All Human resources decisions should by goal – directed. Consequently, employee relations activities should be designed and managed to help achieve specific objectives. Employee relations activities affect efficiency, in that potential reasons for performance problems are confronted and help is offered to remove them. When the problem is an individual employee"s behavior, employee assistance and conflict resolution system seek constructive solutions. If the problem is the organization`s behavior, employee management committees or other two – way communication forums can identify possible changes that will remove the problem.
Much employee relations is designed to send the message that the organization is a concerned institution that will help protect, assists, and deal fairly with all it members.
The typical decisions that managers face in designing employee relations programs include:
Communication – How best can we convey our philosophy to employees and solicit their opinions/suggestions on work issues?
Protection – Are there aspects of the workplace that threaten the wellbeing of employees?
Assistance - How shall we respond to special needs of specific employees?
Cooperation – To what extent should decision making and control be shared?
Discipline and conflict – How shall we deal with it?
An employee handbook is a necessary part of communication an employee relations program. The handbook sets out the rules and policies within which employees and managers must operate. How the organization sets wages, allocates training, and promotions opportunities, what services it provides, and what it expect from employees is discussed in the handbook. Obviously, merely writing a handbook is not enough. It must by continuously updated, publicized to employees, and supervisors must be thoroughly familiar whit it, since they are the ones who translate policy into action. Handbook provide communication in only one direction.
Many organizations have formats for providing communication from employees to supervisors and managers. These can range from "speak – up" and open – door policies, work improvement suggestions systems, to "sensing" sessions, opinion surveys, or conflict resolution procedures. Unfortunately, there is evidence that there is a growing communications gap between employees and top management. Messages that managers think they are sending aren`t being received by employees.
Every managers and employee wants a healthy and safe work environment. Prevention programs take many forms. They include redesigning jobs to diminish hazardous conditions, conducting, safety training programs, even offering pay bonuses for good safety records.
Safety hazard: are those aspects of the work environment, which have the potential for immediate and sometimes violent harm to employee. Examples are lost of hearing, or eyesight, cuts, sprains, bruises, broken bones, burns and electric shock.
Health hazard: are those aspects of the work environment that slowly and cumulatively lead to deterioration of an employee`s health. Typical causes include physical and biological hazards, toxic and cancer - causing dusts and chemicals, and stressful working conditions.
Many of the policies and programs discussed in this chapter can go a long way to prevent discipline issues from arising. Prevention should be the objective of all organizations. However, when problems arise, having procedures in place to deal with infraction can help safeguard the rights of all concerned. There are four elements to assure adherence to generally acceptable work rules of such a system.