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HRM Assignment: Analysing Issues Of Employment Relations, HRM & Law

Question

Task:
In this HRM assignment you are required to do an HRM Issue Analysis on Employment relations, HRM and Law. To successfully complete this assessment, you need to do the following:

  1. Identify and critically discuss three major challenges facing HR managers and specialists related to your selected focus area. Use relevant and current academic (peer-reviewed) literature to support your analysis.
  2. After reviewing the literature, propose and detail at least three best practices or approaches that a HR manager may adopt to more successfully navigate the selected HRM focus area
  3. Identify one existing (real) case of an organisation that may be trying to navigate this focus area, and critically discuss what the organisation may do differently to improve employee/ worker outcomes.

Answer

Introduction
The key purpose of this report on HRM assignment is to reflect on the selected HRM issue i.e., Employment Relations, HRM and the Law and to develop a critical analysis of the focused areas. Employment relations is said to be important for organizational objectives as well as business enhancement. Therefore, it is crucial to maintain an effective relationship with the employees in order to meet the organizational set goals as well as maintain a stable and reliable relationship further. Hence, the overall report will be focused on the three major challenges of Employment relations wherein the HR managers and experts are facing to date and recommendations of three best practices or approaches that can be adapted to navigate the selected HRM focus area. Furthermore, a real-life organization has been identified wherein they are facing employment-related issues and recommendations on how the organization can overcome and improve the employee differently. Thus, the overall report will be based on the analysis of selected issues that have been mentioned above.

Three Major Challenges of Employment Relations
In an organization, the challenges related to employment relations arise now and then. These challenges can arise irrespective of the size of the business due to the changing needs of the employees. Employment Relations is a complex concept that includes various challenges and the three major challenges of employment relationships are as follows:

Conflict Management: As per Madalina (2016), conflict is a situation of disagreement that arise when people working as a group has opposing ideas. Conflict management is one of the major challenges that an organization has to face that is associated with employment relations. There can be frequent disagreements and conflicts between the employees and employers or among the employees. These conflicts are not easy to manage and the management of these conflicts is called Conflict Management. Conflict Management is a challenge to an organization because these conflicts create an adverse effect on the employment relationship. Conflicts arise because the employment relationship is not good or the employees are dissatisfied. Conflict Management is not an easy task because the two people disagreeing is not satisfied easily.

Conflict in HRM 1

Fig 1- Conflict Management
Sources- (Arimie & Oronsaye, 2020)

The biggest challenge for an organization is to make the two parties in conflict agree on mutual ground. If an organization is unable to solve the conflict effectively, then there will arise a disturbance in the employment relations. This will also result in poor performance or the employees, low morale, employee dissatisfaction and so on. All these will affect the overall performance of the organization in the market (Arimie & Oronsaye, 2020). Conflict in the organization can often get out of hands and it might be difficult to solve the disagreement between two parties. In such situations, organizations tend to lose a considerable amount of earning and it can create a bad reputation for the company. It can also result in a situation where the employees go on strikes. At the time of the strike, employees refuse to work with the effect of the production of an organization and managing the conflict is a complex task. Therefore, conflict management is one of the major challenges of employment relations because the ability of the organization to manage the conflict decides the employees' morale and satisfaction.

Wages and benefits Issue: Another challenge of Employment Relations is the wages and benefits issue, which is associated with the amount paid to the employees. According to Burkhauser (2014), wages has a great contribution to the determinations of employee productivity. If an employee is being paid well and they are being given appropriate benefits, then they tend to become more productive. With the changing needs of the employees now and then, it has become difficult for the organization to come with wages and benefits plans that can fully satisfy them. This has created a feeling of dissatisfaction in the minds of the employees. Many times employees demand raise in wages and additional benefits, which the organization cannot fulfil. This causes the organization to lose its employees and suffer some loss in the business. The planning of wages and benefits is a big challenge for an organization because the wages and benefits determine the productivity and the satisfaction level of the employees. An organization tries its best to avoid and minimize the disputes that arise due to the wages and benefit plans of the organization. To guide the organization and safeguard the employees the Federal Minimum Wage was introduced by the AIRC in the year 1997. This law ensures that the employees are paid a minimum wage (revised every year) to safeguard them from being exploited. Today the determination of wages and benefits has become a big challenge for the organization as it affects the Employment Relation. If one organization pays fewer wages than the other organization, then the employees will leave the organization and join the other organization.

Workplace safety: The third major challenge of employment relation is workplace safety. Gallagher (2020), states that workplace safety is the implication of safety and health measures in the working premises so that the employees are physical and mentally safe. This is associated with the well-being and safety of the employees working in an organization. This is a challenge because a slight casualty in the working premises can lead to the breaking of the employment relationship. The employees may not feel safe in the workplace, which adversely affects their relationship with the organization. Every employer fears that an accident might occur that can cause a loss of life of an employee. Promotion of safety in the working premises is the major priority of every employer. To have good employment relations, an employer has to ensure that the workplace is safe and there is no chance of any accident occurring. If any kind of accident occurs in the working premises and an employee suffers a major loss. Then the employment relation is badly affected along with that the organization will have a bad reputation as well. The existing employees may not feel safe and quit the job, which will lead to a great loss to the organization. To ensure that the workplaces are safe, Safe Work Australia in 2011 introduces WHS Law that regulated and monitored the safety measures in the workplace.

