NEW EUROPEAN INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS (NEIRE) II:
EXPECTATIONS OF EMPLOYERS ON EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATIVES’ ROLES, ATTITUDES AND COMPETENCIES TO ACT AS PARTNERS IN SOCIAL INNOVATION.
This second study was conducted between 2012 and 2014, also cofounded by the European Commission Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities DG (VS/2012/0416) and the partner organizations. This study explores the experiences and expectations of employers about social dialogue and ERs. Focal points are the expectations of employers on ERs’ roles, attitudes and competencies to act as partners in social innovation. This study includes quantitative data from over 600 human resources (HR) managers and qualitative data from 110 interviews with HR managers in three sectors: finance, higher education and production. This study was conducted in 11 EU member countries: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom.
OBJECTIVES OF THE ACTION
The overall aim of the project was to improve the quality of social dialogue in organizations as a tool for innovation, by exploring European employers’ experiences and expectations on structures, roles, attitudes and competencies of employee representatives (ER).
Through documentary study, surveys from over 600 HR directors, and interviews with 108 HR directors in 11 EC member states, the action offers an actual view on employers’ experiences with and expectations of employee representatives in their organizations, and good practices for an innovative social dialogue. The action focuses on three important sectors facing high pressures, banking, higher education, and manufacturing. With the new developed comprehensive NEIRE-model for industrial relations, social partners can assess the industrial relations (IR) climate in their organization, benchmark key aspects of this climate, and explore actions to improve social dialogue in their organization.
European employers, both in the public and private sectors, largely see the benefits of a structured social dialogue at organizational level, as promoted by the EC. This is more so for larger organizations, compared to small organizations. The climate for IR differs considerably between countries, sectors and organizations. Generally however, employers express a strong need for improvement of social dialogue and offer many suggestions how to achieve this. Key aspects are the recruitment and development of competent ER, who are truly representative for the employees in the organization. With a focus on cooperation, innovation and with a problem solving attitude. The influence of national unions with an ideological approach to defend workers’ rights, and not open for change, is seen as a major threat for a meaningful social dialogue in the organization and the development of trust. Employers actively experiment with new forms of representation to promote trust, competent ERs, and effective problem solving and negotiations. Social partners at European, national and sectorial levels should create room and actively stimulate such experiments at organizational level, both in the forms of representation and dialogue.
Two publications available in this website present the key findings and recommendations from this action:
These publications together offer