organizational DNA. It’s now time to embed those attributes into the human aspect of work, into all the ways that employers and workers engage with each other. What would the worker-employer relationship be like at an organization that imbues every aspect of work with purpose and meaning every day? How would it look at an organization that designs and organizes work to maximize the human potential for thinking, creating, and doing? What kind of relationship could foster a perspective that embraces a future orientation, asking not just how to optimize for today, but how to create value tomorrow, integrating our work, our lives, and our communities?

Again, there’s no single answer to these questions. Purpose, potential, and perspective may manifest in many different ways in different futures (figure 6). But at a deeper level, all of these manifestations share many common threads. Leadership, belonging, meaning, empowerment, the re-architecture of work—all these and more play into building a sustained, differentiated worker-employer relationship in any future. Most of these themes are not new. They have been evolving, as has the relationship between employers and workers over time. But in an unpredictable world, it’s the ability to apply purpose, potential, and perspective in whatever future comes to pass that positions an organization to thrive.

employee relationship assignment

In a moment of choice and consequence, setting a bold destination for all organizational strategies—business, workforce, and social—is vital. The challenge before us now is to choose, with empathy and a deep understanding of what is possible, where that destination lies on both the current horizon and the next, and to navigate toward it with a steady hand.

Let’s make this work.

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Please join us in thanking our many colleagues from around the globe who have supported the 2021 Global Human Capital Trends special report.

Erica Volini , David Brown , Philippe Burger , Michelle Dryden , William Gosling, Steve Hatfield , Maren Hauptmann , Shivani Maitra , Art Mazor , Pascal Occean , Dheeraj Sharma , Michael Stephan , Petra Tito Yves Van Durme , Pip Dexer , and Ramona Rong Yan , who, as members of Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Executive Committee, provided perspectives on emerging trends in their regions of the globe.

Andrew Blau and Lauren Lubetsky,  who advised and guided the authors with their expertise on scenario planning and futures thinking

Stefano Costanzo for his leadership of the PMO team.

Lauren Kirby and Kristy Spratt for their coordination of the PMO team members; Lauren Kirby for her leadership on collecting insights and data and coordinating industry teams; Asawari Bapat for her leadership of the global team; Emma Mitchiner, Olivia Fogel, Kristy Spratt, Asawari Bapat, and Logan Webb for their outstanding research contributions; and Marilyn Zubak for her leadership and delivery of Remesh sessions for insight gathering.

Shruti Kalaiselvan and Ananshi Chugh for leading our global data analysis efforts, supported by Naina Sabherwal, Vikas Arora, Raveena Hajela , and Oindrila Banerjee.

Lauren Wallace , who drove the marketing strategy; Melissa Doyle , who spearheaded our public relations efforts; Julie Shirazi and Elina Melnikov , who coordinated the production of our marketing assets; and Andrea D’Alessandro , who coordinated our communications campaigns.

The Deloitte Insights team that supported the report’s publication, including Junko Kaji , who provided tremendous editorial leadership and guidance; Blythe Hurley, Aparna Prusty, and Rupesh Bhat on the editorial team; Kevin Weier , Rishwa Amarnath , Sylvia Yoon Chang , Stela Murat , Sourabh Yaduvanshi , and the Green Dot Agency Studio on the creative team; and Hannah Rapp of  Deloitte Insights marketing.

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  • Introduction Of Work and The Employment Relationship Assignment

1. Value and Importance of Employee Relationsand The Fundamentals of Employment Law

1.1 employee relation, 1.2 employment law, 2.different types of rights, duties and obligations an employer and employee have within the workplace, 2.1 rights and duties of employer, 2.3 rights and duties of employees, 3. a stakeholder analysis and positive employment relationships, introduction of work and the employment relationship assignment.

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Employees get to experience a significant range of benefits from having a good professional connection with their employer. Individuals who have mutually supportive interactions with their employers seem to be more likely to be satisfied, committed, and efficient in the longer term, according to several relevant research. In spite of the fact that developing a relationship of this kind is more difficult than it appears, there are some grounds to persist to do so (Ansah etal ., 2018). Because of the reciprocal commitment among employers and employees, the whole company works in a standard form in order to sustain a stronger association among various parties, which is known as employment relations. Employers who integrate their employees and create a strong relationship are more likely to get better results from their employees(Parke etal ., 2018). Employees who have a healthy relationship with the employers tend to cooperate more flexibly with others stakeholders and establish a sustained relationship with them to construct a productive operational cycle.

Marks and Spencer are chosen as the company context for better comprehension of the analysis(Taylor, 2019). In addition, the firm offers a wide range of products. People’s requirements are met by the corporation’s extensive retail shop networks and robust distribution network. The report will rationalize and discuss the significance and relevance of employee relations in a given organization, as well as how to improve employee relations. The company as well as the employees of the organization have distinct rights, responsibilities, and obligations, which will be illustrated within this analysis of the report. 

According to the interpretation of employee relations, a firm’s attempts to develop and keep a favourable connection with its employees are is regarded as the management of employee relations(Chams and García-Blandón, 2019). Organizations seek to retain workers who are loyal and motivate them by establishing pleasant, productive employee relations. An individual’s connection with his coworkers at work is defined by a specific set of circumstances. Unlike robots, humans cannot begin working by pressing a button. Someone with whom they may share their dreams and desires is needed. An individual cannot operate alone; he requires the assistance of others. It’s difficult to work if the authority is unsupportive. Having a proper relation with the employer can develop a sense of integrity and association with the professional responsibilities(Barikand Kochar, 2017). This enhances the urge and professional zeal of the employees which motivate them to perform with maintaining the highest standards.

A sustainable business is one that is both financially successful and ecologically and socially conscious. Approximately 85,000 individuals work for the company around the world, with over 90 per cent of them based in the United Kingdom. The people are the ones that make their ideas come to life. For M&S’s long-term success, they depend on their skill, devotion and passion(Nawaz and Koç, 2019).Workers in the UK and abroad are provided with a positive working environment, as well as a culture that values variety, inclusion, self-improvement and compassion. M&S’s success is attributed to its employees. Oppression, bullying and vilification are not tolerated at work, and the company wants individuals to look forward to going to work. Diverse cultural conventions, employee rights, and commercial factors are positively addressed when hiring employees in different nations.For a company like M&S, it becomes the cornerstone for establishing proper and effective organizational operations and resolving internal clashes.

Value And Significance of Employee Relations:

  • Workplace grievances : Employees have access to transparent and fair methods for raising issues since M&S understands that there may be occasions when people have concerns or complaints about their job(Genç, 2017). They want everybody to feel comfortable bringing up valid criticisms or concerns in a fearless manner. With the goal of finding a solution that is acceptable to all parties, this involves fostering informal settlement and developing grievance procedures that are suitable.
  • Communications with employees: In order to motivate employees and help them complete specific roles successfully, communication strategies are used on a constant schedule. As a result, distinct objectives at various levels of hierarchy are kept transparent and clear(Yal?m and M?zrak, 2017). It also enables employees to contribute their ideas through ideation, which has resulted in a higher level of job satisfaction since employees feel that the firm values their input.As part of the commitment to employee participation, M&S has established Business Involvement Groups and Works Councils. Additionally, they conduct an annual Your Say survey, offer anonymous helplines (upon request), and conduct yearly performance assessments to enhance the communication process. The firm was formed in 1884 and has followed this effective strategy ever since.

A series of rules and norms that defines the relationship between employers and workers is known as employment law(al Habibi, 2019). Workers’ rights are protected by employment laws, which specify when a company can hire them and when they can begin working and under specific conditions. Employees’ wages are regulated by legislation. They provide minimum standards for employee work practices. By protecting the rights of employees, local governments are able to assist the operation of companies.

  • UK’s Modern Slavery Act: Their Worldwide Sourcing Principles, first announced in 1998, layout their baseline ethical and environmental requirements for global suppliers. All of their employees are bound by these principles. The Modern Slavery Act in the UK is also something they embrace as a company, and therefore hold forced labour of any sort in all operation and supply chain to a zero-tolerance policy(Gupta and Chowdhury, 2018). Traditional ethical audit methods have been found to be ineffective in identifying, preventing, reimbursing and remediating human rights impacts throughout the supply chain for many years.
  • ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: “ ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work”, established in 1998, makes it obvious that these provisions are international and that they extend to all individuals in all countries, irrespective of the economic development level (McLaughlin,2018). Particular attention is paid to vulnerable populations, such as jobless people and migrants. For equity and social advancement, economic growth alone is insufficient. Accordingly, M&S has adhered to these regulatory principles.
  • UN Global Compact: Sustainable business practices begin with a corporation’s value system and ideal based business practices. Operationalizing in such a way ensures that, at the very least, human rights, labour, environmental protection, and anti-corruption commitments are accomplished (Nawaz and Koç, 2019). The ideals and principles of a commercial company remain similar no matter where it operates, and it is understood that excellent practices in one area do not compensate for harm in the other. A company’s incorporation of the UN Global Compact’s Ten Principles into its policies and processes together with the establishment of an ethical culture allows it to fulfil its basic duties to people and the world, while also putting it up for future success. In addition to the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, the “International Labour Organization Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work”, the “Rio Declaration on Environment and Development” and the “United Nations Convention Against Corruption”, the Ten Principles of the “United Nations Global Compact” are developed from (Taylor, 2019). M&S follows the principles compiled in this standard to aptly serve the requirements of the people of the organisation.

Suggestions to improve employee relations:

  • Taking the effort to individually set them up every morning and greet them with the same enthusiasm (Chams and García-Blandón, 2019). To assist them to settle in, introducing them to their colleagues and appoint a mentor who can help them adjust. Making them feel appreciated and welcome from the start can help them adjust to the organization and their new position.
  • It is not only wasteful but also unpleasant to communicate with staff only through documents and emails (Genç, 2017). One may quickly make employees feel like they’re not a part of the corporation the authority only speaks to them rather the importance of two-way human contact needs to be developed and it cannot be overstated.
  • M&S provides appropriate information about the professional responsibilities to its employees. all the written and unwritten formalities and conditions are properly conveyed to them.
  • At M&S, employee data are kept safe from unethical practices and treated with utmost privacy (Gupta and Chowdhury, 2018). They also do not ask for unnecessary documents from the employees.
  • Employees are kept safe from health or any other type of hazardous situation by the authority

2.2 Obligation of employer

  • Hiring no one under the following age range. The minimum required age for work is maintained (al Habibi, 2019). If night work is required, or if their health, safety, or mental or moral welfare is at risk, M&S will never hire anybody under the age of 15 or under the age of 18 years old.
  • Constantly revising the compensation and benefit contracts to ensure they are attracting and keeping talent, stay positive and free of bias or unequal treatment, which include meeting the equal pay obligations for males and females working in the same jobs and complying with the legal minimum requirements (Dagogo and Roseline, 2020).
  • M&S employees are responsible for respecting their hierarchies and other colleagues
  • The employees at M&S are responsible for not breaching the company confidentiality

(Source: Yee and Emmerick, 2021)

2.4 Obligation of employee

  • To secure company information, workers must adhere to Information Security Procedures (ISPS)
  • The employees of M&S need to follow the Smoke-Free Policy

(Source: Hosseini etal ., 2021)

Explanation Of the Importance of The Adherence to These Responsibilities and Obligation:

In order to fulfil their job responsibilities, employees must adhere to all corporate policies and procedures, and perform all tasks outlined in their job descriptions. Workplace responsibility establishes one as a great employee and reliable colleague (Zelga, 2017). Workplace responsibility depends on everyday actions, the conduct of work-related activities, and how they treat other workers. Depending on the employment setting and position, one will have different obligations and responsibilities. Especially for a brand like M&S, maintaining corporate policies such as their code of conducts ad other obligations must be complied with by the employees (Gupta and Chowdhury, 2018). On the other hand, the obligation to provide employees with a safe and healthy workplace in terms of culture and settings is the priority of the employers. It is necessary for both sides to remain committed to maintain these policies and become conscious of their activities.

