The aim of this paper is to provide a representation of the employee viewpoint on emerging issues related to HRM practices associated with the ‘new employment relationship’. Data obtained from employees across two studies in two very different countries – South Africa and New Zealand has been used to represent the employee perspective. Interestingly, a number of shared perceptions about these HRM practices are found to exist between employees from South Africa and New Zealand, suggesting the problems employees currently experience with the HR practices in the workplace that aim to promote this new relationship could be more widely shared.
The areas of shared concern highlighted by employees were mainly related to the implementation of HRM practices. For example, insufficient line management commitment, unfairness and inconsistency in the application of HR policies were all issues that were commonly raised, as was poor communication. Employees attributed these problems to the inadequate skills of those responsible for the implementation of HRM, and tended to be of the view that they could effectively be resolved through the HR department playing a more central role in the implementation of HRM in an organisation, training of line managers to carry out their HR responsibilities more effectively and increased consultation with employees.
Employees participating in these studies appeared to demonstrate a surprisingly high level of awareness and cognisance in identifying problems with HR practice and more significantly how these problems might be rectified. This would support the importance of accessing the employee perspective in both the implementation and research into HRM in practice. Based on the issues highlighted by the employees, increased co operation between line management, the HR department and employees is suggested to facilitate the effective design and implementation of HRM practice in this era of new employment relations.