Employee relations are the relationships between employers and employees. These relationships determine how you handle certain situations, for example, issues with pay and benefits, managing conflict and providing a healthy work-life balance. Companies which effectively manage staff relations are more likely to achieve employee engagement, which ultimately improves the bottom line of an organisation.
In this article, we will look at this term in more detail and why the relationship between the employer and the employee is so important. We will also discuss what your Human Resources department can do to create a productive working environment.
- What are Employee Relations in Human Resources?
- Employee Relationship Management: Common Issues
- Why Is the Employer Employee Relationship Important?
- The Benefits of Strong Employee and Labour Relations
- Role of the Human Relations Manager in Cultivating Employee Relations
- Employee Relations Best Practices
Employee relations refer to the relationship between the employer and employee. It’s important to consider all the potential interactions within a company and to implement policies so that the relationship between an organisation and its people is managed through fair and transparent practices.
An effective employee relations program should define:
- Policies for preventing and resolving disputes between employees and managers
- Working conditions
- Reasonable working hours
- Pay and benefits
- Measures to improve the work-life balance
- Procedures for collecting and implementing employee feedback
- Reward and recognition schemes
An organisation with a good employee relations policy provides fair and consistent treatment to all employees. This helps team members commit to their jobs and increases loyalty. It also reduces the number of employee disputes and creates an environment based on mutual respect and appreciation. This is important because employees that are treated fairly are more likely to be loyal and productive workers.
Employee relationship management covers a broad range of potential issues. The following employee relations examples should help you work out what policies and procedures you need to implement. An HR risk management strategy can help you identify any other issues relevant to your business.
- Conflict: this could include disputes between employees, leadership issues, and personality clashes. Unresolved conflict can result in decreased productivity, communication problems, and poor company morale. In worst-case scenarios, it can affect turnover and profits.
- Sexual Harassment & Bullying: a lack of clear policies, such as an employee relationship policy regarding sexual harassment and bullying can result in an undesirable workplace. If left unaddressed, it can affect employee performance and team morale. It can also affect the company’s reputation and increase absenteeism.
- Wage and Hour Issues: if you fail to clearly define working hours and compensation packages it could result in employee disputes. It could also result in non-compliance and wage and hour violations. The same goes for annual leave disputes and time and attendance issues.
- Workplace Health & Safety: all workers are entitled to work in an environment where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Employers have a duty to consult with their employees on health and safety matters. If the working environment is unsafe then it will have a direct effect on the employee experience.
The most valuable asset in any company is its employees. They are the backbone of any organisation and it is important not to take them for granted or treat them unfairly. The correct employee relationship management is key to any company. The most successful organisations make employee engagement central to their business strategy. They also provide employees with the tools and support to do their best work.
If you look after your staff and cultivate positive employer employee relationships then you are far more likely to maintain a supportive working environment. When members of an organisation share positive relationships, employee productivity, engagement, motivation and morale tend to be much higher. Individuals value their employer and they are more inclined to be productive and hard-working employees.
- Productivity: if you create a happy work environment, you will increase employee motivation and morale. This, in turn, will increase trust and productivity and result in more profit for your business.
- Loyalty: a pleasant work environment means a loyal workforce. Lower employee turnover means reduced hiring and onboarding costs. This means that more money can be spent on training and improving the skills of your existing employees.
- Reduced Conflict: less conflict means your employees can focus on what’s most important – doing their job to the best of their ability.
- Legal Compliance: a clear policy for managing internal relations can help you avoid federal wage and hour violations. It can also help you comply with workplace health and safety regulations.
Ultimately, if you don’t protect the happiness and well-being of your workers, you risk losing your most important asset. A happy workforce is a productive workforce, after all.
Building a strong employee relations strategy means creating an environment that gives people what they want. Employees want to feel good about what they do and where they work. This is especially true during difficult times, such as the current Covid-19 pandemic, which is bound to have an effect on employee mental health.
There are various things a Human Relations manager can do to create a happy environment and improve the employee and employer relationship. Here are a few best practices for you to consider when you create your relations strategy to help your employees feel valued and supported.
- Communication and transparency: make sure there are open lines of communication so employees feel they can speak up. This will help you avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes. Conduct regular surveys with your employees so that they feel that their voices are heard.
- Appreciation and gratitude: provide feedback and constructive criticism on a regular basis. This will help your staff feel valued, and encourage them to grow and improve.
- Rewards and recognition: implement a system for recognizing and rewarding good work. This will inspire your employees to aim higher and focus on continuous improvement.
- Show employees that you care: treat your staff like people, not just cogs in the machine. Be kind and provide guidance and support. You could even provide perks such as corporate gym membership or meal vouchers.
- Implement a system for time and attendance tracking to avoid disputes with timesheets, wages, and overtime.
- Offer to support professional development initiatives.
- Don’t micromanage. Instead, encourage your employees to take responsibility and engage with their work.
- Don’t pick favourites as this can create tension within departments. Make sure you treat all employees the same.
- Engage with your employees to keep them happy and productive. Consider their motivations, job satisfaction, and expectations.
- Implement a transparent employee relations policy and share it with all employees. Make sure it includes clear procedures for reporting potential issues.
Ultimately, be positive, appreciate your staff, and communicate at all times. If your employees are happy and satisfied, they will look forward to contributing to the mission, vision, and goals of their employer.