5HR01 Assignment Example
- December 18, 2021
- Posted by: Harry King
- Category: CIPD Level 5
You are the HR manager for Makite Solutions, a small-medium sized logistics company which distributes products nationally. Makite provide high-performance logistics and supply chain management to customers. Starting by delivering in their local area, they have experienced explosive growth over the last 3 years, becoming one of the leading lights in their sector. Makite is a unionised workplace.
This growth, however, has caused problems for Makite Solutions. Employee relations have become difficult between Makite and their staff and conflict is starting to become commonplace. Employees have mentioned “differences in personality styles”, “lack of respect” and “lack of support”. There is currently industrial unrest within the organisation, with instances of go slow tactics and talks of strikes.
As the HR manager, you have been tasked to create a policy document or factual summary of key legal aspects and their implications, for Makite’s intranet library. You will also generate an advisory briefing note to senior managers facing industrial unrest in the organisation.
Preparation for the Tasks:
- Refer to the indicative content in the unit to guide and support your evidence.
- Pay attention to how your evidence is presented, remember you are working in the People Practice Team for this task.
- Ensure that the evidence generated for this assessment remains your own work.
You will also benefit from:
- Reflecting on your own experiences of learning opportunities and training and continuing professional development.
- Reading the CIPD Insight, Fact Sheets and related online material on these topics.
- You should relate academic concepts, theories, and professional practice to the assessment task(s), in a critical and informed way, and with reference to key texts, articles and other publications.
Don’t forget to:
- Complete the front cover sheet, sign with a “wet signature” and place at the front of your assessment.
- Use the bullet points below each task as headings and sub-headings so your marker can see where your answer begins.
Task One – Policy Document
You are required to produce a policy document containing key legal aspects and their implications. This should be designed to sit on the company’s intranet and should be formal in style.
The policy document can be broken down into two sections:
A review of emerging developments to inform approaches to employee voice and engagement (AC 1.1)
Differentiate between employee involvement and employee participation and how it builds relationships (AC 1.2)
Assess a range of employee voice tools and approaches to drive employee engagement. (AC 1.3)
Critically evaluate the interrelationships between employee voice and organisational performance. (AC 1.4)
Explain the concept of better working lives and how this can be designed. (AC 1.5)
- Explain the principles of legislation relating to unfair dismissal in respect of capability and misconduct issues. (AC 3.1)
- Analyse key causes of employee grievances (AC 3.2)
- Explain the skills required for effective grievance and discipline-handling procedures. (AC 3.3)
- Advise on the importance of handling grievances effectively. (AC 3.4)
Task Two – Advisory Briefing Note
This task requires you to produce an advisory briefing note to senior managers facing industrial unrest in the organisation.
The advisory note should contain:
- Distinguish between organisational conflict and misbehaviour, and between informal and formal conflict. (AC 2.1)
- Distinguish between official and unofficial employee action. (AC 2.2)
- Assess emerging trends in the types of conflict and industrial sanctions. (AC.2.3)
- Distinguish between third-party conciliation, mediation and arbitration. (AC.2.4)
- Explain the main provisions of collective employment law. (AC 4.1)
- Compare the types of employee bodies, union and non-union forms of employee representation (AC 4.2)
- Evaluate the purpose of collective bargaining and how it works. (AC 4.3)
Task One – Policy Document
a) A review of emerging developments to inform approaches to employee voice and engagement (AC 1.1)
In today’s business world, giving employees more say over how they carry out their responsibilities and soliciting their views during decision-making has enormous benefits for both employees and employers. Employee involvement research focuses on employee choice in completing job operations and making workplace decisions through various workplace innovations such as teams and quality circles (Rasheed et al., 2017). Employee voice accelerators of employee engagement. Employee engagement, retention, innovation, and effectiveness can help boost workplace productivity (Rasheed et al., 2017). There is a wealth of information that draws parallels between productivity and employee engagement. Gallup reported that individuals in the top quartile of employee engagement were 18% more productive than those in the lowest quartile in a sample of over 23,000 business units (Nechanska et al., 2020).
