Employee Relation and Human Resource Management

What are employees’ related issues in this case?

Employees’ relations refer to a body within an organization, concerned with the maintenance of the employer-employee relationship to aide towards satisfactory productivity, morale, and motivation. Essentially, employees’ relation concerns itself with any possible approaches to handling challenges facing staff members that arise out of working environment effects. The supervisors work very hard in getting the necessary required advice and solutions concerning correcting employee misconduct and mechanisms of increasing performance.

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In several strictly governed organizations, proper discipline and other working requirements are put in place to assist the management and employees keep a cordial relationship. Also, employees are provided with adequate information to assist them in correcting their weak areas, misconducts and educate them on the best approaches of addressing personal challenges that might cause hindrance towards quality performance. Moreover, employees need a lot of advice on the different application forms of legislation and bargaining agreement. This paper critically examines employee relation issues surrounding Info-Data Center (IDC), which is Call Center Based Company located on a “green-field” site near Liverpool.

Info-Data Center (IDC) faces several employee relations issues, which range from lack of proper staff coaching and mentoring, lack of proper and regular feedback, lack of honest and open communication regarding staff performance, poor change management approaches, poor employee empowerment and engagement, and lack of fair, prompt, assertive mechanisms of addressing workplace problems and challenges.

Concerning the lack of proper employee coaching, training, and mentoring IDC has failed in developing and offering continuous training to its staff. The call center “agents” undergo training for only two days during induction although they are required to meet a given target. Also, the company does not offer any mentoring programs to its employees since it operates on a flat hierarchy, which provides very little chances for an individual to move from the “call teams” into the limited position of line supervisors.

Secondly, the company has failed greatly in maintaining up to date feedback to its employees. It facilitates its employees through formal top-down communication and by use of a monthly in-house magazine. This is a very poor method of providing feedback since employees lack a mechanism of airing their grievances. Decisions are made from up downwards and communicated through the in-house magazine. Also, feedback in form of a pay system only rewards those employees who regularly achieve the set targets, which are very difficult to attain.

Staff performance is not rewarded openly and honestly in IDC. The supervisors use uncouth approaches in monitoring the performance of their agents, they use mirrors to monitor their “emotional inputs” and facial expression. Instead of boosting performance, such monitoring approaches lower the employees’ morale and this makes them feel like outcasts and not as part of the production team. Also, the company does not honor its employees through the provision of overtime remuneration despite having set a very hard target. Moreover, the company has greatly failed in providing good salaries to its employees since basic pay is almost within the range of the national minimum wage.

The company lacks proper change management approaches, its employees work under a “force-fed” environment, and immediately after they finish attending to one customer, the agents are directed to other clients. The company lacks prompt, fair, and assertive mechanisms in addressing working environment challenges. For instance, it makes use of electronic surveillance technology coupled with traditional observation techniques in detecting the performance of its employees.

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What voice mechanisms might be most appropriate for this organization? Why?

Info-Data center (IDC) is currently characterized by a labor turnover of approximately 20% per annum, which is far beyond the private sector. It does not recognize the trade union’s efforts to organize and recruit agents through the communication workers union. Moreover, there have been increased cases of absenteeism among the well-established employees; something that significantly creates great losses to the organization.

Besides the company employs students by providing casual contracts and on a “short-term basis”. All these poor employee relation practices cost the organization dearly both because they reduce organizational performance and raise the labor costs greatly. Studies carried out on employee relations have revealed that unionized companies encounter significantly reduced cases of absenteeism than non-union companies like IDC because they have a proper voice mechanism in which the staff can channel their challenges.

According to Hirschman, voice refers to any attempt to create some changes instead of running away from unsatisfactory situations. Within employment setup, voice involves employees’ expression of dissatisfaction; exit and absenteeism occur after employees lack interest in their jobs. The balance between employee exit and their voice is influenced by the practices of the human resource practices and sometimes by the work design.

