The Importance of Good Employee Relationships

The Theoretical Perspectives of Employee Relations

The constant change in the employee management field requires innovative approaches to employee relationships. There are three existing theories of employee relations: unitarist, pluralist, and Marxist. Unitarist theory is based on the belief that conflicts at work are not an inevitable feature defining the relationship between employees and employers (Mzangwa, 2015). Within the unitarist theory, employment relationships are vital for successful performance in the company. Pluralist employee relations theory claims that workplace conflict is unavoidable because it consists of various social structures representing opposite interest groups (Mzangwa, 2015).

Therefore, there is a distinct separation of employees and their superiors that project distinct ideas and values. Lastly, Marxist theory was developed by philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Its central concept is that workplace conflict is based on materialistic grounds created by the proletariat and bourgeoisie (Mzangwa, 2015). The Marxist theory states that the relationship between the employer and employee will always be identified by inequality in social classes and significant distinction in wages.

The Impact of Environmental Factors on Employee Relations

Employee relations highly depend on internal and external factors connected with the company they work for. The relationships between the staff can be strongly influenced by macroeconomic factors experienced in the organization. For instance, different salaries and working conditions can be some of the main determinants affecting positive or negative employee relations. The company’s values and culture have a significant impact on the relationships in the company. Corporate culture forms trust and creates a friendly atmosphere among staff. Sainsbury’s is a company with one of the most substantial corporate cultures; the corporation supports its employees and contributes to their professional development. According to the words of the company: ‘We invest in colleagues’ careers, offering training, development and mentoring as well as employment opportunities to all members of the community’ (Sainsbury’s, n.d.). Therefore, positive corporate culture forms better relationships in the company. The industry’s competitiveness influences relationships between the employees.

A highly competitive environment between staff may ruin ethical behavior inside the organization, as every employee will feel the need to put in more work than the others (Mohr, n.d.). On the other hand, the competitive nature of the work environment increases the company’s success because of employee motivation.

Explanation of the Role of Employment Law

Employment law is responsible for the regulation of relationships inside a company. It sets boundaries on acceptable actions for employees and employers, defining the working process (CIPD, 2019). Increased sensitivity of the modern world and a tendency to speak up for employee rights have put the spotlight on employment regulations. Employment law covers every aspect of the rights and conditions in the workplace, which is why it is of significant value to the working class. It is vital to distinguish applicable laws for the firm; as wrongful regulations may lead to unfavorable consequences. The case of Various Claimants v. Morrisons is an example of an employment law violation that led to the Supreme Court. Employees’ data was exposed to public websites without their prior consent from the workers. Therefore, the case was filed claiming “breach of statutory duty under the DPA, misuse of private information, and breach of confidence” (WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants par. 3). The court recognized Morrisson’s company as guilty. Therefore, employment law must exist for the protection of rights and the definition of relationships between employers and employees.

The Role of Government in Employee Relations

The government is an indispensable part of industrial relations inside the company, whose primary goal is to increase the country’s economic potential. The state can influence employee relations directly and indirectly and in both positive and negative ways. Generally, the government plays the role of an economic stimulator that sets goals for the business to follow, such as ensuring cost stability, maintaining the balance of payments, ensuring correct employment. There are several models of the government’s role in employee relations that have been regulating the business sector for many years. The first is Laissez-faire State: Embedding Market Individualism model. This is a liberal model that proposes minimal intervention of the government into the market, leaving the employers in free play (Heyes and Rychly, 2013). Such a model entitles strict employer-employee relations, where the supreme party can dictate the actions of the other.

The Decommodification of Labour Relations model has some influence on the government, business, and relationships inside the organization. In practice, the state holds a role in the regulation of internal connections because the companies are a part of governmental institutions (Heyes and Rychly, 2013). The name of the model is connected to Europe because, precisely in these countries, the model of such governmental interference is most developed. The strategy is based on “coordinated market economies”, which focus on national distinctiveness. When talking about Great Britain, the government has little power over organizations, and individual employment laws overrule the previous total control of the business sector and constant interventions of the state in the commercial environment (Dundon and Rollinson, 2011).