Shareholder’s analysis: It is used to discover people’s interests and classify them into actions that affect their conduct and complement their capabilities or talents (Andriof and Waddock, 2017). As a result of this technique, an organisation is able to communicate effectively and engage its personnel in order to carry out commercial tasks.

  • Keep satisfied

Due to their enormous authority, it is important for M&S’s representatives to keep them happy. Customers and suppliers, who are less engaged in the business issue, are included in this group.

  • Manage Closely

This involves high-ranking stakeholders as well as investors in the firm (Caputo, Evangelista and Russo, 2018). As a result, the company’s management takes steps to ensure that the business’s operations are expanded in order to increase profitability.

They have a lot of authority, but they’re not very interested in the day-to-day functioning, such as the government (Desai, 2018). Private companies are not subject to government meddling since they have a legitimate stand.

  • Keep Informed

This segment mostly featured employees with minimal decision-making authority. M&S is a well-regarded firm, and employees are drawn to it because of its reputation.

Figure 1: Power Interest Grid

(Source: Desai, 2018)

InfluenceOf Stakeholder Engagement OnPositive Employment Relation:

In essence, stakeholder engagement refers to the process through which a company engages with its stakeholders and influences them to stay faithful to it(Greenwood, 2007). In order to influence each person’s choice and execute company functions, measures are necessary to satisfy their needs and expectations. If the management hires a candidate based on his or her interests, it’s called hiring the most attractive applicant(Caputo, Evangelista and Russo, 2018). The approach to strengthening the engagement with the various stakeholders, such as the workers, customers, investors and the governments enhances their zeal to function efficiently and effectively in order to achieve the desired goals.

Stakeholder engagement leads to many optimistic results such as:

  • Creating associations with the stakeholders to gain competitive dominance: Customers, employees and suppliers are the key stakeholders of M&S. The company aims to strengthen its core competency in the globally expanding market place which requires it to have a proper stakeholder relationship with all its partners (Bruce and Shelley, 2010). Especially the company keeps good relations with its investors so that they constantly support the company with required funding for uninterrupted operations. The company, therefore, keeps engaging in communication with its suppliers for a sustained resource supply, employees to properly execute the operations and customers so that the people remain satisfied with the company.
  • Establishment of Rewarding System: Reward and compensation programs are integrated into the core strategies of M&S as the company evaluates the performance of the employees (Hedstrom, 2018). It is necessary for the company to maintain this system as it assists the brand to enhance the relationship with the employees.

An Analysis of The Impact of Both Positive and Negative Employee Relations on Different Stakeholders:

(Source: Hedstrom, 2018)

The entire report has been constructed to bring out the significance of employee relations and how that impacts the stakeholders and the company both positively and negatively. The report has been established in the context of M&S. Through a complete analysis of the nuances associated with the core subject, it can be observed that companies need to concentrate more on the development of strong and valuable relations with their stakeholders. Stakeholders are the pillars of a company. They need to be kept satisfied and therefore a proper and comprehensive two-way communication process is required. Along with that, the stakeholders need to feel that they are supported thoroughly to feel confident. It enhances the possibilities of good performance and also strengthens the market existence of a company. In a nutshell, a company like M&S needs to focus on expanding its approaches to form a greater relationship with its stakeholders and create a sustained bond with them to gain the benefits in a positive manner.

al Habibi, B., 2019.  HR practices of Marks & Spencer, Selfridges, Primark, and Sainsbury’s  (Doctoral dissertation, University of Science & Technology).

Andriof, J. and Waddock, S., 2017. Unfolding stakeholder engagement. In  Unfolding stakeholder thinking  (pp. 19-42). Routledge.

Ansah, R.H., Osei, J., Sorooshian, S. and Aikhuele, D.O., 2018. Importance of employer-employee relationship towards the growth of a business.  Calitatea ,  19 (166), pp.42-49.

Barik, S. and Kochar, A., 2017. Antecedents and consequences of employee engagement: A literature review.  International Journal of Latest Technology in Engineering, Management & Applied Science ,  6 (4), pp.33-38.

Bruce, P. and Shelley, R., 2010. Assessing Stakeholder Engagement.  Communication Journal of New Zealand ,  11 (2).

Caputo, F., Evangelista, F. and Russo, G., 2018. The role of information sharing and communication strategies for improving stakeholder engagement. In  Business models for strategic innovation  (pp. 25-43). Routledge.

Chams, N. and García-Blandón, J., 2019. On the importance of sustainable human resource management for the adoption of sustainable development goals.  Resources, Conservation and Recycling ,  141 , pp.109-122.

Dagogo, T.M. and Roseline, M.B., 2020. MORALITY AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IN ORGANIZATIONS.  European Journal of Human Resource ,  4 (1), pp.1-9.

Desai, V.M., 2018. Collaborative stakeholder engagement: An integration between theories of organizational legitimacy and learning.  Academy of Management Journal ,  61 (1), pp.220-244.

Genç, R., 2017. The importance of communication in sustainability & sustainable strategies.  Procedia Manufacturing ,  8 , pp.511-516.

Greenwood, M., 2007. Stakeholder engagement: Beyond the myth of corporate responsibility.  Journal of Business ethics ,  74 (4), pp.315-327.

Gupta, N. and Chowdhury, J.K., 2018. An overview of employee engagement on performance: a literature review.  Impact: International Journal of Research in Business Management ,  6 (4), pp.53-64.

Hedstrom, G.S., 2018. Stakeholder Engagement. In  Sustainability  (pp. 145-156). De Gruyter.

Hosseini, S.A., Moghaddam, A., Damganian, H. and Nikabadi, M.S., 2021. The Effect of Perceived Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Human Resources on Employee Engagement with the Moderating Role of the Employer Brand.  Employee Responsibilities and Rights Journal , pp.1-21.

McLaughlin, C., 2018. 14: Corporate Social Responsibility and Human Resource Management.  Human resource management , p.271.

Nawaz, W. and Koç, M., 2019. Exploring organizational sustainability: Themes, functional areas, and best practices.  Sustainability ,  11 (16), p.4307.

Parke, M.R., Weinhardt, J.M., Brodsky, A., Tangirala, S. and DeVoe, S.E., 2018. When daily planning improves employee performance: The importance of planning type, engagement, and interruptions.  Journal of Applied Psychology ,  103 (3), p.300.

Taylor, A., 2019. An exploratory study of the relationship between job insecurity and employee engagement focusing on temporary employees in the retailing industry in the United Kingdom| Case study: Marks and Spencer Group plc.

Yal?m, F. and M?zrak, K.C., 2017. A field study on the relationship between employer brand and employee satisfaction.  International Review of Management and Marketing ,  7 (2), pp.92-103.

Yee, K. and Emmerick, K., 2021. Employment: Transitioning back to the office-rights and responsibilities.  LSJ: Law Society of NSW Journal , (78), pp.88-89.

Zelga, K., 2017. The corporate image of an employer as a tool to create the business reputation of the company.  World Scientific News ,  78 , pp.307-312.

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CIPD 5HR01 Employment Relationship Management

A review of emerging development to inform approaches to employee voice and engagement.(ac1.1).

There have been a lot of changes in recent years, and one of the biggest ones is that workers aren’t taking as many industrial actions as they used to as a way to voice their concerns. There has been a trend of fewer people signing up for trade unions, which used to be a big way for workers to have their voices heard. This is because workers and employers are now more involved with each other.  In fact, there is a decline in the workers who join the unions by more than 50% in the last three years, according to CIPD (2019a).

 There is also a decline in the number of strikes as employers are now using engagement strategies, which are thought to make employees more motivated, happier, and healthier. In fact, the number of work-related complaints is going down because workers are becoming more loyal, motivated, and satisfied with their jobs (CIPD, 2019a).

There is also a decline in work-related disagreements between employers and workers have also made workers more dedicated, which has led to good work. Most organizations now have ways for employees to voice their concerns directly. This makes creates more satisfaction (CIPD, 2019a). Unlike in the past, there is a trend of management taking steps to get to know their employees better. The relationship is causing the two parties in employment to become more active, dedicated, and interested in their work. Because of this, people are getting stronger and more committed to their jobs (CIPD, 2019a).

The management of most organizations are also working to improve the working lives of their employees by improving job design, choosing the right leadership styles, creating the best organizational culture, and making sure the mental safety of their employees (CIPD, 2019a). This is a change from the past, when management only cared about how well their employees did their jobs and how much they were paid.  Further,  most line managers are getting training, which gives them the skills they need to deal with conflicts, solve worker problems, motivate employees, and give them the support they need (CIPD, 2019a). This has led most line managers to build good relationships with their employees and take the initiative to solve problems before they spread to the whole staff.

An explanation and evaluation covering the differences between employee involvement and employee participation and how it builds relationships.(AC 1.2)

The goal of both employee involvement and employee participation is to make workers more committed to the organization. However, employee involvement and employee participation vary in meaning and approach. According to Bayram, (2019), employee involvement means using their ideas and contributions on a certain topic. In this case, the employer brings in the employees he or she trusts based on their skills and personality, and they are allowed to share their thoughts about a certain topic. When employees are asked to share their ideas, management can not only find out what they think, but also share the results with them. Employee involvement may also mean letting workers help set organizational goals, make work schedules, and make suggestions when needed (Zaware, 2020). . This can also be done by giving people more responsibility at work, letting them work in self-managed teams, asking for their feedback through interviews and surveys, and finally taking their ideas seriously. When employees are involved, they feel like they belong and they tend to identify with the company.

Employee participation means involving individuals instead of asking what all the workers think as a group (Bayram, 2019).  Most of the time, when an employee participates, they not only give their opinion but also take part in the implementation of the various roles in the organisation.  This method can be used if the representative of the employee body agrees with or helps make the decision, while the workers themselves are involved in putting the changes into place (Bayram, 2019).  By doing this, it become possible for the organisation move forward as a team, with less resistance, since the employees are directly involved in putting the plan into action. By letting the employees take part, they feel like they have a shared responsibility and are more likely to work hard. In this way, the management gets to know the employees as they work together to reach the organization’s goals.

An assessment of a range of employee voice tools and approaches to drive employee engagement. (1.3)

There are several employee voice approaches that may be used for interacting with the employer, expressing ideas, issues, complaints, and recommendations, and participating in decision-making. The group may utilize a union-based strategy in which it negotiates with the employer using collective bargaining power. Employees may communicate their complaints and suggestions to the organization via union representatives (CIPD, 2019a). Union leaders serve as the workers’ agents and, in accordance with the legislation, build an effective employee voice. The strong negotiating strength of the labor union enables this strategy to be successful.

