Employee Relations

What Is Employee Relations?

When it comes to employee relations, an HR department has two primary functions. First, HR helps prevent and resolve problems or disputes between employees and management. Second, they assist in creating and enforcing policies that are fair and consistent for everyone in the workplace. Employee relations refers to an organization’s efforts to fulfill these functions and create and maintain a positive relationship with its employees.

By maintaining positive, constructive employee relations, organizations hope to keep employees loyal and more engaged in their work.

Typically, an organization’s human resources department manages employee relations efforts; however, some organizations may have a dedicated employee relations manager.

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What Does an Employee Relations Job Involve?

Typical responsibilities of an employee relations manager include:

5 Examples of Employee Relations

Why Is Employee Relations Management Important?

Employees can’t work well together without positive relationships with their colleagues and leadership team. Proper relationship management helps build effective teams where everyone respects each other, collaborates, listens to new ideas, and works together seamlessly.

To maintain positive employee relations, organizations must first view employees as stakeholders and contributors in the company. Adopting this perspective encourages management and executives to seek employee feedback, value their input, and consider the employee experience when making business decisions.

How to Handle Employee Relations Issues

1. Create an Employee Relations Strategy

An employee relations strategy is a way to maintain a balance between employers and employees by creating an environment conducive to each group’s needs. Employers want productivity and performance; employees want acknowledgment and appreciation. A good employee relations strategy will help both get what they want.

At a minimum, your strategy should include the following KPIs:

2. Listen to Employee Feedback

There are many types of employee relations issues, and the way to handle them can vary depending on the issue. However, there are some general guidelines to follow. One is to listen. Give your full attention and focus on what is being said vocally and physically before taking appropriate action.

3. Educate and Communicate

Make sure to educate and communicate with employees to maintain positive employee relations. The more your employees know the rules and expectations, the better. Consistency across the board is key here. If some employees have privileges over others, no one will care what you say.

4. Ensure Compliance

Finally, document everything. Keeping accurate legal and employee records is vital for employee relations issues. You will likely find yourself needing to refer back to them, and they will be especially useful if an employee lawsuit is brought against the company.

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