Employee input improves management decision-making

Organisations
that involve their employees in business decisions through formal channels
report better workplace relationships, improved management decision-making and
even claim to deliver better quality goods and services, according to research
published today in IRS Employment Review.

But
the study also shows that employers do not generally believe employee
involvement helps to cut absenteeism, improve staff retention or raise
productivity, and more than half report that there is no direct impact on company
profits.

The
key findings of the research include:

·
Typical employee involvement mechanisms include team meetings, the company
intranet and team briefings

·
The most commonly cited mechanisms for employee representation are through
trade unions and joint consultative committees, mentioned by more than 50 per
cent of respondents. Works councils are in use in just one organisation in 10

·
Although a handful of organisations introduced employee involvement initiatives
to circumvent the traditional role of trade unions, almost half the
organisations report that the union had in fact strengthened as a result

·
13 per cent of respondents currently have no means by which employers are
represented within the organisation

·
The groups most likely to have proved a minor hindrance to employee involvement
are middle managers (35 per cent) and supervisors 28 per cent

IRS
Employment Review managing editor, Mark Crail said the study shows that
substantial numbers of employers believe employee involvement through various
mechanisms can benefit the organisation.

He
believes the research gives a mixed message, however, with middle managers and
supervisors cited as being a hindrance to employee involvement.

“Furthermore,
22 per cent of respondents felt that trade unions had proved to be a barrier –
possibly because the union feared that it could be undermined by company
initiatives," said Crail.

“But
things will have to change for those organisations which don’t have employee
representation. 

“UK
employers must address the issues raised by the European Directive on
Information and Consultation which will force them to introduce formal
mechanisms for talking to their workforce in the next few years.”

By Ben Willmott

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