Working in Partnership on Pay and Employment Equity
Partnerships of employers, employees and unions can contribute rich and diverse perspectives and experiences for improving pay and employment equity, particularly in a review setting.
Discussing and agreeing the group’s ground rules/ways of working together makes explicit the “rules” that often are not explicit, and provides a way of developing common understandings. The group will generate some rules and others will come from the organisations the group operates within. Formalising these helps to develop an environment that encourages committee members to participate, defines acceptable behaviour and provides agreed processes for dealing with possible problems.
Sort out an agreed joint purpose statement to formalise the reasons you are doing this work.
Develop clear understanding about parameters, use of information, communications strategies, constituencies and mandates. Work to understand each other’s needs, interests, goals and issues about pay and employment equity.
Pay and employment equity review committees need to share understandings of the context they are working in, including government policy on pay and employment equity and relevant legislation (including the Employment Relations Act, the Privacy Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Human Rights Act and the State Sector Act).
Some roles need to be discussed, agreed and implemented.
Meetings need to be facilitated. This may be done by the project manager or a committee member - assess who has the best skills.
Assign the role of note taker. This person (this role could be rotated) will record a lot of the discussion.
Particular roles within the committee involve collecting and analysing data, consultation, communication and other committee work. Committee members need to agree on distribution of the tasks involved and take responsibility for carrying out the work.
Particular roles outside the committee need to be identified for example communications staff, payroll staff, data analysts and equity ‘experts’.
Clarifying roles and relationships between the project manager, the committee and the sponsor.
Some members of the committee will be representing smaller groups of staff. Discuss and agree on the processes you will use to ensure their interests are not lost in the larger, possibly more vocal, interests. This is important in an equity process, because smaller groups often have particular issues they may not have been able to gain attention for in the past. Communication strategies and validation methodologies need to ensure that all staff from all levels, areas, occupational groups and regions, have the opportunity to participate.
Skills in a partnership process
Some of the skills for making partnerships of employers, employees, and unions effective include:
- active listening, especially listening without judgment
- effective questioning
- having a dialogue
- working from evidence
- problem solving.