Employee Relations in Large Business

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An employee relation is a term that has been widely used to define the connection that exists between employers and their staffs and are focused on maintaining and managing the work relationship. In the UK the definition of employment relationship applies beyond the workplace to include the interactions that take place between organised labour, proprietor associations, and the state (Sridhar and Nayak 2013, p.414). Sridhar and Nayak (2013, p.413) hold that a climate that promotes positive associations between staff leads to enhanced organizational outcomes. A collection of models that explain interactions among workers include diversity in the workplace, flexible working practices, absence management, mediation and conflict, and employee engagement.

A brief explanation of Employment Relations Act 2004, how is it related to managing the Employment Relationship, Rights of trade union members, workers and employees

There is a wide range of legal provisions that apply to managing the work relationship and the rights of trade union members, workers, and employees within the UK (CIPD 2018, online). These provisions are important as they help deal with problems that may arise within workplaces. One provision is the Employment Relations Act 2004 that introduced new rights for workforces in the UK in the areas of trade unions, unfair dismissal, industrial action, employment agencies, partnership, and the right to be accompanied in grievance and disciplinary hearings. The introduction of the Act emphasises on building trust and promoting mutual confidence in interactions that exist within work places (Alan 2005, p.73). The Act prevents proprietors from offering their workers/employees who are members of trade unions with inducements to surrender their rights to collective representation. The Employment Relations Act 2004 promotes collective bargaining where membership to unions remains voluntary but only those who have agreed to be union members can bargain for a collective agreement.

brief review and analysis of the employment relationship between the employees, the trade union and the case study's company- What is collective bargaining in the company with Trade Union

Employee relations are critical to the success of the business. These connections are determined by factors such as communication channels that are in place that ensure information flows between workers and employers. In other organizations, the engagement between the management and personnel is carried out through representatives who can be in the form of work councils or trade unions. Alan (2005, p.78) explains trade unions as associations of workers that focus on protecting and advancing their interests. The trade unions enhance the conditions and terms of work for their members which are done through collective bargaining with the managers.

In the company, the trade union and the management have put in place a collective bargaining agreement on behalf of the staffs. The agreement covers matters on the conditions of employment and pay. A substantial number of personnel in the company are members of the trade union that has helped reduce the possibilities of industrial conflicts.

Knowledge and Understanding of Developing a Strategic and Inclusive Approach to Employee Relations

Develop a strategic and inclusive approach to employee relations-

The Aston Centre for Human Resources in 2008 strategic management process

see the PFD link for more info


Include Theories/ models/ approaches

The need to locate employment relations at the centre of the organisation strategic priorities

Steve Williams and Iona Byford theories (how employment relationship are regulated: Joint regulation of the employment relationship- Employee commitment and engagement- Managing employee voice- Conflict in employment relationship- Managing conflict in the employment relationship)- Structured EMPLOYEE RELATIONS STRATEGY

Keep in mind that line of discussion/ argument must be related to the case study (large business, line managers are all very performance driven and manage the rest of the workforce)

Include Theories/ models/ approaches

According to the CIPD website, employee relations are founded on an underlying philosophy that is reinforced by necessary skills and attitudes. In order to develop a strategic and inclusive approach, it is important to ensure that the individual and collective associations that exist between the workers and the company are managed appropriately based on the practices, policies, and culture of the company as well as by under the relevant law.

An organization that encourages good employee relations environment within its structure has highly motivated staff who high performers and have established loyalty towards the business. The staffs are encouraged to achieve the best results possible for the business.

Employers should create an environment in which corrosive conflicts do not occur. Sridhar and Nayak (2013, p.416) recommend employee relations as the basis of such a culture that encompasses promoting strong connections between workers and managers that is built on trust, mutual respect, and fairness. The business owners should work with managers to ensure there is adherence among workers to the values and behaviours that are promoted by the company.

The managers must be engaged in defining and delivering cultural initiatives in order to entrench fairness, respect, and trust into every operation of the organization. Furthermore, the senior managers must be involved in creating and implementing initiatives that are aimed at building a culture that is linked to behaviours and values that are based on fairness, respect, and trust. The managers can use certain ingredients to create a strong employee bond. These ingredients include interactive communication, ethics, trust, fairness, empathy, perceptions and beliefs, and conflict resolution.

Sridhar and Nayak (2013, p.417) explain that promoting an interactive communication helps build trust between the line managers, board leaders, and employees. In addition, it is also important to have trusted since the lack of it can compromise communication. A manager should have good business ethics that would ensure that his or her subordinates do not question his motives and improve performance.