Employee representation, which utilizes employee representatives, is another kind of employee voice (CIPD, 2019a). The employees may not be members of a trade union, but via their representatives, they bargain for improved working conditions and communicate other ideas and thoughts with the management. This method expedites the resolving of problems. Nonetheless, some workers may feel poorly represented.

Partnership schemes are another form of employee voice in which the representatives of the employees interact with management to address concerns and collaborate for mutual benefit (CIPD, 2019a). In this strategy, the organization and the employees do not engage in confrontation, but rather build a relationship based on collaboration and exchange vital information for mutual benefit. This strategy is excellent for increasing employee involvement as opposed to addressing problems.

The organization may also organize a joint consultation, in which a team of committee members engages both the employee and employer. This kind of agreement calls for a committee from both parties to serve as the joint consultant. Employee voice may also take the shape of employee forums, when the workforce meets with the employer to discuss concerns, exchange information, and participate in discussions. This strategy is excellent when there are no recurrent issues, but rather a dialogue that might help to improve working relationships (CIPD, 2019a). 

A critical evaluation of the interrelationships between employee voice and organisational performance (AC 1.4

The Employment Rights Act of 1996 stipulates what is and isn’t a fair dismissal of an employee. It also states the process that should be followed in dismissing a worker. According to this Act, as stated by (CIPD n.d. Employment Law), an employee’s dismissal can be considered to be fair if the process was due to competence, capacity  ground, misconduct, not being qualified for the job, redundancy grounds, legal restrictions like not having a work permit, and other substantial reasons. When a person is fired for a reason that is not one of the ones listed above, then the dismissal is considered to be unfair. The issue of capability has to do with the employee’s skills, abilities, and health (both mental and physical) (Collins, 2018). 

So, a person could be considered incapable if their health makes it hard for them to help the organization do its job. Further, dismissal could be considered unfair, if the employee was not given an appropriate chance to be heard. Qualifications, on the other hand, include both academic and technical qualifications (Collins, 2018). This could include the employee’s degree, diploma, or any other technical qualification. If an employee needs to be accredited or certified, he or she must do so. If not, he or she could be fired for not being qualified. It is also important to think about whether or not the HR department acted in a fair and reasonable way. For instance, if the guideline that is provided under the ACAS code, on fair hearing and right to be accompanied was not followed, then the employee could litigate this as unfair dismissal (ACAS)

Other HR01 Assignment Assessment Criteria's

An explanation of the concept of better working lives and how this can be designed (AC1.5)

An explanation of the principles of legislation relating to unfair dismissal in respect of capability and misconduct issues. (AC 3.1)

An analysis of the key causes of employee grievances. (AC 3.2)

An explanation of the skills required for effective grievance and discipline-handling procedures. (AC 3.3)

Advice on the importance of handling grievances effectively. (AC 3.4)

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ACAS 2016. Managing individual conflict in the contemporary British workplace. https://www.acas.org.uk/managing-individual-conflict-in-the-contemporary-british-workplace [Accessed 13 Oct 2022].

ACAS 2019. Collective employment law . CIPD. https://www.acas.org.uk/advice

Bayram, M. (2019). Safety training and competence, employee participation and involvement, employee satisfaction, and safety performance: An empirical study on occupational health and safety management system implementing manufacturing firms.  Alphanumeric Journal ,  7 (2), 301-318.

Bozkurt-Güngen, S. (2018). Labor and authoritarian neoliberalism: Changes and continuities under the AKP governments in Turkey.  South European Society and Politics ,  23 (2), 219-238.

CIPD 2019. Workplace conflict: employee experiences. https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/disputes/employee-experiences-report#gref [Accessed 13 Oct 2022].

CIPD n.d. Employment Law. https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/emp-law#gref[Accessed 13 January 2022].

CIPD. (2019). Employee Relations | Factsheets | CIPD . [online] Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/employees/factsheet [Accessed 15  oct 2022]. 

CIPD. (2021). Employee Voice | Factsheets | CIPD . [online] Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/communication/voice-factsheet [Accessed 23 Oct 2022]. 

CIPD. (2021). Trade Union Recognition & Industrial Action Q&As | CIPD . [online] Available at: https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/employees/trade-unions-questions [Accessed 18 Oct 2022].

 Collins, P. (2018). The inadequate protection of human rights in unfair dismissal law.  Industrial Law Journal ,  47 (4), 504-530.

Dobbins, T., & Dundon, T. (2020). Non-union employee representation. In  Handbook of research on employee voice . NY: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Godbless, E. E., Goddey, A. E., & Solomon, E. (2020). Organizational Grievance Handling Procedures and Contextual Performance of Employees of Nigerian Money Deposit Bank.  International Journal of Management ,  11 (10).

Hayes, H., Gibson, J., Fitzpatrick, B., Checkland, K., Guthrie, B., Sutton, M., … & Mercer, S. W. (2020). Working lives of GPs in Scotland and England: a cross-sectional analysis of national surveys. BMJ Open ,  10 (10), e042236.

Ibsen, C. L. (2021). Conciliation, mediation, and arbitration in collective bargaining in Western Europe: In search of control. European Journal of Industrial Relations ,  27 (1), 23-39.

Jules, S., Kwake, A. K., & Mwangi, W. F. (2021). Grievance Management Mechanisms and Employees Performance in Tubura Social Enterprise in Rwanda.  Journal of Human Resource & Leadership ,  5 (1), 72-87.

McLaughlin, H., Uggen, C., & Blackstone, A. (2017). The economic and career effects of sexual harassment on working women.  Gender & Society ,  31 (3), 333-358.

Mowbray, P. K., Wilkinson, A., & Herman, H. M. (2020). High-performance work systems and employee voice behaviour: an integrated model and research agenda.  Personnel Review .

Obiekwe, O., & Eke, N. U. (2019). Impact of employee grievance management on organizational performance.  International Journal of Economics

Osborne-Lampkin, L. T., Cohen-Vogel, L., Feng, L., & Wilson, J. J. (2018). Researching collective bargaining agreements: Building conceptual understanding in an era of declining union power.  Educational Policy ,  32 (2), 152-188.

Philip, K., & Arrowsmith, J. (2020). The limits to employee involvement? Employee participation without HRM in a small not-for-profit organization.  Personnel Review .

Sedaitis, J. B. (2019). Worker activism: Politics at the grassroots. In Perestroika from Below  (pp. 13-27). Routledge.

Sharma, R. (2015). A study on effectiveness of grievance handling mechanism in improving quality of education (At selected Management Institutes of NCR).  International Journal of Engineering and Management Research (IJEMR) ,  5 (3), 819-823.

Zaware, P. D. N. (2020). Deliberating the managerial approach towards employee participation in management.  Available at SSRN 3819249 .

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Employee Relations Assignment

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PREFACE It is a matter of honour for me to present my findings on Employee Relations. This report is an honest earnest effort to study Employee Relations as an important tool of Human Resource Management. I got an opportunity to work at GPI for my summers which instigated initiated the idea of the project. I started with reading HRM by Ashwathapa which gave me a foundation to HUMAN RESOURCES as a function. Later I surfed the net for more specific information and browsed through a variety of HR policies of companies.

It gave me a brief knowledge about Employee Relations and I formed a questionnaire for the companies I was going to research on. Some articles that caught my attention while doing research are included in my observations. To add spice to this dish, I have also scaled the practices of Employee Relations in other countries. Since I was working at GPI, gathering information was easier compared to others. I have found some interesting insights regarding Employee Relations which are mentioned in the report. So, with due respect to my patient readers, I welcome you to the unremitting process of Employee Relations.

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STUDY OF EMPLOYEE RELATIONS |Sr. no. |TOPIC |PAGE NO. | |I |Executive summary |3 | |1 |Human Resources Management |5 | |2 |EMPLOYEE RELATIONS |8 | |2. |Introduction |8 | |2. 2 |Overview |9 | |3 |Employee Relations in brief |11 | |3. 1 |Downward Relation (employer to employees) |11 | |3. 1. 1 |Training and induction |11 | |3. . 2 |Benefits |12 | | |Incentives and allowance | | | |Monetary benefits | | | |Medical facilities to staff | | |3. . 3 |Safety | | |3. 1. 4 |Career Development |13 | |3. 1. 5 |Recreation facilities and stress management |13 | |3. 1. 6 |Collective problem solving. bargaining) |13 | |3. 1. 7 |Involvement and engagement |14 | |3. 1. 8 | Rewards and recognition |15 | |3. 2 |Upward communication (employee to employer) |15 | |3. . 1 |Feedback |15 | |3. 2. 2 |Performance appraisal |15 | |3. 3 |Horizontal Relation (amongst Employees) |16 | |3. 3. |Annual events and magazines |16 | |3. 3. 2 |Welfare activities |16 | |4 |Advantages of maintaining Good Employee Relations |17 | |5 |Role and scope of Human resources. 19 | |6 |GODFREY PHILLIPS INDIA LTD |20 | |7 |PARLE INDIA LIMITED |31 | |8 |TAJ LANDS END |39 | |9 |Comparative study |47 | |10 |Worldwide Employee Relations |51 | |11 |Personal observation. |58 | |12 |Conclusion |61 | I. Executive summary The objective of the report is to have an overview of HRM and Employee Relations at GODFREY PHILLIPS INDIA LTD. (Andheri), TAJ LANDS END (Bandra) and at PARLE PRODUCTS PRIVATE LTD. (Vile Parle).

The objective was to analyze Employee Relations at a plant factory and in the service sector. The Human Resources Management (HRM) function includes a variety of activities, and key among them is maintaining amicable relations with the workforce. Both the sectors are such where employees become the crux of all operations. For the plant (factory), it is the employee who works on the machine. Even at PARLE, where most of the operations are automated, workers need to operate the machines. At the hospitality sector, it is the employee who communicates with the guest. The behaviour of the employee gives inkling about the company. Thus it is very important to maintain cordial relations with the workforce.

The goal of Employee Relations is to end up with a productive and motivated employee that will help effectiveness. Following the introduction to Employee Relations is a brief overview of how Employee Relations has evolved as an activity. Following that in chapter 6 are the advantages of maintaining good employee relations. The importance of HR department, HR mission and the activities of the department for Employee Relations are detailed. According to me, HR department gets concerned in 3 types of relations. First the employer to the employee, second employees to employer and third is amongst the employees. There is comprehensive information on all 3 and how it benefits the company. The report gives a brief introduction about the companies.

It has knowledge about the history of the company, vision, core values and the Corporate Social Responsibility activities initiated by the company. Following this is the organization structure. In addition, I have also studied the practices at other countries like Japan, UK and USA for Employee Relations. This includes the different procedures for Employee Relations, their trade unions and the laws regulating the same. The report ends with my personal observations about each company and some articles that caught my attention while research. Conclusion about employee relations ends my report In order to achieve the above mentioned objective and finish the study to perfection, the methodology used was a balance of primary and secondary sources.

Primary sources were the personal visits to the companies and secondary was the information collected from websites. To facilitate this, I started with reading a few books on Employee Relations and human resources to understand the basic concept of Employee Relations. I also browsed the net to find more detailed information on specific topics. I practically saw the HR department at GPI work and Later, I formed a questionnaire on various practices to understand the functioning of HR department at other companies. A sample of these companies was chosen on the basis of their scale of operations, reputation and quick accessibility. 1. HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

Human Resource Management is an integral part of management. It helps the management in taking a strategic view of a very important resource i. e. Human Resource. It helps management in identifying key skill sets, knowledge, values required in the employee and the rewards that are needed to be given to the employees so that the organisation goals are fulfilled. Also like other management functions, it has to ensure that these resources are available at an optimal cost. It has to look into various training and development activities to ensure this. This is a key area for Human Resource Management as it shows their contribution in terms of money.

