While industrial relations continues to make increasingly depressing headlines in the UK, we completed our first Employee Relations and Engagement development programme for some of the UK’s most highly unionised organisations.
Listening to the delegate’s feedback on the programme, Joe Perry and I feel we have designed something special here, something that is needed right now and has been missing for our operational, HR and ER colleagues for too long. Our delegates said they now had a more positive mindset about working in ER; it has helped them change and challenge their thinking and understanding and they left each session feeling positive about how they can put things into practice.
We asked them to tell us what they had learnt and have started to implement and practice in their workplaces.
They talked about seeing the bigger picture across their organisations and not just thinking about their site or facility; moving from avoiding conflict to collaborating and problem solving with their unions on important challenges; about building relationships with employees based on trust and about having a greater understanding of the role of a union representative. Importantly too, they are trying to build better senior leadership ownership and understanding of employee relations. They talked of how they had used models we had shared and remembered cases we had looked at and how these made them think differently about what the challenges in front of them.
These delegates have chosen to continue to collaborate in their action learning sets and meet their mentors, even though the programme is now over. They all now have a network of support across the UK. They have been great to work with since April. Thanks to the network members who have been mentors and to the ER leaders who backed us to develop and roll out this programme. We look forward to welcoming the next group in January.
We have started to think about further modules we could add, more people we want to collaborate with, to continue to build deeper knowledge and expertise in industrial and employee relations.
I feel immensely proud of what we have achieved so far.