Special Article (November-2020)
Critical links for cordial Industrial Relations
Industrial Relations and Human Resources (hereinafter, IR and HR) are very interesting subject and challenging role to perform. We need to understand few important things before getting into oceanic in-depth knowledge of IR.
IR/ HR professionals need to gear-up for the upcoming complexities with increase in industrialisation and change in labour laws.
Apart from legal or academic definition, bad IR is any disputeor conflict or problem or discontent exists between: employee-employee, employer-employer, employer-employee and have adverse effect on the organisation culture, discipline, productivity, reduce ownership towards organisation, influencing behaviour/ attitude of other team members in negative way.
This includes each category of employee, employer. It doesn't matter the organisation is having union or not. There are three important parties responsible to keep harmonious IRs in any organisation (Fig. 01). I would like to focus on one primary party - Employer/ management.
Employer: In general parlance we call it management also. Apart from legal perspective, once employees have directives from employer to take decisions and accountable for organisation working, are called as management/ employer (employer representative). Here, focus is not on liabilities, responsibilities & duties of employer. The management has crucial role to play in maintaining good and progressive IRs. It is important to bring IRs onto the radar screen of top management and the Board, by the management representatives.
The management is responsible for most of the problems; therefore, primarily focus is given on this section. I strongly believe that the management is responsible for most of the IRs situations, good or bad. In this section emphasise is given on "why problems" than "what problems". We all know what are the common IR problems across industries, but why do they occur.
Chairman/ MDs (hereinafter top management) have certain expectation from the management about how the IRs should look like and contribute to the organisational growth. Top management also share their philosophical orientation and objectives about IRs, but when it comes to implementation on the ground level to convert these expectations, objectives and philosophies into practices, top management misses out to check with IR/HR department to understand if they are fully equipped, do they have the right resources with right skill-set to give shape to their dreams, adding to which the objective of IRs stands defeated and diluted. This also results adversely in the long run, of the organisation.
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