The money here would be the opportunity cost incurred due to appointing of new employees instead of developing current employees for the task in hand. Functions From recruiting to orienting new employees, from writing job descriptions to tracking vacation and sick leave, and from instituting and monitoring policies to monitoring benefits, there has been a need for an HR generalist to assist senior management in both establishing a “structure” to holding down costs of administration. HRM is a function that helps manager’s recruit, select, train, and develop employees for an organization. 1. Human Resource Planning: is understood as the process of forecasting an organizations future demand for, and supply of, the right type of people in the right number. 2.

Job Analysis: is the process of studying and collecting information relating to the operations and responsibilities of a specific job. The immediate products of this analysis are job descriptions and job specification. 3. Recruitment: is the process of finding and attracting capable applicants for employment. The process begins when new recruits are sought and ends when their applications are submitted. The result is a pool of applicants from which new employees are selected. 4. Selection: is the process of differentiating between applicants in order to identify (and hire) those with greater likelihood of success in a job. 5. Placement: is understood as the allocation of people to jobs. It is the assignment or re-assignment of an employee to a new or different job. 6.

Training and development: It is an attempt to improve current or future employee performance by increasing an employee’s ability to perform through learning, usually by changing the employee’s attitude or increasing his or her skills and knowledge. The need for training and development is determined by employee’s performance deficiency, computed as follows: Training and development need = Standard performance – Actual performance 7. Remuneration: is the compensation an employee receives in return for his or her contribution to the organization. 8. Motivation: is a process that starts with a psychological or physiological deficiency or need that activates behavior or a drive that is aimed at a goal or an incentive. 9.

Participative management: Workers participation may broadly be taken to cover all terms of association of workers and their representatives with the decision making process, ranging from exchange of information, consultations, decisions and negotiations to more institutionalized forms such as the presence of workers members on management or supervisory boards or even management by workers themselves as practiced in Yugoslavia. ((ILO) 10. Communication: may be understood as the process of exchanging information, and understanding among people. 11. Safety and health: Safety means freedom from the occurrence or risk of injury or loss. In order to ensure the continuing good health of their employees, the HRM focuses on the need for healthy workers and health services. 12.

Welfare: as defined by ILO at its Asian Regional Conference, defined labour welfare as a term which is understood to include such services, facilities, and amenities as may be established in or in the vicinity of undertakings to enable the person employed in them to perform their work in healthy, congenial surroundings and to provide them with amenities conducive to good health and high morale. 13. Transfer: involves a change in the job (accompanied by a change in the place of the job) of an employee without a change in the responsibilities or remuneration. 14. Separations: Lay-offs, resignations and dismissals separate employees from the employers. 15.

Employee Relations: is concerned with the systems, rules and procedures used by unions and employers to determine the reward for effort and other conditions of employment, to protect the interests of the employed and their employers, and to regulate the ways in which employers treat their employees. 16. Disputes and their settlement: Industrial disputes mean any dispute or difference between employers and employers, or between employers and workmen, or between workmen and workmen, which is connected with the employment or non-employment or terms of employment or with the conditions of labour of any person. 2. EMPLOYEE RELATIONS 2. 1 Introduction People in organisations interact with each other during work, formally and officially as well as socially and informally.

During the course of interaction, relationships develop, which are invisible connecting links, coloured by emotions of love, hate, repulsion, respect, fear, anxiety and so on. These are usually mutual but not necessarily reciprocal. If A hates B, it does not follow that B hates A. It is possible that B loves A and even sympathizes with his thoughts. Relationships imply feelings for each other. They may be positive (friendly, wanting to be close) or negative (unfriendly, wanting to be distant). Relationships always exist between interacting persons. There is no neutral point. Indifference is not neutral. Indifference tends to be negative. Relationships influence behaviours at work.

Expectations of each other, perceptions of the intentions of either, distributions of assignments, readiness to conform or to rebel, enthusiasm to contribute, etc. , are to some extent outcomes of these relationships. Attitudes and motivations influence, and are influenced by, the nature of these relationships. Employees are among an organization’s most important audiences with the potential to be its most effective ambassadors. Employee Relations are practices or initiatives for ensuring that Employees are happy and are productive. Employee Relations offers assistance in a variety of ways including employee recognition, policy development and interpretation, and all types of problem solving and dispute resolution.

Once there was a time when “Employee Relations” meant labor relations everywhere around the world. Negotiate. Orchestrate. Dictate. HR professionals helped negotiate collective bargaining agreements. The provisions of that contract defined the relationship between management, unions, and workers. Today, Employee Relations is a much broader concept. It involves maintaining a work environment that satisfies the needs of individual employees and management. Improving employee morale, building company culture, conveying expectations 2. 2 Overview An effective employee relation involves creating and cultivating a motivated and productive workforce.

People are generally motivated from within, but what can you do to help foster the type of environment where employees thrive, enabling your company to outperform the competition “Employee Relations” starts with determining the type of workplace the company wants. It starts by considering what the company wants its employees to say about working for the company. In a competitive market, it is important to that employees don’t feel that they might be treated more fairly elsewhere. After all retention is one of the major functions of HRM. By considering what the company wants employees to say about working for it gives shape to the company’s culture.

The company culture conveys organization’s core values to its employees, customers, vendors, and community. In addition to the workplace climate, the company also considers the types of processes or systems it wants to employ within the workplace to support the company culture and enhance the working relationship that exists between the company and its workforce. Such systems could include communications, policies, training, and development. Also, an essential step in building effective Employee Relations is to evaluate the human, financial and other resources available that reinforce the values and guiding principles the company wants echoed throughout the organization.

For example, what type of supervisors and managers does it believe can bring out the best in people and projects? The company should also make certain from the start that employees are not in counter productive work environments where work is more arduous than it needs to be. Is the workplace compliant with employment law? A major source of frustration for employees is the feeling that they were treated unfairly. Good liability management tools are necessary to ensure that the company avoids unnecessary confrontations, time wasters and costly legal battles Traditionally Employee Relations programs were centered around labor union relations. Today, Employee Relations does not necessarily involve unions.

However, it does involve cultivating the leadership style and workplace practices that help make union organizing activities a less attractive option for employees. Establishing workplace and management principles set the stage for fostering a successful work climate and establishing your company’s culture. Effective Employee Relations is about establishing processes that address and nurture that culture. Employees in such organisations develop attitudes very different from those in another organisation that does not make any such distinction and is more secular in its policies. These different attitudes will be reflected in their behaviours outside the organisation and will either strengthen or weaken the social fabric.

An organisation in which authority is highly centralised and does not allow its people enough discretion, will develop among its people tendencies for dependency and inability to take responsibility. These tendencies are handicaps in their roles as parents or citizens. The extent of concern shown for the effect of working conditions on employees’ health has an impact on the society, not merely in terms of general health and costs on medical care, but also in terms of the kind of activities that the members of the society participate in. When an organisation is sensitive to its impact on society, and responds to the society’s concerns, it is said to be socially responsive.

On the contrary, if it is concerned only with its own purposes and ignores the impact that it has on society, it is said to be socially not responsive Relationships also contribute to stress and conflicts at work, which in turn, affect quality of work life of individuals as well as the quality of organizational outputs, measured in terms of customer satisfaction, competitive advantage, innovation, and so on. 3. EMPLOYEE RELATIONS IN BRIEF According to me, Employee Relations can be classified in 3 types, with HRM intervening. First is the downward communication flowing from employer to the employees Second is upward flowing from employees to employer and Third is horizontal communication amongst the employees. 1. Downward communication (employer to employees) 3. 1. 1. Training and Induction

Every new employee needs a company orientation, but most supervisors forget that employees also need to be orientated to the company’s VISION in addition to learning their coworkers’ names, company policies, and what not to eat in the cafeteria. The company’s vision statement tells the employee where the company is going, what their role will be, and how success and achievement will be measured. Achieving great performance in the company is a journey, not a destination. For any business to succeed one must first recognize that the people are the greatest asset, and service is your most valuable product. Continuous improvement by training and developing employees is critical for business survival. Recent U. S. orkforce demographics provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics make a compelling case for businesses of all sizes to begin planning for ongoing training of employees. Experts project that 60% of new jobs in the early 21st century will require skills possessed by only 20% of today’s workforce. Technology is raising the skill level requirements for the best and fastest growing jobs, but schools and adult learning programs are not keeping pace. The likely result is that demand for highly skilled workers will outstrip the supply of qualified workers in the coming years. These statistics would seem to move training and employee development to the list of services in high demand. 2. Benefits Benefits often have a higher impact on employee recruitment and retention than compensation.

Employees who know their needs are met are also more likely to contribute to a positive morale. Besides the customary Allowance like • For Workers Attendance bonus, Over Time Allowance which is double the Basic, House Rent Allowance, Education Allowance, Conveyance Allowance which is fixed as per 6 scales of the workers, and Leave Travel Allowance amongst others. • For Staff (Basic)TA/DA, Attendance Bonus, Production Incentive, Over Time Allowance which is equal to one and half times, House Rent Allowance, Education, Leave Travel Allowance, and Annual Bonus amongst others. ( Sodexho Meal Vouchers, medical reimbursement ) Companies also provide Monetary Benefits, ( Insurance) and Medical Facilities to the workforce. 3. Safety

Health and safety risks may arise from physically dangerous work, such as work with hazardous machinery or relate to less immediately visible factors such as exposure to pollution. Accidents and ill health may ruin or seriously impair the lives of employees and their dependents. An employer must encompass necessary safety measures for the trust from the employee. 4. Career Development and job opportunities Career Paths are constructed in order to determine the optimum movement and utilization of people in the organisation. Therefore, due care should be given to various elements of the position – including job analysis and the competency requirements at each stage. 5. Stress management and Recreation facilities Working Hours and Holidays need to reflect an adequate balance of the quality of work life of all employees.

It is recognized that for certain categories of employees business related work may transcend the routine office timings; whilst for other categories business may be purely confined to the work hours and timings. The quotation “all work and no play can make jack a dull boy” is apt for the company to understand the importance of recreation facilities. 6. Collective problem solving It is the duty of the HR to find ways of resolving issues between employees on one hand and employees and Management on the other. As long as there are human beings at the work place there would always be need for arbitration amongst them. It is at this time that HR should use the “grape vine channel” to its advantage and call officers to a round table for reconciliation and if it is between workers and Management should ways of brokering peace.

Although the trade unions are expected to only deal with matters concerning workers, it can be argued that everything that happens within a company, including product development and business strategies, affect workers one way or other and trade unions have gradually sought to extend their areas of concerns. The management’s attempts to contest such expansions on the ground of “management prerogative” have by and large not succeeded. These activities involve a number of skills crucial to human resource managers. HR specialists are also involved in issues which are considerably legislated and touch on home life and health as well as more familiar workplace topics such as discipline and conflict. 7. Involvement and Engagement

Participation of employees has been a subject of discussion since the 1930s when Elton Mayo’s experiments led to the development of the human relations school. Participation can be and has been provided in the structure of the organisations. Participative management involves associating employees at every level in the decision making process. Participation may be at the board level, collective bargaining, job enlargement, job enrichment, suggestion schemes, quality circles, and empowered teams. Participative management is also called Employee involvement. The Industrial Disputes Act provided for participation in the management of the shop floor.