Conflict in HRM 2

Fig 2- Workplace accidents in different industries
Sources- (Gallagher, 2020)

Approaches to Navigate Employment Relations Challenge
The human resource department is responsible for managing employee relations in an organization. Employment relations are the efforts made by the organization to develop a positive relationship with their employees (Lee and Taylor, 2014). However, from the above literature review, three major challenges were pointed out conflict management, wages and benefits issue and workplace safety. Every organization has to focus on successfully navigating these challenges and the following are the recommended approaches:

Abiding by the Law- The first approach that can be recommended for navigation is the implementation of appropriate law and regulations given by the Australian legislation. The Work Health and Safety Act, 2011 can be used by organizations to ensure that the workplace is safe and free of accidents. This act was introduced to implement safety measure across the workplaces of Australian jurisdiction. This act ensures that workers are protected, treated fairly, provided training and education and so on. The regulation of this act gives detailed guidelines that can be followed by the organization to maintain a safe workplace (Jule, 2020). With the help of the guidelines provided by the act, an organization can create a workplace that is safe for work.

Another law that can be used by the organizations to navigate the challenges of employment relations is the Federal Minimum Wage that was introduced by AIRC in the year 1997. Organizations can plan an effective wage system with the help of the regulations given in this act. This will help the organization to give out an appropriate amount of wages to their employees (Campolieti, Gunderson, & Lee, 2014). In this way, they can give a satisfactory explanation to their employees regarding the amount of payment they are getting.

Collaboration- The next approach that can be recommended to the HR managers is the approach of collaboration. Collaboration is a process of working in which one or more employees or departments of an organization work together to achieve a goal. Collaborating with different employees and departments of an organization creates a harmonious working environment. Through collaboration, different employees come together and work together toward achieving organizational as well as individual goals (Colbry, Hurwitz, & Adair, 2014). The challenge of conflict management can be addressed with the help of collaboration. If there is good teamwork in an organization, then the productivity of the organization is automatically improved. Through the approach of collaboration, an organization can effectively make their employees work as a team efficiently. Generally, collaborating is used to solve important conflicts, particularly those affecting affiliations between groups. The main activities in collaborating are incorporating solutions, marching viewpoints, acquiring commitments, and learning more concerning the other parties and the conflict itself. Thus, it can be said that collaboration is high in forcefulness and high in cooperation working best when the issues at risk, and the quality of affiliation, are imperative for both parties. Hence, this can take place in individual or workplace issues, workplace communications, and business ventures. However, due to the time amount, trust, effort and cooperation involved in this procedure it is commonly only suggested when the nature of the issue is measured to be highly significant. However, when it is not the other forms case of conflict resolution- compromising, competing, accommodating or avoid can be more proper and successful one.

Compromising- Generally, compromising approaches used when the conflict is significant enough to spend the required time to meet an agreement through negotiation. Unless the parties are matched evenly in power and skill, compromising can relapse to accommodating and competing. The solutions for most compromises are not-permanent, unlike collaborative solutions. Yet, compromising typically needs less time than collaborating. An organization that typically uses a compromising approach mostly efforts to equalize the requirements of both or all parts or all sides in a conflict by empowering every individual to give it on at least on certain points. This approach needs more skills of people than other techniques of conflict resolution. At certain times, it is considered as one of the less problematic in a business environment than accommodation, avoidance or competitive combativeness. Within a conflict resolution approach, compromise can be effectual as an employee in a particular organization feels listened to as generally, compromisers are good listeners (Eilerman, 2015). Genuinely, they prefer to hear other opinions so that they can negotiate the best resolution that meets at least a number of individuals' requirements. Moreover, this approach is considered to be positive for the working environment and business procedures for the long-term. Many individuals respect those who are eager to compromise as in several cases; this eagerness is seen as an indication of maturity and an eagerness to be a team player. Moreover, it can be said that this approach can be effective for both the parties that are fairly dominant and eager to corporate, and they prefer to embrace the association for the future. Thus, there can be the biggest issue with the compromising approach and that may be both parties may wrap up giving away too much and rather than satisfying end up.