To be effective ICD employees should adopt alternative forms of voice mechanisms to substitute their failed attempts to get support from unions. The new site director, human resources manager together with the company employees should adopt a new voice mechanism of working as a collective team.

Performance can largely be improved using several approaches, working as a common team helps in boosting performance since it helps workers gain insights into handling problems and increases production. Since IDC employees have been exposed to very poor monitoring techniques such as been observed as they enter and leave the canteen, being controlled by the use of powerful self-driven technology, and not being in control of whether to answer or ignore a call, they need to embrace consultative voice mechanism approach. This approach includes all staff members’ participation in groups geared to solving existing problems. The group members meet periodically and this allows the employees to voice their concerns, opinions, and grievances to the management.

Secondly, IDC could take advantage of the new site director who believes that the company must pass through the “winds of change”. Since the site director is fully professionally committed to the belief that employees are the most important agent assets within an organization, the human resource manager should come up with new HR practices that appreciate the staff. There should be a very well structured promotion mechanism laid by human resource officers to create an avenue for professional development aimed at broadening individual specific skills.

The employees should also undergo continuous training and mentorship programs and overtime compensation should be provided according to one’s grade with the organization. If proper human resource practices are embraced the employees at info-data center are likely to react back by being stable in their daily job attendance, gain loyalty with the employer and consequently achieve increased productivity.

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What equality and diversity challenges are likely to exist in such organizations like this?

Equality and diversity issues refer to the central approach way in which groups of individuals or people within an organization operate. In many countries, equality and diversity issues are very closely linked with government legislation. Such legislation is mainly against discrimination on basis of one’s gender, disability, race, and religion. Recent regulation policies have introduced “ageism”, which can be determined as discrimination against individuals on grounds of age.

Among the challenges likely to be existing in an organization like IDC include problems in ensuring all members receive equal services, challenges in complying with legislation policies, an improvement on staff handling by the managers, ensuring that the company does not discriminate, and providing the employees with a favorable working environment.

The company makes use of mirrors that are attached to computer terminal screens and the managers always confirm if the agents are always smiling facing the mirrors when talking to customers. Also, the mirrors are used in monitoring if the agent’s facial expression and “emotional inputs”. This is a form of intimidation since the employees do not feel sure to do what they believe is correct for the organization, they smile just to express their supervisor but in a real sense, they do not enjoy what they do. Such a situation is likely to raise diversity issues within an organization since the employees are constantly seeking to work in a free environment without being intimidated.

Secondly, organizations such as IDC are likely to face problems in providing their employees with equal opportunities and services. This is because they operate on a “flat hierarchy” and hence old employees never get opportunities of being promoted or recognized. If employees realize that they will never grow, they start unprofessional tendencies such as being absent as witnessed in the info-data center. Also, the staff members are likely to ignore their duties since they lack motivation in what they do, they only what for the sake of working but not for satisfaction purposes.

Companies organized with leadership framework such as the one found in IDC are likely to face challenges of the proper working environment for its staff. Although IDC employees enjoy working in a well-ventilated environment with a basement canteen, they don’t fully appreciate the company’s efforts in setting up such structures. This is because the canteen does not provide all the necessities required by the employees but serves liquids only. In such an organization, employees are quick to leave their offices to seek their requirements from other stores and this creates a decrease in productivity.

High rates of exit in organizations such as IMC; this could be a result of managerial bullying as witnessed in the court case where the company lost a case and attracted a lot of negative publicity. Such organizations are likely to get discrimination challenges on basis of gender, disability; this can happen because human recourses are not concerned with individual employee’s needs. When employees feel that their needs are not fully addressed, they tend to react by overlooking their roles and this in most instances causes very serious conflicts between the staff and the management.

In conclusion, employee relation is a very critical issue that should carefully be maintained for an organization to succeed. It helps in reducing production costs as well as the exit rate. Employees who are motivated tend to stick in one organization for a long time compared to their counterparts working in unfavorable conditions.IDC should embrace the above-mentioned recommendation to restore its employee’s trust and morale.

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