Representatives of the workers would be appointed to various committees to decide upon matters affecting the worker at the shop floor. The rationale behind the concept of involving workers in bodies that decide on matters concerning them is that the principle of democracy The lesson is that the advantages from the practice of participation cannot be derived from creating appropriate structures alone. The nature of the processes within the structures, are important. At the basic level, calling for suggestions is participation. In terms of Hertzberg’s motivation-hygiene theory, participation in decision making is a powerful motivator, because in that process, there is recognition and achievement, a sense of being wanted, of being important.

Employees may also reduce turnover and absences when they begin to feel that working conditions are satisfactory and that they are becoming more successful in their jobs. They identify themselves with the work and this leads to an improved performance. 3. 1. 8Rewards and Recognition The purpose of an employee recognition and reward program is to express the employer’s appreciation for a job well done. Employee recognition and rewards can take many forms, from a simple thank you note to cash to an extravagant awards ceremony, just to name a few. Generally, recognition and rewards can be distinguished in two categories. At all these companies, recognition is distinguished as a pat on the back or a word of praise, growth prospects and competent supervision amongst others.

Alternative monetary rewards include incentives, bonuses, and commissions. In addition, employees put a great value on benefits such as life insurance, disability insurance, health and/or retirement benefits, and perks. Top performing companies have begun documenting “best practices” which show a direct relationship between employee morale and productivity, profitability, turnover and retention, thus measuring the value of human resources. 1. Upward relation (employee to employer) 1. Feedback It is the job of the supervisor to guide the employee into understanding which of their ideas for change will be helpful in meeting the company’s goals.

A good supervisor also guides each of their employees differently because similar to Pokemon, each employee offers unique talents and will evolve into different forms of advanced employees 2. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL Most managers say they want to pay for performance, but few sit down and conduct a performance review with an employee. Raises, Career paths, training plans, and departmental productivity are impacted by an employee’s performance. In addition, a well-designed, effectively implemented appraisal system can provide solid documentation of performance accomplishments or problems that the supervisor can use to justify or defend a wide range of personnel actions or decisions. 3. Horizontal Relation (amongst Employees) 1. Annual events and magazines

Annual events are a way of getting to know the employee on a personal level. It is also a team building exercise and is common in all companies Inhouse magazines too are common. They tell the employee about the company and employee participation is encouraged by articles. 3. 3. 2 Welfare activities The objective of providing welfare facilities is to ensure that employee attention is not diverted from work to maintenance activities. It also aims to provide a caring environment that enhances the satisfaction of the employee with working conditions 4 ADVANTAGES OF MAINTAINING GOOD EMPLOYEE RELATIONS. The Gallup Organization published research proved that a more engaged employee is also a more productive employee.

The research also proved, that a more engaged employee is also a more profitable employee, a more customer-focused employee, a safer employee, and an employee who is more likely to withstand temptations to jump ship and in turn it is also true that the longer employees stay with an organization, the less engaged they become. Following are the advantages of maintaining good relations with the employees. 1. Reduced Absenteeism One reason, outside of illness, that employees are absent is stress, and the number one reason employees are stressed has to do with their relationship with their manager/supervisor. Management styles that are too authoritarian tend to promote high levels of absenteeism among employees also increase turnover, job burnout, and employee health problems such as backaches and headaches.

Employees may also reduce turnover and absences when they begin to feel that working conditions are satisfactory and that they are becoming more successful in their jobs Absenteeism rate at GPI is around 13-14 % on an average but a little high during summer holidays. ( Does it include approved leaves?.. why elaborate/justify.. ) Absenteeism at TAJ is under control as per the norms. The absenteeism rate at PARLE is 8 % and increases by 3 % reaching to 11 % during the summer holidays. In addition, these programs help reduce turnover thereby reducing your training, recruiting, and administrative human resource expenses. 2. Improved Morale & Motivation. The secret of creating a motivating employee review lies in the relationship between accuracy and money( not a correct expression… xpectations of the employee & the C) The right combination provides with a highly motivated employee. Maintaining good Employee Relations creates an environment of trust and increases morale. This improves the motivation of the employee. A motivated employee is contagious and is beneficial for the growth of the company 3. Harmony in the organisation Increase in the level of job satisfaction has a direct relation with the smooth workflow. There will be lesser arguments and more discussions. Employees will be ready to share information and help each other out. A good relation with the employee also inculcates discipline. Thus harmony is maintained. 4. Lesser attrition – reduced cost on training, less cost of retention

A reduced attrition rate will reduce the cost of training and induction. No new employees will need to start afresh. The company can save on getting to know new employees. GPI spends around Rs. 5 Lakhs( isn’t it less?.. ) on training every year with the attrition rate being less than 2 %. For TAJ, There is a bloodbath in Mumbai today, with seven hotels cheek-by-jowl near the airport. Retention of talent is the chief challenge. Staff is routinely poached by not just industry competitors but also banks, call centers and others. On the upside, they are the biggest and the most profitable chain and apparently enjoy an attrition rate which is lowest in the industry. They are most in the news, too.

They must be doing something right( What are they doing?.. ) At PARLE, it seems the employees are not interested in leaving at all. The attrition rate is a minimal at 2-3% for staff, and between 1-2% for its workers. ( Please re-check the figures!! It can’t be!! Last one year it should be around 15%.. which Parle location is this?.. ) 5. Attract good talent Attracting the most qualified employees and matching them to the jobs for which they are best suited is important for the success of any organization. A good company with good Employee Relations will be talked about. There is a brand image created in the mind of the employees which attracts them to the company like a drop of honey.

Like for example there are companies like TATA, HLL, Birlas, or Infosys where people would be glad to work. TAJ wants to create an image where, if 10 employees are interviewed and 1 gets selected, then the rest should feel sorry, not for being unemployed (selected) but for losing getting an wonderful opportunity to work for an interview with for TAJ Knowledge about satisfying work places with comfortable working conditions and friendly work culture and transparency in the organisation are always passed through the grapevine and thus attract employees. Later it’s the job of the recruitment cell to hire employees as per the requirements. 6. Responsible for increase in productivity.

As the saying goes, a happy worker is a productive worker. Thus a satisfied worker will take lesser breaks, spend lesser time in the canteen gossiping and more time working for the company. There will be Greater commitment which means quality output. There will be loyalty and less wastage of company resources. The employee will seek for opportunities for intensifying the business and look out for new chances of expanding the company. They identify themselves with the work and this leads to an improved performance. Finally, the act of participation in itself establishes better communication, as people mutually discuss work problems. 7. Open to organizational / hierarchical changes (flexibility)

The workers’ self-esteem, job satisfaction, and cooperative with the management is improved. The results often are reduced conflict and stress, more commitment to goals, and better acceptance of a change. 8. Shared learning and Continuous improvement. A satisfied employee will look for ways of continuous improvement. They will participate in programs such as kaizen and try for the better of the company. Employees in a good employee relation management will share their new learning’s and wisdom with his colleagues. 5. ROLE and scope of Human resources The key process that defines the HR strategy is ensuring an effective and efficient organisation through appropriate people-job-organisation fit

Each and every HR plans thus focuses on: • Productivity • Performance • Satisfaction, to further the business objectives of the organisation through the optimal utilization of the human resources. 6. GODFREY PHILLIPS INDIA LTD. (ANDHERI) Vision “To be the best quality cigarette manufacturing in the country, producing at optimum cost with total employee involvement and maintaining clean and safe environment inside and outside the factory premises. ” INTRODUCTION GPI, the second largest player in the Indian cigarette industry with an annual turnover of over US$ 265 million is a joint venture between Modi group and global cigarette major Phillip Morris.

Some of the leading brands in GPI’s portfolio are Jaisalmer, Cavenders, Four Square, Red & White and Originals. The company has a value market share of 11. 4% and a volume share of 12. 4% in the cigarette industry in 2004-2005. Godfrey Phillips has the strong backing of over 15,000 shareholders in the Country. The manufacturing of cigarettes is done in the Andheri factory in Mumbai and in Guldhar (Ghaziabad) called the ITC factory (International Tobacco Company). These constitute the manufacturing operations of the CIGARETTE DIVISION in the company. Core values Core Values are those values, which are enduring tenets of the organisation and are timeless guiding principles.

Core values help the organisation to achieve its vision. Core values are those values, which are not compromised, even though they become a competitive disadvantage under certain situations. The Andheri Factory, has articulated the following Core Values. • Provide Environment For Development • Urge to change for Improvement • Focus on Quality. The Andheri Management Team with its commitment to achieve excellence in Quality shall ensure compliance to this policy and economic competitiveness in the implementation. Nothing represents the true spirit of Godfrey Phillips more aptly than the many initiatives it has taken to be a socially responsible corporate citizen.

The commitment has always been to enrich and energize the community within which it operates. • Red and White Bravery Awards Started in 1990-91, the purpose of these awards is to instill in people the culture of selfless action. The awards bring into limelight extraordinary, yet little known acts of bravery and social acts of courage by the common man. • Farmer Program Godfrey Phillips helped create awareness amongst the farming community about the benefits of adopting approved agricultural practices. It imparts training and knowledge to farmers in tobacco producing areas • AIDS Prevention Program GPI’s participates in AIDS Prevention Programme, rehabilitation of the Gujarat Earthquake victims and Blood donation camps.

However, since charity starts at home, they insist upon and ensure safe environmental practices within our factories and offices Realizing the importance of human factor in producing good quantity and quality, GPI signed an agreement with Japan Tobacco Company (an acknowledged world leader in the management of people and machines) for the improvement of its Andheri factory. The Andheri plant went 100% filter manufacturing in 1991. The modernization of the primary line at a cost of RS. 11 Crore’s was done in 1990-91. Organization structure GPI believes in a flexible, business-oriented organisation structure. It follows a flat organisation structure with decentralized management.

There are around 5 levels in the organisation structure making it a decently flat structure comprising of 407 employees comprising of 69 staff members, 289 workers and 47 managers. ( Hey give an organization structure as an annexure) The organizational business is built around a structure that comprises various jobs carried out by individual in the organisation Role and scope of HR at GPI Mission To facilitate the processes which create an environment where each member of GPI family is able to contribute their best. Aim: To be amongst top 10 employers in India. • All HR processes are linked to Core Competency Model which was launched for GPI, 2003. Assessment Centers are launched for promoting staff into management cadre. • HRIS (Human Resource Information System) launched to empower employees of Godfrey Phillips. • Six-Sigma project is undertaken to create a robust performance management system. • Annual training calendar is introduced which is based on the GPI competency model. • Internal Recruitment is encouraged to fill vacant positions. • Each management staff is entitled to training and development intervention of at least 8 days. • 360-degree feedback is initiated. • Variable income plan was launched in 2004 to attract the organization to raise their performance bar. GPI believes in Total Employee Involvement.

This is done through small group activity including all employees in teams, whereby identified problems are resolved and presented to management. The HR department is the central point which initiates, monitors and follows up on the processes. It coordinates the task force activities of the factory. There are at present 11 task forces in the factory There is a micro site that has been created called ELIVE to generate the awareness among the employees about the concept and its benefits. Each manager should therefore evolve his or her people strategy aligned to the business strategy of the organisation DOWNWARD RELATION TRAINING AND INDUCTION An employee at GPI is placed on the job after induction.

