Start-up Guide: "Getting Past Go"
Getting Past Go is a collection of six information sheets designed to help organisations explore the idea of workplace partnership. It’s a basic introduction to what’s involved in working together in partnership, and the benefits and challenges for organisations adopting this approach. We’ve gathered together this information to help you get started and keep moving towards a more productive workplace relationship.
There are six information sheets:
Workplace partnership is a modern approach to managing employment and industrial relations. It describes an employer-union relationship where both partners are committed to supporting each other’s interests, and actively working together in a mutually beneficial way.
Workplace relationships exist between different groups (teams, functions, departments), between management, staff and the union, and between staff and their union. These relationships are influenced by how people individually treat each other in the workplace. A distinctly different approach to workplace relationships is one of the five key attributes common to organisations that have achieved successful workplace partnership.
A successful partnership can only happen when there is a commitment from leaders across the organisation – the union and the employer. The initial commitment is often to instigate and support a workplace partnership project in your organisation.
A workplace partnership requires employers, the union and staff to communicate with each other regularly, honestly and effectively. This can sometimes be challenging in workplaces where people aren’t used to the levels and type of communication required to build true partnership. With partnership, effective communication enables us to discuss each other’s concerns, acknowledge our different points of view and strive to understand those views. Good communication is especially important when there are strong views or feelings about an issue.
Not only are these important in maintaining a partnership long-term, they can also be a good indicator of how you are progressing towards building a successful working partnership. When morale is high and the partners are motivated, you have a greater chance of success. A successful partnership requires everyone to be motivated to make it work, even when things become difficult, or they face frustrations with the process. There also needs to be a good level of morale in the workplace. The road to partnership can be bumpy, and this can test the commitment of the partners. At times, you may find it challenging to maintain people’s motivation and keep morale high.
Workplace partners must have the skills and knowledge necessary to engage effectively with each other in a new way and build the long-term relationship. They must also be capable of moving beyond a conventional – sometimes confrontational – way of relating to each other to try a new and different approach. Any gaps or weaknesses in the current capability of the partners need to be identified and addressed through dialogue, knowledge-building, up-skilling, training, coaching and mentoring.