Workers should be provided with greater influence on how they can do their work while encouraging their input in making decisions. This is argued to be of greater significance for both the workers and their employers. The involvement of employees in any voice strategy has always been inclined to upward problem solving which includes direct participation in the daily activities of a firm that lead to diagnosis and solving of problems. Therefore, there is need to involve workers in a more strategic decision-making mechanism such as that of union representation.
This paper will look at the most recent levels of union density and collective bargaining coverage in the South East of England. It will also handle the most recent level of union density in the UK wholesale and retail industry and the median gross hourly pay for all employees in South East England. This will help in the appreciation of the approaches taken by the BCG Company in regard to its employee relations approach and Employee Voice strategy, as well as the implications for the company.
The most recent levels union density and collective bargaining coverage in the South East of England indicate that the trade union density is 21.0 as shown in figure 1, while the collective bargaining coverage in the South East of England is 29.3.
Figure 1 Recent Levels Union Density in South East England
The most recent level of union density in the UK Wholesale and Retail industry is 11.1, while that of the Transportation & Storage industries is 39.8. South East England was at 21 in 2012 plus UK Wholesale and Retail industry. Repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles 11.1 with its curve that moves to 32.2 plus the Transportation & Storage industries is 39.8 its curve moves to 72 as the final sum density as shown in Figure 2 below:
Figure 2: Union Density in the UK
Median gross hourly pay for all employees in South East England in 2012 is 8.05 while for those working in the Wholesale & Retail industry, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles is 6.81. That of the Transportation & Storage industry is 9.72 as shown in Figure 3 below:
Figure 3 Median hourly pay per empoyee in 2012
The type of theoretical employee relations approach that BCG is adopting is a Unitarian approach. This is a paternalistic type of approach where the company founder and CEO, Aaron Brown, frequently expressed the view that employees are privileged to work for his company and they should give “200 percent” in their jobs. Consequently, there is no room for employee influence, conflict, or unions. This is because the prerogative of the management comes first (Lloyd 317).
The disadvantage of this approach is that employees’ rights can be bypassed, for instance, workers at BCG were expected to work overtime in the summer and spring in a response to increased customer demand in these seasons. It perceives the company as inclined towards unified loyalty structures and authority, for instance, BCG is dominated by the vision of its CEO Aaron Brown. Trade unionism is thus disallowed. Even though the workers are given a better pension scheme than that provided by the government, they are still paying for it through overtime (Simms and Charlwood 140).
However, it is advantageous in that this theoretical approach invests in employee training and techniques that can facilitate flexibility, commitment, and quality. For instance, the company is slated to operate a suggestion scheme for the improvement of its operations and business where workers with the most successful suggestions will be awarded prizes (Lloyd 320).
The conflict approach would have been the best theoretical employee relations approach since it recognizes employee trade unions as legal entities, thereby, giving them a voice in management. Since the employees have different aspirations and values, it is inevitable that they would be in conflict. However, this is usually solved amicably through collective bargaining.
BCG is adopting a direct Employee Voice Strategy, which is consultative in nature. This is because it involves the soliciting of suggestion from workers on issues that are critical to the performance of the company. As much as their suggestions are collected, they are not involved in solving problems or implementation of the suggestions. In light of the HR policies being adopted and the statistics outline about companies and employees in South East England, the proposed employee voice policies and mechanisms are not likely to be effective for BCG. This is because the employees are not substantively involved in the suggestions. They are merely in a participative arrangement (Purcell and Hall Web).
If BCG wants its employees’ voice strategy to be effective in producing a long-lasting and a considerable increase in production, it should involve them in decisions that have an impact on daily activities. Apart from that, the employees’ involvement should not be consultative, but they should be given more influence by being substantive, for instance, through their trade unions (Lashley 803).
Lashley, C. ‘Empowerment through involvement: a case study of TGI Friday’s restaurants’, Personnel Review, 29 (6). (2000): 791-811. Print.
Lloyd, C. ‘What do Employee Councils do? The impact of non-union forms of representation on trade union organization,’ Industrial Relations Journal, 32 (4): (2001): 313-327. Print.
Purcell, J. and Hall, M. ‘Voice and Participation in the Modern Workplace: challenges and prospects’, ACAS Future of Workplace Relations Discussion Paper Series, March, London: (2012): Web. Retrieve from: <http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=3544> [Accessed: 29/11/2013]
Simms, M. and Charlwood, A. ‘Trade Unions: Power and Influence in a Changed Context (2010): 125-148. Print.
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