Voice further helps to strengthen the organisation’s resilience. In this respect, engaged individuals with an effective voice are more likely to lend support to a company during times of change, whether caused by internal or external forces (Nechanska et al., 2020). Employees who are disengaged and do not have access to an appropriate system for objective dialogue are more likely to exacerbate these pressures by looking for alternative ways to vent their concerns (Rasheed et al., 2017). In normal operations, employee voice can provide a crucial early warning system for concerns such as technological breakdowns or consumer and supplier behavioural changes.
b) Differentiate between employee involvement and employee participation and how it builds relationships (AC 1.2)
Employee participation refers to employees having a part to collectively play in company operations to attain a shared goal (Bai et al., 2019). A computer security firm, for example, might assemble a group of workers and task the group with building doomsday security scenarios. Every employee is encouraged to contribute by coming up with suggestions based on real-life occurrences that could jeopardise computer security. The team provides a platform for employees to offer suggestions for completing the work. Employee morale is boosted, and a more inclusive workplace is established when the company’s leadership fosters the ideal climate in which participation is collaborative, team-oriented, and also exploits of each individual’s particular skill set (Wang et al., 2018).
Employee involvement encompasses opportunities offered to employees to participate in the decision-making process at work; it refers to the direct relationship between management and staff that allows staff members to take ownership of the project’s outcome (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employee involvement activities can further encompass facilitating opportunities for employee training, various motivational approaches to bolster employee performance, and creating a corporate structure conducive to freethinking and autonomous decision-making.
Employee participation differs from employee involvement in that participation relates to the actual business tasks that workers execute. In contrast, involvement refers to the level of influence that staff members have in decision-making over which corporate activities they undertake. Employee participation encourages a collaborative approach in which a team of employees completes a project by combining their varied skill sets to reach a shared goal. On the other hand, employee involvement comprises a direct line of communication between management and staff to facilitate better communication and ownership of how workplace decisions are made. Both methods can improve the commitment to achieving a common objective.
c) Assess a range of employee voice tools and approaches to drive employee engagement. (AC 1.3)
Organisations may use employee voice tools such as surveys and collective bargaining. Employee perceptions are measured in an employee culture survey used to assess if they fit with the organisation’s or departments’ (Holbeche, 2018). Employee engagement surveys assess employees’ dedication, motivation, a feeling of purpose, and enthusiasm for their jobs and employers (Saks, 2019). Thus, surveys grant employees a say in the organisation’s strategies and goals. Collective bargaining empowers employees to safeguard their employment interests by seeking unions and authorised representatives to negotiate with employers regarding employment terms (Jiang and Luo, 2018).
Organisations may further employment approaches to drive employee engagement, such as reward and organisational culture. When a firm adopts a total rewards plan, it can offer its staff bonuses, wage raises, extra vacation or paid sick leave, and improved perks throughout their career (Holbeche, 2018). Such an approach yields employee engagement by offering a series of long-term projections and goals to an employee for which they may earn rewards. Corporate culture encompasses a wide range of organisational practices. For instance, employees are also drawn to settings where management is approachable, communication is open, firm executives exemplify accessibility and approachability, and the corporate direction is clear, yielding increased engagement.
d) Critically evaluate the interrelationships between employee voice and organisational performance. (AC 1.4)
Effective employee voice mechanisms guard defend against a slew of issues arising from the psychological pressures in an organisational setting. Employee voice bolsters organisational agility. If businesses adjust swiftly to changing market conditions, they must create an environment where people feel free to speak up (Bai et al., 2019). Managers frequently lose sight of how front-line services are provided to clients. It can be challenging to transform the organisation unless individuals can be frank about the reality of how it runs daily, as sustainable change begins with transparency and honesty. HR can create incentive schemes that effectively orient employees toward accomplishing organisational goals if individuals can speak up regarding what they find essential vis-à-vis what is attainable (Duan et al., 2017). Organisations that cannot swiftly construct a picture of how they need to adapt–and then take proactive action–are likely to lag as the business landscape evolves.
