Project on Dispute Resolution
Using the simulated business information provided, and in response to a scenario, you will plan and conduct a role-play in which you provide a colleague with guidance regarding a dispute between the colleague and a member of their team. You will then develop an action plan in consultation with the colleague.
- Read the scenario and role-play information in Appendix 1.
- Review and familiarise yourself with the JKL Industries simulated business documentation, including strategic plans and operational plans. Note what the organisation does, how it does it, what its goals and objectives are, and who its stakeholders and customers are.
- Plan to lead a role-played guidance session for a peer manager in response to the scenario.
- Complete the first activity in the action plan template provided in Appendix 2.
- Plan how you will:
a. Build trust with your colleague through assuming a calm, professional and emotionally receptive attitude and demeanour.
b. Adjust your personal communication style appropriately to meet the needs (both emotional and technical) of your colleague.
c. Discuss relevant grievance policies and procedures for resolving conflict in accordance with organisational and legislative requirements.
d. Discuss strategies for identifying root causes of conflict and for resolving the conflict.
e. Collaborate with your colleague to develop an action plan (completing the one from Appendix 2 you have already begun to implement by leading this session), including at least three actions your colleague to take to resolve the issue with their employee.
- Arrange a time and place with your assessor to participate in the role-play.
- Perform your role-play in accordance with the specifications set out below.
- Submit your completed action plan within the agreed timeframe.
- participate in a guidance session role-play
- submit an action plan
Your assessor will be looking for evidence of your ability to:
- provide leadership through your own behaviour, including:
○ professional conduct that promotes trust with internal and external contacts
○ adjusting own interpersonal communication style to meet the organisation’s cultural diversity and ethical environment
- develop and/or implement processes and systems to manage difficulties, including:
○ identifying and resolving conflicts and other difficulties according to organisational policies and procedures
○ planning how to address difficulties
○ providing guidance, counselling and support to assist co-workers in resolving their work difficulties.
- explain and discuss procedures for conflict resolution
- discuss relevant legislation
- interact with others through:
○ adapting your personal communication style to model behaviour and build trust and positive working relationships
○ playing a lead role in situations requiring effective collaboration
- get the work done through:
○ taking responsibility for planning in collaboration with others
○ developing action plans
- demonstrate writing skills through preparing action plans that incorporate appropriate vocabulary, grammatical structure and conventions.
Appendix 1: Scenario – JKL Industries
JKL Industries overview
JKL Industries is an Australian-owned company, selling forklifts, small trucks and spare parts to industry. They also have a division that leases forklifts and small trucks. The company’s head office is in Sydney and has branches in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra.
After 12 years in business, focusing on forklifts and small trucks, JKL Industries has negotiated the sales rights to a range of medium and large trucks from an overseas supplier. This opportunity will provide JKL Industries with an advantage in range over its competitors.
Sales results over the past five years have indicated strong growth in forklift and truck sales, which have averaged 10% sales growth per annum. The rental market has been in decline for the past three years due to the reduced costs of these vehicles and some taxation benefits to industries who purchase these vehicles.
Taking the sales rights opportunity will, however, entail some significant changes, including significant changes to the current organisational structure. The company will reposition itself to focus solely on retail sales and service and exit the rentals market, in which forces such as competition and consumer choice reduce potential profitability.
In accordance with the organisation’s values, JKL Industries intends (to the extent feasible) to recruit from within the company and up-skill or re-skill existing employees presently working in rentals who wish to remain with the company. Given the company’s previous history of employee grievances over pay and conditions and current plans to restructure, JKL Industries has identified poor communications and an organisational climate of conflict as a risk to business goals.
Moving forward, the organisation intends to build and maintain a positive organisational culture, reduce risk and achieve organisational goals through:
- developing an effective policy framework for managing internal communications and consultation, in accordance with organisational objectives, business ethics, and compliance requirements
- communicating and building support for organisational initiatives and objectives
- managing information flow to:
○ provide managers and employees with at-hand information to perform their work responsibilities
○ communicate ideas for improvement (top-down and bottom-up)
○ facilitate feedback both to and from employees and management on relevant work performance and outcomes of consultation.
