Employee Relations and Motivation is an exciting field because it embraces so many aspects of occupational psychology. When I was the eqivalent of a practitioner-in-training at the Department for Work and Pensions, I had the privilege to experience organisational change, human resource management and employee satisfaction/employee well-being, amongst other areas. After eight years with DWP, I left to join the private sector and to experience the cut and thrust of commercial life. It was here that I saw the harsh reality of conflict in the workplace.
The concept of the psychological contract is critical to understanding Employee Relations and Motivation. People go to work expecting to be managed by competent managers; they expect their contribution to the business to be recognised and valued; they expect to be treated with respect and to have equal access to resources, opportunities, information and management time. Toxic workplaces fail to deliver these critical ingredients.
I now run a consultancy that works specifically with companies in conflict. My interventions are focused around cultural change, training and coaching. I also mediate in situations where there is interpersonal conflict or an employment dispute.
Conflict resolution is a challenging environment to work in. However, any downsides are off-set by the rewards of being able to help protect both the organisation and its employees from the psychological, physiological and economic costs of conflict.
Kisane Prutton, MSc., C. Psychol., CSci., Registered Occupational Psychologist