Promoting employee interactions involves treating all staffs in a consistent manner and where there is excellent performance an individual should be recognised and rewarded. Shore et al. (2009, p.121) add that managers should be alert and sensitive to the feelings of their personnel in order to establish a trusting relationship.

A key culture that can impact on the strategic choice over the employee relation to the case study

To what extent does the existence of HR department imply a strategic approach to the management of people?

Employee relations are influenced by a number of factors including company’s culture that impacts the strategic choice over the relations. The culture encompasses a wide range of things and determines how managers relate to their subordinates and dictates how the personnel are treated by the company. A key culture that can impact on the strategic choice is adopting a culture that emphasises on rewarding performing employees. Armstrong (2007, p.37) asserts that a company culture that emphasises reward improves the links between workers and management.

The HR department is one of the most important units within an organization. The department in the company serves various purposes such as serving the employees and aid the organization and its existence implies a strategic management of people as it develops, supports encourages, and enables the staffs to build capacity. The company through its HR department is able to harness human potential and channel it in the right direction towards the achievement of its goals and objectives.

Knowledge And Understanding Of Providing Managers And Leaders With The Education To Lead Employee Relations

Role of Managers in Employee Relationship

The success and failure of a business are dependent on the type of connection that is shared among the employees. Marchington (2001, p.233) argues that it is necessary to ensure that staff share a cordial relation that is built on trust since they have to discuss issues among themselves, accomplish tasks together, and come up with innovative ideas for the business. On the other hand, managers form an important part in the day-to-day supervision of operations and people. They have a key role in binding the personnel together through undertaking decisions that would aid in strengthening employee bond.

In the organization, the personnel are occupied with their daily routines that they hardly get the opportunity to interact with each other. Therefore, it is important that managers involve staff in all productive activities that provide them with an opportunity to interact and know each other. Several group activities can be organised within the establishment to bring all the workers on a common platform.

The managers have the responsibility to organise various events and encourage the employees to participate. These extra-curricular activities give the staff a break from their work and offer them with a chance to develop and strengthen the bond among them.

How to Improve Relations Between Your Managers and Employees??? By providing the line managers and Board leaders with the education to lead on employee relations

Explain how

Include Theories/ models/ approaches

As a manager in the large company, I am responsible for deploying resources that are within my control to ensure that organizational objectives are achieved. One of the important approaches to achievement of plans is providing the line managers and board leaders with proper training and education opportunities on how they can effectively lead workers’ interactions. Kuvaas, Dysvik, and Buch (2014, p.846) explain that the bond that exists between line managers and their subordinates is of fundamental importance to the employment relationship. Therefore, providing them with the right education opportunities enhances this bond as the leaders are able to deal with grievances and disciplinary matters and ensure communication and involvement of all employees.

According to Townsend and Hutchinson (2017, p.143), staff development is vital for the future of any business. I would promote an effective staff development policy that would include both board leaders and line managers. Therefore, there would be reforms in the organization’s workforce and emphasis on continuing professional development.

I would introduce a staff development manager who will be mandated with aiding and supporting line managers and board leaders. The new position will allocate proper training courses on employee relations and also perform a developmental role where they would be engaged in planning and offering individually tailored schemes for board leaders and line managers.

Conflict is inherent in the work relationship where it affects the link between managers and employees. In the company, education focused on resolving workplace differences will be introduced to improve the skills of the line managers and board leaders in handling grievances.

Communication forms an important part of any organization and enhancing the employee relation. A good communication provides line managers and board leaders with an opportunity to interact more with the workers which helps build understanding and cooperation among them. Training programs, seminars, and workshops among other education programs would be conducted frequently to build good communication skills between managers and employees. Furthermore, these opportunities are a chance to help one another cover their weakness and turn their insecurities into strengths for the success of the company.

Provide the line managers and Board leaders with the education to lead on employee relations

Training on equality

people management approach

Employee involvement

Intellectual, practical effective and transferable skills

include Theories/ models/ approaches

Training on equality

Kuvaas, Dysvik, and Buch (2014, p.845) explain that everyone is unique in a certain way. In the workplace, people's differences such as age, sex, personality, disability, background, and work style are visible. The demographic variations in the workforce help create an environment where everybody feels treasured. A training program for the line managers and board leaders on equality will help provide individuals with the opportunity to reach their potential. According to Wilton (2016, p.96), equality and diversity bring great value to an organization and their management contributes to promoting the company’s reputation. However, there is a need for people to have an effective understanding of these concepts as it helps in recruitment and retention processes, increase productivity, and mitigate a number of potential risks. The line managers and board leaders will gain knowledge on how to develop effective equality and diversity policies for managing the company’s workforce. Bryson (2005, p.1118) asserts that having an active equality and diversity policy help enhances the image and reputation of an organization, assist in attracting quality applicants, and retain talented individuals.