Employee voice helps to prevent the loss of knowledge and skills. Many employee voice mechanisms are closely linked with employee retention; when staff members feel able to speak up and have avenues to do so, grievances are addressed at the source before harming well-being, job satisfaction, and the psychological contract (Jiang and Luo, 2018). In an environment where tacit information is a crucial component of competitive edge, high retention is critical for all businesses. As it is costly to replace knowledge and competencies, it is critical to engage and nurture existing employees (Bai et al., 2019).
e) Explain the concept of better working lives and how this can be designed. (AC 1.5)
A better working life refers to a healthy balance between an individual’s professional and personal life. A growing number of businesses are counting on their staff to live more balanced lives, as balanced workers are more productive and driven. Suppose a firm purposefully or unconsciously undermines an employee’s private life by forcing them to work excessive overtime or under excessive pressure. In that case, it will inevitably lead to discontent and stress, leading to health issues, poor performance, and alienation from the employer (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employee dissatisfaction demonstrates how distant the company is from attaining a work-life balance. However, the working environment is steadily evolving as more businesses embrace the concept and actively promote it (Jiang and Luo, 2018).
The employer should lead by having a positive attitude towards a healthy work-life balance. Employers must see themselves as a reliable ally who promotes a healthy lifestyle rather than as the supreme authority in the lives of their employees. Employers can encourage a healthy work-life balance by providing workplace amenities that advance employee welfare, such as gyms and daycare facilities (Bai et al., 2019). Management aims to balance a fulfilling personal life and a healthy level of working strictness. However, employees who work for companies that operate on a highly “loose” basis may take advantage of the employer’s benevolence, yielding negligence and indiscipline (Jiang and Luo, 2018).
a) Explain the principles of legislation relating to unfair dismissal in respect of capability and misconduct issues. (AC 3.1)
The Employment Rights Act 1996, as revised by many provisions, is the principal source of UK law regarding unfair dismissal. Unfair dismissal law is based on the principle that employees have a right to fair treatment. The employee must show that they were dismissed before filing a claim; the employer must prove that the dismissal was fair and was for a specified reason and handled appropriately, to effectively defend the claim (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Managers must first ascertain the facts before taking action. Before contemplating dismissal, they should assess whether a more constructive strategy that does not include dismissal is more likely to be beneficial (Wang et al., 2018). Where an employee’s conduct is in question, the threshold of proof that the employee perpetrated an offence is not as stringent as it is in criminal court (Holbeche, 2018). The employer, however, must show that it conducted a comprehensive inquiry into the claimed misconduct. The employer must demonstrate that the investigation yielded a reasonable belief that the employee committed the offence in question and that the decision to terminate them was justifiable (Jiang and Luo, 2018). When an employee’s capability is a concern, things may traverse their control. Suppose concerns are the consequence of poor leadership, management, or work systems. In that case, the employer should implement suitable solutions (often incorporating learning and development) to help the individual improve their performance (Wang et al., 2018).
b) Analyse key causes of employee grievances (AC 3.2)
An employee grievance refers to a complaint made by one or more employees about salaries and allowances, working conditions, and the implementation of service terms, including overtime, leave, transfer, promotion, tenure, job responsibilities, and service termination (Wang et al., 2018). Therefore, an employee grievance encompasses any dissatisfaction or feeling of injustice related to one’s employment situation brought to management’s attention. Broadly, an employee grievance is any form of staff discontent that harms organisational relations and performance (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employee grievances may arise from a variety of reasons:
- Salaries and wages
The most profound source of employee dissatisfaction is inadequate compensation. Furthermore, pay and wage-related issues such as regular salary delays, unfair deductions, insufficient raises and overtime pay, failure to revise salaries over time lead to employee grievances and dissatisfaction (Holbeche, 2018).
- Workplace environment
Employees have the right to operate in a secure and comfortable environment. Here, factors such as insufficient lighting, improper ventilation, inadequate sanitary facilities, the use of malfunctioning tools and machines, and a lack of washrooms and drinking water facilities may cause employees to clash with management.
- Unfair workplace practices
Employees are subjected to excessive stress and dissatisfaction due to activities such as unfair promotion policies, coerced transfers, a lack of proper training, and unsuitable job designs (Shuck et al., 2017). These practices further increase absenteeism and staff turnover.
