Table of Contents
- What is Employee Relations?
- Why is Employee and Labor Relations Important?
- Key Employee Relations Challenges
- Employee Relations: Examples & Issues
- Ways to Improve Employee Relations
- Lesson Summary
What is employee relations? Employee relations is a term that refers to the ways that a company treats its employees and how those employees interact with their company. Understanding how to create a functional relationship between bosses and employees is one of the fundamental things that a company has to be able to do. The employee relations definition encompasses more than just a positive relationship between employers and employees. It is also about the emotional, practical, and contractual aspects of the relationship. Some companies hire employee relations specialists whose job involves resolving employee relations problems and creating a better plan going forward.
There are several types of employee relations policies that employee relations specialists have to be familiar with in order to do their jobs effectively. Employee relations specialists are professionals who can diagnose and mitigate problems in employer-employee relationships. Some of the day-to-day duties of employee relations specialists may include:
Why is employee and labor relations important to understand? In any business situation, it is vital to remember that workers are essential. Workers who are unhappy or unable to do their jobs effectively will limit a company's ability to reach its goals. A good employee relations philosophy can lead to retention, engagement, productivity, and advocacy for employees. All of these benefit employees and create functional workplaces for them, but they help companies too.
Employee retention is very important in workplaces: it is much easier to keep employees over many years than it is to go through the process of regularly hiring and training new employees. High levels of employee retention come from effective training, clear communication, and a clear company goal and vision. Workers who feel that their work is valued are also more likely to remain with their employers.
One of the results of good employee relations is engagement on the part of workers. Workers who are highly engaged in their jobs are more likely to be innovative, interested in new projects, energetic, and willing to take on new responsibilities. Effective and open communication between employers and employees is key to improving employee engagement.
Companies emphasize the importance of productivity: a more productive workplace is a more lucrative workplace. Making sure that employees are able to be productive is an important part of employee relations. Employers should endeavor to create clear objectives and to give effective feedback. These efforts can help to ensure that employees know what they are doing and understand the company's expectations.
Employee advocacy means taking care of employees' needs in a changing environment; it is essential to good employee relations. Keeping employees informed of changes to the company and asking for employee input are good ways to improve employee advocacy.
There are many factors affecting employee relations that can lead to employee relations challenges in the workplace. There are five key dimensions of employee relations that can worsen employee experiences, deter workers from their workplace, and damage the employer-employee relationship. These elements can be internal or external, and they include:
Employees need to feel that they can trust their employers to look out for their interests, to communicate clearly, and to provide appropriate work. Similarly, employers need to feel that they can trust their employees. When the trust in an employer-employee relationship is damaged, employees are often deterred from the workplace and may seek other forms of employment. Keeping employee needs in mind, communicating clearly, and keeping promises are good ways to maintain trust.
Employees who experience better job satisfaction tend to stay in their positions, while those who do not may experience friction in the employer-employee relationship. Avoiding job dissatisfaction might take the following forms:
Employment length can be a tricky issue for employee relations. In some cases, long contract length or the pressure to extend employment may decrease the likelihood that employees will want to remain with one company. On the other hand, short contracts may not seem worthwhile to employees. Flexible contracts, working with employees' goals, and the possibility of promotion or other longevity rewards may help reduce this problem.
Duties are the things that employees are actually hired to do. Obligations are things that employees do not technically have to do but nonetheless feel obliged to complete as part of their work. Some employees may feel that these obligations are unfair or that they are being held to obligations that their employers do not face. Clear communication about the line between duties and obligations, fair compensation, and equity in workplace obligations can help mitigate this employee relations issue.
It is normal for employers to offer feedback and criticism on an employee's work. However, excessive or unclear criticism can make working a challenge. Employers should always keep their employees' experience level and job duties in mind when giving feedback and should strive for constructive criticism when possible.
There are a number of employee relations issues that can arise when employees do not hold up their end of the employer-employee relationship. These types of employee relations issues can be challenging to deal with, but they can all be addressed with the right approach. Employee relations problems can include:
Lack of attendance on the part of employees can be a major issue in the workplace. It is important for employers to have clear expectations surrounding attendance and when it is acceptable for employees to miss work. Providing employees with a self-service timeclock can help keep track of their attendance. Communicating expectations clearly is also essential.
Employees who violate safety rules may be putting themselves and other workers in harm's way. Employers need to be aware of the risk of employees breaking such rules and need to be prepared to avoid this problem in the following ways:
Employees who go about their work with little or no communication with management can be an employee relations issue. It is important for employers to understand what is going on and how their employees are interacting. If employees are not communicating, employers may want to institute regular check-ins or reports to measure progress, address problems, and keep in touch with employees.
In some cases, employees may end up in regular conflicts with their coworkers. This is an employee relations issue even if the conflicts do not directly impact management. Conflicts can cause breakdowns in communication, loss of productivity, and workplace dissatisfaction. Holding mediation sessions and intervening when employee conflicts occur are both important.
In many kinds of jobs, messy workspaces are more than an irritation. They may be a safety hazard and may indicate deeper underlying issues with job satisfaction. Creating tidiness rules and speaking with particularly messy individuals can be a good way to mitigate the impact of messy workspaces on employee relations.
There are many ways to improve employee relations that are useful beyond their application to a specific problem or situation. Having strong employee relations policies and procedures and clear models of employee relations can help employees and employers to create functional relationships. Some of the major strategies that employers can utilize include:
Investing in employees means more than just financial investment. It also means emotional and social investment that makes employees feel valued as part of the company. Giving employees flexibility in the workplace and giving constructive feedback are good ways of investing in employees. Investing in new equipment and training when needed also falls into this category. Investing in employees can also mean engaging in employee discipline, which can include positive feedback so that employees can learn from mistakes and improve.
Effective communication is possibly the single most important element of employee relations. This means clearly communicating goals, company changes, and work objectives to employees at all times. Employees who have a good understanding of their role in the company and in the flow of work are likely to have better retention and performance. Communication can be verbal or carried out through official channels. In some cases, creating employee performance reviews can provide an opportunity to discuss areas of good performance and places for improvement.
Employers and employees who can trust each other tend to have better employee relations and better job performance all round. Employees need to feel that they can trust their employers to pay them what they are owed, to be understanding during extenuating circumstances, and to help resolve problems. Employers need to feel that their employees will communicate clearly and honestly with them and that they will complete their jobs to the best of their ability. One of the best ways to build trust in an employer-employee relationship is to avoid micromanagement as much as possible.
Recognition and appreciation of employees' work efforts can go a long way to improving employee relations. Having regular meetings that celebrate accomplishments, rewarding employees for their work, and creating clear lines to promotion and raises can help employees feel that their contributions are highly valued.
Employees who believe in a company's vision are more likely to work hard to achieve that vision. Employees often prefer to feel that their work is part of something bigger and that what they are working towards is worthwhile. Employees should be considered stakeholders in a business's interests.
Employee relations is a term for the relationship between employers and employees in the workplace. Employee relations specialists and representatives work with all members of a company to address concerns about employee relations. Employees are important and should be considered stakeholders in a business's interests. Recognizing employee contributions, communicating clearly, creating employee performance reviews, and addressing problems as they arise are all ways to mitigate problems in employee relations.
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