By WCA Senior Consultant Marija Vujcic
I still get excited when resource projects get the green light. The construction phase gets squeezed into a few short years of intense activity. The new resource projects generate huge benefits for business with increased jobs and services. Everyone in our community directly or indirectly benefits and the local economy gets a boost.
Managing employees and contractors on these projects was always a tricky business for me as the Employee Relations Manager. There was no shortage of people telling me how to do my job. Managing the various stakeholders was challenging and I could not have done it effectively without an employee relations strategy (ERS). My ERS was both strategic and a practical tool in managing issues in the workplace with four key aspects.
- The how to manage employees and stakeholders was clearly stated in our Agreement;
- The what tools, processes and resources were identified;
- The when interaction and engagement with stakeholders was sorted; and
- The why related to monitoring, reporting and reviewing the employee relations activities across time.
Here is what a robust ERS will deliver for a project or a workplace.
- Productivity – strong employee relations creates a level of happiness within a work environment. When employees know what is expected from them, are fairly remunerated and praised with regular feedback, morale builds and so does employee motivation and desire to be productive.
- Employee Loyalty – a work environment that is productive and pleasant provides a powerful incentive for employees to be loyal to their employer. Having such a workforce improves employee retention and the costs associated with recruitment and selection. In the long term a low employee turnover ensures that the business has access to a trained and skilled pool of employees.
- Conflict Reduction – a work environment that is friendly and efficient is less likely to have employees engage in conflict. Less conflict results in the employees being able to concentrate on their job and their productivity. A happy workforce is a productive workforce.
Employee relations can make or break a workplace. Your success depends heavily on the productivity and engagement of your employees. When everyone is engaged, it infuses everything you do with purpose, energy and enthusiasm. When preparing to tender for a parcel of work on a resource project, my manager would ask me the question; “How good is our employee relations strategy?”
Marija Vujcic is an Employee Relations Specialist with WCA Solutions. Contact WCA – People & Culture Solutions if you require any assistance with your Culture, Human Resources and/or Industrial Relations requirements on (08) 9383 3293 or firstname.lastname@example.org