- Disciplinary actions
Due to frequent absenteeism, conflicts of interest, impulsive behaviour, or a lack of punctuality. Management may be forced to demote or suspend an individual for a period, bringing the individual shame and embarrassment (Holbeche, 2018). The employee may believe the punishment to be unjust; such misunderstandings must be addressed and corrected as soon as possible.
c) Explain the skills required for effective grievance and discipline-handling procedures. (AC 3.3)
Managers must conduct grievance meetings and disciplinary hearings effectively by planning, familiarising themselves with applicable policy, and having faith in their skills:
Some problems can be avoided before they spiral out of control and necessitate intervention. It is advisable to be direct with employees when dealing with a grievance or disciplinary matter (Bai et al., 2019). Thus, a manager should not be hesitant to be forthright about what an employee is expected to do. Managers must communicate with their employees and teams frequently. People are significantly more likely to turn to a manager to discuss a problem if they perceive them as approachable.
- Focus on facts
Managers must take charge whenever grievance or a disciplinary matter proceeds to a formal level by equipping themselves with the facts. They must concentrate on the features of the employee’s behaviour that are potentially inappropriate and whether they have broken any specific policies (Shuck et al., 2017). If attendance is a problem, an accurate account of the employee’s timekeeping should be kept. If they have already been told about it through frequent feedback, they have already been allowed to improve. Therefore disciplinary action should not be unexpected. An investigator must show that he or she can design a strategy that focuses on elements such as timeframe and appropriate evidence sources.
- Soft skills
A majority of the skills required for engaging people are soft skills, particularly when discussing potentially sensitive topics. Roleplaying and planning can help a manager to practice and improve their active listening and questioning skills. During grievance and discipline discussions, different questioning tactics must be employed, such as open questions to stimulate dialogue, probing questions to obtain the necessary information, and closed questions to verify facts (Bai et al., 2019). Active listening demonstrates the prioritisation of the employee’s perspective and point of view while also strengthening working relationships; it may include nonverbal cues such as body language and voice tone (Jiang and Luo, 2018). The manager must allow the employee in question to have a say without addressing them in an adversarial manner.
d) Advise on the importance of handling grievances effectively. (AC 3.4)
Employees are advised to follow a relevant mechanism to escalate their grievance after an issue has been identified formally. A grievance procedure is intended to provide employees and employers with an impartial and transparent framework for raising and reviewing critical issues and complaints (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Employees have an avenue to voice concerns about a safe working environment without fear of negative ramifications if they use a formal grievance procedure. Knowing that any issues will be taken seriously and dealt with appropriately may boost employee morale and productivity (Bai et al., 2019). Employees are also protected against management’s arbitrary decisions if a comprehensive process is followed (Jiang and Luo, 2018). A systematic grievance process assists businesses in identifying any inappropriate or unlawful gaps in their current grievance handling procedures while also working per employee contracts and assisting in the enforcement of corporate contracts (Bai et al., 2019). By preventing the unfavourable publicity associated with a mishandled grievance, having an agreed-upon and approved process also helps safeguard the brand or company image.
Task Two – Advisory Briefing Note
▪ Distinguish between organisational conflict and misbehaviour and between informal and formal conflict. (AC 2.1)
Any planned activity by members of the organisation that breaches essential organisational or social norms is referred to as organisational misbehaviour (Bai et al., 2019). In this case, there is enough proof of the organisation disrupting processes, harassing others, theft, misappropriation or damage of corporate property, defrauding the government, and deceiving customers. The fundamental thread in defining misbehaviour lies in the intention behind the misbehaviour. This viewpoint results in the classification of misbehaviour as either type S (misbehaviour meant to benefit self, such as theft), type O (misbehaviour meant to benefit the organisation such as defrauding the government), or type D (misbehaviour meant to inflict damage such as damage to company property or systems) (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Thus, management must be proactive in detecting misbehaviour at the workplace, taking relevant action to address it at the source.