The basic induction training is a seven-day program; additional training is imparted as required. Technical personnel are given induction training in various technical departments for one month before being placed on their actual jobs. GPI at its HO follows a mentoring program for the employees. It will be implemented at the Andheri factory from July 2005. Training for the same will be conducted by the HO. Mentoring at GPI was launched on the 5th September, 2004 which is celebrated as the International Mentoring Day world wide. GPI believes that the best investment that it can make towards its people is in increasing their knowledge, skills etc.

This can be done by periodically identifying the training needs, imparting training and measuring the effectiveness of the training programs thereby assessing how effective the training programs are and their contribution to the bottom line of the business. GPI places a great emphasis on training Training and Development systems focus on aspects such as continuous learning, on-the-job learning, easy access to training programs, self-managed programs. Training is controlled and monitored through a budget of around Rs. 5 Lakhs A Training Directory is created by each unit. The Directory identifies both training needs as well as training delivery in respect of all employees. The training programs include both job related technical training as well as behavioral training. Training needs of employees are decided once in a year. The factory manager identifies training needs of HOD’s.

In line with the Training Activities in the Factory, Quality System Procedures of Personnel Department are documented, scope of which includes Training Need Identification, Training Plan, Training Calendar, Training Evaluation and Training Records. GPI provides the following BENEFITS: • Canteen Facility – The Company has a subsidized canteen for its employees, which provides food at highly subsidized rates in all shifts. The employees working in the night shift get refreshments. Everyday in the morning, the food is tasted by the responsible person from the Personnel Department and accordingly the taste is approved or is changed if necessary. Every week, the menu is approved by the Personnel Department. Lunch is made available at 50 paisa, refreshments for 20 paisa and tea for 10 p Uniform – The Company provides free uniforms to certain categories of employees once in every year around the month of Feb-March. The washing of the uniforms is taken care by the company itself once a week. Winter and monsoon wear is also provided to selected employees. • Housing facility – is provided to the security guards and workers at key position. They are highly subsidized accommodation at a pay of Rs. 7. 50 per month. • Holiday Home Scheme – Each individual management staff is entitled to a stay up to one week at any of the properties available during the course of a calendar year • Marriage Gift Scheme – The Company provides a gift to all its managers on the occasion of the wedding of the employees as well as their children.

On all such occasions the employees shall have the option to purchase a gift of their choice at a value not exceeding an amount of Rs. 5000/- per wedding Monetary benefits GPI employees can avail Retirement Services/benefits GPI has a credit society which provides the following benefits. It was established in 1953 and membership is open to all employees working in the various establishments of GPI. It is registered under the Societies Registration Act. Its meetings are held once a month. It offers 2 savings schemes to its members • Cumulative Deposit Scheme • Monthly Contributory Deposit Scheme. A member can also avail of loan schemes immediately on acquiring membership in the credit society. Short term loans – for a period of 1 year, monthly installments, which are deducted from the member’s salary • Long term loans: for a period of 5 years and is recovered through 60 monthly installments deducted from the salary. MEDICAL FACILITY. In GPI, there are two panels of doctors. The company has 50 trained first-aiders which are required if any accident takes place. Every department has a first aid kit which is replenished and audited every month. The Personnel Department includes a Nurse and an Ambulance room who maintains a medical kit as well. The company carries out medical examination of all the employees once in every three years. SAFETY

GPI believes that companies are responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the employees. Every employee follows operating procedures and practices are designed to protect people and equipment from risk of injury or damage to property. GPI has a Safety Department which aims “To create at all levels in the organisation a Safety Consciousness and to develop and maintain safety at work place. ” HR department has to see to it that an acceptable safety standard is kept in the workplace-safety gears are provided, Fire extinguishers are placed at the right places, multiple entrances and exits are provided and possible fire/safety drills are conducted once in a while.

The safety squad conducts a safety drill in the first week of March on safety day and once in two months. GPI also pursues ERP which is run by the emergency squad. The EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLAN is responsible to deal with various types of emergencies that could occur at the facility with the response organization structure being deployed in the shortest time possible during an emergency. Thus when an emergency occurs, the initial indication is by raising the alarm by the person who first notices a problem. The respective Managers is immediately notified who then assesses the severity of the condition, classifies it appropriately and directs the response actions of the facility personnel to mitigate the condition.

Upon analyzing the emergency situation, if situation is beyond his control he informs the Security Main Gate who activates the ERP. GPI also has a Medical Attendant (Nurse) who during an emergency is to provide first-aid to victims of the accident, and to ensure their prompt transportation to a treatment installation such as a hospital, when required the Medical Function is responsible for the establishment of a first-aid station for the immediate treatment of possible victims, which shall be appropriately equipped with medical supplies, oxygen, resuscitators, and other supplies and the emergency response personnel are familiar with first aid administration There hasn’t been a case of sexual harassment or drug abuse.

GPI is short of a policy against it, but any individual found guilty will not be allowed on the premises and will be dismissed if it continues. CAREER DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES The emphasis at GPI will be to focus on career paths rather than on career per se. GPI focuses on generic career paths as well as specific career paths for identified individual. There are 8 basic Job Bands. All grades are structured around these levels. Jobs are placed in appropriate bands, corresponding to the responsibility levels. Job bands are used for specific HR action such as promotions, career development etc. GPI recognizes that in a dynamic, fast-changing environment jobs will also be flexible

Job Rotation Programs (JRP) can not only reduce turnover but they also increase learning, and provide added bench strength. At GPI, the technicians are rotated in the whole department. This helps the technicians become Almighty operators. Knowing a variety of jobs improves the worker’s self-image, provides personal growth and makes the worker more valuable to the organization. It also helps them become a trainer and fill the vacant places if some employee turns out absent. Job rotation is a way to overcome boredom and monotony. Periodic job changing can also improve interdepartmental co-operation, employees become more understanding of each other’s problems.

Job enrichment too is used at GPI. It seeks to improve both task efficiency and human satisfaction by building into people’s jobs, quite specifically, greater scope for personal achievement and recognition, more challenging and responsible work, and more opportunity for individual advancement and growth. Operators become Technicians who then become supervisors who in turn become managers RECREATION AND STRESS The employees at GPI work for 8 hours with a lunch break for half an hour. The leaves allotted are different for workers and different for staff. For Workers: Workers receive Annual leave of 21 days, Casual leave of 14 days & Sick leave of 21 days. FOR STAFF:

The staff members are entitled to get Annual leave of 30 days, Casual leave of 14 days & Sick leave of 20 days. GPI proudly holds interdepartmental cricket matches annually. Steps are taken by each department to send their best players and employee participation is encouraged to the fullest Various stress management programs are held by external faculty for the welfare of the employees COLLECTIVE BARGAINING The trade union at GPI is KAMGAR UTKARSH SABHA is registered under commissioner of labor and recognized under All India Trade Union Congress. Employee Relations as an activity extends through negotiation and bargaining, discipline and employee involvement. When GPI is concerned, there hasn’t been a strike ever.

All are part of this union for the past 15 years. The procedure for grievance solving at GPI is followed as per hierarchy, the employee goes to the department head and the grievance is presented. If the department head is not in the condition to solve the grievance, the personnel department is informed. If the employee is still not satisfied, the grievance is then forwarded to the FM. INVOLVEMENT AND ENGAGEMENT GPI follows the technique of Quality Circle, originating from Japan and introduced in many establishments in India. In this, employees voluntarily become members of quality circles, which study various situations and problems at the work place, suggest and implement solutions.

There is thus much involvement of the worker, in what happens at his work place. The participation is not of representatives. All of them could get involved. GPI follows a Suggestions scheme called Kaizen Teian. Employee can give suggestion in the field of Operation, Safety, Quality, Workplace Environment, Waste Elimination ,5 ‘S’, Energy Saving ,Cost Saving. There are department committees consisting of Dept Head, Dept Level Managers and Supervisors, who motivate employees and evaluate the suggestions and reward the employees. The factory committee meets once in a fortnight. It is involved in planning and implementing for increasing the participation and number of suggestions of the employees.

It also reviews the reward at regular intervals. GPI (as per rules of KT) has star, super star and pole star. Star is felicitated with a silver medal of approximately Rs. 225. Super star is awarded with 30 Gms of silver medal of approximately Rs. 450. The pole star who must have 3 implemented Kaizens per month for 6 continuous months is awarded with Sodexho coupons worth Rs. 350. At GPI, mostly the department heads go at the employee’s workplace and congratulate them and gift them their reward. Best suggestion of the month and kaizenee of the month are recognised by displaying their photo at the canteen and at main gate entrance. And also gets a free lunch with family in a restaurant.

The company has a tradition of felicitating those employees who have completed 20 years of service with the company by offering them a gift and a certificate. UPWARD COMMUNICATION FEEDBACK GPI has started taking an EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION SURVEY annually from the last two years. It is conducted, monitored and evaluated by the HR department. PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL At GPI, managers have an online Performance Appraisal. For the staff, an informal procedure is followed, the employees are monitored regularly by their immediate boss and regular feedback is given to the employees as and when required. This forms the basis for identification of training needs with respect to HOD’s and management staff. ( what kind of system of PA is followed?.. ) HORIZONTAL RELATION ANNUAL EVENTS GPI holds the following: Picnics – GPI has a four squares club which carries out picnics and other excursions for the staff to nearby places like Khopoli and Virar. • Dassehra Puja – The workers organize Dassehra Puja every year with the aid of contributions collected from the employees of the company. Every department celebrates this auspicious day by carrying out pujas in their respective departments. The company distributes sweets to all the employees. • House Magazine – GPI publishes a quarterly house magazine known as ‘SAMVAD’; highlighting the various events at GPI. It was started in the year 1986. This helps to encourage people for active participation in writing pros, poems, drawings.

The magazine also gives information about the Kaizens given by the employees and the Kaizenee. The promotional activities, suggestions regarding Safety, Pollution Control are also included in the house magazine. The achievements of the employees and their family members are published in the magazine WELFARE ACTIVITIES GPI gives the welfare facilities as mentioned in THE FACTORIES ACT, 1948. Various incentives, cash benefits, rewards for good performance etc. are offered at GPI as a part of the commitment towards the well being of employees. In addition to these, the company has initiated several other programmes to achieve the goal of employee welfare.

The Godfrey Phillips Employees’ Welfare Society: It was constituted and registered under the Mumbai Trusts’ Act, 1950 in 1971. The membership of the society is open to the employees of GPI. A few of the programmes organized by the society are listed below: • Annual Prize Distribution: This programme is organized every year. The employees’ children who excel in academics are awarded so as to encourage them to perform better. In addition to the prizes, each awarded also gets a Textbook Gift Coupon. • Note Book Distribution: Every year, before the beginning of the academic session the employees of GPI are given notebooks at concessional rates. Each employee can purchase a maximum of 4 dozen-note books from the welfare society. • S. S. C. Vyakhyanamala:

An expert hired by the society gives the children of employees appearing for the S. S. C. exhaustive guidance in all the aspects of these exams. If the number is inadequate, the society sends them to counseling agencies at its own expense. • Career Counseling: Children of employees in the 9th and 10th standards and Jr. College are given guidance as to which career they should choose based on the results of a 5 hour test administered to them by the Maharashtra Vyavsaya Margdarshan Kendra. The society has several other activities in the pipeline such as a talk on the Union Budget, a rangoli competition, establishment of Adarsh Kamgar Puraskar, a pulse polio vaccination scheme etc. 7. INTRODUCTION TO PARLE

VISION “With the unfolding of the InfoTech age, and the emergence of a borderless world, we have a quest to become the most admired group to all our stakeholders, alike customers, employees, contract manufacturers, wholesalers, C&F agents, suppliers and society. Our customer being the king we will try to exceed their expectations by pursuing world class standards in our people, products, process & performance encouraging innovation & nurturing intellectual capital. We will follow ethical & fair business practices maintaining respect for all the fellow human beings. ” INTRODUCTION Mr. Mohanlal Dalal came to Mumbai in the 1880’s from pardi village.