People management approach

People management is an important responsibility for the line managers and board members. Kuvaas, Dysvik, and Buch (2014, p.847) assert that the human resource is the most valued asset in any business and managers require a management approach that is supportive, a combination of appropriate knowledge and skills, and access to suitable tools. Kuvaas, Dysvik, and Buch (2014, p.848) add that staff need a feeling of being valued and relevant and a sense of common purpose. Therefore, line managers and board managers need the right education to ensure they develop appropriate skills and knowledge to manage the employees.

Employee involvement

As an HR manager, paying attention to the staff of the organization is paramount as they form the most valuable asset. Furthermore, the process of hiring, firing, disciplinary, and payroll are costly expenses and it is necessary to maintain personnel to avoid these expenses. One of the most common approaches used is developing employee engagement/involvement which is an important human resource management practice that has been studied extensively across the world. In the CIPD (2018, online) website, employee involvement is defined as encompassing extra commitment from the staff towards the goals and vision of an organization. Workers who are engaged are highly involved show a high degree of commitment and zeal towards their work.

The company has an effective HR department that is focused on increasing employee involvements. I am focused on changing the day-to-day operations and actions of line managers and board leaders. As the HR manager, I have a responsibility to ensure that these leaders know what skills they require to have the staff engaged.

Intellectual, practical affective and transferable skills

Today, the workforce has become more diversified due to trends in the population such as ageing workforces which requires managers to possess the right intellectual, practical affective and transferable skills to deal with the differences in behaviours, values, and personality. Line managers play a vital role in organizations where they are responsible for managing teams, finances, as well as implement strategies. They are responsible for performing functions such as scheduling and writing performance evaluations hence it is important that they receive the training to acquire the right skills and support. The right training ensures that line managers and board leaders develop intellectual, practical affective, and transferable skills. They develop self-management skills which help them understand their emotions and those of the employees better and are able to get the most out of their subordinates. The practical skills involve developing communication and listening expertise that help them understand others and improve their ability to make judgements and decisions while the transferable skills include result-driven thinking. The line managers become results driven and they are able to empower other members of the team to focus on team goals while employing the most effective approaches.

Focus On Skill Development in Advocacy, Mediation and Negotiations Based On Theory and Practice

skill development in:

• advocacy

• mediation

• and negotiations based on theory and practice

Include Theories/ models/ approaches


Managers require not only the intellectual, practical affective and transferable skills but also interpersonal skills to improve the contribution they make in their roles in advocacy. Renwick (2003, p.268) explains the interpersonal skills as those needed for working with other individuals to build a mutual understanding. Line managers and board leaders will need to have basic communication such as listening and questioning skills that play an important role in improving their interaction with staffs and management. The advocacy role involves making decisions from time to time which requires a broad range of skills such as analysis and research.


Mediation is a dispute resolution process where a neutral individual helps the parties in dispute to reach an agreement (Latreille and Saundry 2014, p.192). The process is mostly informal and the resolution to the issues at hand lies in the hands of the parties that are in dispute. Line managers and board leaders are from time to time engaged in dispute resolution and they have to use some mediation skills in their careers and work. These skills are important for people dealing and managing other individuals.


The roles and responsibilities of line managers involve countless negotiations. They negotiate with the customers, co-workers, and their staff and having these skills is important for them to perform their day-to-day work. A skills development in this area helps the line managers and board leaders to transfer their existing strengths to the negotiating table and avoid common mistakes in the process. They acquire the necessary steps to employ in every negotiation to reach personal and organizational objectives.

Acas model

The Acas model is applicable in the workplace where it helps one assess the effectiveness of people management within an organization, connect one to useful resources, and offer a practical guideline on setting up and maintaining good employment relationships (Acas, 2005). The model provides managers with a formal procedure for dealing with disciplinary matters, grievances, and disputes.

