Non-Union Representation in the Workplace

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Over the last 12 months, REBU managed to achieve an impressive 54% profit rise. However, this evident progress was followed by emerging problems in organizational culture. Staff retention has become a growing concern, with the turnover rate increasing by 5% every quarter. Former employees regularly expressed dissatisfaction with wages and general working conditions during the exit interviews. Since REBU develops steadily and strives to become a global brand, it is necessary to address the issues with lowering employee engagement. Otherwise, the company’s business reputation might suffer, and recent financial success can turn into a short-living achievement.

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Recommendations on Improvement of Employee Voice and Engagement

Academic research has confirmed multiple positive outcomes of high employee engagement rates. According to Gifford and Young (2021), employee engagement leads to improved performance and contributes to such positive factors as reduced staff absence and turnover levels. Therefore, employee engagement improvement could serve as a prerequisite for reversing the growing employee turnover rates in REBU. This goal can be achieved by setting the predictors necessary for employee engagement.

Firstly, engagement levels are affected by the individual psychological states of employees. A review by Bailey et al. (2017) revealed that self-efficacy, resilience, and mood were positively associated with engagement. As such, REBU managers should pay special attention to hiring people who have the necessary psychological and professional capabilities for a job. However, this recommendation does not lift responsibility from REBU — the company must strive to create a work environment in which employees’ views and opinions are inputted.

Secondly, REBU needs to design jobs in a way that provides the employees with the necessary resources and support. It is important that the employees are not overwhelmed with professional responsibilities (Gifford and Young, 2021). Therefore, the company’s line managers and experienced workers should provide resources and feedback to their recently hired colleagues. Significant demands cannot come with inadequate resources to meet them, and employees should not feel abandoned.

Lastly, ensuring the right psychological state and providing correct job design might not be enough without proper people management. The supervisors, the leaders, were highlighted as key influencers of engagement (Gifford and Young, 2021). In that regard, their professional duty lies in inspiring subordinates, making them feel important and needed. Overall, REBU senior management needs to cultivate the culture of transformational leadership, which fosters employee engagement on all levels.

Differences Between Employee Involvement and Employee Participation

It is crucial to understand the difference in scope of these concepts when it comes to employee involvement, employee participation, employee engagement, and job involvement. Most importantly, employee engagement represents an umbrella term that includes various work-related outcomes. In that regard, employee engagement can be perceived as an ultimate state of being that should be strengthened within the organization. On the other hand, job involvement is merely a degree to which an employee relates to their job (Gifford and Young, 2021). Finally, the concepts of employee involvement and employee participation demand additional clarification.

Overall, employee participation is the narrowest term within this selection. According to Quain (2018), it represents specific business activities in which employees take part in order to achieve a common goal. On the contrary, employee involvement implies autonomy, an employee’s opportunity to make decisions in their workplace. As a result, such a practice contributes to free thinking and empowers the employees to act without approval from the manager (Quain, 2018). Despite that difference, both practices can be utilized to increase employee engagement levels and lead to positive outcomes.

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In regard to the current situation in REBU, employee involvement and participation can be used to alleviate existing issues with job satisfaction and a worsening turnover rate. Embracing these processes can potentially lead to improvements in job satisfaction, task performance, and the psychological wellbeing of REBU workers. Overall, providing the employees with greater involvement and participation should be all-around beneficial for the organization since both processes would contribute to greater engagement rates.

Assessment of Approaches to Driving Employee Engagement

Employee engagement can be improved through various approaches, such as surveys, suggestion schemes, and team meetings. An example of a survey approach can be found in Section 1.1 of this paper, which presents several evidence-based predictors for employee engagement. Bailey et al. (2017) reviewed 155 studies that evidenced the antecedents of the engagement or the factors that predict it. For instance, their research confirmed the influence of individual psychological states, job design, people management, organizational interventions, and team factors on the improvement of employee engagement rates.

Suggestion scheme allows to separate components of employee engagement from conditions that influence or are influenced by it. For example, Gifford and Young (2021) divided engagement into drivers — individual differences, job design, people management, relationships, and organizational factors, states of being, and outcomes. As a result, one can easily see the necessary antecedents for improving engagement, its measurable conditions such as motivation, and desired outcomes in the shape of job satisfaction and wellbeing.

