Opinion: Rating employers

POSTED: 12/30/11 12:00 PM

The Windward Islands chamber of Labor Unions announced yesterday that it will start with a rating system for employers next year. While the system’s exact details are not entirely clear yet, Wiclu president Theophilus Thompson said that it will score employers on the way they treat their employees, among others in terms of job security.
This may feel a bit like a crude name and shame approach, but if the unions manage to develop a fair and balanced assessment system it actually has the potential to create a win-win situation.
Employers who are exposed through the system as riding roughshod over their workers will have trouble finding new employees over time, while companies in good standing will become more attractive to work for.
We all know, however, that it takes two to tango: without employees there are no companies, and without companies there is no need for employees.
So while the unions move towards a rating system for companies, those same companies might very well react with a rating system of their own – one that targets its employees.
Again, this is not necessarily a negative development. Employers have their responsibilities, but the same goes for employees.
The success or failure of such rating systems depends very much on the approach. For the unions it is relatively easy to rate employers, but for employers the matter of rating employees is a tad more sensitive.
Still, if such a system is fair and balanced, it will separate the good employees from their tardier colleagues. It will also open possibilities for performance-based contracts.
This may seem threatening to some, but at the same time it could be the impulse our local economy needs to take its performance to the next level. Employees who know that there is a reward in performing beyond expectations are more likely to do so, than employees who hang on to the rather negative thought that, no matter what they do, they paycheck will remain the same like forever.
We’re curious to see how the unions will go about their rating system and how employers will react to it in the new year.

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