Share

PACT Partnership in Action at Enterprise Level

Pact Project Logo

The PACT project, which was a joint initiative between Congress and IBEC funded by the European ADAPT programme, finished on the 31st March 2000. The companies represented on the project reflected the diversity of organisations operating in Ireland. Of the companies involved 13 were multinationals and 12 indigenous. Generally the number of employees in the companies was greater than 100 with only six employing less than 100. The industrial sectors in which they operated were as follows; Food processing (4), Pharmaceutical/Medical/Chemical (9), Printing (1), Mining (1), Manufacturing (3), Electronics (3), Clothing (1), Service (2), Broadcasting (1).

 

The overall aim of the project was stated as follows;

The primary aim of the project proposal is to achieve a qualitative change in the relationships at enterprise level between employers and employees and employers and trade unions representing employees in the enterprise, designed to enhance competitiveness and the quality of working life through a partnership approach and the establishment of a set of principles to assist enterprises in managing change.

To achieve this the objectives set out by the joint project management team were as follows;

  1. To establish a regional network of Regional PACT teams (8 regions) who can provide support at local level and who will assist in key stages of the project.
  2. To achieve a broad based understanding of the partnership approach and the competitive environment among trade union and employer organisation officials/shop stewards, employees and managers/employers
  3. To design and implement an evaluative model for a comprehensive critical analysis phase which will address the above objective.
  4. To design and pilot innovative training and development programmes for a selected group of PACT advocates which will equip them as facilitators and enablers capable of supporting the introduction and maintenance of effective partnership at enterprise level.
  5. To develop support models/tools/techniques/processes (PACT Toolkit) which would be used to facilitate the implementation of such a partnership approach at enterprise level.
  6. To design and deliver a number of training interventions and Toolkit applications in selected companies directed at employees, managers, trade union and employer organisation officials and shop stewards.
  7. To monitor and evaluate the impact of the training interventions and the use of the toolkit in facilitating partnership arrangements with reference to the aim of the project.
  8. To articulate and disseminate appropriate models of partnership at local level, based on the final package of training and toolkit materials, to enterprises in Ireland.

The project was divided into five key phases;

  • Research Phase
  • Design/Development Phase
  • In-company Pilot Phase
  • Dissemination Phase
  • Evaluation Phase

The research phase laid the foundations for the remainder of the project. This involved both qualitative and quantitative research was carried out in 25 companies throughout the country to identify the potential barriers to developing and sustaining partnership at enterprise level and the training/learning needs required to address the barriers as identified. The research was conducted in the main through the use of focus groups sessions. The aim of the research was to solicit the holistic view of employees and management within the organisation with regard to the research areas as identified. To ensure that the research was representative factors such as functional area, gender and employment status were taken into consideration in selecting the participants for the research

The feedback from the participants regarding the impact of the research within their individual organisations was very positive and provided tremendous insight to the issues facing organisation who are attempting to move towards a partnership approach. The research consultant to the project Dr John Geary presented the overall findings of the research at two national workshops. The results demonstrated a convergence of views within the participating organisations as many of the emerging themes were common to all.

As a result of the research findings seven diagnostic instruments were developed by the PACT teams specifically;

  • Evaluating the Effectiveness of Partnership
  • Communications
  • Reward & Recognition
  • Work Organisation
  • Management and Trade Union Structures and Styles
  • Trust
  • Training Needs Analysis for Partnership

The diagnostic tools provide a systematic, ordered approach to understanding, analysing and presenting information concerning an aspect of the employment relationship. The purpose of the diagnostics will be to enable the parties at company level to jointly audit their current effectiveness in a specific area and agree actions that will address the issues identified.

The diagnostics will be available to all organisations that have agreement from both trade unions and management to jointly undertake the use of a particular diagnostic. To ensure that the instruments are used appropriately a facilitator approved by both Congress and IBEC will be assigned.

A summary of the overall purpose of the diagnostics and a synopsis of the individual diagnostics are provided below.

Common Purpose of Diagnostics/Instruments

The aim of the diagnostics is to assist organisations to assess factors that can help or hinder the introduction and development of partnership structures/arrangements.

Based on research these instruments have been designed to enable organisations to make an evaluation of the following areas in the context of a partnership approach.

  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Management/Trade Union structures and styles
  • Evaluating Partnership
  • Work Organisation and Team-working
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Training Needs Analysis for Partnership

Common Principles

The design and application of these instruments has at all times been grounded in the partnership ethos, and the values underpinning these instruments include;

  • Joint co-operation
  • Opportunity to Participate
  • Openness
  • Consultation
  • Developing Trust & Mutual Understanding

Common Application

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless it is agreed to proceed by all parties.

