Employee Relations

What is Employee Relations?

Employee relations refers to the healthy or unhealthy business relationship of an employee with the employer. It is the responsibility of HR to ensure fair policies around employee issues. This includes the creation and enforcing of fair policies around compensation and benefits, work hours, work-life balance, and others. Any disputes or grievances are resolved as soon as possible. By maintaining a positive relationship, employee loyalty and engagement is consistent.

Importance of Employee Relationship

Organizations must make efforts to maintain a healthy relationship with the employees. It should be profitable to both the employers and employees as well. Happy and satisfied employees hold the potential to improve organizational performance and engagement. Other reasons as to why employee relationships are important:

1. Decreased employee turnover

Unresolved employee issues can lead to employees leaving the organization. The cost of employee turnover is expensive to both the company and the employees. So, any employee frustration or problems should be addressed before it’s too late. When organizations make consistent efforts to improve and maintain the employer-employee relationship, employee retention increases.

2. Improved coordination and communication

When there are no disputes among people, they will start to feel more comfortable with their employers. They will feel more appreciated and positive relationships are formed between employees, which decreases workplace conflicts and miscommunication issues.  Productivity levels and coordination will be increased.

3. Reduces absenteeism

Employees that are facing problems in the workplace may stop showing up in the office when their issues are not resolved. They will start taking too many leaves and won’t make any progress in their work. Proper communication and employee relation programs will solve the issues employees are facing and makes sure employees start enjoying their work and come to office again.

4. Improved employee experience

Employee engagement is increased when employees are serious and passionate about their work. Increased engagement leads to satisfaction and improved productivity. This improves the overall experience an employee has with the company. Ensuring transparency and communication is the key.

5. Creates a healthy workplace culture

Fewer workplace conflicts and good employee experience are the proof for a healthy workplace culture. Employees come together to work for a common purpose and feel secure about their work, employers, and peers.

What are the examples of Employee Relations?

Employee relations refer to the ways in which a company manages its relationship with its employees. This includes the practices, policies, and programs that organizations use to maintain a positive work environment and build a strong and motivated workforce.

Examples of employee relations practices include:

1. Employee engagement programs, such as regular feedback and recognition, team-building activities, and wellness programs.

2. Performance management processes, which involve setting goals, measuring performance, providing feedback, and taking corrective action when necessary.

3. Grievance procedures for resolving disputes or conflicts between employees and their supervisors or the organization.

4. Workplace safety measures, such as implementing safety procedures, training employees on safety protocols, and providing safety equipment.

5. Work-life balance support, including flexible schedules, telecommuting options, and other benefits that help employees manage their work and personal lives.

6. Diversity and inclusion initiatives, such as recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce, offering diversity and inclusion training, and creating a culture of respect and acceptance.

7. Employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, paid time off, and tuition reimbursement.

How to implement Employee Relations Strategies

Employees have different expectations than employers. A good employee relations strategy must satisfy both the needs of employees and employers. Employees may need more development opportunities, recognition, or appreciation. Employers may expect improved performance or loyalty from the employees. To implement a strategy that caters to both the needs:

  1. Involve team members in decision-making
  2. Ensure two-way communication of employee issues
  3. Create a common platform to discuss problems
  4. Reward and appreciate desired performance
  5. Celebrate events and other occasions
  6. Decrease the response time
  7. Provide proper management training
  8. Focus on promoting a healthy work-life balance
  9. Avoid inflexible policies

How to handle Employee Relations Issues?

Handling employee relations issues depends on the issue the employee is dealing with. For example, if the issue is about workplace safety, it can be handled by redesigning the overtime shift policy. Make sure to have a one-on-one with the employee and listen to their concerns. Even if the issue is not important or agreeable, make sure to display good intentions and understanding to build trust. Note down the complaints or problems to identify patterns or workplace issues that managers were unaware of.

