In the employer-employee relationship, each side has obligations and responsibilities. By John Drake
The human-resource cycle can be divided into four phases. First comes recruitment, which involves a consideration of staffing needs and recruitment criteria. Second comes staff development, involving induction, education and training. The third phase is the maintenance of staff. This involves appraisal, development, promotion and rewards. Finally, comes the phase of separation. This phase can be divided into voluntary and involuntary.
In the recruitment of staff, a business must determine whether there is a need for staff, at what level and where, and whether they will be cost effective. Tasks to be performed must be listed and turned into a job description so that the job can be advertised, candidates interviewed and the position filled.
The next phase is that of staff development. When a new staff member commences employment with a business, basic orientation training must be completed immediately. Task training can take a little longer.
Training may be done internally or externally (outsourced) or by a combination of these. In a large business, this will be determined by the human-resource manager; but in a small business this will be decided by the owner/manager.
Staff maintenance during their working life at a business involves appraisal, development, promotion and rewards. Staff must perform to a reasonable standard for production targets to be met. Thus, their performance must be continually appraised so that it can be developed to the benefit both of the business and the staff themselves. Promotion must be based on performance and merit taking into account equal opportunity and rewards (which may include wages/salary, bonuses or use of a company car, for example) follow as a result.
On the subject of separation; staff may leave the business because they want to (resignation or retirement) or because they are “pushed” (dismissal, redundancy or expiration of contract).
Whenever staff are recruited or leave a business, the appropriate procedures must be followed to protect the business from litigation and to assist the employees on their life journeys.
Employers and employees owe each other mutual responsibilities. For example, in the case of occupational health and safety, the employer sets out how to handle, say, hazardous materials, and the employee must follow the employer’s directions so as to preserve a safe workplace.
The employer-employee relationship is based on a legal definition. If the
following conditions apply, there is an employer-employee relationship (as opposed to, say, the relationship between a principal and a contractor):
- The employer has the right to tell the person what to do and how to do it.
- The person is paid regular wages.
- The person works regular hours.
- The employer deducts tax from the person’s wages.
If the employer-employee relationship does not exist, the main rights and responsibilities discussed do not apply. However, legal and moral responsibilities remain between a business and the public (non-employees).
Main rights and responsibilities of employers and employees at the workplace
|1.||Entitlements and taxes, including:|
|Maternity and paternity leave.|
|Payroll tax (unless the tax is repealed).|
|2.||Occupational health and safety, covering:|
|Safety at the workplace.|
|Health matters at the workplace.|
|3.||Industrial relations legislation, including:|
|Anti-discrimination, which is covered in a number of acts, including:|
|The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Federal).|
|The Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Federal).|
|Equal employment opportunity.|
How not to
How not to thrive in the knowledge economy
Few knowledge workers have been as incompetent as the triumphant Dr David Coward of Leeds University. For two years running he has been winner of the “Boring Lecturer of the Year”contest, held annually in the town.
Coward, a lecturer in the French department, won comfortably with his piece: “The problem of the manned urinal.” He overcame significant opposition, such as a presenter who fell asleep, and a lecturer from the medical faculty who illustrated his profound dissertation on “How to tell right from left” with slides of a billiard ball viewed from different angles.
The previous year Coward stormed in with a Marxist critique of a joke about coconuts. “It wasn’t a very good joke. But, after I had explained it for about twenty minutes, people began to see its merits,” he said.
How not to be low-tech
The former president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, impressed the former prime minister of Australia, Bob Hawke, when the two met in Washington, with his command of the managerial interface between low-level technology and human resources.
When Hawke asked Reagan about a particular area of US-Australia relations, the president consulted a series of cue cards annotated according to subject. He then referred Hawke to the appropriate adviser.
How not to be modest
Few flights of rhetoric have matched the comments that America Online and Time Warner executives came up with when the two companies merged.
The chairman of Time Warner, Gerald Levin, observed that the merger of American Online and his company would facilitate a transformation that would “unleash immense possibilities for economic growth, human understanding and creative expression”.
He was one-upped by his new boss and America Online chairman, Steve Case, who added that he was starting the new century with a “unique new company that has unparalleled assets and the ability to have a profoundly positive impact on society”.
And then there was Ted Turner, whose huge wealth may not have necessarily translated into an exciting sex life. “Shortly before nine o clock last night, I had the honor and privilege of signing a piece of paper that irrevocably cast a vote of my 100 million shares for this merger,” he told 300 journalists at a news conference in Manhattan.
“I did it with as much or more excitement as I did on that night when I first made love 42 years ago.”
How not to inspect
The director of a restaurant chain loved to do “pop inspections”. He would show up unexpectedly every few weeks. On one of his inspections, he found nothing out of place and was visibly unhappy until he bumped his head on a hanging plant. He announced that the hanging plants looked shabby and badly needed water. He was informed that silk plants normally looked that way and that the customers loved them.
The slithershanks file
After extensive analysis, Slithershanks has concluded that the centre of the globalisation process is probably the globe. This means that he will need to develop a more rounded approach to management: instead of having two faces he will need at least four.
Happily, the true complexity of globalisation is revealed in an elegant passage from Global Business Regulation by John Braithwaite and Peter Drahos:
“We do not have to choose between the structuration account of the patterns described in this and other chapters, and the webs of the control account. The moving feats of the structuration account is more descriptively rich and analytically accurate. Yet to make suggestions on how to engage politically with the world, we must simplify it in a way that renders it momentarily static, that defines a type of actor we can define in a slice of time. Thus we can consider how we might want it to be at some future time, and what strategic policy we might advocate to bring about the change. Even though the British State or the British Department of Transport are static reifications, it can make sense to argue that Britain ought to support convention X at IMO, and that Greenpeace ought to lobby Britain to amend its law to give effect to the provisions of Convention X.”