Company partnerships with employees are way forwardOn 30 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. BenWillmott reports from the Anuman 2001 conference on employee relations whereemployers and trade unions gave ringing endorsements to partnershipThecreation of effective partnerships between employers and their staff can play akey role in improving bottom-line performance. This was the message from HRmanagers and employers speaking at the Anuman 2001 conference, in London, whotold delegates that involving employees in business objectives anddecision-making paid financial dividends.AlixThom, employee relations manager for BP, said that the firm had learned a lotabout effective consultation with its employees through its plans to change itsrescue and recovery system for staff on its off-shore oil platforms.BPhad proposed to replace the existing standby vessels, which are in a constantstate of readiness to respond to people falling into the water from one of theplatforms, with a combination of platform-based search and rescue helicoptersand rescue craft.Asa result of extensive consultation with employee representatives on BP’sbusiness unit forums, shortcomings in the proposal were highlighted and thetrial period for the new system was extended. Thom said, “We are trying tobuild a culture based on employee involvement and participation.”Itis a tremendous investment in terms of time but we really believe thatinvolving the work force is essential to delivering our business objectives andalso to recruiting and retaining the right people”.Theimportance of staff consultation was also emphasised by the experience ofMcVitie’s Tollcross factory in Glasgow.RichardWileman, the factory’s general manager, told the conference production had beenincreased and absenteeism reduced following the adoption of a partnershipagreement at the plant.Thiswas achieved through a project called the Resolve Process, which initiallyinvolved three two-day off site meetings between seven union representativesand seven managers. This gave employees the chance to put across their concernsand also demonstrated that there was a real desire among staff to be moreinvolved in the business.Resolvegroup surgeries, which ensure staff are consulted about decisions that effectthem, were subsequently established and have become a formal part of thefactory’s communication process.