Role-play information: HR Business Partner
You are an HR Business Partner working in the JKL Industries Brisbane branch. You report directly to the HR Manager in the Sydney Head Office. As an employee of the Brisbane branch, you also report to the Brisbane Branch Manager. You work to provide information to employees, team leaders and managers at the branch, facilitate service delivery through HR centres of excellence, such as compliance and training and development, and partner with managers to assist them in strategising, workforce planning and development, and in meeting the needs of their customers, employees and the business as a whole. A peer manager (from Rentals) has made an appointment to come to you about an employee grievance.
A rental employee of the Brisbane branch is concerned about plans to restructure the business. The employee is extremely angry and feels that they:
- will definitely lose their job as a result of the restructure
- will not be given the opportunity to retrain.
They would like to formally complain that their manager has not provided rental employees with opportunities to retrain. In addition, the employee feels they must be underpaid because they know people in the same job in the same industry who are making much more. They don’t understand the basis of their pay or conditions.
Finally, the employee is currently organising other rental and sales employees for a possible strike. They intend to pressure their union into supporting and publicising the strike.
You know that the Rentals Manager is very concerned about the impact of the grievance on team cohesion and, potentially, the goals and objectives of the organisation. You also suspect that the manager will be hurt or angry themselves, as they have indicated their sincere desire to improve employee relations within their team through better communication and relationship-building.
The trouble is that while the manager may have the best intentions, they are relatively inexperienced and may not be approaching the conflict with the most productive mindset. And they may not have all the conflict resolution tools, tactics and strategies that you are equipped with as a more experienced HR specialist.
In addition, you are aware of the following facts:
- JKL Industries’ firm policy and intention is to retrain rental employees to retain talent (retraining is in JKL’s interest).
- So far the employee has adhered to the grievance policy as intended by the organisation. The grievance procedure sets out a process whereby disputes are kept at the lowest level. Employees should take their grievance first to their immediate supervisor, which the employee has done. This gives managers the first opportunity to respond appropriately, which is only fair. The Rentals Manager now has an opportunity to resolve the dispute early.
- The employee is paid to the terms of the relevant modern award (MA000089 Vehicle Manufacturing, Repair, Services and Retail Award 2010), but that all employees will soon be able to negotiate possibly much better pay and conditions in upcoming enterprise bargaining.
In your meeting with the Rentals Manager to provide guidance, lead the meeting through the following stages:
- greeting the manager
- listening to their side
- responding to the manager appropriately
- working with the manager to come up with viable solutions
- documenting activities in an action plan.
You will also, as appropriate:
- listen to the manager: understand the facts as they see them and understand their feelings
- adopt an appropriate leadership/communication style
- be reflective, regulate your emotions, and refrain from reacting
- explain the facts as you understand them, including providing an explanation of the grievance policy, its benefit to the organisation, and the relevance of at least one piece of legislation
- help the manager to understand reasons for the grievance
○ Note: Given the climate of fear and suspicion that has existed within JKL Industries, such a grievance may not be very unlikely. It is also possible that plain communications of facts and organisational intentions may have failed because of the underlying emotional work context. As such, the complaint should not necessarily be a cause of offense.
- using your knowledge of dispute resolution, collaborate with the manager to determine a series of at least three activities to resolve the conflict with the employee and complete an action plan (use the template provided in Appendix 2)
- offer to mediate in the dispute, if required, or help to provide assistance if it requires further escalation.
Given the company’s industrial relations history and restructure plans, and history of conflict and mistrust, contributing to positive employee relationship-building through assisting managers will constitute a key measure of your value to the organisation.
Appendix 2: Action plan template
|Action/activity||Timeframe||Person/s responsible||Description of strategy/ tactic/rationale for action||Resources, if required|
|HR meeting with manager (rental)||HR Business Partner (you)|
Source: Business Institute of Australia, BSBLDR502, Assessment Task 3
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