Finally, regular team meetings present another reliable approach to finding the employee engagement drivers. In order to assist in achieving that goal, the meetings should be focused on the agenda, concentrated on team-based problem-solving, and conducted in a positive tone and atmosphere (Wishart, 2020). In addition, team meetings present an excellent opportunity for voice expression, which is beneficial for assessing the information directly from the employees. REBU management is highly advised to utilize at least one of these methods in order to get acknowledged with the strongest employee engagement drivers within the organization.

Interrelationship Between Employee Voice and Organizational Performance

Employee voice can be understood as giving the staff an opportunity to openly express ideas, concerns and provide general feedback without fear of consequences. As such, employee voice represents an important aspect of employee engagement, which is confirmed to impact performance positively. According to Gifford and Young (2021), organizations need to recognize that more engaged employees are likely to perform better, and those who perform well are more likely to become more engaged in the working process. In the end, employee voice increases work engagement, while work engagement and performance directly influence each other. However, Lamb (2018) disputed the correlation between engagement and higher productivity, which did not manifest itself at the macroeconomic level. Nevertheless, increasing the influence of employee voice was confirmed to improve performance on the organizational level, which is the case of REBU.

It is necessary to realize that the evaluation of engagement score via a special survey should be treated as a starting point rather than a destination. In addition, it is crucial to understand which type of performance is evaluated. Gifford and Young (2021) distinguished task performance that defines how well an employee meets the goals set in their core role and contextual performance that goes beyond formal job requirements. In theory, the same person can excel at their formal job and be underwhelming at such non-obligatory tasks as helping colleagues. Overall, the highest performance in both types would require increasing the influence of employee voice and, subsequently, employee engagement level.

Conclusion

Given the evidence contained in previous sections, it is apparent that the employees’ good mental and physical health depends on employee engagement levels. The lack of engagement-inducing practices, such as employee involvement and participation, and the neglection of engagement predictors lead to employee retention problems and increasing turnover rates. In addition, other work-related outcomes — job satisfaction, job involvement, brand-congruent behavior, and general wellbeing, also suffer from insufficient attention to employee engagement.

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Therefore, REBU management should promote employee-engaging practices by attending to the necessary predictors of engagement. The employees should not be pushed too hard without reason, and every worker must be provided with the resources, training, and support necessary for performing their professional duties. Employee-oriented managerial style should be implemented in order to prevent absenteeism, high turnover rates, workplace conflicts, and possible damage to REBU’s corporate image. Overall, the concept of better working lives emphasizes the creation of a healthy professional environment, where the employees would be able to provide feedback without a fear to anger their manager. REBU’s workers need to obtain an ability to speak, be heard, and rely on the leaders to become satisfied with their jobs again.

Organizational Conflict, Misbehavior, Informal and Formal Conflicts

Conflicts have become a widespread part of organizational life both for employers and employees. According to Suff (2020), 26% of employees and 20% of employers described conflicts as a common occurrence at work. Workplace conflicts can take various forms — from slight differences in opinions and working styles to severe cases of bullying and harassment. Therefore, a manager must be able to differentiate between the conflict types in order to choose the right resolution strategy.

The term organizational conflict encompasses various conflict types that can happen in an organization. For instance, disagreements based on issues related to work assignments, resource division, interpersonal tensions, and work policies would fall into that broad classification (Shonk, 2020). In addition, organizational conflict can be classified by the nature of opposing sides: interpersonal conflict involves two individuals, intragroup conflicts arise within a single group, and intergroup conflicts occur between several groups within the organization. Overall, not all organizational conflicts are necessarily harmful; however, they can escalate and lead to worse consequences if left unresolved for a long time.

On the other hand, workplace misbehavior implies severe and intentional violation of professional conduct. Thomas et al. (2019) listed the following misbehavior types: sexual harassment, bullying, incivility, substance abuse, fraud, cyberslacking, and sabotage. All these types of unethical conduct can serve as a ground for employee dismissal. In addition, both organizational conflicts and misbehavior can take a formal or informal development, depending on whether the dispute is resolved through more or less official methods.