Model of conflict management

Managing workplace conflict

Thomas Kilmann Conflict model

Include Theories/ models/ approaches

Model of conflict management

Conflict start with misinterpreting another person’s values or words. There are two main types of conflict where one is task conflict which arises from the ways that are applied to resolve problems and the other is relationship conflict where one party blames the other rather than resolving the conflict. Workplace conflict arises due to the different strong beliefs among the employees and impacts their absenteeism levels and commitment. Furthermore, conflicts arise between supervisors and their subordinates because of the differences in the attitude of the supervisors and the expectations of workers. There exist numerous models of conflict management including collaborating, compromising, accommodating, avoiding, forcing, and passive-aggressive. Managers, leaders, employers, and supervisors should apply a different model of conflict management when they are facing different workers, subordinates, and team members. A manager who applies only one type of model when handling different types of conflict within the workplace may not achieve the desired outcomes. A conflict that is left unresolved may have a serious consequence on the operations and productivity of the company. Therefore, one should decide on the best approach to apply the conflict response model employed may affect the loyalty and trust that a worker has on the supervisor.

Managing workplace conflict

According to Clark (2015, p.15), workplace conflict is almost inevitable as employees with diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and values are brought together to accomplish a shared business purpose. Conflicts within an organization can be expressed in various forms such as anger, bullying, insults, and non-cooperation and its causes can range from a misunderstanding in communication to personality clashes. These conflicts have a negative effect on an organization including turnover, project failure, decreased productivity, disruptions, and termination. Deyoe and Fox (2012, p.7) state that the human resource team within a company is mandated with developing and executing policies and procedures that are aimed at creating and managing conflict-resolution programs within their workplace. HR professionals have received training on conflict resolution as part of their professional development and enlisting training resources for supervisors and managers. Deyoe and Fox (2012, p.14) argue that HR professionals should become aware of workplace tensions that arise between personnel and their supervisors before they develop into larger problems.

Thomas Kilmann Conflict model

The Thomas Kilmann Conflict Model is a widely used instrument that helps assess the effectiveness of the different conflict management styles. The instrument is dependent on cooperation and assertiveness as the two main parameters. These parameters offer five distinct conflict management styles that include accommodating, avoiding, collaborating, competing, and compromising (Trippe and Baumoel 2015, p.95). Avoiding style is appropriate when an issue perceived is trivial in nature since it is low in the two parameters. The competing style is high in assertiveness and low in cooperation as an individual pursues his or her concerns with little care at the other person’s worries. The style is appropriate when a quick and decisive action is required. Accommodating style has a high degree of cooperativeness where a manager subjugates his or her objectives and goals to allow other people to achieve their goals. The style is appropriate where there is need to preserve future relations between the parties involved. Compromising style has a moderate level of both cooperativeness and assertiveness. The style is appropriate where the goals of both parties are of equal importance and they have to come up with a temporary, timely solution. Finally, the collaborating approach has high cooperativeness and assertiveness and both sides work in partnership with the aim of achieving the desired goals and outcomes hence they benefit from the resolution that is agreed.

Outline and assess whether the company should apply either Unitarist, Pluralist, a Marxist or Feminist approach for addressing the grievances and disciplinary

Include Theories/ models/ approaches

Theories help bind together the knowledge regarding certain aspects of the world. There is a range of theories that can be used to address the grievances that may arise in a workplace. The main theories include the Pluralist, Unitarist, and Marxist or Feminist. They provide different perspectives that can be used to analyse and understand employee relations. Unitarist believe that managers and staffs have a common interest in the survival of a business and conflicts between them are not easily visible to a point that will ruin the organization. However, this consideration is not right since some forms of conflict manifest themselves. On the other hand, the feminist theorists argue that sexual harassment is the main cause of grievances within workplaces. However this explanation is not true since there is a broad range of issues that can cause complaints. Pluralists begin from a set of assumptions and values that workplace conflict is inevitable (Wilton 2016, p.121).

The assumption of the pluralists is true since the workforce present at the business is of a complex nature that is made up of different interest groups. Therefore, the company should apply this approach to address the grievances and disciplinary those evident in its workplace since in most environments there are overlapping interests between employees and employers. The staffs and management constitute two dissimilar groups that subscribe to different objectives and values.

The pluralist theorists hold that differences within an organization lead to different sources of authority which increases the potential for conflict. Wilton (2016, p.149) comments that workplace grievances are necessary for the health of an organization and it is important to bring grievances held by workers to the surface.

Conclusion and Recommendations

N1- recommendations for the case study company to effectively manage the employee relationship

Evaluation Criteria

provide a discussion of the reasons why you recommend it

The GMB was complaining of the poor treatment of its members from the line managers. There are serious concerns on the satisfaction levels among workers as the staff turnover was up 15%, grievances had almost doubled, and discipline cases had doubled. These are indicators that employee relations in the company are at risk.

