A detailed discussion on the employee relationship management policies of Woolworth, the largest grocery supermarket chain of Australia. In this, we’ll try to critically evaluate the Industrial Relations Policies of the Organizational Management and the initiatives which Woolworth implements in order to gain control over employee grievances and conflicts.
Relationship Management Task One:
(a) Analysis of Woolworth’s Strategic Management and Operational Plans for Determining Long Term Employee Relations Objective:
Woolworth’s organisational strategies deal extensively with industrial relations, performance management and remuneration management. The strategic planning of the organization is the sole responsibility of the senior management of the organization. Operational planning handles the daily business operation of an organization (Arthur, 2012). Woolworth specifically formulates both strategic and operational plans for identifying long term employee relations objectives. The issues that the organization uses to face in formulating employee relations objectives like changing pattern of job, new skills to be adopted, and competition in the marketplace for labour. The specific plans that the company has adopted include aligning long term employee relations objectives with the long term organizational objectives of the organization and implementing changes in the organization so that employee coordination can be enhanced.
(b) Identification of Existing Employee Relations Performance:
In order to evaluate the performance of the existing workforce of the organization regarding employee relations, Woolworth uses to align the performance of the employees with the predefined long term employee relations objectives. The organization finds it really important that the employees need to achieve the organizational objectives bestowed on them regarding employee relations. In order to evaluate their performances, Woolworth uses to analyse the statistical reports of organizational conflicts and grievances which give the organization a clear idea about the relative understanding of the employees between themselves and their coordination between themselves.
(c) Costs and Benefits Related to Investment in Employee Health and Wellbeing Program and Strategies for Handling Potential Risks:
Employee health and well-being initiative are always proved to be an effective tool to derive motivation of the employees and improve the relationship between the organizational Behavior and its workforce (Ball, 2007). Woolworth successfully identifies the need of implementing special health Management packages for its employees. For the health and safety of its workforce, the organizational management introduces a specific medical scheme for them. One of the most important benefits of introducing a health and well-being program for the employees lies in the fact that it gives the organization a chance to stage fight against potential organizational risk and hazards.
(d) Listing of Personnel and Sources of Information Required Developing Industrial Relations (IR) Policies and Plans:
Industrial Relations (IR) is nothing but establishing a healthy professional relationship between employees and between employees and employers. In Woolworth, I use to work as a part of the organization’s management team in order to develop IR policies and plans for the organization. In our management team, there are several dignified personnel who have to make effective decisions on the organization’s IR policies. The human resource management of the organization has the responsibility to illuminate the needs and expectation of the organizational workforce. The legal experts of the team have the responsibility to discuss the legislations that the Australian Government has formulated for the well being of the employees. For formulating effective IR policies, we have to use the directives of Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) as the primary source of information.
(e) Skills and Knowledge of Management and Workforce needed to implement IR Policies:
For the proper implementation of IR policies, there are certain skills and knowledge that both management and employees have to possess (Davis, 2011). As far management skills are concerned, the managers involved in the IR policy formulation process should have analytical as well as interpersonal skill with the help of which they can understand the difficulties that the employees are facing in building effective industrial relations. The managers should also possess a detailed knowledge of legislations related to employee relations. The employees should also possess interpersonal and teamwork skills to accept IR policies with success.
Relationship Management Task Two:
(a) Development of an Implementation Plan for the IR Policy:
In order to develop an implementation plan for the IR policy, contingency planning process can be effectively utilized (Yan, 2011). In this planning process, the main goal of organizational operation should be clarified in the first stage. In the next stage, a specific time horizon needs to be fixed. The very next stage of the planning process tries to identify the triggers who will take charge of one of the stages of policy development process. The plan should include a detailed analysis of potential risks that an organization can face during the policy implementation process.
