The ‘Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations’ made the case for broader and deeper employee involvement in the way significant decisions are taken. But the legislative case for change is no longer enough. The new case for employee involvement and participation is about enabling organisations to meet the productivity challenge of an increasingly global economy.
Progressive employers need a progressive agenda for employee involvement if they are to achieve this goal.
What is information and consultation?
At its most basic, information and consultation describes the process through which employees can be more thoroughly involved in their place of work. Employees are provided with good quality information on the business strategy and those factors likely to bring about change in the organisation. They are then consulted by the employer, often through a trade union or employee forum, giving them an opportunity to ask questions and offer feedback.
The competitive challenges facing the UK economy and individual employers are well known and becoming more apparent every day.
Employee involvement has a critical role to play in helping businesses become high performance work organisations, manage corporate social responsibility and tackle the environmental consequences of wealth generation. Progressive employers believe in this new agenda because it strengthens the capacity of organisations to change by engaging our employees more effectively in answering the global challenge.
To see what information and consultation looks like in practice, see our case studies here.
A progressive approach to workplace change:
There is a strong business case for employee involvement in workplace change. It can increase understanding of the rationale for difficult decisions. At the same time, organisations try to marry economic concerns with social justice and fair labour standards.
A new approach to governing employee involvement:
Building corporate citizenship and making the case for a collective framework that everyone can subscribe to demands new approaches to the way in which employee involvement is governed. Frameworks are required which recognise the importance of consultation and the role of employees in defining the consultative agenda.
Good work and productive workplaces:
New policies, rather than new structures are what define the relevance of employee involvement and participation in the workplace. Work is central to people’s lives and ‘good work’ should be at the centre of employer agendas.
Workplaces that value the representative process:
The IPA believes we need to establish genuine common policies to promote employee involvement and celebrate the benefits that employee forums and trade union representative structures bring to our workplaces and the people within them. If we value the role of representatives then we also need to recognise that both trade union and directly elected employee representatives need time and training to undertake their representative duties.
Progressive decision-making arrangements:
Developing option-based consultation – consulting at the earliest opportunity and before a final decision is made. These are skills required by non-union and trade union representatives alike. There needs to be training for managers, representatives and employees to consult at the appropriate level and to challenge the behaviours that prevent employee involvement in decision-making. Representatives need time to consult their constituents, undertake research, prepare and attend meetings. They need be able to delegate responsibilities between themselves, become experts in key areas of the representative agenda and work together effectively to develop a strong collective voice in consultation.
A commitment to inclusive employee involvement:
This should rest on representation for all employees, locally and the level of the undertaking. It involves effectively communicating the business challenges facing employment, building understanding about the key issues that underlie change and preparing the workforce for those changes when they happen.
The IPA advises and supports organisations not just to meet the requirements of the Information and Consultation regulations, but to put in place arrangements that really work and deliver value for the business and the workforce. Find out more about how we can help your organisation here
Find out more...
Option based consultation
I&C regulations FAQs
What does information and consultation look like in practice? See our free case studies here