The leaders should begin requesting upward feedback from their subordinates especially the line managers. The upward feedback helps reveal areas that need improvement with the aim of increasing employee engagement and satisfaction. The approach ensures that there is more open communication and no ambiguous expectations that are placed on staff by the line managers. The employees are provided with an opportunity to evaluate their supervisors and give confidential feedback that would help improve the bond between them and the line managers. The information that is obtained through the upward feedback process can be used by the management to improve the conditions in the company.

N2- recommendations for the case study company to effectively manage the employee relationship

Evaluation Criteria

provide a discussion of the reasons why you recommend it

The company should increase the size of its HR department.

The HRM function is a key competitive advantage as it is a differentiator to the performance of a business. Today, competitors are able to imitate business processes and technologies as well as have access to capital resources. Furthermore, the markets have become highly unpredictable and are susceptible to rapid and extreme changes. These factors have forced companies to depend on other strategic functions such as HRM function. Budhwar (2000, p.144) argues that improving the management of HR is the most important factor that businesses should focus on in their quest to remain competitive. Increasing the size of the HR department will ensure that the company is able to properly manage and enable its human resources. The department should be enhanced to ensure it offers performance appraisal, training and development, and encourages teamwork and compensation of personnel which are associated with a firm’s performance and improved employee relation.

N3- recommendations for the case study company to effectively manage the employee relationship

Evaluation Criteria

provide a discussion of the reasons why you recommend it

There was a trade union for the workers but the management particularly the line managers seems not to appreciate the value of the representatives as points of contact and channels of communication which caused issued with the workers who felt that they were not treated right.

The company should allow worker representatives to be involved in important discussions where issues of mutual concern are deliberated with management. They should be permitted to attend work councils and joint consultative committees. The representatives should also be allowed to represent individual members who have grievances or disciplinary matters and be involved in settling disputes and resolving collective grievances. The availability of employee representatives who have been assigned certain powers allows them to be open when they are taking up issues with the management concerning their followers.

Provide a conclusion

re-emphasise the final recommendation and offer suggestions about how the audience/reader could move toward implementation

Employment relations are important for the company’s productivity and worker satisfaction. The communication in the organization could be improved through involving the employee representatives from the GMB in discussions on mutual concerns.


Acas. (2005). Home | Acas. Retrieved on April 16, 2018, from http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1461.

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Armstrong, M. (2007). A handbook of employee reward management and practice. London, Kogan Page. pp. 1-87.

Bryson, A. (2005). ‘Union effects on employee relations in Britain’, Human Relations. 58, pp.1111-1139.

Budhwar, P.S. (2000), ‘Evaluating levels of strategic integration and devolvement of human resource management in the UK’, Personnel Review, 29(2), pp. 141-61.

CIPD. (2018). Employee Relations | Factsheets | CIPD. Retrieved on April 16, 2018, from https://www.cipd.co.uk/knowledge/fundamentals/relations/employees/factsheet

Clark, M. J. (2015) ‘The Art of Managing Workplace Conflict’, Public Relations Tactics, 22(8), p. 15.

Deyoe, R. H. and Fox, T. L. (2012) ‘Identifying strategies to minimise workplace conflict due to generational differences’, Journal of Behavioural Studies in Business, 5, pp. 1–17.

Kuvaas, B., Dysvik, A. and Buch, R. (2014) ‘Antecedents and employee outcomes of line managers’ perceptions of enabling HR practices’, Journal of Management Studies, 51(6), pp. 845–868.

Latreille, P. and Saundry, R. (2014) ‘Workplace Mediation’, in The Oxford Handbook of Conflict Management in Organizations, pp. 190–205.

Marchington, M. (2001), ‘Employee involvement at work’, in Storey, J. (Ed.), Human Resource Management: A Critical Text, Thomson, London. pp. 207-293.

Renwick, D. (2003), ‘Line manager involvement in HRM: an inside view’, Employee Relations, 25(3), pp. 262 – 280.

Shore, L. M. et al. (2009) ‘Diversity in organizations: Where are we now and where are we going?’, Human Resource Management Review, 19(2), pp. 117–133.

Sridhar, R. and Nayak, A. (2013) ‘Employment Relations’, Management and Labour Studies, 38(4), pp. 411–423.

Townsend, K. and Hutchinson, S. (2017) ‘Line managers in industrial relations: Where are we now and where to next?’, Journal of Industrial Relations, 59(2), pp. 139–152.


January 19, 2024

Corporations Economy

Subject area:

Company Employment

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