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From Shop Steward To Today’s Employee Relations Specialist – Indirect Route Into HR. 86

By Nicole Dominique Le Maire – @NewToHR

Often, people get wrapped up in turf wars which are destructive to both sides, rather than trying to figure out roles for both sides and create a win-win employee situation.

Employee relations have been increasingly become more important and a variety of ‘new’ techniques are used to improve the way it is practiced, Paul Luffman an ER Expert has been interviewed for this week’s New To HR Professional Series and he uses these techniques to help the employee and the organisation to become more aware what employee relations entails.

Paul Luffman started his career in the operational side of a business and was also a Shop Steward, this quite the special HR story.

Today’s world of support for employees has definitely strengthened the bargaining power of employees, but it has come mainly from organisations who are creating commitment and motivational work environments that effectively try to improve employee relations. Paul is also a coach and that is noticeable in the way he speaks and shares his information with you. He wants to help you achieve, guiding and advising you throughout the video interview.

Enjoy! – and we are definitely looking forward to hear your feedback.

Paul Luffman

Paul Luffman

Factors such as cultural fit, management style similarity and the social climate surrounding employee relations has increasingly been recognised to be of critical importance to success and failure of a team/organisation or individual.

Divergences in company’s organisational cultures and the conflicts that may arise, can prevent organisations from realising efficiency gains. Some of this may even lead to distrust and barriers with consequences such that the different functions within an organisation are not being able to reach an agreement.

However the capability and tendency of an organisation for exercising power to enforce its preferences upon its employees is different nowadays. Nevertheless, there can be a feeling of superiority and inferiority within companies, yet it is all about empowerment, bringing people, who are outside a decision-making process into it and that is really Paul’s story – he truly means to find the right key for all parties.  It is about individuals or corporations being able to maximize opportunities available to them, without or despite the constraints of employee relations.

Important is also ‘fairness’ or so called ’employment equity’, which can only be reached by having a central control measure within the organisation.  This plan gives you an example on how to prepare and implement an employment equity plan across your organisation.

Ten steps to preparing & implementing an employment equity plan

The process of developing a plan should have three sequential phases:

Phase 1
Phase 2
Phase 3
Step 1
Assign responsibility
Step 2
Communication, awareness and training
Step 3
Step 4
Step 5
Corrective measures and objectives
Step 6
Time frames established
Step 7
Allocation of resources
Step 8
Plan communication
Step 9
Monitor, evaluate, and review
Step 10


  • Assignment of responsibility and accountability to one or more senior managers.
  • A communication, awareness and training programme.
  • Consultation with relevant stakeholders.
  • An analysis of existing employment policies, procedures, and practices.
  • An analysis of the existing workforce profile.
  • An appropriate benchmarking exercise, such as comparing the organisation’s workforce profile with those of other organisations within the same sector, or the development of other meaningful comparisons.

 The development phase, in consultation with the identified role players

  • Objectives set; corrective measures formulated; time frames established; the plan drawn up; resources identified and allocated for the implementation of the plan.
  • Plan communicated.
  • Implementation
  • Monitoring and evaluating progress
  • Reviewing the plan
  • Reporting on progress

Implementation and monitoring

The plan should also contain a timetable for the implementation an affirmative action policy and practice. The timetable should ensure a smooth and continuous progression towards the diversified ‘representative workforce’.

Retention strategies include the promotion of a more diverse organisational culture; an interactive communication and feedback strategy; and ongoing labour turnover analysis. But also initiatives aimed specifically at attracting, retaining, and promoting employees.

Value and vision setting will provide opportunities and a basis for the organisation to clarify its employment equity plan aligned to its value propositions and yield a return on employee relations and HR in the wider sense.

We would be happy to discuss with you the various ideas on which direction to take when deciding on your HR Certification or Diploma and how to get HR Career Success!  

(c) 2013 New To HR

Written by Nicole Le Maire, Founder of New To HR, a company which is dedicated towards providing new and HR professionals with the skills and expertise required to thrive in the HR industry.  She can be contacted via info@newtohr.com or via twitter @NewToHR

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Nicole Le Maire

Nicole Le Maire

Global People Advisor at New To HR
People are important, whether you like it or not. That is where I come in, it is my work and passion to improve your business, people and... bottom-line. My job is to help you and offer people insights in a transparent and understandable way. My diverse international (35+ countries) management and HR experience spans from start-ups to established organisations advising them through their stages of creation, growth, and stabilisation.

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