Nowadays, employers choose their tactics of creating employee relations without being afraid of the government interfering with it, and Sainsbury’s is not an exception. The board creates its lawful strategies in managing worker connections, which rarely impede the government. Nevertheless, the administrative facilities are of significant value to the business, as it is a tool for regulating and resolving any emerging conflicts between employees and the management.

How Changes in Trade Unionism Have Affected Employee Relations

The development of industrial society in Europe, including the creation of trade unions, was initiated at the end of the nineteenth century. The majority of regulations and rules adopted at the beginning of the twentieth century remain unchanged to this day. Though, the principle of collective bargaining as an employer’s responsibility in front of trade unions, controlled by the government, has become outdated and was replaced by negotiation at a company level (Law Teacher, 2018). Such a form of participation in trade unions has improved employee relations as it is a more inclusive form, which, as a result, has a chance of significantly enhancing team alliances inside the company.

The liberalization of the European market for several decades has increased the control abilities of many organizations inside the trade unions. Internationalization has expanded the market, therefore, inevitably affecting industrial relations in the format of new status rules that make contracting parties unable to modify them individually (Law Teacher, 2018). However, the private sector is less influenced by trade unionism than the public. Sainsbury’s is a part of a Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), one of the biggest trade unions in the United Kingdom that represents thousands of workers in the private sector connected with retail, food, and distribution manufacturing.

SATA is a special department of a union that represents and aids workers in lower and middle management with their needs and education. In the last decade, USDAW majorly contributed to giving employees access to learning and career development, having an opportunity to generate a specific strategy of sustainable Learning and Skills (Union Learn, n.d.). Sainsbury’s itself offers a wide range of skills development for their employees, which allows them to develop their careers internally. Such innovation and creation of union learning fund (ULF) has changed the employee relations inside the companies under this trade union for the better and created an opportunistic atmosphere, attracting new employees to Sainsbury’s.

The Role of Management in Employee Relations within an Organisation

Excellence in the employer and employee relationship is an essential goal for every company. Management is responsible for executing the wishes, expectations, and best interests of their staff members. Each party must put an effort into building strong, trusting relationships; however, the management must endeavor to create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere with staff and avoid conflicts as much as possible. Demonstrating to the employees that the directors are approachable and willing to communicate will affirm that there is no strict hierarchy in the team. Having the liberty to discuss uprising challenges with the top management freely is always an advantage that improves industrial relations.

Being a team leader, one must challenge staff to achieve better results and promote healthy competitiveness inside the workplace. Successful execution of such a strategy achieves several goals: raise of interest among employees, accomplishing company goals, and creating a robust team-based relationship. Sainsbury’s website claims that they have an inclusive employee environment, where workers are always encouraged to develop their professional skills (Sainsbury’s, 2019). Giving to the community has also been one of the priorities for Sainsbury’s management in recent years.

Sainsbury’s started focusing on creating more inclusive teams, hiring hundreds of people with disabilities, and constructing comfortable environments for these employees. Raising awareness about the advantages of engaging people with disabilities has shown Sainsbury’s as a conscious and mindful company that has no tolerance for discrimination. Effective leadership is a priority for Sainsbury’s top management, as stated by Angie Risley (Group HR Director): “We’re always looking for ways to address the issues and challenges our colleagues to face and make sure they’re well engaged and cared for” (Sainsbury’s, n.d.). Therefore, it is clear that management plays a significant role in the creation and sustaining of positive employee relations in Sainsbury’s.

Evaluation of the Integration of Employment Relations Processes and their Impact on Organisational Outcomes

The company’s ability to ensure positive employee relations that are built on the concept of healthy competition, innovation, and creative engagement will inevitably enhance organizational performance. A strong, trusting relationship between the workers and their staff is an excellent opportunity that contributes to the more effective corporate process. In the case of Sainsbury’s, the management continually states the importance of their employees’ career development and how they give out opportunities for professional growth. Hence, the company is interested in investing in the advancement of qualification of its employees, which, consequently, positively reflects Sainsbury’s organizational performance.