Sometimes, managers can be a part of the problem. Rather than losing employees, it is more cost-effective to train managers or let them go. If possible, create teams to handle employee relations issues and discuss the concerns with them to identify root causes. This team will be responsible for decision-making processes and taking action. Even if the problem is small, take action so that it builds loyalty and employee relationship with the company.

Employee grievances and problems must be addressed on time, or they can bring down morale and productivity. Moreover, it can be difficult to address multiple issues arising at the same time. Organizations need a proper platform where employees can not only raise their concerns easily, but where managers can also address them on time. Keka’s Helpdesk feature can save managers from this trouble. With this feature, managers can view and address all employee concerns from one single interface. Tickets can be raised and tracked while also receiving analytics on the number of tickets closed or received monthly. With Keka, HR managers can make sure that employees receive help on time.

Best practices for maintaining Employee Relations

Employee relations is the function that falls directly under the HR department. It is the responsibility of an Employee Relations Specialist to adopt practices that improve or maintain the positive relationship an employee with the employer. Some of the best practices are:

1. Promote open communication

It becomes difficult for employees to discuss their issues openly with HR. The managers must make sure to make employees feel comfortable enough to speak up or ask questions. Creating a platform where employees can openly discuss their issues or problems makes it easier for employers to address issues before there’s a negative impact on organizational performance.

2. Focus on mission and vision

Make employees feel like they are part of something bigger in the organization. Communicating the values and goals of the company along with everyone’s role in it will ensure that others are motivated to make that change in the organization.

3. Appreciate and reward

Recognize employees who are performing up to expectations and exhibiting desired behavioral traits. Openly appreciate them and reward them for their contributions. For employees to have a positive relationship with the employer, it’s important for the company to show how much they value and appreciate them. Implement weekly or monthly sessions to recognize and appreciate employees.

4. Invest in employee wellness programs

Investing in employee wellness programs can be one way to show how much an organization really cares about its employees. It ensures engagement and strengthens the employer-employee relationship. A company should focus on both mental and physical wellness.

5. Create a fair and healthy workplace environment

Encouraging an environment where employees can openly talk about issues that are affecting them is a big proof that the organization is creating a healthy workplace environment. It should also make sure not to play favorites. Promote an environment where everyone can participate equally.

6. Involve in work and decision-making

Give employees the freedom to take their own decisions. Involve them in new work and responsibilities. Ensure that they are open to challenges and enjoy their work. Have them share their work to encourage discussions among themselves so that they grow more comfortable around each other. Intervene only if necessary.

7. Provide Learning and Development Opportunities

Providing adequate learning and development opportunities also makes certain that the bond between employee and employer is strong. Maintain a balance between positive and negative feedback so that employee morale levels don’t go down. Give employees enough time to learn and develop themselves. Encourage 360-degree feedback and peer-to-peer learning to boost engagement and workplace relationships.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between HR and Employee Relations?

While Human Resources (HR) is a person who focuses on managing employees from recruitment to exits, Employee Relations is a part of the HR function that is related to managing employer-employee relationships.

2. What is the role of Employee Relations?

Employee Relations (ER) covers the practices undertaken to maintain and improve the relationship between the business and its employees. It focuses on adhering to the laws of workers and ensuring fair, consistent employee practices.

3. What are the types of Employee Relations?

There are 8 types of Employee Relations – Employer-employee, employee-employee, recruitment, onboarding, leadership, employer branding, public relations, and performance management.

4. What is the key to improving Employee Relations?

The key to improving employee relations is to ensure two-way communication. This makes sure that employees feel valued and strengthens the bond between the company and its employees. Creating an open dialogue platform can improve workplace relationships.

5. What is Employee Relationship Management?

Employee Relationship Management (ERM) refers to the efforts, methods, and practices an organization implements to create good workplace relations. It starts with recruitment and lasts until the last day of an employee. Good employee relationship management includes transparency, effective communication, and good employee expernce. This ensures organizational productivity and employee loyalty.

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