He did some work here and there to earn his living. Soon PARLE biscuits were formed in a 60 ft long and 40 ft wide tin shed with an initial investment of 1,50,000 with the help of 12 men. In the year 1929 the market was dominated by famous international brands that were imported freely. Despite the odds and unequal competition, this company called PARLE Products, survived and succeeded, by adhering to high quality and improvising from time to time. Over the years, PARLE has grown to become a multi-million US Dollar company. Many of the PARLE products – biscuits or confectionaries, are market leaders in their category and have won acclaim at the Monde Selection, since 1971.

Today, PARLE enjoys a 40% share of the total biscuit market and a 15% share of the total confectionary market, in India. ORGANISATION STRUCTURE PARLE on the other hand has an organisation structure of 7-8 levels. Starting with the Factory Manager and then the Deputy Manager, but it is more on paper than for operational purpose. It has a total of 742 workers, 30 staff members and 150 managers and officers. Role and scope of HR at PARLE The HR mission at PARLE is to develop the employee behaviour, identify their training needs and help them grow in the future. They don’t have a HR Department per se, but the personnel department handles the functions of the HR. Their Personnel department handles 742 workers, 30 staff members and 150 managers and officers.

Though no special steps are taken to increase employee involvement at PARLE, they have had no disputes and work goes on smoothly because of the team spirit in the e employees. The Personnel department handles all the activities amongst the employees and believes that no disputes and smooth flow of work is a live testimony of credibility to HR department. DOWNWARD COMMUNICATION TRAINING AND INDUCTION At PARLE, the nature of recruitment is purely internal. Thus training needs may be more as compared to hiring trained individuals. Here, the department Heads identify the training needs as and when required. These training needs are then sent to the Personnel department. The Personnel department checks its external brochures and the training is conducted

There is internal training for the workers for KAIZEN, 5S, and other Japanese systems which are recently implemented by the company. External training is not given for workers unless critical or really required. The staff and the managers are given external training for behaviour and management. There is follow-up done after the training with the help of feedback forms. These feedbacks are submitted to the Personnel department who looks after them and implements the changes if possible. There is religious feedback taken after training and the form is evaluated by the Personnel department. PARLE doesn’t have an induction program for its workers in place. Workers are recruited and put on job, whereas the managers and staff have to go through a 15 day induction program.

The employees learn about the functioning of each department. PARLE has the following BENEFITS • Apart from the regular allowances, PARLE provides Production Incentive and festival allowance. • Canteen facility – It too has subsidized food for all its employees. Lunch is for Rs. 2 and tea and refreshments are served at 20p. The canteen is run by contractors. • Housing facility – PARLE doesn’t provide housing facilities to its employees but a few important ones like the technicians and engineers stay on the compound of the factory. • Uniforms – Like in GPI, the workers wear uniforms, some also receive monsoon wear and winter wear. The uniforms are washed on a weekly basis on contract.

PARLE also gives various MONETARY BENEFITS. It has an ECS (employee credit society) which offers loans short term and long term loans like GPI. MEDICAL BENEFITS There are 2 in-house doctors who conduct free medical check ups on half yearly basis at PARLE. There is a well equipped ambulance room with 3 full time nurses. Employees at PARLE also receive reimbursement of medical expenses. Compensation is also given on death of the employee SAFTEY PARLE endeavors to adequately train all employees, suitably equip them and instruct them to perform their duties in a safe and effective way. PARLE trains all its employees against safety and first aid and Fire fighting.

Apart from this there is a Guard for all the machines who prevents the accident from occurring. PARLE is a non tobacco zone. Thus there is no smoking allowed in the premises or the working area. They are also strict about alcohol or drugs. Though there is no policy, but an employee is not allowed to enter the gates if he is drunk or is caught with drugs. There has never been a case of sexual harassment either. PARLE also conducts safety day competitions on safety week during March. Colourful posters and illustrations of the harms of not wearing a helmet and other such warnings are pinned on the entire lobby and the passage area all over PARLE.

CAREER DEVELOPMENT PARLE doesn’t follow Job rotation, thus an employee does gains specialization. PARLE believes Moving from one job to another also gets irritating because the normal routine of an employee is disturbed and also time is wasted in adjusting to the new job. PARLE too believes that enriched job will have more responsibility and autonomy (vertical enrichment), more variety of tasks (horizontal enrichment), and more growth opportunities. Thus after receiving considerable knowledge at packing, a worker is soon promoted to charge-hand. RECREATION AND STRESS Employees at PARLE receive an annual leave of 16 days, sick leave of 10 days and CL of 7 days.

The management decides the paid holidays after discussion with the Union and the list of holidays is posted on the notice board. In all, there are 14 paid holidays. Although there have been talks about health clubs and gyms. Employees at PARLE receive an annual leave of 16 days, sick leave of 10 days and CL of 7 days. And refreshment breaks of 15 minutes at PARLE. They are sanctified with a play ground. They have regular tournaments of volley ball, cricket and tennis. Employees also have the facility to play carromen, table tennis in their rest rooms. There is an annual sports day held by the ECS where employees are encouraged to participate. COLLECTIVE BARGAINING The trade union at GPI & PARLE is the same; KAMGAR UTKARSHA SABHA.

There has been a strike at PARLE due to conflict of interest which lasted for 40 days, in the year 2000. The procedure for grievance solving at PARLE goes as per hierarchy too, first the employee goes to the department head and the grievance is presented. If the department head is not in the condition to solve the grievance, the personnel department is informed. If the employee is still not satisfied, the grievance is then forwarded to the FM. The grievance is further sent for conciliation. ( If you can…study the documents of negotiations between the two & analyse how the final draft was arrived at …) INVOLVEMEMNT AND ENGAGEMENT PARLE has a suggestion box which comes under the plant services manager.

These suggestions are received on a weekly basis. PARLE like GPI follows the technique of Quality Circle, originating from Japan and introduced in many establishments in India. In this, employees voluntarily become members of quality circles, which study various situations and problems at the work place, suggest and implement solutions. There is thus much involvement of the worker, in what happens at his work place. PARLE has also implemented KAIZEN recently. Here, employees are expected to submit at least 6 suggestions per month. If the suggestion is creative and implemented, the employee earns 2 points. These 2 points entitle him to a gift. There is a considerable rise in the self-esteem.

This helps in terms of interpersonal relationships which directly affect Employee Relations. Finally, the act of participation in itself establishes better communication, as people mutually discuss work problems. Rewards at PARLE are as per KAIZEN. No other rewards or gifts are given to the workers for making suggestions. There is a Best worker of the month who is called as the PARLE – G anmol. His picture is displayed on the notice board and he receives a small gift too. The bottom line is to increase employee productivity which contributes to making a company more profitable. UPWARD RELATION FEEDBACK PARLE doesn’t follow job satisfaction survey or any other kind of feedback for its workers or staff PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL

PARLE doesn’t hold any performance appraisals for its workers, though the management and staff follows a 90 degree performance appraisals system. HORIZONTAL RELATION ANNUAL EVENTS PARLE holds the following functions for the employees • PARLE does not hold picnics for its employees. • PARLE has a Sports day arranged by the ECS annually. It has activities like football and volley ball and cricket

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Assignment On Relationship Of Employee & Employer

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Employee Relations Assignment


This  Employee Relations Assignment aims to provide an overview of the employee relations scenario prevalent and also provide a glance into its brief history. The main players in employee relations, means of conflict resolution and the effectiveness of procedures used in solving conflict resolution issues are also discussed. Collective bargaining and negotiation process that are so vital to employee relation issue resolutions are also dealt with. Finally aspects of employee participation and involvement in the employee relations arena are discussed. All in all, this Employee Relations Assignment will drive down the importance employee relation occupies in any industry or large or medium sphere of business activity

1.1 Explain the unitary and pluralistic frames of reference.

Alan Fox (1966), as summarized by Morrell (n.d.) under the unitary frame, it has one source of authority and a single focus of loyalty, the reason why it proposes the team analogy. What array of behaviour do we anticipate from the memberships of the healthy and successful functioning team?  We anticipate them to endeavour jointly towards a shared objective, each pulling his or her weight to the best of his or her capability. Each accepts his or her place in his or her function happily, ensuring the leadership of the person so appointed. There exists no opposing factions or groups, and thus no competing leaders within the team. Neither are there any outside it; stands alone the team, its members owing loyalty to their own leads but no others.     Alan Fox (1966), as summarized by Williams (2005) explains pluralism as instead of a corporate unity mirrored in a single focus of loyalty and authority, we have to accede the presence of rival sources of attachment and leadership. They need to be acceded above all, by whoever is governing the plural society in question.  The pluralist frame of reference is a viewpoint that recognizes the presence of a basic resentment in the employment relationship and so the unavoidable potential for conflict. Pluralism recognizes that employees and employers have different interests that require to be reconciled if the company is to function effectively. The main concern of pluralists is in making sure that any conflict that sprouts from differences of interest is handled appropriately and controlled in a way that inhibits it from causing too much interruption.

1.2 Assess how changes in trade unionism have affected employee relations.

There are many factors that have joined to contribute to the weakening in both union influence and strength as noted in the Sagepub website (2010). The transition from a manufacturing to a service based economy has implied that much of the conventional heartland of trade union membership and activity has been worn out. Trade unions have conventionally been less well formed in the service sector and the much lesser workplace size in this sector has offered significant constraints to union recruitment and organisation compared to the bigger workplaces associated with manufacturing that are more favourable to worker solidarity. Unions linger to be a robust presence in the public sector yet the vast privatisation during the 1980’s and 1990’s of state owned organisations of the likes of British Airways, British Gas and British Telecom implied that union robustness was further weakened.  For management, the union power’s weakening allowed the reaffirmation of the ‘right to manage’ and concerted efforts to marginalise or derecognise unions. The 1980’s also witnessed growing diversification of managerial practice with the influence of Human Resource Management , the activities of foreign Multi-National Companies and increased scope for innovation allowed by weak unions providing to a mosaic of workplace setups for the management of people. The 1980’s, on the worker side are often associated with burgeoning self-interest and individualism that undermined employee solidarity. A malfunction of unions to sufficiency, respond to labour market change are also argued to have supplied to a reduction in union membership. 

