Last week the Scottish Government’s long awaited Fair Work Convention (FWC) issued its Fair Work Framework. (FFF). This is the first substantial fruit of Scotland’s distinctive approach to the workplace. The FWC into which CIPD has had major input seeks to engage employers, unions and policy makers in a new conversation about the workplace. Its finding and conclusions though hardly novel are nonetheless credible and doable. If we are to build better work, pay higher wages, include more people in the labour market, its recommendations get us closer to that. The framework puts forward five dimensions of fair work:
Effective Voice: That is a commitment beyond communication channels towards effective dialogue and consultation for employees and their representatives. The framework suggests that this would be best facilitated by organisations resolving to integrate systems and structures, training for managers to develop competence in the area and an extended role for unions.
Opportunity: This goes beyond fair access and an inclusive labour market with minimum floors, towards the proactive development of opportunities to develop fair work. HR interventions like recruitment, learning and development, Organisational development and design and initiatives such as apprenticeship and internship are all ways of creating effective opportunity.
Security: This is the idea of contractual stability an aspiration for jobs to be secure and productive and a recognition that these are interdependent. To an extent it recognises the value of flexibility and diversity of tenure, but sets out another challenge to atypical contracts such as Zero Hours contracts.
Fulfilment. Is about everything from purpose and culture to learning, wellbeing coaching and CPD. HR can support this through better job design and skills utilisation, which can also lead to better productivity and performance. One call out is around performance management, with a challenge on its effectiveness and impact on mood and climate.
Respect: Is about treating people well as colleagues whatever their role or status. It means we afford people dignity and worth in the workplace. It has an organisational pay off in terms of better relationships building trust and responsiveness and dealing with toxic behaviours which can ultimately bring down organisations.
The practical actions which employers, employee, government and others can take are designed to get Scotland to an internally recognised benchmark for fair work by 2020. This is ambitious and there will be lots of challenges but shows a welcome emphasis on the workplace.
CIPD welcomes the Fair Work Framework, which chimes well with our mission to “Champion better work and working lives”. There is much that we agree with and some issues where we may take a different view. We will be analysing the evidence more fully in forthcoming weeks and will meet with the Convention to put forward our perspective. We have outlined these in our pre-election Scotland manifesto. Everybody wants to see a fair and productive workplace. The framework provides a welcome focus on how that should shape up.
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