Ali graduated in Human Resources Management and joined an established company in the Sultanate of Oman. Ali was initially offered the job role of recruitment and selection manager, but once his probation period was completed, he was assigned the responsibility of employee relation manager. Ali had to prepare the manuals of employee relation as the company did not have the documentation necessary for smooth functioning of the employee relation department resembling that of an established organization. His senior colleague, Humaid told him that employee relation is usually confined to the following-
(a) Contractual obligation between employer and employee
(b) Communication policy and practice
(c) Joint decision making
(d) Joint problem solving
(e) Collective bargaining
(f) Individual grievance, disciplinary policy and practices
Although, Humaid told him about the aforesaid factors, he did not explain the importance and need for all these to be considered while handling the employee relation department. A confused Ali then approached his old friend Moosa, who had worked in a competing firm in the same department, for clarifying his doubts. The documents were prepared and Ali took charge of the employee relation department. Things went on well without too many challenges in the first year of the operation of the department. However, from the second year onwards, Ali was being frequently summoned by the top management as they observed the following in the organization through employee feedback, independent observation and exit interviews-
(1) Employees, especially the subordinates were being suppressed by the superiors whenever, the subordinate was having a better understanding of the department than that of the superior.
(2) The productivity level of the production department dropped from 82% to 74% mainly due to the poor functioning of the departmental grievance system.
(3) The marketing department had their employees being poached by the rivals as the sense of teamwork and collective growth were absent within the department.
(4) Trade unions formed by the employees were not able to reach the management on time to discuss the issues, finally leading to lock out and strikes.
(5) Legal regulations were only meant to be present in the paper and their actual application in smoothening employee relation with the management was absent in practice or twisted to suit the requirements of the management.
The challenges were to be addressed as per the advice given by the top management to Ali, that too within a stipulated timeframe. Ali was in a dilemma as he was unable to find out the point of initiation, especially when there were lots of issues in hand. He called his team members, Junaid, Hafedh and Salim to brainstorm and formulate an effective plan so as to solve each and every issue by providing viable and feasible solutions that would be acceptable to the management.
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