Labour management practices (LMP) are considered as planned actions taken at organizational level, which are intended at recruitment, promotion, rewards and keeping or dismissal of the workforces. These factors could also determine the psychosocial exposures as intermediate outcomes which might lead to ill health of the workers. LMPs are influenced by social, economic and institutional systems and are considered as major factors in determining the settings of the system. LMPs vary in accordance with the job, gender, age, or cultural groups and it might create and strengthen social disparities (Llorens, et al., 2010).The research was directed to examine the link between psycho-social risk experiences and LMPs as the pointers in work organization and relevant structures for principal preventive intermediations. The cross-sectional study over a sample of waged workforce in Spain revealed a good-bad rational configuration related to both the psycho-social aspect along with LMPs. The research indicated that job security, suitable remuneration for work done, supportive seniors, flexible working hours, and regular morning shifts are related to good psychosocial exposures. It proved that the more these structures become a measure of LMP in the place of work, the better the psycho-social workplace environment for the labours would be there (Llorens, et al., 2010; The Chartered Institute of Building, 2014).
To gain and retain a competitive advantage is critical for the growth and prosperity of an organization. However, a majority of organizations may pursue various other paths to achieve it; capitalizing on superior human resource management is not frequently recognized by organizations. There are a few organizations that conceptualize them in a strategic manner to achieve competitive gains. Due to this reason, various organizations give up the opportunity to grab a competitive advantage through initiatives related to human resource practices (Schuler & MacMillan, 1984). As per the research conducted by Schuler & MacMillan, with increasing participation and pay of the workers, the company get benefits in the form of in reduction of costs and increased effectiveness. The researchers provided the example that Ford Motor Company has implemented a program of high participation of workers and more supportive labour relationships with the UAW, which resulted in higher product quality in comparison to the competitors (Schuler & MacMillan, 1984). So, LMPs help organizations in ensuring that it has the right employees, the right processes and the right safeguards to protect the future as well as the bottom line of the organization.
The Harvard Model of Labour Management
Source: (Onwe, 2014)
According to Beer et al. (1984 as cited in Holbeche, 2016), the framework of the Harvard model consists of six simple components i.e.
- Situational factors, which effect the decisions of the management on labour management strategy.
- Stakeholder’s interests, recognize the significance of trade-offs openly or covertly between the welfares of the employers and of employees along with the unions.
- Labour management policy choices, emphasize on the point that decisions and activities of the management in the management of workforce, can only be cherished if it is acknowledged that such decisions as well as actions result from the interactions between the restrictions and choices.
- Labour outcomes; reflect that increased employee commitment leads to achieving the organizational objectives and increased individual performance results in economical products and services. It can be assumed that employees possess talent that are hardly ever entirely utilized at work and indicates the yearning to progress through work.
- Long-term consequences distinguish between three levels i.e. individual, organizational and social levels. At the individual level, the continuing concerns include psychological prizes received by employees for their efforts. At the organisational level, improved efficiency guarantees organization sustains its operation in long-term. At the community or societal level, employment and growth related goals are to be attained due to full utilisation of workers at the workplace.
- Through the feedback loop, the productions flow straight to the company as well as to its shareholders (Onwe, 2014).
Labour-management issues arising in construction companies in Australia
Labour management is one of the most important aspects in the construction sector. It is important to make sure that there is a labour force in the company which can help in accomplishing the construction projects on time and within the budget of the project in an effective manner. The labour force of a company is considered important for the successful completion of a construction project (Thomas & Ellis, 2017). The skilled labour force is the need of every company in construction sector. Management of the labour is highly essential in order to enhance the performance of the organization. There are some issues faced by construction companies in Australia like any other country related to labour management. It is difficult for companies in Australia to manage the number of labours who are skilled because there is a shortage of skilled labour (Frenkel & Martin, 2001). Australia is not able to produce professional or skilled labour who can handle the responsibilities related to a construction project. They have lack of knowledge, skills and abilities in order to contribute in the success of construction companies. There are fewer skilled workers and the construction industry cannot operate different functions of construction with small number of skilled labour force (O'Sullivan, 2017). It is important to increase the number of skilled labour in Australia. It is important to find ways that can help in increasing the number of skilled workers in the construction industry of Australia (CMS, 2000).
Reduced productivity at the workplace is also an issue that is faced by construction companies in Australia. The average working hours have decreased or remain the same. For many workers, working hours have been reduced and the skilled workers are not able to get extra time in order to enhance their productivity. This is the issue that is affecting the working of construction companies (O'Sullivan, 2017).It is important to increase the average working hours in order to enhance the productivity. It is the need of companies to provide a chance to proficient workers to work extra so that the productivity can be increased with their efforts.
