Current nature of employment relations

At the heart of most effective professional organisations are a handful of best practices for managing the professional intellect. As leaders  recruiting  the best  is a leverage  of intellect that is so great  that  a few topflight  professionals can create  a successful organisation or even make a lesser one flourish. It is however uncontroversial that, employment relationships between employer and employee are of profound economic significance. The way labour is managed determines its welfare and productivity. What is controversial is how best can labour be managed to produce the best.

Premised on the above, organisational leadership constantly has to answer questions like, ‘How can businesses invest and receive the greatest return on intellectual capital to accomplish the organisation’s mission?’ Intellectual capital comprises of  the competence which has to be found in all employees in order to deliver. However, competence is not sufficient on its own, but there is need for employee commitment as well. With competent and committed employees, an organisation has all it takes to being successful. Securing employee commitment means leaders have to involve the employees’ emotional energy and attention. As organisations move with speed and adapt quickly, they have to ensure that at the same time they promote and uphold good employment relations. Such institutions strive to offer work environments that promote communication and working with others to get jobs done. Commitment is reflected in how employees relate to each other as well as to the firm through the leadership. Is it important then to effectively manage the employees’ emotions to avoid increases in stress and burnout? To replace burnout with commitment leadership need to learn to share information as well as treating these employees as valuable assets.

The benefits of harmonious employment relations can never be overemphasised. With high morale and commitment levels, employees feel their interests coincide with those of management and this ensures continuity of production. Studies have also proven that such employees minimise wastage of resources and therefore seek to continuously improve efficiency. One scholarly article says, people-problems such as low morale and commitment are a matter of individual attitudes. Industrial relations revolve around the relationship between actors in an institution and reflect the different disciplinary rules.

The question which the leadership in any organisation should be asking from time to time is are we managing our intellect productively in order to get the best out of your employees. It has often been alleged that, in the case of Zimbabwe where unemployment is so high employers are not necessarily concerned about building employee commitment as much as they would if conditions in the economy were more stable. According to this line of thinking employees in such a situation find themselves being subjected to serious industrial relations challenges which include an assortment of unfair labour practices which include unfair dismissal and suspensions. Needless to say that such practices are counter productive and will not help the organisation to get maximum value from its employees.

Promoting good employment relations involves committing to resolving problems that may arise from situations at work. As leadership we need to appreciate that employment relations play a crucial role in establishing and maintaining industrial relations democracy much needed for the sustainable growth of the business and the economy. As leadership, we should never lose our objectivity and continue to build strong committed teams. Let us always be mindful that industrial relations do not subscribe to frivolous assumptions but always subscribe to the truth and facts.

While industrial relations that prevail in a society is a subsystem of the social systems, It is on the same logical plane as an economic system. Thus indiscriminate firing of employees should not be the panacea .Despite the odds, we should always learn to appreciate the diverse values, ideologies and frame of reference of employees and be guided accordingly.

What has become of that dual approach that works towards what is best for the individual and the organisation? An even playing field yields positive results to both parties. It is our role as the leadership to depersonalise conflict. We need to take out the sting out of intellectual disagreements that turn personal. It is our role to understand cognitive preferences so that we manage conflict productively. Always realise that the other person’s approach is not wrongheaded and stubborn but merely predictable differences. Again in the industrial relations arena no one style is inherently better than the other. Stereotyping is resulting in the leadership failing to take disagreements less personally.

Emmanuel Jinda is the Managing Consultant of PROSERVE Consulting Group, a leading supplier of Professional Human Resources and Management services locally, regionally and internationally. He can be contacted at Tel: 263 773004143 or 263 4 772778 or visit our website at

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