Employees relations is those policies and daily practices that are concerned with the regulation and management of individual and team relationships within the organization. Essentially, employee relations are cantered on the ability to resolve and prevent conflicts that involve either an individual or the teams in the organization which directly affect work situations and performance. Efficient communication ensures that information is passed to the employees in order to allow them understand better the company’s goals and objectives.
Most employee relations managers uphold the responsibility of handling grievances, individual code of conduct while in the office, evaluation of employee performance and counselling programs. Sound employee relations are based on participation and effective communication for both the management and the employees. There are various management styles that cover the way employee relations must be conducted in order to achieve the best from the employees. These management styles are intended to teach employees the following,
– Applicable regulations and policies
– Bargaining agreements
– Grievance and appeal rights
– Discrimination and protection of whistleblowers
Employee relations have broadened its definition from the initial industrial relations to such aspects as employer-employee relations, personal contracts, workplace environmental safety, and socio-emotional factors. In developed countries, there is a growing trend of harmonization in almost all levels of government mainly because of the government commitment to enhance employee relations programs.
Comparison of employee relations in Kenya and the United States
Employee relations between different countries such as the United States, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Europe and underdeveloped countries such as Kenya are far much varied because of issues such as; economic status, political will, policy creation and implementation, employee literacy standards, justice systems, type of company and management standards
United States and Kenya are two different countries that have different views and perceptions on how they handle employee relations. In some issues however, they agree and others they don’t.
– Both are members of the International Labour Association
– They both have federal courts that deal with cases arising from employees
– Both countries have trade unions that champion for employee rights
– They have health and safety assessment policies
– Both value equal treatment, opportunities and rights for the employees
– Both countries have created and implemented policies and legal requirements that govern the conduct of both the employer and the employees
– In both countries workplace malpractices occur
– Both uphold human rights concerning employees
– They both have turnover and retention concerns
– In both workplace harassment is punishable by law
In the U.S, every State i.e. Washington, Texas etc have each Employee Relations Advisory Organization (ERAO) that is concerned with individual organizations dealing with employee relations while in Kenya there is only one central organization that deals with the issues raised by its employees. Also, the U.S has an elaborate system of government that promotes the utilization of its staff members attached to the Employee Relations Advisory Board to monitor employee relations in various companies.
In Kenya, the situation is different with no government body that is specifically assigned the duty of overseeing employee relations. In the U.S each organization including institutions have the privilege of getting the services of an employee relations officer but in Kenya, the companies find it difficult and expensive to hire an employee relations manager. The U.S also has well trained personnel that have the human resource skills to handle employee relations issues which Kenya does not. In addition, the U.S have a better economy that can support better pay packages, benefits, compensations and other incentives while in Kenya employers pay poorly thus undermining the morale, motivation and performance of individual employees.
Finally, in the U.S, the employees are from different parts of the world speaking different languages and diverse political, social, cultural and religious backgrounds making it difficult and tedious to the companies to ensure smooth harmonization in the company. While in Kenya, only a few internationals work in some companies with the majority being the locals making employee relations very easy to manage Third world countries like Kenya, are not economically capable of handling employee relations effectively. With an unemployment rate of 57%, most employers are arrogant to employees because they know that they can sack one employ another within a very short time frame.
Since most companies due to financial weaknesses cannot afford the services of employee relations manager, then the work of handling employee issue are either left with the general manager or the human resources manager who have no skills to handle the sector. This will lead to unfair and costly consequences for the company such as failure to understand individual problems which will in turn affect his or her performance. Because of corruption in Kenya, very few cases of employee relations abuse have been so far settled while in the U.S the case is different with more significant cases being reported each year.