Official and Unofficial Employee Actions During the Conflict

Employee Action During Conflict Example Key Features
Official Filing a formal grievance An employee engages in a formal, legalistic process, which is often adversarial and drawn out. As a result, formal action can add further stress for people and become challenging and costly for the organization (Suff, 2020)
Unofficial Approaching conflict manager for informal resolution An employee settles for an informal conflict resolution within the organization. This course of action allows to avoid entrenchment of parties’ positions and leaves a possibility for rebuilding the employment relationship

Emerging Trends in Conflicts and Industrial Sanctions

Workplace conflicts and industrial sanctions evolve with time, as social norms and relationships between employers and employees evolve with time. In regard to changes in conflicts, Suff (2020) listed two major trends. Most importantly, workplace conflicts are resolved inefficiently since responsibility for people management has been devolved to managers. In the end, only 40% of appointed people managers have received the necessary training in people management and conflict resolution skills (Suff, 2020). Usually, those employees have to resolve organizational conflicts on top of their primary professional role, which explains their struggles.

Secondly, employees have begun to report cases of workplace bullying and sexual harassment more readily than before. In addition, public sector workers are significantly more likely to report such misbehavior than their counterparts from private and voluntary sectors (Suff, 2020). According to Suff (2020), this pattern can be explained by stronger traditions of trade unionism and employee rights in the public sector. Therefore, this statistic does not mean that workplace misbehavior is more prevalent in the public sector. On the contrary, it means that public sector employees are less tolerant of misbehavior.

Finally, in some countries, such as the United Kingdom, the culture of organized industrial sanctions is facing severe decline. According to Suff (2021), trade union membership in the UK has fallen from 12 million-plus to around 6,6 million, and only public sector employees increase their presence in the unions. Overall, the unions gave up their collective bargaining of the past in favor of supporting individual members.

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Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration

The formal resolution of workplace conflict usually manifests in a lawsuit or official grievance. However, if the need arises, REBU can utilize informal resolution strategies, such as conciliation, mediation, and arbitration in order to de-escalate potentially harmful situations. All three methods of conflict resolution are similar in that they utilize the assistance of third parties to avoid hearings in the employment tribunal. However, arbitration is relatively different from the other two strategies since it usually results in a legally binding decision passed by the independent arbitrator.

Therefore, it is necessary to explore key features, similarities, and differences of conciliation and mediation. Out of these two options, conciliation is closer to a formal conflict resolution since it is usually used when a party believes itself entitled to make a claim to an employment tribunal (GOV.UK, n.d.). Meditation is often used when informal discussions within the organization have not resolved the conflict. Conciliation and meditation are similar in regard that both strategies involve an invitation of an independent and impartial third party, whose solution is not legally binding (GOV.UK, n.d.). As a result, both sides of the conflict cannot be forced to accept this solution and must express voluntary agreement. Finally, both mediation and conciliation cannot be used to resolve cases requiring formal investigation, such as harassment or discrimination.

Unfair Dismissal Legislation and Process Outline for Employer

The concept of wrongful discharge or unfair dismissal is present in many countries. However, the particular details related to the protection of unfairly dismissed employees’ rights heavily depend on national labor laws. For example, wrongful termination laws in the USA may vary from state to state (USA.gov., 2021). As a result, the lawsuit would be filed in a state court. The examples of wrongful discharge reasons in the U.S. may include discrimination on various bases, punishment for reporting illegal behavior, or an employee’s refusal to break the law.

Unlike in the U.S. case, the UK legal system provides the employees with a statutory right not to be unfairly dismissed. Employment Rights Act 1996 contains most of the provisions related to unfair dismissal on the territory of Great Britain. A dismissal must fit one of the following reasons to be considered fair: capability, conduct, illegality, or redundancy (Ayling and Suff, 2021). In some instances, the employer can justify dismissal with other substantial reasons (Ayling and Suff, 2021). Overall, dismissing an employee is a long and legally complicated process, which can become costly for a company if done unfairly.

