What’s in a Name?

Disputes often arise from good intentions gone wrong.

Source: Paul Lemon/Shutterstock
Source: Paul Lemon/Shutterstock

In a recent case, the Prairie North Health Region (PNHR) tried to amend its practice for employees wearing name tags.   The change was to have the full name (first and last), job title, and picture of the employee on an identity badge, rather than just the employee’s first name.  As noted in the article, the purpose of implementing this change came as a result of the employer wanting to promote a patient first philosophy and to equalize the balance of power between patient and health care provider.

Click Here to Read the Article.

The union representing the workers, CUPE Local 5111, disagreed and filed a grievance in order to stop this change in practice.  The grievance, as noted in the article was based on several grounds, with the allegation of violation of employee privacy as the primary concern. The matter was not resolved internally.  As a result, the dispute went to arbitration for a final resolution imposed by a three-party panel of arbitrators.

The arbitrators’ decision fell on the side of the union.  The employer had to rescind the new policy and had to implement new cards showing only employee first names, job titles along with a photo.

Click Here to Read the Case.

As you will note, this case is extensive.  It shows the amount of critical detail, witnesses, testimony, legislative impact, evidence of past practice and presentation of other precedent setting cases required in order for this matter to be resolved through a board of arbitration.  It was definitely a costly exercise for everyone involved.

Clearly, our names and our right to protect our own personal privacy has value.

One wonders, however, how much the value of good intentions truly cost all of the parties in this case.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Who would benefit from employees wearing name tags with first and last name?
  2. Why do employees, in this case, have a ‘greater’ right to privacy than patients?
  3. What elements of this case would prevent it from being resolved within the applicable grievance resolution process?
  4. Why, do you think, a case like this would proceed to arbitration?
  5. What lessons would you take from your reading of this case?

 

Whose Job Is It Anyway?

The Role of Human Resources in Labour Relations.

One of the trickiest elements that Human Resources professionals face is the need for clarity of the Human Resources role when working with managers in a unionized environment.  Viki Scott, of Scott & Associates, provides excellent insight into the pro-active role the Human Resources professional should play with regard to conflict management and manager management in a labour relations setting. View her interview, below.

Human Resources has a unique role in walking the tightrope between management and union representation.  While it may be difficult at times, part of this unique role allows for the benefit of accumulating organizational knowledge from each particular situation in which the Human Resources professional is involved.  When the Human Resources professional works with managers on an individual basis, she or he is able to collect an inventory of situations that may or may not have had successful resolution.  This should allow the Human Resources professional to share that accrued insight with managers on a pro-active basis.  If the Human Resources professional is able to intervene pro-actively, they should be instrumental in preventing workplace situations from escalating, due to the breakdown of workplace relationships and the escalation of unwanted employee and management behaviours.

There is a saying, that past behaviour predicts future behaviour.  By relying on what is learned from working with the behaviours of others in the past, the Human Resources professional can and should play a critical role in shaping the best of management behaviours for future success.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why would managers benefit from coaching by the HR professional in any unionized organization?
  2. Why should HR professionals not take ownership for management roles?
  3. What impact does a negative relationship or behaviour issue have on the work environment?
  4. What is the difference between consensus bargaining and wage bargaining?
  5. Why is consensus bargaining more prevalent in this current economy?

HR Practitioner & the Hiring Manager

Working the relationship

All too often, we, as HR Practitioners fall into the trap of ‘owning’ the entire recruitment and staffing process. Is this because we want the control, or, is it because the supervisor does not want to take it on? After all, it is HR’s responsibility to ensure that the process is done effectively from the very beginning, before a vacancy is even created, to the very end, when the successful candidate is in place and working with the equally successful hiring manager.

We do all of the work and yet, final decisions are, typically, not in the control of the HR Practitioner.

Click here to view the article.

Our challenge is to find ways to work effectively with the hiring manager in order to ensure that good decisions are made. HR recruiters, as noted in the article above, need to work and understand what managers are looking for, and also, to whom they are connected. HR may have a central role in any organization, but we may not have expansive knowledge about business practices or required expertise to fill specific roles as positional or subject matter experts.

Source: Tumblr. The above content constitutes a link to the source website.

Sometimes we impose our own HR processes and timelines on to the overwhelmed and overworked hiring manager, who does not understand or appreciate why ‘our’ processes and timelines are important. If the HR Practitioner is able to make pro-active connections with each hiring manager, then there should be mutual benefit for both.

Discussion Questions:

  • Do you agree that there can be mutual benefit for both HR practitioner and Hiring Manager, if proactive connections are made?
  • What steps can you take when assigned to work with a hiring manager who is too busy to commit to ‘your’ HR processes?
  • What can you do to pro-actively encourage a positive decision-making result when working with a hiring manager?