Conflict differs from misbehaviour in that it is a natural occurrence in all workplaces, associations, and groups where people from various backgrounds interact. Conflict occurs more frequently when unmet expectations or when the persons involved are obligated to work together for an extended period to achieve personal or business goals (Patton, 2020). Differences in thought, personality, or perspectives at work frequently lead to tensions, which harm workplace productivity. Workplace conflict refers to any problems that arise in the workplace or among employees, and it can also refer to conflicts that occur outside of regular working hours (Nash and Hann, 2020). Interpersonal conflict, which can arise from personality clashes and obstacles in working with one another, is now included in modern definitions of workplace conflict, in addition to traditional disagreements (Asante, 2020). Workplace complaints, such as opposition to established procedures and managerial decisions, can also lead to conflict between employees and their employer or between employees and the employer’s representatives, according to modern definitions of workplace conflict. Formal conflict entails clashes between an organisation and the staff regarding organisational policies and procedures, while informal conflict entails interpersonal clashes in the organisational context.
▪ Distinguish between official and unofficial employee action. (AC 2.2)
The current trends in labour relations indicate that unionisation is on the rise. Many employees join trade unions willingly to safeguard and advance their employment interests. in the event of an unresolved issue between employers and employees; trade unions intervene to pursue a solution; if they fail, industrial action ensues. Industrial action is considered official if endorsed by a trade union and involves union members (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Because industrial actions violate employment terms, the proper legal procedure must be implemented to defend the action against illegal employment actions such as dismissals and non-payment of wages and benefits (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Without the support of their labour unions, some employees may call for industrial action such as a go-slow. Such activities are considered unofficial, they are frequently unprotected, and these employees risk being terminated.
▪ Assess emerging trends in the types of conflict and industrial sanctions. (AC.2.3)
The contemporary business landscape has seen significant evolution around conflicts and industrial sanctions. In contrast to ancient times, trade unions have friendly relationships with employers (Nash and Hann, 2020). Similarly, the focus in employment relations has shifted from just paying salaries on time and enduring difficult performance reviews to nurturing employees (Nash and Hann, 2020). Organised expressions of dispute articulated through a trade union or other employee representation amount to a formal industrial conflict. Its most common form is the organised strike, which comprises a temporary suspension of work to avoid punishment and achieve changes in wages or working conditions by utilising the collective strength of employees (Jiang and Luo, 2018). Strikes can be bolstered by other forms of official action, such as go-slows and work-to-rule agreements. Strikes are considered official if they are authorised by the trade union leadership and are executed per the law and procedural collective bargaining arrangements (Nash and Hann, 2020). The informal industrial conflict is purely expressive, as it is not based on any structured organisations and arises from a sense of grievance (Nash and Hann, 2020).
▪ Distinguish between third-party conciliation, mediation and arbitration. (AC.2.4)
Conflicting parties seek the assistance of an objective and neutral third party during mediation, which promotes dialogue about possible solutions. As a result, mediation produces a solution that is acceptable to all parties. Mediation is usually faster, less expensive, and less stressful than litigation (Nash and Hann, 2020). The mediator instructs the disputing parties what to do, offers advice on problems, and asks questions that help the disputants reflect on their behaviour (Patton, 2020). Mediation is an effective technique to take during the early phases of a conflict, and it can even be used as part of a grievance procedure in some cases. Nevertheless, the opposing parties must consent to mediation.
Although conciliation and mediation have certain parallels, conciliation is often used to resolve specific legal problems rather than more general issues. During the conciliation process, an objective and independent expert speaks to the disputing parties separately and collectively, as needed to encourage them to reach an agreement. A conciliator urges disputing parties to reach an agreement among themselves, while a mediator proposes a solution to the problem at hand (Patton, 2020). A qualified conciliator discusses the issues with all parties concerned, explains the legal issues, analyses resolution options, and assists the disputing parties in reaching a legally enforceable agreement (Nash and Hann, 2020).
Arbitration involves a neutral third party functioning as a judge who decides between opposing viewpoints and renders a definite ruling in a case. The disputing parties usually agree ahead of time whether the arbitrator’s ruling is legally binding (Asante, 2020). Alternatively, they may decide that the arbitrator’s ruling is not legally binding, allowing them to pursue the dispute in court or before a tribunal (Nash and Hann, 2020). When a trade union considers industrial action, for example, they may seek the assistance of an independent arbitrator to assess the situation and make a rational conclusion. However, the disputing parties must agree to arbitration.
