EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSIn today’s competitive market, there is increasing need to transform the human resource management docket so as to remain on a competitive edge. Human resources have become an integral part of organizations and as Edwards (2007, 23) maintains, people are the cornerstone to sustainable competitive advantage. Full engagement of the workforce and their integration in the decision making process of the organization is a sure way to maximization of performance. An organization where employees are adequately represented in matters pertaining to the organization can accept tremendous value proposition that exceeds money.
Efficiency is an inherent end result in situations where all members of an organization are in good relational terms and their needs are met in a holistic manner. Employment relations is a body that embraces the techniques used by an organization to manage its members as well as the economic and social contexts involved in their operations (Bray et al 2011). Institutions and climates of employment relations vary between counties; being more adversarial in some such as the UK, the US and France while some are cooperative like in Japan and Germany.
The purpose of this paper is to gain a conceptual understanding of employment relations. It begins by giving a comprehensive definition of the term employment relations. It will further examine reasons why industrial relations are less relevance to the study of workplace relations in the contemporary society that it was in the 1980’s. Lastly, it will determine the extent to which the term employment relations best describes the changes that have occurred in workplaces since 1980. Interactions between employers and employees may sound deceptively straightforward and simple.
A common notion is that it is the way in which employers and employees interact, the way employees get their jobs, execute their respective task, expend efforts and get rewarded for their work. The duty of employers is perceived as the way they pay their workers, ensure that products are processed and sold to earn income and generally facilitate the work done by employees. Even with this simple portrayal, there are many matters that need to be deliberated upon. Such matters include the way in which workers are selected, how jobs are organized within the organization and how workers are motivated to do maximum amount of work.
These concerns were traditionally perceived as responsibilities of human resources and personnel management. Indeed, establishing appropriate recruitment and selection procedures, job classification and work organization, managing workers commitment and motivation, development and training as well as payment systems are some of the technical responsibilities of the human resources managers who also evaluate these systems and procedures to ensure that they are effective (Sappey et al 2006, 34). However, with deeper conceptualization of these matters another set of questions arise.
For instance, is the payment difference among workers based on their worth towards the organization or is it on the basis of favouritism? These issues in turn raise the issue of benchmarks. In many countries including Australia, benchmarks are not just concerned about individuals but instead they are concerned with clusters of employees and their jobs. In other word, systems and procedures developed to address issues of organization of work, payments, training, motivation and general treatment of workers occur in particular groups.