Research predicts rosy future for partnership

Partnerships
are set to play a vital role in employee relations, according to research.

Two-thirds
of the 311 HR professionals polled by the Industrial Society said that the
importance of partnerships has increased in their organisation over the past
five years.

Seven
out of 10 respondents believe that partnership’s significance will increase
over the next couple of years.

Surprisingly
almost half of partnerships are the initiatives of senior managers compared to
only 3 per cent issuing from trade unions and 2 per cent from employees.

Despite
the support for partnerships among HR professionals, the research shows that
employees need to be more involved in key decisions.

Only
four out of 10 companies support full consultation with employee
representatives on financial matters, compared to half on organisational
strategy.

In
practice, these figures are lower. 38 per cent of organisations consult with
employees on financial matters and 17 per cent on organisational strategy. Only
one fifth consult on hours and working practices.

John
Knell, director of the Industrial Society’s think tank on the future of work,
said, “Whereas a lot of organisations have partnerships in-place, they still do
not work on the open-book role and are not completely comfortable in sharing
information, particularly financial."

“It
will take time, but I am optimistic that we will get there as companies with
successful partnership agreements will be prepared to acknowledge and share the
better outcomes in performance and management change.”

Surprisingly
only 1 per cent of respondents cited the DTI’s Partnership Fund as a reason for
the implementation of partnership practices in their organisation.

Staff
attitudes have greatly improved since the introduction of partnerships. The
Industrial Society suggests that partnerships provide a catalyst for increased
commitment and trust from employees, in return for greater involvement in key
business decisions, improved benefits and a share in the organisation’s
success.   

By Paul Nelson

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