Identification of existing real-life case of an organization
The real-life existing organization that has been identified for this study is Subway, which is said to be one of the biggest fast-food chains across Australian and internationally. By store count, Subway has more than one in ten locations close over the past more than three years. As per the research, it has been identified that Subway was reported as the workplace rob confirmed it was investigating the reports of chain for underpayment of staff and accused of franchisees mistreatment by the sandwich giant. The store numbers of Subway have decreased from 1444 in the year 2015 to 1353 previous year, as per Sydney Morning Herald, and a user of Reddit claiming to be a long-term store of Subway owner claims to make out why (Waters, 2019). The below graph, shows the output gap versus population

The accused franchisee put the financial woes of the sandwich chain down to a failure to know the main target markets that are most usual to its stores, and an effort of repositioning that was distancing the core customers. As per the research, it has been found that Subway has said it may terminate franchisees that fail to achieve their financial obligations within an investigation conducted by the Fair Work Ombudsman into the workers' underpayment. It seems the organization fails to fulfil their commitment to maintaining which will result in enforcement action and endured non-compliance can lead to termination (Blake, 2019).

Critical discussion to overcome or improve employee outcomes
After analysing the overall Subway case, it has been found that the organization needs proper operational management and HR policies. Therefore, some of the issues that need to be addressed by the organization have been discussed accordingly:

Knowing the employees' preferences- The organization needs to know their employees and their preference for better performance to meet the set organizational goals. It is important to know about their employees and their preferences if the organization really wants better performance from their employees.

Effective Leadership- The management needs to show effective leadership quality as the organization is facing issues with employment relations and that has been affecting the performance of the employee. Thus, the organization needs good and effective leadership in order to lead the workforce and motivate them to meet their goals.

Building long-term strategy- As per the case that has been identified in Subway, it can be recommended that the organization needs a reliable and strong long-term strategy. Hence, this may help the organization to focus on the challenges it is facing currently.

Effective HR practices- An effective HR practices are required within the identified case of Subway as it is linked to lower turnover intention and greater productivity of employment and also important for improving the employee’s knowledge skills while increasing motivation and courage.

Effective Communication- Effective communication is one of the important social skills that are needed for any individual to survive in the world. Also, within a particular workplace, it is very important to have effective communication so that the employees know the issues that the organizations are facing and the strategies they are constructing to overcome them.

Conclusion
In nutshell, it can be said that employment relations are very crucial for a particular organization as it helps the management to focus on the set organizational goals and to meet those goals for business enhancement. However, the overall report is based on the issue that is related to employment relations under HRM issues, which has been analysed through the use of three key challenges of employment relations wherein conflict management, wages and benefits issue and workplace safety has been discussed above. Considering the three challenges, three approaches have been discussed and analysed in order to navigate the employment relations challenge. Moreover, a real-world case has been discussed in the main body of the report wherein Australia's biggest fast-food retail i.e., Subway has been provided as an example that has been facing employment relations issues and some recommendation has been made after the overall analysis of the case.

References
Arimie, J. C., & Oronsaye, A. O. (2020). Assessing Employee Relations and Organizational Performance: A Literature Review. International Journal of Applied Research in Business and Management, 1(1), 1–17. https://doi.org/10.51137/ijarbm.2020.1.1.1

Blake, D. (2019, August 12). Subway under investigation for underpaying workers. Inside Retail. http://irau2021prod.wpengine.com/news/subway-under-investigation-for-underpaying-workers-201908

Burkhauser, R. V. (2014). Another Look at the Economics of Minimum Wage Legislation. Australian Economic Review, 47(3), 409–415. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8462.12077

Campolieti, M., Gunderson, M., & Lee, B. (2014). MINIMUM WAGE EFFECTS ON PERMANENT VERSUS TEMPORARY MINIMUM WAGE EMPLOYMENT. Contemporary Economic Policy, 32(3), 578–591. https://doi.org/10.1111/coep.12036

Colbry, Hurwitz, & Adair. (2014). Collaboration Theory. Journal of Leadership Education, 13(4). https://doi.org/10.12806/v13/i4/c8

Eilerman, D. (2015). Win/Win Solutions - The Role of Collaboration in Resolving Problems. Mediate.com. https://www.mediate.com/articles/eilermanD8.cfm

Gallagher, S. (2020). New Round Table Series in Workplace Health & Safety. Workplace Health & Safety, 216507992091138. https://doi.org/10.1177/2165079920911384

Jule, J. G. (2020). Workplace Safety: A Strategy for Enterprise Risk Management. Workplace Health & Safety, 216507992091665. https://doi.org/10.1177/2165079920916654

Lee, J., & Taylor, M. S. (2014). Dual roles in psychological contracts: When managers take both agent and principal roles. Human Resource Management Review, 24(1), 95–107. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.hrmr.2013.03.001

Madalina, O. (2016). (PDF) Conflict Management, a New Challenge. Retrieved March 9, 2021, from ResearchGate website: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305396454_Conflict_Management_a_New_Challenge

Waters, C. (2019, August 11). Subway under investigation by Fair Work over staff underpayment. The Sydney Morning Herald; The Sydney Morning Herald. https://www.smh.com.au/business/small-business/subway-under-investigation-by-fair-work-over-staff-underpayment-20190809-p52flv.html

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