  • Each Instrument will have an assigned Facilitator
  • A joint working group should be established
  • Relevant training provided to the group in the specific area
  • Application of the questionnaire should be planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Agreed analysis with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Agreed action plan developed

Evaluating Partnership Diagnostic

Aims and Objectives

The partnership evaluation diagnostic is designed to measure the extent to which partnership is developed in an organisation at a given time. The data generated by the diagnostic provides an overview of the current level of Partnership development, as experienced by employees and managers across the organisation.

Content

It is recommended that the joint management/union working group undergo a partnership training course, which introduces participants to the concept of partnership and initiates their thinking on how partnership might work in their organisation.

Section 1:
An introduction on the concept of Partnership within organisations; why the need for change; the Principles underlying Partnership; the Barriers to developing a Partnership approach; the areas in which it can be applied and the Benefits of Partnership to all parties involved.

Section 2:
A Questionnaire which examines the perspective of employees from all functions and areas across the organisation with regard to the level of partnership that exists in the areas of:

  • Organisational Relationships
  • Trust
  • Representation
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Information Sharing
  • Problem Solving
  • Representative Role
  • Training and Development - Organisational Change
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Reward
  • Equality
  • Management Role
  • Strategic Decision Making
  • Operational Decision Making

Section 3:
Guidelines for the facilitator are provided for evaluating responses from the questionnaire.

Outcomes

The partnership data provide the basis for a full exploration of the partnership process, and the development of an action plan (partnership targets/projects/initiatives) jointly designed by management, employee and union participants of a partnership forum/ committee. The diagnostic can be administered at regular intervals in the organisation, and so allows for progress in partnership development to be assessed.

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • An approved Facilitator is appointed
  • A joint management/union working group should then be established
  • Relevant training is provided in the specific area
  • The application of the questionnaire is then planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Analysis of the results is conducted with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • The results are provided to all stakeholders
  • An agreed action plan is developed by the joint working group

Communications Diagnostic

Aims & Objectives

The aim of the communications diagnostic is to assist organisations to assess factors that are currently helping or hindering the flow of communication in their organisation.

Content

Section 1:
An introduction is given which outlines what communication is; why it is important; the necessary levels of communication; the requisite information and what effective communication for the individual involves.

Section 2:
A questionnaire which is designed to enable organisations to make an evaluation of the following key elements of communication

  • The communication system already in place
  • Information which is currently being provided to employees about their jobs
  • Information being communicated about areas / departments and the business unit
  • Information being communicated about the environment within which you do business.
  • The degree to which vertical and horizontal communication takes place
  • The quality, relevance, and timing of the information currently being communicated

Section 3:
Guidelines for the facilitator are provided for evaluating responses from the questionnaire.

Outcome

The diagnostic will provide the means by which an effective action plan can be formulated. This action plan should strive to produce an organisation whose communications is characterised by a positive flow of timely, accurate and candid information which in turn enables employees to carry out their jobs effectively.

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • A approved Facilitator is appointed
  • A joint working group should then be established
  • The application of the communications diagnostic is then planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Analysis of the results is conducted with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • The results are provided to all stakeholders
  • An agreed action plan is developed by the joint working group

Trust Diagnostic

Aims & Objectives

The aim of this Diagnostic is to identify the relative trust levels in the organisation, as perceived by employees and managers and to recognise any differences between the perceptions of these groups and those of the organisation's senior management group.

Content

Section 1:
An introduction to the concept of trust in terms of measuring trust; trust within the organisational context; defining trust; principles underpinning trust and the building blocks of trust. The first section also details the purpose of the Questionnaire; how it should be applied.

Section 2:
A three part questionnaire, to be completed by employees, managers and senior managers respectively. It will evaluate Trust levels by measuring perceptions and attitudes across a wide variety of indicators/categories. These indicators/categories include Career Development, Peers Groups, Current Management Styles and Systems, Human Resource Management Procedures, and Industrial Relations.

Section 3:
Guidelines are provided for the Facilitator to detect inconsistency in responses and how to analysis the results.

Outcome

The diagnostic will provide an overview of the levels of trust within the organisation and identify any differences in perception that may exist between the three key grouping within the organisation. This will assist the joint management/union working group to develop an action plan aimed at enhancing the level of trust with in the workplace.

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • An approved Facilitator is appointed
  • A joint working group established
  • The joint working group should attempt to define what is meant by Trust in the organisation.
  • The application of the Trust diagnostic is then planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Analysis of the results is conducted with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • The results are provided to all stakeholders
  • An agreed action plan is developed by the joint working group

Work Organisation Diagnostic

Aims & Objectives

The purpose of this diagnostic is to establish the manner in which work is organised within the workplace. It seeks to establish if the building blocks of workplace partnership in the form of employee involvement exists.

Content

Section 1:
An introduction is given on the overall purpose and design of the diagnostic including; a definition of the concept of work organisation; understanding 'new' forms of work organsiation; linking 'new' work practices with workplace partnership.

Section 2:
A questionnaire which examines a number of issues;

  • Biographical
  • Nature of the Job
  • Team-working
  • Employee Involvement
  • Communications

Section 3:
Guidelines for the facilitator are provided for evaluating responses from the questionnaire.