Due to having the majority of offices located in the USA, REBU lawyers must possess knowledge of wrongful discharge laws of particular states. If dismissal happens in another country, corporate lawyers must be acknowledged with national labor laws. Regardless of the national legal system, the company should establish facts first if a necessity for dismissal arises. For instance, if workplace misbehavior serves as a reason for dismissal, REBU must be able to provide the results of an internal investigation to justify the decision. Otherwise, the dismissal would become wrongful and significantly damage corporate reputation.

Key Causes of Employee Grievances Within REBU

The current information regarding employee grievances and workplace conflict is quite obscure. The only available details are the results of exit interviews that point at the growing employees’ dissatisfaction with low wages and workplace conditions. The low wages issue is unlikely to be tied to conflicts and should be solved separately. However, it is possible to explore the most likely reasons behind complaints on dissatisfactory workplace conditions. This course of action would allow to examine potential conflict-provoking situations and facilitate conflict resolution efforts.

Most importantly, it is necessary to determine which staff positions are the most afflicted by increasing turnover rates. According to Suff (2020), 21% of the most serious conflicts were experienced in relationships between employees and their line manager or supervisor. Therefore, REBU should conduct an internal investigation in order to evaluate how lower-level managers treat line personnel. In addition, 46% and 36% of the most severe conflicts stemmed from personality/working style differences or dissatisfaction with professional competence/performance levels, respectively (Suff, 2020). As such, workplace conflicts in REBU might be caused by the flaws in the employee hiring process or established organizational culture related to the reaction to mistakes. Overall, the most likely key causes of employee grievances within REBU are the inability to hire staff with required work ethics and overly harsh response to inadequate workplace performance. Therefore, REBU HR managers should be more attentive to candidate personalities, and line managers must restrain from aggressive behavior when their direct subordinates make mistakes.

Skills Required for Effective Grievance and Discipline-Handling Procedures

In a perfect scenario, a large-scale business should hire organizational psychologists who monitor the behavior of the employees and intervene when workplace conflicts arise. If this solution is unavailable, the managers assigned to conflict resolution duty must be provided with sufficient training in conflict resolution skills. These skills are necessary for handling grievances since they allow to de-escalate the situation before it damages employees’ wellbeing and leads to unwanted consequences for the company.

Most importantly, a person responsible for conflict management must possess effective communication skills. According to Indeed (2021), effective communication involves a friendly yet straightforward way of speaking to others and the ability to adjust verbal and body language depending on circumstances. A conflict manager must know how to avoid deterioration of the situation, and effective communication skills allow to prevent inappropriate development of the conflict. In the end, an effective communicator would be able to win the trust of both parties, which is necessary for possible mediation efforts.

Another valuable grievance-handling skill is level-headedness, which is crucial for maintaining impartiality. A level-headed conflict manager can control emotions and improve the situation in the workplace with a calm demeanor (Indeed, 2021). On the contrary, the lack of level-headedness might create a ground for biased decisions and result in conflict escalation. Overall, success in grievance and discipline-handling procedures demands effective communication with all parties of the conflict and a level-headed, impartial approach to conflict resolution.

Importance of Effective Handling of Grievances

Effective handling of grievances is crucial for a large organization such as REBU. Since REBU strives to become a global brand, it should hold its reputation in high regard. The inability to create a healthy work environment and resolve conflicts informally might lead to formal grievances or lawsuits from the employees, which could damage the company’s business reputation. According to Suff (2020), the adverse effects of workplace conflicts are devastating on people, as they experience anxiety, loss of self-confidence, and a drop in motivation. Therefore, REBU should exercise corporate responsibility to bolster employees’ motivation and reverse the worrying trends of job dissatisfaction and increase in turnover rates.

Aside from the possible negative ethical and legal implications stemming from the ineffective handling of grievances, it is also harmful to work efficiency. Employers spend an average of six days of management time dealing with each individual disciplinary case and five days dealing with each grievance case (Suff, 2020). In that regard, effective grievance-handling regulations and procedures are vital for saving the manager’s time and mental strength for more business-oriented activities. Overall, a large organization such as REBU cannot neglect workplace conflicts and employee grievances, both from the business and ethical perspectives.

