From Shop Steward To Employee Relations Specialist

– Indirect Route Into HR.

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.

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.

The capability and tendency of an organisation for exercising power to enforce its preferences upon its employees is different nowadays.

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

  1. Objectives set; corrective measures formulated; time frames established; the plan drawn up; resources identified and allocated for the implementation of the plan
  2. Plan communicated
  3. Implementation
  4. Monitoring and evaluating progress
  5. Reviewing the plan
  6. 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 People Management in the wider sense.

© New To HR

1 Comment
  • stella mutanu
    30/05/2018 at 10:21

    this is a nice piece

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