Leaders play a pivotal role in the organization of an environment that ensures good employee relations and motivates the workers to increase their productivity. A study by Duah and Danso (2017) confirmed that effective communication between employees and employers and favorable working conditions increase workers’ satisfaction with their job and subsequently make them more productive and loyal to the company. Successful engagement strategies as reward systems or free career development opportunities can not only decrease staff turnover but also make employees more committed to the company. Ensuring colleagues of personal growth and realizing the workers’ potential made 79% of Sainsbury’s employees deeply satisfied with their careers (Sainsbury’s, n.d.). It can be noted that the leadership inside Sainsbury’s is aimed at creating an environment in which employees can realize their job potential without losing their identity and engaging in mundane work.

Another practice for increasing organizational effectiveness through employee relations is reward management. The HR department is continuously tracking the performance of Sainsbury’s employees according to the company’s expectations. The results determine employees that receive monetary and non-monetary rewards for their work dedication and high efficiency. Recognition of employees’ achievements is an essential factor of the performance management process, which also creates a competitive culture for employees (Mone and London, 2018). Rewarding employees for their achievements must become a part of any engagement strategy as it gives the workers a feeling of importance and appreciation inside the company. Therefore, the fact that Sainsbury’s incorporates a model of rewarding colleagues is one of the determinants of such a high job satisfaction rate.

Motivational methods of increasing employee engagement lead to better relations in the team and subsequently affect the company’s results. In human relation management, a technique that involves motivational commitment is called “the best practice approach” (Open Learn, n.d.). Such a method is based on practices that form friendly relations between employees, increase effectiveness rate, and decrease absenteeism. Sainsbury’s is an active user of the best practice technique and continually uses it to give motivation for staying in the company. In Sainsbury’s stores,’ HR managers host discussion sessions every week with their colleagues to improve communication between employees and supervisors. Such a staff assembly aids in identifying any internal issues that require resolving, and taking ideas from the workers that might improve the store’s management or working process. An initiative like these discussion sessions shows the employees the importance of their voice to the company, which subsequently motivates them to continue their career path in Sainsbury’s. Methods of encouragement implemented by Sainsbury’s can bring significant benefits to the company in terms of internal management.

Explain the Concept of Employee Participation and Involvement in Decision-Making Process

The decision-making process is of high significance for managers who strategize active work organizations. Many companies nowadays adopt a relatively new employee management model, which allows workers to get involved in a decision-making process. According to a study by Senevarathna (2018), the engagement of employees in contribution to both minor and major internal resolutions significantly increases the level of satisfaction with the job. Therefore, it is essential for a company to include employee participation in various decision-making processes, as it notably reflects on the performance rate of an organization and contributes to increasing employee productivity.

Employee participation in altering or changing the work process can be seen as a way for staff to voice their ideas or to show more initiative and potential. Such a form of worker engagement can aid identify colleagues that are ready for new positions and promotions, which is an excellent asset of a motivational model like this one. Although some companies may not have the ability to provide high compensation rates to the employees, thus the encouragement of more participative styles of engagement is a great management model that increases productivity after all (Senevirathna, 2018). Therefore, employee participation in the decision-making process is directly related to the enhancement of performance, productivity, and satisfaction with the job.

Sainsbury’s continually emphasizes the importance of their colleagues to the firm and believes that employees are the company’s greatest asset. The corporation claims to have an inclusive workforce with various opportunities for all members of the community. The most recent report on employee engagement outlined one of the main goals as “we understand our colleagues better than anyone else and engage colleagues in the long term success of our business” (Sainsbury’s, 2016). Hence, Sainsbury’s use such strategies of employee management that have transparent workforce organization with high engagement level. The report claims that the percentage of involved colleagues in 2015 was 91%, which is the most recent information on the company’s official website (Sainsbury’s, 2016). The corporation has a clear vision of employee assurance, which proves why there is such a high satisfaction rate.

As stated above, having employees participate in the decision-making process is one of the factors that increase the productivity of a company and helps determine employees’ qualifications for promotions. Supporting career development is one of the goals for internal colleague management of Sainsbury’s (Sainsbury’s, 2016). The explanation of a high job satisfaction level lies within the constant involvement of staff in resolving the internal problems, which rewards them with self-actualization and motivation for further career progression. Sainsbury’s puts a lot of effort into developing sustainable employee management strategies, as they are highly interested in motivating and professionally developing the colleagues that work for the company.

Reference List

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