Employee relations in hotels and catering is about the management of employment and work relationships between managers and workers and, sometimes, customers. The employee relations can be briefly divided in some “factors” i.e.:
Grievance & disciplinary
All employees, in every kind of business, are united by “unionisations”, which are employees’ organisations, created to gain greater power and security at work. In fact union membership can provide greater influence collectively with employers than workers have as separate individuals. Within the hospitality industry, unfortunately, there is a low number of union’s membership for the following reasons: There is a large number of small hotels that make more difficult for the trade union to organise meetings. There is a high number of young workers and part-time/occasional workers that are not really interested in belonging to trade unions. There is a large number of foreign people that are working in this industry in the UK and that are staying here just for short-time periods etc… For example teachers have one of the best trade union in the UK because there are not “secret contract”, there is a large workforce and primarily there is just a really low number of part-time workers.
Cultures within workplaces are made up by traditions, habits, ways of organising and relationship at work. Organisational Culture can basically be defined as “the collective programming of the mind that distinguishes the members of one organisation from others.” People who are in charge of a
company decide how to let people act, through the encouragement to do something appreciated by them or even discouraging the staff to do something not good seen by them. The organizational culture can be divided in some key factors i.e.:
Language and communication
Traditions & celebrations
The culture can be seen also through symbols in which culture is manifest e.g. “high-profile” symbols to create an external image of the company (mission statement, annual statement, logo) and “low-profile” symbols that are not big manifestations and are related to what really happen in order to get the work done. However organizational cultures can be presented in different ways, depending on the kind of organisation. The main organisational cultures are:
1.2.1. Power culture
Power cultures are usually found within small organisations or a section/department belonging to a large organisation where just a person or few people have the power to make decisions and they can do it quickly. In fact in a large organisation the decision process would be limited and really slow if just few people could make them.
1.2.2. Role culture
Usually in a role culture organisation every employee has a specific role or job. This culture is particularly useful and used for some specific jobs like sales, marketing or project management where employers do not want to spread the task to all the employees but just to some specific ones that own specific skills.
1.2.3. Task culture
Task culture refers to the use of teams to complete tasks especially if the task/objective has a number of steps e.g. the establishment of project teams for the completion of specific plans. A task culture has a number of benefits e.g. staff feel motivated because they can make decisions within their team or teams may be allowed to be more creative and develop problem solving skills.
1.2.4. Person culture
Person cultures are found in organisations that rely on employees’ knowledge and skills, where there is an opportunity for the staff to develop their career and skills e.g. in universities where employees have the chance to continue their education throughout their employment.
All employees, according to European legislation, have the right to be:
Informed about the business’ situation
Informed and consulted about employment prospect
Informed and consulted about decisions that can change substantially the organisation within the workplace or decisions that can change contractual relations, including redundancies and transfers. Employers should also consult their employees in others aspects that are not imposed by the law because it can improve the level of trust of the company, it can improve employees’ performances and also their satisfaction for the job.
1.3.1. Redundancy consultation
The right to be collectively consulted applies when an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant at one establishment over a period of 90 days or less. Employers must consult every person who may be affected both directly that indirectly by the proposed dismissal and also they must undertake these procedures with the view of reaching an agreement with people affected by that.
Consultation should begin in good time and must begin:
At least 30 days before the first dismissal takes effect if 20 to 99 employees are to be made redundant at one establishment over a period of 90 days or less. At least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect if 100 or more employees are to be made redundant at one establishment over a period of 90 days or less.
1.4. Conflict Management
In most of the organisations where there are people with different backgrounds, it is almost impossible make decisions or meet project goals without arise a conflict, however if there is a conflict between two or more parts that does not mean that it is bad for the company but people who are in charge need to be able to deal with these “problems” and evaluate both positive and negative value of them and try to learn how to stimulate workers to improve their performances from those “problems”. However, according to Thomas, K.W., and R.H. Kilmann, there are five conflict management “styles” as shown in FIG.1 FIG.1 (http://sourcesofinsight.com/conflict-management-styles-at-a-glance/)
Accommodating: An accommodating managers is one who cooperates to a high degree and this may be at manager’s own expenses and it could go against manager’s own objectives. Avoiding: Avoiding an issue might be a way to resolve conflicts for a manager even if avoid the issue does not help him but it can be a solution when the manager think to have not chance of “winning”. Collaborating: Managers, in this case, work together to achieve all of their goals.
This style can be effective when there is a complex scenario and managers need to find a solution, therefore they can “win” together without any “loser”. Competing: This style is exactly the opposite of the previous case, where just a manager is the “winner” and he/she is acting in an assertive way to achieve only his/her goals. The only case where this style may be useful for emergencies when time is of essence. Compromising: This is the case where neither manager achieves what he/she really wanted. The compromising style requires a moderate level of assertiveness and cooperation and may be appropriate for temporary solutions or where both sides have equally important goals.
Empowerment is a management practice of sharing information, rewards and power with employees, and in this way they can take decisions, improve their skills to solve problem and also improve their performances. Empowerment is based on the idea of giving responsibly to employees authority, motivation, skills and resources will contribute to improve their competence and satisfaction within the workplace.
Over time a body of law has developed governing employer/employee relations and the rights of employees and employers in the workplace such as: Employment Relations Act, and
Employment Rights Act
2.1. Employment relations act
The Employment Relations Act covers a range of topics including: Recruiting, and selecting the right candidate for the job.
Writing employment agreements.
Trial and probation periods.
Workplace training and development.
The object of the Act is to maintain fair and productive relationships between employers and their employees. It achieves this by promoting the notion of ‘good faith’ workplace relations based on: Recognising that employment relationships must be built on mutual trust and confidence as well as certain legislative or legal protections Understanding that there is a degree of inequality of power in employment relationships that needs to be mutually understood
Respecting the integrity of individual choice
Promoting mediation as the primary problem-solving mechanism – reducing the need for judicial intervention.
2.2. Employment rights act
The Employment Rights Act 1996 came into force on 22 August 1996. It sets out the statutory employment rights of workers and employees. If these employment rights are breached, the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives the Employment Tribunals powers to order compensation to workers and employees. The Employment Right Act 1996 confers a number of employee rights, which the main are: The right to receive a written statement of terms and conditions of employment. The right to not be unfairly dismissed.
Redundancy provisions, including right to redundancy pay.
Statutory minimum notice period for dismissals and reasons for dismissals protection of wages. Protection from suffering a detriment in employment.
Time off from work for public duties.
ACAS stand for advisory conciliation and arbitration service and it is a website that promote employment relations and HR excellence. Acas provides information and advice to employers and employees about all aspects of workplace relations and employment law and it promotes good relationship between workers and employer. Acas provides also high quality training and tailored advices to employer and it can also, if something goes wrong, help to conciliate employer and employees. http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=1342