1.3 Explain the role of the main players in employee relations.

The employees, management and trade unions are the three major players in the arena of industrial relations as noted in the ICMR website (2012). The government also has a vital role to play, but comes in only when the main players fail to maintain cordial industrial relations. The government also offers the basic structure for industrial relations by way of its legislation. The machinery of industrial disputes prevention aids in averting scenarios of conflict between the workers and the management that might lead to a lock-out or a strike. An effective methodology for prevention of industrial disputes is worker participation in management. Employees, by virtue of such participation are duty-bound to stand by all the decisions made. This also aids in bolstering the employee morale and improving their commitment to the company. Some of the usual forms of worker participation in management are joint councils, joint management councils, shop councils, works committees and more. 

  • Trade unions and employees: Trade unions act as a link between management and the employees and maintain healthy relationship among them. Trade union communicates the problem and issues of the workers to the British Airways management and also communicates to the workers about the strategies and methods framed by the management. Is helps in resolving the conflicts between them. Trade union ensures that employees get all the benefits to safety, security and health.
  • Employer organisation and employer: The role of employer organisation in the British Airways is important because communication process among the employees is ensures by them. It helps to manager in the company is take necessary decision and ensure the effective communication system between the employees. It is very important for the manager is to understand their role because a significant role is played by him; he is responsible to maintain healthy relationship among the workers.
  • Government agencies and government: The role government in employee’s relation is important. Some important parts are assumed by the government such as cost, wages, paymasters, monetary policies etc.
  • Employee’s tribunals:  Rejection, sex, insurance procurement, race, colour etc. kinds of things are look out and controlled by this body because it is free legal body in the employee’s relation.

2.1 Explain the procedures an organisation should follow when dealing with different conflict situations.

There are some tips managers can use to negotiate workplace conflict as noted by Jeffrey Krivis and summarised in the business management daily website (n.d.). First, let individuals tell their story. When individuals are profoundly upset on something, they have to get their story out. This forms a basic principle of mediation that ought to be remembered well. Of course, allowing individuals to speak their minds can bolster the degree of conflict with which one must deal. That is fine. One has to get through the conflict stage to arrive at the solution. To the table, bring a reality check. Frequently in a conflict, the factions are so focused on the minute details that they lose track of the big picture and its ramifications. As the mediator, one needs to bring individuals back to reality by straining their attention away from the minute details and having them concentrate on the big picture. In doing so, it might aid resolution arrive at a breathtaking speed.

Zero in on the true barrier. In every conflict, ask oneself, what is the real motivating factor here? What is actually keeping this individual from agreeing to a solution?  In team conflict resolution scenarios, the vital point is to know when to referee. Employee disputes are inevitable and common. As per Joseph F. Byrnes, the difficult decision is know the moment when to step in. He opines to give the warring factions a chance to solve it on their own.

There are many kinds of conflicts exists in the British airways and British gas which is known as Interpersonal conflicts, strategic conflicts, and structural conflicts. Involvement of supervision and diversity in the strategic planning will resolve the conflicts and problems. At the same time chosen company also ensures many things such as friendly and healthy working environment. Some steps are given below:

  • Avoid:   By avoiding them it can be end up. So it is very necessary for the people to keep avoid them till the worst situation.
  • Compromise:  Conflicts and issues among the employees can be resolve by compromising. Sometime situation arise when no party knows that what exactly they want but on the other hand they also do not want to lose. If compromise will be there then it can be avoided for long time
  • Force:  Sometime the involvement of superiors is important and necessary for the solving the conflicts right from the front because no one can avoid or ignore them for long time. So it is very necessary for the manager or supervisor to make some approaches and end up the conflicts.

2.2 Explain the key features of employee relations in a selected conflict situation

In 2002, the Bradford District Council in UK, sought the help of ACAS in extending mediation to possible collective disputes, specifically with regards to the Council department accountable for community transport, garbage collection and vehicles as pointed out in the ILO website (2007). ACAS carried out joint working sessions with both employee representatives and managers. ACAS began by exploring the viewpoints on working relationships and initiated a discussion on more co-operative ways of working. They then introduced the factions to the principles and theory of partnership and emphasised examples of good practices created from experience in other firms. After this initial input, they continued to back the factions in their discussions, proposing means of moving the project onward and overcoming possible barriers.

The council’s target for its mediation programme was to enable a change in the firm’s ethos so that a collaborative approach is utilized to manage all workplace difficulties. Owing to this, there has been a drastic decline in the number of employment tribunal cases, disciplinary cases and individual complaints. Giving individuals back some grip over their working relationships and inspiring unofficial methods of dispute resolution meliorated employment relations over a longstanding period. ACAS was contributory in extending mediation to possible collective disputes by inspiring open and early communication and by aiding the council and its representative’s transition away from a combative relationship style. Now there exists a more positive discourse within the council’s proven negotiating structures and larger participation in decision making between the employees and the management.

2.3 Evaluate the effectiveness of procedures used in a selected conflict situation.

Conflicts are very important part of the British airways because they can bring some necessary changes in the organisation. Interpersonal conflicts, strategic conflicts, structural conflicts etc. exist in the British airways, for the resolution of any type of conflicts supervision and diversity involvement is very necessary. Sometimes some individuals busy in arguments with other, and also interrupts in other works these reasons are the main cause for the conflicts which management need to solve out .

For solving the conflicts it is very necessary to understand the nature of conflicts and according to that strategy and preparation is needed. Management and concerned person must focus on the behaviour of the person not on those factors which cannot be changed. For solving the conflicts at British Airways it is very necessary important to have strong communication system and strong skills. Apart from this for solving the conflicts skills and knowledge also required. Apart from this employees contribution also very important for solving the conflicts

Mediation seeks to repair and rebuild an employment relationship by way of an independent and impartial intermediary as noted in the ACAS website (2013). This individual could be a specialist mediator or a staff member groomed to act as a mediator. The process of mediation is informal and is not normally legally binding. It is confidential and both factions enter into it willingly. Resolving workplace disputes basically operates in the same manner as mediation, except it is utilized where a complaint on employment rights has been raised with an employment tribunal. Arbitration is slightly different from the aforementioned two in that the impartial and neutral third party is asked to take a verdict on a dispute. The two factions offer evidence to an arbitrator, who takes a verdict that they have agreed prior to abide by. In this manner, it can be viewed as a confidential substitute to a court of law or tribunal. As with conciliation and mediation, arbitration is voluntary.

3.1 Explain the role of negotiation in collective bargaining.

Collective bargaining is a vital tool for enabling genuine negotiation and dialogue over conditions and terms of employment and in constructing productive relationships between the employees, employers and the unions as pointed out in the Ministry of business, innovation & employment website (n.d.). Negotiations form a part of the bargaining process and indicate to any form of dialogue, informal or formal, that is formulated to reach consensus.

If bargaining is going to aid great quality workplaces, a productive exchange has to be there between factions on conditions, quality of the workplace and the wages. The duty of good faith reinforces collective bargaining and needs that factions to bargaining are constructive and active in maintaining and establishing a productive employment relationship. Than the factions are communicative and responsive and utilize their best endeavours to agree on an efficient and effective bargaining process. The factions should meet together and consider and respond to proposals. They need to come up with a collective agreement lest there is an authentic reason not to, based on rational grounds. 

Solving problems that come about in negotiations is a vital part of collective bargaining. The first thing is to zero in on the issue and the second is to choose on a strategy to resolve the issue. As first steps, talk about the problem as soon as possible for it may only be a misunderstanding.  Have a break such as a walk around, having tea, or having a breather. Have an adjournment to collect information, caucus to discuss options or seek a fresh mandate.

3.2 Assess the impact of negotiation strategy for a given situation.

A typical industrial negotiation between managers and trade unions can be really competitive and confrontational in style as noted in the changing minds website (n.d.). Both factions in the negotiation normally have several members on their teams. Typically a team is fronted by a lead negotiator and aided by people and experts whose main task is to watch the other side and observe the body language and other restrained signals. The presence of several can bring about a sense of intimidation. This is heightened if they look scary, are physically large and utilize aggressive body language. Trade unions in negotiation situations typically adopt a robust style. The standard opener during such meetings is that of the trade union putting forward demands that have been pre-determined by way of several deliberations and meetings. The trade union members are normally really well prepared and have a lucid concession strategy along with a walk-away alternative. Such an alternative usually involves strike action or similar acts. Managers may also repudiate in kind, point-blank refusing any possibility of reducing hours or pay rises or maybe even necessitating reductions in pay, conditions or staff to cope with slumps in business. Powerful brinksmanship is also an important aspect of industrial negotiations wherein it is characterized by overt use of threats, power and taking things to the precipice and in certain cases even over. The basic tool of the workers is refusal to work. An organisation could punish one or more employee/s or allow that person or them to resign. But, the fact that there is the trade union to represent a huge number of workers accords them power, both in the possible consequences of failure to agree and in the decree that they bring. To cite an example: taking ‘working to rule’ or strike action. 

As can be gauged, employee relation occupies a pivotal position in businesses as employees are a core part of any business activity. The scope of employee relations has undergone a sea change in the past few decades but historical studies on the subject are still relevant to gain a holistic view of the topic. The method of negotiations and disputes resolution at a basic level remains the same with some tweaks depending on the industry and the scenario. A case-study approach is very much relevant to the study of employee relations as different industrial dispute resolutions offer solutions to future dispute resolutions also.

ACAS (2013) Mediation, conciliation, arbitration: What’s the difference? [Online] Available from: http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=4130 [Accessed: 19 February 2015] Bamber, G.J. Lansbury, R.D. &Wailes, N. (eds.) (2011). International & Comparative Employment Relations Globalisation and Change. 5 th edition.  Allen & Unwin. BUSINESSMANAGEMENTDAILY (n.d.) Managing employee conflict. [Online] Available from:http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/glp/25986/Workplace-Conflict-Resolution.html [Accessed: 19 February 2015] CHANGING MINDS (n.d.) Industrial relations negotiations. [Online] Available from: http://changingminds.org/disciplines/negotiation/styles/industrial_relations.htm [Accessed: 19 February 2015]

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  • Administering Global Payroll

Payroll Relationship and Termination Dates

When you terminate an employee or end an assignment record, the Payroll Relationship page displays the corresponding dates. These dates control how earnings and deductions are processed for the terminated employment record.

For example, David Ellis resigned from his teaching post at Royal High School, and his line manager enters a termination date of 22-July-2020. The application will process David's last payroll payment for 31-July-2020. You can view these termination dates on the payroll relationship page for David. These dates show up at all the employment levels of David, such as assignment, associated payroll, and payroll relationship.

This image shows David's Ellis payroll processing dates and the behavior of the application for handling the payroll records:

This image helps you understand the application behavior while processing the terminated employee's payroll.

Terminate and Delete Payroll

You can terminate or delete a payroll association from the Payroll Association region. Select Edit and then click on Delete to choose between Delete Payroll Association or Terminate Payroll.

When you terminate a payroll association, the worker's payroll association is terminated with the Last Standard Earnings Date as the termination date. The Last Standard Process Date defaults to the end of the pay period but the Final Close Date is left blank.

In cases where you have to delete the payroll assigned to an employee, you can choose Delete Payroll Association from the Payroll Association region. The payroll association and records are deleted and no record of the payroll association remains.

Reverse Terminate Payroll Association

For employees with a terminated payroll association, you can select the Reverse Terminate Association option to reactivate the payroll association. The reactivated payroll association becomes the primary payroll associated with the employee and the corresponding element entries and calculation cards are reactivated.

Related Topics

  • How to Set End Dates for Terminations
  • How Terminations Affect Payroll Processing


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