Interest-based consultation (IBC) is a collaborative approach to workplace consultation.
Workplace consultation happens when an employer consults with employees before making a change to their work circumstances.
An interest-based approach to consultation aims to find a solution that serves the needs (or interests) of both the employer and the affected employees.
IBC means involving the union (if there is one) early in workplaces issues, either pre-emptively or as soon as an issue is first identified. The parties can then work together to solve the problem. IBC can also be used to deal with longstanding or ongoing issues.
IBC leads to better outcomes by including people who are affected by decisions in the decision-making process.
Interest-based consultation leads to:
Successful IBC usually results in an agreement between parties. It can help create a productive workplace where people enjoy working.
Read more about what it means to take an interest-based approach
Consultation can and should be a consistent feature of workplace engagement. All modern awards include consultation obligations. All enterprise agreements need to have a consultation clause dealing with workplace change.
Employers can choose to consult on a wide range of employment matters including:
When you’re using interest-based consulting on a proposed change, all parties need to understand what the change is.
Employers and employees then share information and discuss the merits and effects of the change together.
A successful IBC process will:
Our guide to interest-based consultation sets out how to take an interest-based approach to consultation in your workplace
Employers and employees who have a good relationship should consider IBC. Interest-based approaches involve a high level of information-sharing and genuine communication, so trust and respect between the parties is important.
IBC is harder in workplaces where relationships are strained or where there is distrust between management and staff. However, IBC can be used to improve difficult relationships.
Our interest-based consultation guide sets out how to adopt this approach in your workplace, including our suggested model for consulting this way. You can also read more about how interest-based approaches make for better workplaces.
We also offer support through our Cooperative Workplaces program. The program is for workplaces that want to try interest-based approaches. A Commission Member will work with you to deliver training and help you facilitate the process. They will also offer guidance and advice as you make the change to using an interest-based approach. The program is free.