Outcomes

The diagnostic is designed to establish the degree of autonomy, complexity and influence employees exercise over their work. Team-working where it exists is examined to determine the degree of discretion enjoyed by team members. The structure of the team is examined to establish whether it is a loose informal arrangement or a more formalised one where decision-making authority is devolved to the team.

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • An approved Facilitator is appointed
  • A joint management/union working group should then be established
  • The application of the questionnaire is then planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Analysis of the results is conducted with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • The results are provided to all stakeholders
  • An agreed action plan is developed by the joint working group

Reward & Recognition Diagnostic

Aims & Objectives

The diagnostic is designed to clarify managerial and employee attitudes to the existing system of Reward and Recognition within the individual organisation. It will elucidate the viewpoints of both parties regarding the strengths and weaknesses and the level of satisfaction with the existing system. This will assist in a joint employee/management review of the existing Reward & Recognition system within the organisation and the extent to which it fulfils the expectations and objectives of both parties.

Content

It is recommended that the joint management/union working group undergo a training programme in the area of Reward & Recognition, so that participants have a comprehensive understanding of alternative Reward & Recognition systems.

Section 1:
An overview of the objectives of a Reward & Recognition system for employers, employees and their trade unions.

Section 2:
A questionnaire which consists of two sections;

  • A management survey which involves a company profile, a brief description of the existing Reward & Recognition system, its policy and objectives.
  • An employee survey which assesses their perception of the Reward & Recognition system in terms of the extrinsic reward and the level of involvement and satisfaction.

Section 3:
Guidelines are provided for the facilitator to interpret the results of the questionnaire

Outcomes

The outcome of the diagnostic may result in a modification, a substantial alteration or simply leave the existing Reward & Recognition system unchanged. Any action to alter or modify the existing system can only proceed on the basis of a joint agreement between management and employees or their representatives.

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • An approved Facilitator is appointed
  • A joint management/union working group should then be established
  • Relevant training is provided in the specific area
  • The application of the questionnaire is then planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Analysis of the results is conducted with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • The results are provided to all stakeholders
  • An agreed action plan is developed by the joint working group

Management/Trade Union Structures & Styles Diagnostic

Aims & Objectives

The diagnostic is one part of the self-examination that will lead the parties to recognise the factors that may inhibit the development of partnership within the organisation. This diagnostic is intended to allow the Partnership Group or a wider Group involved in the Partnership process to the record the commitment of the various levels of management and trade union to partnership within the enterprise.

Content

Section 1:
An outline of the purpose of using the diagnostic

Section 2:
The questionnaire that distinguishes between different levels of management and different roles on the trade union side in a number of aspects; the current state of the various relationships within and between the parties; identifies positive and negative attributes which reflect the style of both management and trade union interests within the organisation.

Section 3:
Guidelines for the facilitator are provided for evaluating responses from the questionnaire.

Outcome

The diagnostic will allow the Partnership Group to identify any sub-groups or categories on either management or union side that are not participating in the partnership process or to confirm a suspicion that that is the case. The Partnership Group can then take appropriate steps to remedy the position. Furthermore the successive use of the Diagnostic will also allow the Partnership Group to compare change over time with regard to the factors covered.

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • An approved Facilitator is appointed
  • If formal partnership structures are not yet established the instrument should be confined to participants in the normal management/trade union negotiating and consultative structures
  • The application of the communications diagnostic is then planned with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • Analysis of the results is conducted with the assistance of the assigned Facilitator
  • The results are provided to all Participants
  • An agreed action plan is developed by the joint working group

Training Needs Analysis Diagnostic

Aims & Objectives

Working in Partnership is different to operating in a collective bargaining mode and requires its own particular brand of skills and know-how, as such effective contributors to the Partnership process need to possess unique skills as well as a broad range of knowledge. The aim of this diagnostic is to provide the means by which an organisation can identify these skills and know-how and supply the means by which they can be put in place in an organisation.

Content

Section 1:
An introduction to the terms 'Skills' and 'Knowledge'.

Section 2:
An overview of the process involved in identifying the range of skills and knowledge that may be required to support an effective partnership process

Section 3:
Guidelines for the Facilitator

Process

This instrument should not be applied within any organisation unless all parties agree to its application.

  • An approved Facilitator is appointed
  • The facilitator begins the process of training the participants in the techniques needed to apply the diagnostic
  • The participants agree the extent to which training can make good any shortfall or requirements that the organisation may have with regard to the partnership process.
  • The stages of the process are mapped out by the participants
  • The Brainstorming and META planning phases begin
  • A training plan is formed

Outcome

For successful partnership it is important that participants be knowledgeable with regard to the Partnership Process as well as having relevant knowledge regarding their own organisation. The outcomes of this diagnostic should facilitate an organisation in approaching partnership equipped with the appropriate skills and knowledge base.