Understanding and Managing Employment Relations

To understand employment relations - also called industrial relations - and to be able to manage it properly, you have to keep in mind that there are three main parties involved - the employees and their representatives such as the trade unions, the company and the federal or state government as represented by the tribunals where the suits are brought and heard and by the existing laws.

These are the three parties involved in issues such as personal leaves, collective bargaining or enterprise agreement, carer's leave, termination of employment, annual leaves and parental leaves, maximum hours and redundancy. How these three parties interact while dealing with issues such as those mentioned earlier and the accompanying conflicts or resolutions are what make up the bulk of handling employment relations or industrial relations.

What Are the Requirements to Adequately Handle Industrial Relations?

1. Managing industrial relations demands expertise, experience and education because of the sheer number of issues and laws involved and because of the complexity of the processes, particularly those that require compliance.
2. You also need to be updated regarding the developments and the latest laws that affect recruitment and hiring, work conditions, equal opportunities, health and safety, and enterprise agreement.
3. Handling industrial relations well also require above average corporate communication skills and general communication skills.
4. You have to be knowledgeable regarding the changes in the company and its employees.
5. This task also demands an understanding of industrial relations management and reforms.
6. And you definitely need to have enough knowledge of the provisions and processes that are required by specific laws. One of the laws that easily come to mind is the far reaching federal law called Fair Work Act 2009. Fair Work Act is an aggregation of several federal workplace relations laws that affect a number of business activities and processes.

Towards Managing Industrial Relations Well

Obviously, handling industrial relations is not an easy task. The good news is that there are ways or options you can seek so that your company will benefit from topnotch management of industrial relations.

One option is to have continuous training. To be able to not just effectively handle conflicts by resolving them but also by preventing them, being constantly updated is crucial. Training provides this. That's why it's important to have a training program in place if industrial relations is being handled by an in house team.

Another option - and this is practical if you don't have an in house team that is prepared and more than able to handle industrial relations processes - is outsourcing. You can consider outsourcing by having a service provider deliver flexible training programs for your in house team or you can have the service provider manage the majority if not all of the processes for you.

Always keep in mind that the main goals - and this, of course, applies to both the outsourced team and the in house team - of employment relations are to:

* Gain commitment and high levels of performance from the employees which would bring beneficial results to the employer and employees
* Successfully balance corporate management with taking care of the needs of employees.

I am Lily Horn and I work with HR consulting and accepted a position with my current employer as HR Consultant I specialized in employment relations and services the needs of businesses in compliance and ethics. My responsibilities within the company are to update current educational and training programs and work together as a team to develop more effective programs.