Main Provisions of Collective Employment Law

A wide range of legal provisions regulates the collective dimension of relations between employers and groups of employees. The exact legislation might vary significantly depending on the country. For example, collective employment in the United States is regulated by federal and state laws. The core legislation for the United Kingdom is the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULCRA), which has been amended over time (Suff, 2021). Therefore, REBU lawyers should be acknowledged with national labor legislation to work effectively.

In general, collective employment law covers such areas as collective bargaining, consultation, arbitration, and industrial action. For instance, the TULCRA 1992 is primarily focused on collective bargaining and redundancy consultation (Suff, 2021). The Trade Union Act 2016 contains provisions about ballots, industrial action, registration, and recognition of trade unions (Suff, 2021). Overall, a trade union is recognized when it is independent and has a recognition of the employer for the purpose of collective bargaining (CIPD, 2021). The recognition can either be voluntary or be enforced by a state.

Types of Employee Bodies: Union and Non-Union Forms of Employee Representation

A group of employees can safeguard their interests through two main forms of representative bodies. Union form is typically represented by traditional trade unions, which protect employees’ rights through collective bargaining. According to Suff (2021), the influence of trade unions has declined in recent decades. The union officials spend most of their time handling individual grievances rather than negotiating pay and working conditions (Suff, 2021). Therefore, non-union forms are becoming more powerful in current economic reality.

In general, non-union forms involve an employee or a group of employees who may be elected by their colleagues to represent the interests of the work collective. In that regard, they are similar to trade unions, whose rank-and-file members are also elected by other employees. According to Acas (2014), non-union representatives can negotiate matters related to workplace safety, pensions, collective redundancy, and workforce agreements. As such, non-union representation differs from the traditional trade union since it is focused on the joint consultation on particular subjects rather than the opposition to the management. Therefore, non-union representation is more flexible and leaves more freedom to the employer than traditional trade unions.

The Purpose of Collective Bargaining and How It Works

Collective bargaining can be understood as a process of negotiations between the employer and the employees that include such terms of employment as wages, workplace safety, and benefits. These negotiations are usually conducted through the trade union; however, union representation is steadily losing its former popularity. According to Maxwell (2021), the most popular channel of an employee’s voice was one-on-one meetings with a line manager. Therefore, a general shift to direct and individual communication between employers and employees has become evident.

Given these circumstances and the current issues with job satisfaction and staff turnover within REBU, it might be wise to encourage non-union representation in the organization. Firstly, non-union representation would help improve employee engagement since staff members would feel that their feedback is appreciated. Secondly, non-union representation would allow to determine issues with workplace conditions in REBU and fix them. Finally, the non-union form would impose fewer obligations on REBU and leave more space for maneuver than collective bargaining with trade union involvement.

Reference List

Acas (2014) Non-union representation in the workplace

Ayling, L., and Suff, R. (2021) Dismissal procedures. Factsheet. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Bailey, C., Madden, A., Alfes, K., and Fletcher, L. (2017) ‘The meaning, antecedents and outcomes of employee engagement: A narrative synthesis’, International Journal of Management Reviews, 19(1), pp. 31-53.

CIPD (2021) Trade union recognition and industrial action Q&As

Gifford, J. and Young, J. (2021) Employee engagement: definitions, measures and outcomes. Report. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

GOV.UK (n.d.) Solve a workplace dispute.

Indeed (2021) Conflict management skills: Definition and examples.

Lamb, P. (2018) The engagement myth. [Podcast]. 2018.

Maxwell, G. (2021) Employee voice. Factsheet. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Quain, S. (2018) The difference between employee participation & employee involvement

Shonk, K. (2020) 3 types of conflict and how to address them.

Suff, R. (2021) Employee relations: an introduction. Factsheet. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Suff, R. (2020) Managing conflict in the modern workplace. Report. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Web.

Thomas, R., Anitha, S., and Joseph, I. N. (2019) ‘Employee misbehaviour in the workplace -Strategies to prevent misbehaviour and make employees satisfied with the job’, International Journal of Research and Analytical Reviews (IJRAR), 6(2), pp. 268-273.

USA.gov (2021) Labor laws and issues.

Wishart, J. (2020) How to make staff meetings more engaging: 5 tips to increase engagement in team meetings.

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