Categories: General Date: Jun 4, 2009 Title: Sunday Business Post article on Resolve HRFeature article on Resolve HR published in Sunday Business Post HR Consultants report, Sunday May 10 2009.
Feature article on Resolve HR published in the Sunday Business Post, HR Solutions and HR Consultants report on Sunday May 10 2009.
Communication proven to be good for resolution.
If work disputes are handled badly they are more difficult to resolve, writes Dave Boland.
Industrial relations had been on a 20 year thaw until the Celtic Tiger turned tail and fled last year. But while the country has yet to be plunged into the turmoil of mass striking, there still remain the rumblings of workers' discontent as employers are faced with tough choices regarding remuneration and redundancy. Conflict is an almost inevitable part of human interaction, especially when people feel that their backs are against the wall. But when it comes to industrial relations, often the best approach is that of proper communication.
ResolveHR is a specialised human resources and industrial relations service provider, which was founded, in direct response to the demand from industry for a range of flexible and cost effective HR and IR solutions. It has based its service around extensive practitioner experience combined with in-depth knowledge of employment legislation, and this offers its clients a proven means of settling disputes that may arise between management and staff.
When it comes to conflict resolution and the law, there is, of course, a legal route that employers can take. But according to ResolveHR managing director and founder Enda McGuane, even if the conflict seems to have reached the stage of going legal, it is often more productive to take the HR route rather than the legal approach. "To begin with, the legal route can be expensive," he said. "But, more than this, while solicitors may be very good when it comes to understanding the legal aspects of a case, their understanding of the day to day operations of a business may not be as good. Not to mention the fact that employment law varies from other areas of civil law, due to the voluntaristic nature of IR in Ireland and it's focus on what is "reasonable" employer behaviour."
Perhaps it was his background as an army officer, but McGuane and ResolveHR take a practical view to conflict resolution. "Employers are faced with difficult decisions at the moment," he said. "But if these difficult processes are communicated and handled properly, they are much easier to resolve. Poor communications often lead to unnecessary problems." In addition to general HR outsourcing, ResolveHR offers specialist services in such areas as representation at and preparation for third party hearings with the Rights Commissioner, or representation at the Employment Appeals Tribunal or the Equality Tribunal. It also offers advice and management of redundancy and lay-off processes, dispute investigation and conflict resolution/mediation, as well as advice on Trade Union and IR issues.
"Through our practitioner experience, we have an in-depth understanding of HR," explained McGuane. "We assess every situation, and establish clear communications, firstly around what the employer wants, but also what the employee sees as the best result for them." Conflict generally happens when the expectations of the employee don't match with what the employer can pay. But, again, it often comes down to communications, where the employer may have to make a difficult situation clear to his or her staff. 2009 may be a tricky year for everybody, with more potential for tension now than at any other time in the past two decades; but with proper communication it should be possible to stave off the prospect of legal action or industrial action in at least some of the disputes which will inevitably arise. Still, a percentage of disputes will go all the way, and McGuane has certainly seen an upsurge in claims for unfair dismissal, etc. But while a significant amount of his work is carried out in representing clients at the Rights Commissioners or the Employment Appeals Tribunal, it is often possible to nip complaints in the bud before both parties feel forced to go down official channels. "For example, it is often the case that people just don't understand the selection criteria for redundancy," he said. "Or they have not been communicated with properly regarding their entitlements. But the reality is that I often have to come in because the communication process has failed."