▪ Explain the main provisions of collective employment law. (AC 4.1)
The Employment Rights Act 1996 defines who an employee is in the UK; a person who works under a contract of service or apprenticeship. The primary legal requirements around a contract of employment entail items included in the primary document or the principal statement. The principal statement’s minimum requirements include necessary items such as pay, including the frequency and time of payment, working hours, holiday and holiday pay, including its formula of calculation, amount of sick leave and pay, and any other paid leave (Pugh, 2020). These terms form the basis of collective negotiations. In many respects, an employment contract is identical to any other contract. Broader dynamics influence contractual working arrangements in this regard. As a result, contract law governs the employment contract. In this case, contract law mandates that the employment contract include an unambiguous job offer from the employer. The offer can be conditional, but it must be accepted by the employee who receives it. It must include a consideration between the parties involved, such as the employee’s job in exchange for the employer’s wage offer. It must also express a desire to enter into a legally binding agreement (Pugh, 2020). Nonetheless, as the employer has more power in the employment arrangement, the law may require additional aspects to protect the employee’s rights.
▪ Compare the types of employee bodies, union and non-union forms of employee representation (AC 4.2)
Some of the nuances that create a distinction between union and non-union workplaces are characterised by complexity. However, the real difference boils down to the party that is responsible for defining the work culture. In a non-union workplace, the employer wields the bulk of power; in this regard, the employer determines work expectations, work schedules, sets remuneration and maintains disciplinary independence, promotions, and other work culture aspects (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). On the other hand, in a union environment, employees enjoy a higher percentage of control; using their union, employees can negotiate contracts at the workplace, including details regarding subjects such as wages, work expectations, schedules, promotions, and discipline.
Employees prefer a union environment owing to its accompanying advantages such as support, benefits, wages, and security. According to some estimates, union workers enjoy higher wages than non-union employees (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Also, union workers typically enjoy medical benefits more often than their non-union counterparts; more than 90% of union workers are granted medical benefits while less than 70% of non-union employees enjoy medical benefits (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). Furthermore, the spouses of union employees are often incorporated in this benefit coverage, unlike for non-union employees. An added advantage of working in a union workplace is job security. In this regard, the only way of dismissing an employee in a union environment is in a just manner; this means that the employee must display gross misconduct (such as stealing from the employer) to suffer dismissal (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Also, their peers’ support enables collective action, should an employee feel that they have received unfair treatment. In some instances, there are rules in a union environment to shield more senior staff members from being disregarded during promotions or transfers to new positions (Sarvaiya et al., 2018).
Working in a union environment also comes with some drawbacks compared to a non-union environment. For instance, all union members must pay union fees which is sometimes a significant cost implication. Furthermore, with membership to a union, the employee is part of a group or collective and, in turn, loses some degree of autonomy (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Whether or not the employee agrees with the decisions of their union, they are bound to the employment contract terms negotiated (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). Also, a significant number of workers cite that supervisors tend to be less collaborative, resulting in unionised workers having less support, trust, and partnership with the management.
▪ Evaluate the purpose of collective bargaining and how it works. (AC 4.3)
Workplace conflicts between employees and employers can be resolved through discussion and negotiation to reach a decision; this is termed collective bargaining because both parties agree to a decision reached after extensive negotiation and consultation. Therefore, collective bargaining is instrumental in determining employment terms through negotiations between an organised group of employees and an employer or employee association operating through recognised agencies. Ultimately, the essence of collective bargaining is communication between relevant stakeholders, not outsiders (Sarvaiya et al., 2018).
Collective bargaining can take many different forms. First, negotiating may occur between a single company and a single union, referred to as single plant bargaining (Dobbins and Dundon, 2020). Secondly, the negotiation may occur between a single company with multiple plants and the people who work in each of these plants. Multiple plant bargaining is a type of collective bargaining in which workers negotiate with the same company through separate unions (Sarvaiya et al., 2018). Thirdly, instead of an individual union dealing with an individual employer, all unions existing in the same industry negotiate with the employer’s federation of that industry through these unions’ federation. This arrangement is referred to as multiple employer bargaining, which is feasible at both the municipal and regional levels.
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