The construction in Australia has developed into a sophisticated business. There is a need of people in the area of construction such as contracting, designing, supply and consultancy. There are many challenges that are faced by the Australian construction industry and the companies in this field. The industry is struggling with the problem of labour management. A conference proceeding by McAnulty & Baroudi (2010) discussed the issues in managing the labour force by the construction companies in Australia. It has been presented that construction companies are not able to attract and retain the skilled workforce. The problem of lack of skilled labour is higher in the remote areas of Australia. There is a shortage of labour force in Australia. The mining industry is one of the competitors of the construction industry for retaining and attracting skilled labour force (McAnulty & Baroudi, 2010).The effective management and retention of the skilled labour force can help in enhancing the overall performance of the companies in the construction sector in Australia. It is important to identify the ways that can help in attracting and retaining the workers in these companies. The issues of inability to retain and attract labour in the company can be solved by implementing correct actions which can motivate the labour to work continuously and efficiently in the construction company (Johnstone, 2012).
Labour-management practices that help in resolving the issues
The labour management issues affect the performance and also reduce the profitability of the company. The issues related to labour management can be resolved by implementing the right labour management practices. The Australian construction companies can reduce their labour management problems by focusing on the issues. According to Lingard, Townsend, Bradley & Brown (2008), construction companies are not able to increase their productivity due to irregular hours and long working hours in Australia. In order to support the labours to work long hours in the company, the new intervention of an alternative work schedule can help in enhancing the productivity as well and can help in increasing the level of satisfaction of the workers in the company. It is important for construction companies to maintain the work life balance. The reduction of working hours and establishing an alternative work schedule can help in enhancing the labour productivity. This can also help in enhancing the overall performance of these construction companies. This can turn into an effective practice for managing the labour of the construction companies in Australia (Lingard, Townsend, Bradley, & Brown, 2008). It is important for companies to follow the labour law in order to provide benefits to the workers and provide satisfaction from the workplace. These practices can help in enhancing the performance of the workers and increase the level of the workers engagement.
The labour force is important for the success of a company. The issues related to attracting and retaining workers are faced by construction companies in Australia. The practices should be implemented in the companies in order to resolve these issues. Thus, the adoption of practices such as flexible working hours, alternative work schedule, fair wages and benefits, good and safe workplace conditions and good behaviour of the supervisors can help in attracting and retaining skilled and capable workers in the construction companies of Australia. The construction companies can attract and retain workers by providing benefits to them. This can help the workers attain satisfaction (Soe & Cho, 2014).
There is a lack of skilled labour in construction companies of Australia. The quality of the construction is affected due to the lack of skilled workers. It is important to provide training to the workers so that they can develop the skills and abilities with the help of it. It is important to identify the areas that are required to be developed within the labour force. Suitable training programs should be initiated in the construction companies in order to develop the labour and enhance their performance. It can help in increasing the level of satisfaction and confidence in the work force, and can help in increasing the growth of the companies in Australia in an effective manner (Tabassi & Bakar, 2009).
The construction industry is one of the fastest growing industries. The labours are most important resources for the construction sector companies. It is considered that effective management of the labour can help in achieving success. It has been found that construction companies in Australia are facing issues related to labour management. There is a lack of skilled labour in the construction industry of Australia. The labour force is not able to contribute effectively in the success of the construction companies. The issue related to labour productivity is also faced by the industry. The average working hours is decreasing steadily. The working hours for the labour in the construction companies are slashed down and the proficient labour is not provided with the opportunity to work for extra time which is decreasing the productivity of labour force. Along with this, Australian construction companies are not able to attract and retain skilled labour. This is affecting the performance of the companies in the construction sector of Australia.
It has been identified that the labour management practices such as training to the labour, flexible working hours, fair wages, benefits, good workplace conditions, alternative work schedule, and extra working hours for proficient workers are required to be implemented in the construction companies of Australia (Loosemore, Dainty, & Lingard, 2003). This can help in attracting, retaining, satisfying and enhancing the productivity of the labour. These practices can allow the company to manage their labour in an effective manner. It is important for a construction company to follow the labour law and provide all the benefits to them to retain, attract and satisfy the labour force. Labour management issues can be resolved in an efficient manner by following the labour law as it provides satisfaction to the labour. When the employees are able to attain satisfaction, they will be able to work in a more efficient manner. In order to make sure that the labour performs well and accomplishes the construction projects on time, it is important to focus on providing training to them. Training the employees can help them perform different activities related to construction and work safely on the construction sites. Above all, the labour force can attain satisfaction when the behaviour of the supervisor with labour is good as it helps in motivating and satisfying them. Hence, it is recommended that supervisors should communicate with the labour in a harmonious manner. It helps in developing the feeling of belongingness among the labour for the construction project and the supervisor. In addition, company should take care of employees’ safety and health on construction sites (Singh, Hinze, & Coble, 2010). This would help company attracting new and retaining talented employees. The labour law also supports good workplace environment, safety of the labour and benefits. Working hours for the labour should not last longer than 8 hours in a day. It is important to provide support to the labour so that they can manage both their personal and work life in an efficient manner. In order to resolve the labour management issues in Australia, proper training to the employees at regular intervals is important in order to enhance the skills and abilities of the labour. It will help in increasing the number of skilled labourers in Australia, which will provide support to the construction sector of Australia. Companies of the construction sector will be able to get skilled labour, which will eventually increase the profitability and productivity of these construction companies. The other issues of labour management can be resolved by following the labour law, as it will help in fulfilling the needs of the labour and will be able to satisfy their needs.
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