CONSULTATION : On Faith And Clarity

My boss wants to renegotiate my contract and has said that it will be done in “good faith”. This statement is surely dependent on many things – what do you think this means?

Good faith” is relatively new term used in New Zealand Employment Contracts and is also feature of workplace relations in Canada, South Africa and the US. Its supporters say good-faith bargaining is process that helps redress the power imbalance between employers and employees. The intention of the introduction of good-faith bargaining is clearly to build and enhance sound productive relationships.
Wikipedia states that “Good faith, is the mental and moral state of honesty, conviction as to the truth or falsehood of proposition or body of opinion, or as to the rectitude or depravity of line of conduct, even if the conviction is objectively unfounded. This concept is important in law” and “As the positive freedom of contract, this principle means that the formation of contract and the selections of its terms are the result of the free will of the parties. Freedom of contracts admits contest between the contracting parties themselves as to the terms of the contract, but the value of reinforcing self-reliance and initiative, underlying any contest, is not absolute.”
In regard to your employment contract, “good faith” means that all parties in any agreement negotiation must act with respect, trust and honesty with each other in order to achieve outcomes that are agreed and satisfactory to all parties. If done in this way then “good faith” resolution has been effectively completed. Good faith also extends beyond the contract sign-off and also must be upheld through the term of the engagement. It’s about how people and organisations treat one another every day, including being responsive and communicative.
The Department of Labour website has lot of information in regard to Employment Contracts and the nature of the “Good Faith” intent.
The Employment Relations Act 2000 has “good faith” as its central principle. The Act states that Employers, employees and unions must deal with each other honestly and openly. Specifically, the Act:
• Promotes good employment relations and good faith behaviour, which includes mutual obligations of trust and confidence between employers, employees and unions.
• Sets the environment for individual and collective employment relationships.
• Sets out requirements for the negotiation and content of collective and individual employment agreements.
• Provides prompt and flexible options for resolving problems in employment relationships.

I have heard the term “core competencies” used often. Can you tell me more about this?

A core competence can be any combination of attitudes, knowledge and skills. Core competencies are those capabilities that are critical to business achieving sustainable competitive advantage.
The main ideas about “core competencies” were developed by C K Prahalad and Gary Hamel through series of articles in the Harvard Business Review followed by the best-selling book Competing for the Future. Their central idea is that over time, companies may develop key areas of expertise which are distinctive to that company and critical to the company’s long-term growth. Hamel and Prahalad argue that corporation should be built around core of shared competencies and that competitiveness derives from an ability to build core competence at lower cost and more speedily than competitors.
Basically it’s all about the unique set of skills, knowledge, and expertise that allows an organisation to remain competitive and provide value to customers. Fisher & Paykel has core competencies in domestic whiteware manufacturing, product marketing, science-based product development, quality assurance, and distribution. Tait Electronics with its mobile radios has over 40 years experience as global leader in designing and delivering tough, reliable radio solutions for variety of industries.
Core competencies need to be developed and built and improved over time so as to ensure organisations continually improve and ensure sustainable advantage. Good core competencies cannot be easily copied by others. Resources that are standardised or easily available, on the other hand, will not enable business to achieve competitive advantage over rivals.
An individual’s core competencies are those sets of acquired skills that are relevant to their employment and roles in society. Examples of core competencies of an individual could include an ability to communicate well, qualifications and experience, literacy, vision, foresight, ethics, tactics, focus, decisiveness, the ability to inspire, courage, sound judgement, integrity, innovativeness, versatility, relationship building, conflict management and many others.
Any job seeker must fully understand their individual competencies and how best these may be demonstrated to their prospective employer as beneficial to that organisation to present compelling argument for their appointment.

Kevin Vincent is CEO, NZIM Southern.

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