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Keeping Unions out of a New Company

In 2016, 16.3 million salaried workers were represented by labor unions (BLS, 2017). Because the number of unions has increased tremendously in recent years, organizations have blamed various external factors. For example, they claim that inarticulate governmental policies, politicians, unions themselves, and even their employees are responsible for it. However, classical research, conducted by a psychologist, Solomon Asch, on workers' conformity shows that the main cause of dissatisfaction among employees is organizational policies and code of conduct (Goncalo, & Duguid, 2011). The primary reasons for unionization are ignoring employees' complaints, disrespecting their rights, non-competitive remuneration system, ignoring safety improvement at the workplace, and, most importantly, showing favoritism in treating workers. Moreover, a study, conducted in the public sector in Turkey, demonstrated a very high correspondence between the satisfaction of employees and a firm's loyalty (Sageer, Rafat, & Agarwal, 2012). Therefore, to ensure that employees do not join unions, appropriate programs, especially those that provide conducive work conditions, proper remuneration, and a fair working environment need to be introduced.

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Effective Communication and Formation of NERs

Employees highly value the ability to form good working relationships not only with their co-workers but also with the managerial team. It cannot be achieved if there are no guidelines, which ensure that the voices of employees are heard and responded to properly. In fact, the inability to present their complaints, suggestions, or opinions makes employees feel isolated from the decision-making process. Consequently, they start to seek help from unions. An example of a program that can be implemented to reduce this tendency is the creation of non-union employee representation (Donaghey, Cullinane, Dundon, and Dobbins, 2011). Essentially, in NER several employees are appointed, preferably by the workers themselves, to communicate with the management and represent the voice of employees. It establishes a mode of interaction that is based on cooperation, consultation, and advice.

Ultimately, it will foster employees feeling of being a part of the decision-making process and significantly reduce the gap between managers and their subordinates. Although NERs are valuable managerial tools for avoiding unionization of their employees, they should perform additional functions, such as, for example, creating forums for feedback to achieve highly effective working relations. It is necessary for keeping NERs effective for a long period of time. Also, the organization should always try to keep its employees aware of major developments in the company. It eliminates dissent that often arises when workers are told to change certain processes without prior knowledge.

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Competitive Benefits Programs

It is generally known that unions attract employees from different organizations by promising them to be their advocators for higher payments, better health services, and guaranteed secure retirement packages. Even though these promises are not usually true, in most cases employees from different organizations still join them every year. Employees' desire for better employment has led to the emergence and growth of these unions, so it clearly shows that there is a gap, which the managerial team has not been able to fill. Gupta and Shaw (2014) note that from a psychological point of view, compensation greatly influences the behavior and attitude of employees towards their work and supervisors. They mention that better compensation or a promise of improved compensation enables employees to work more effectively. For example, they are encouraged to do more work to achieve the success of the organization, which potentially will improve their financial condition. Moreover, they are bound to be loyal to a company, which is the source of their well-being.

If an organization cannot create a reasonable benefits plan, then unions, which promise to improve those benefits by all possible means, will always win employees' attention and support. These benefits can be in the form of medical and life insurance for both employees and their closest relatives, for example, spouses and children. To promote good living conditions for senior citizens, organizations should also establish reliable retirement programs for all their permanent employees. As most employees rely solely on their salaries to cover their expenses, a company should ensure that its staff is paid money regularly even for their days off. However, benefits do not always need to be monetary. Non-cash incentives such as wellness programs, company tours or parties, and self-development training are as important as cash rewards for ensuring the loyalty of employees, and, thus, reducing the influence of unions.

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Safety Programs

A safe working environment is essential for improving and maintaining the productivity of employees. Unions have always used the inability of managers to provide safe working conditions to enroll new members. First, they promise to organize comprehensive training for their members to reduce accidents in the office. Also, they represent their members, who have working accidents, in compensation procedures and ensure that the process is short as well as that employees get maximum possible compensation.

To ensure that employees feel safe and comfortable at work and, consequently, do not need a union, the management should formulate, develop, monitor, and implement a safety program that has clear guidelines on how to prevent the occurrence of accidents. Moreover, the program should stipulate how employees need to respond if an accident at the workplace occurs. Also, each employee should participate in a safety training course that covers the basics of safe working and explains how to respond in case of an accident. Training programs should also incorporate refresher courses to ensure that employees stay committed to the program.

Furthermore, the organization should provide the necessary equipment to guarantee safe production. For example, a company that deals with metals should provide appropriate machinery for drilling, milling, and polishing. Additionally, each worker should be dressed in protective attire such as goggles, a special uniform, and gloves. In the office, all employees need to be provided with ergonomic seats and desks. Apart from ensuring that employees are safe and contented with their jobs, these measures also ensure that organizations do not receive OSHA fines, which can irreparably damage their reputation and profitability, as well as encourage the activities of unions.

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Skills Development Programs

Because most employees have bigger potential than their current performance shows, management should seek to develop this potential. By using training opportunities, employees get a chance to develop themselves, set new goals and perspectives, as well as to escape stagnation that generally tends to make them feel unfulfilled. According to Budd (2013), helping employees build competency enables them to appreciate their jobs and, consequently, the company where they work. Another way of enhancing employees' contentment with the company and ensuring that they realize their role in it is to conduct surveys among new employees. It allows analyzing their expectations concerning the organization. If the company fails to meet these expectations it may lead to dissatisfaction of workers and result in the growing power of unions.

A concept, which is closely related to skills development, is the recognition of high-quality work done by employees. When the efforts of workers are recognized, they develop close relationships with their organizations and do not usually break this connection by joining unions, which in most cases are successful in attracting those employees, who have conflicts with the top management. The concept of acknowledgment helps to improve employees' engagement, by making them feel a part of something bigger than their own individual performance. It improves their work satisfaction and, consequently, reduces the tendency of joining unions.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs

Apart from practices, provided by NERs, which enable employees to communicate with the management, several ADR methods ensure effective resolution of disagreements without introducing unions, which act as mediators. A survey conducted in 2007 showed that both employers and employees can gain benefits from using Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs (Lewin, n. d). Lewin further reported that both parties realized that apart from helping to eradicate unions, ADRs can also become a reliable source of information about challenges and problems faced by employees as well as can reveal in which areas management and supervision are ineffective. Moreover, it can also clarify the practices and policies of the company's Human Resource Department, prevent employees from taking legal action against the company, reduce negative publicity, improve employees satisfaction, and lower the cost of resolving disputes, which are sometimes accompanied by the representation of other parties that act on behalf of employees and employers (Colvin, 2012).

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Conclusion

In conclusion, until organizations admit that ignoring the needs and challenges that are faced by employees is the main cause of unionization, unions will increase their influence. Upon admitting their mistakes, organizations should work towards ensuring effective communication between management and employees as well as provide highly competitive compensation plans, a safe working environment, and unconventional ways of resolving conflicts to prevent their employees from joining the unions. In such a way, productive interaction results in mutual benefits for employers and employees. The cost incurred by workers and organizations for arbitration is unreasonably high, comparing to cost-effective programs and measures, which allow solving conflicts internally. Therefore, organizations and employees should work together to solve conflicts in a more profitable way.

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