(b) Two Strategies Implemented by Woolworth to Address Identified Training Needs:
Woolworth uses to implement two moist significant and innovative strategies to handle identified training needs. The strategies are job analysis and skill analysis. With the help of job analysis, Woolworth will be able to understand the organizational responsibilities of its employees. With the help of this strategy, the organization will be able to satisfy the training needs of the employees, on the fulfilment of which they will be able to perform their responsibility with success. Similarly, skill analysis will help an organization to find out the essential competencies of the employees for which they require training and on fulfilling the training needs the employees will be more competent to perform their job with success.
(c) Five Strategies Woolworth could Implement to Reach Agreement on Changes:
In order to plan a proper implementation plan for the IR policy, Woolworth needs to reach agreement on organizational changes. The organization can think of implementing specific strategies which will help it to gain agreement on changes. Firstly, the organization can implement a negotiation strategy for creating a balance between the different points of view of the various parts of the organization regarding changes. Secondly, a proper business communication strategy will help the organization to spread information regarding the change. Thirdly, the organization can introduce open conversation strategy which will be helpful to gather contradictory arguments on changes. Fourthly, Woolworth can think of introducing employee training and development strategy which will help the organization to turn the workforce more adaptable to change. Finally, the organization should introduce business analysis strategic management to nullify counter arguments of change and pacify the change implementation process.
(d) Communication Plan for a new IR Policy Addressing Grievances and Conflicts for Woolworth:
Woolworth has the need to establish a proper communication process with the workforce of the organization. It will help the organization to address the conflicts and grievances from the employees. The organization can think of arranging frequent meetings with employees at regular intervals. The formulation of a grievance handling committee will help Woolworth to a great extent. The committee can implement individual or group conflict handling process by implementing a proper communication process with the employees.
(e) Review of Woolworth’s Employee Relationship Management Policies:
The present employee relationship management policies of Woolworth are to a great extent successful in maintaining a healthy relationship between the employees of the organization. The policies implement effective initiatives to handle the grievances and conflicts of the employees with success. With the help of the employee relations policies, the organization successfully enhances the productivity of each and every employee. In stark contrast to the above-said success story, the said policies have certain weaknesses. Certain legislative power should be inculcated by the organization so that it can implement a fair pay policy for its employees. A strict legislation is required to raise voice for workplace health and safety of the employees.
Relationship Management Task Three:
(a) Training Program to Develop Conflict Management Techniques and Procedures:
An effective training program for the individuals who will develop conflict management techniques for the organization must include active role playing session, conflict handling capacity test, and training on situational leadership. The training program should also include a depiction of possible ways to minimize risks.
(b) Identification of Sources of Conflict and Compliance with Legal Requirements:
On one occasion, I have found a potential conflict among employees regarding unequal pay structure. I analysed the conflict with enough attention and found that the remuneration structure of Woolworth has certain problematic interpretation and that particular pay structure is the source of conflict. In order to address the conflict, I took the help of the Workplace Relations Act, 1996 and tried to reform the pay structure according to the regulations of the above-said act (www.airc.gov.au, 2014).
(c) Woolworth’s Procedures for Documenting the Outcomes of Conflict Resolution:
Woolworth has a specific procedure to keep a record of the outcomes of conflict resolution. The organizational conflicts that Woolworth uses to face have a mention in the records of the organization. In that record, the organization use to speculate the amount of loss that the organization is going to face for that conflict. Once the conflict resolution process is over, the organization tries to record the amount of gain that it accumulates due to conflict resolution.
(d) Actions Taken by Woolworth for Groups or Individuals Failed to Maintain Agreements:
Woolworth uses to take a stringent approach to handle those employees who show their loss of faith in the organizational agreement. The organization first tries to provide proper training and development opportunities to rectify the employee’s failures. If it fails to rectify them, the organization use to give a formal warning and in subsequent times will think of terminating employee or group of employees showing disrespect to company agreement.
Employee relationship management provides great help to a business organization. A healthy relationship management between employees heavily enhances the overall productivity of the organization. The human resource managers of an organization need to encourage employee relations as it will help them to avail increased employee retention for the organization.