One of our Solicitors in our litigation department, Nick Platje, has created an article on "Building Productive Employment Relationships - the key to success!". Helpful reading for both Employers and Employees. If you require any employment support please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team today!
Work and employment plays a central part of our lives and has an enormous impact on our physical and mental wellbeing. There are many reasons that we might be unhappy at work and many of us do not know what to do when we are.
While it might often seem like the employment relationship is heavily tilted in favour of employers or employees (depending on where you are standing), New Zealand’s employment law framework is designed to foster and produce strong and productive employment relationships. The rationale is that a strong employment relationship where both the employer and the employee are communicative and confident in one another is beneficial for everyone.
If it is all going well the employer can be confident that their employees are working in their business’ best interests while the employee feels happy, safe, and secure in a place that they could be spending eight or more hours per day.
Often, employment lawyers get involved when this falls apart. The key issue that we observe is a substantial lack of communication leading to a loss of trust and confidence in the other party. This can often lead to blow-out arguments, and can cost a business a huge amount of money while taking an emotional toll on everyone involved.
Ultimately, employment relationship problems are often the result of the failure of one (or both) parties failing to comply with the mutual legal obligation to be “responsive and communicative”.
The obligation to be responsive and communicative requires both parties to actively participate in the employment relationship and engage with each other in good faith. For example, if an employer is concerned about an employee’s performance then the employer must be proactive and communicate those concerns to the employee. The employee must then be responsive and attempt to improve their performance and/or identify the reasons why their performance might be below par. If those issues are within the employer’s control, there might be an obligation to remedy those concerns.
It is important to highlight and stress the fact that this obligation is reciprocal. Both parties to the employment relationship must ensure that they are being responsive and communicative every single day, in every situation. While there are also a number of other, more complicated, obligations on both parties in different specific circumstances, they all begin with whether or not the parties are communicating effectively with one another.
Effective communication leads to trust and confidence; trust and confidence leads to strong employment relationships, which leads to successful and more productive businesses and happy employees.