Workplace culture and strong internal relationships are undoubtedly crucial to the long-term success of your business. Focusing your efforts on employee relations and nurturing good employer-employee relations can help your human resources department alleviate conflicts, build trust among team members, and reduce turnover.
If the term “employee relations” confuses you, we’re here to help. What employee relations are and why they are important will be explained below.
What are employee relationships?
Employee relationships are a branch human sources which deals with policies regarding your employees ’relationships with their employers and with each other.
In essence, employee relationships are any effort or programming a company makes to ensure that their employees are treated fairly, feel safe, and happy in their work environment. In addition, relationships with employees cannot be successful if employees do not believe that there is a certain level of transparency on the part of management.
Examples of employee relations
Programming employee relationships will vary from company to company, but the issues they address are very similar. Nevertheless, there are some common categories, most of which fall into:
1. Hazardous work environment
Employers are responsible for providing a safe working environment for employees. If a worker is injured at work or has an accident, the employer may be responsible. It is mandatory to have security protocols in place and pass them on to the team.
2. Employee performance
It’s not a fun conversation, but there will come a time when an employee’s work won’t meet company standards. Employee relations teams and managers may be tasked with creating a program to address poor performance to get employees back on track.
3. Wage increases and promotions
Employee relationships can also be included in career growth and development programs. They often have the task of making pay and promotion guidelines transparent and properly communicated so that employees know what to expect.
4. Sexual harassment
Employee relations can also work with HR professionals to develop and implement policies related to sexual harassment and other forms of abuse. If you have ever attended a workplace harassment course, chances are that the Employee Relations team made it possible for you.
5. Conflicts between workers
While co-workers aren’t necessarily best friends, it’s important that everyone treats each other with respect. Employee relations groups can establish frameworks for conflict resolution and mediation to help employees resolve issues in a respectful manner.
6. Diversity and inclusion
Diversity and inclusion programs allow employees to dedicate themselves fully to their work. Employee relations teams are responsible for formulating D&I policies and providing the tools they need to create an environment in which everyone feels welcome.
Best practices for employee relations
Riley Stefano, creator of cultural content at HubSpot, explains employee relations as follows:
“Employee relations are essentially based on trust and transparency. But it doesn’t happen overnight – you have to build it. Every department, team, manager and leader is responsible for building and adding to this culture of trust and transparency. we strive to create an exceptional experience for employees throughout their work at HubSpot so that they can do their job and help HubSpot grow better. ”
How can you ensure that your employees can do the best job? By providing them with a work environment in which they can thrive. Here are some best practices for maintaining positive employee relationships.
1. Encourage open dialogue.
Employees should feel safe to give feedback, ask questions, and formulate ideas. This requires building trust. Instead of just saying “we welcome dialogue”, practice it.
Organize questions and answers with team management and key stakeholders. Using anonymous surveys is also a great tool for getting honest feedback. Allow employees to ask for clarifications and exchange ideas during meetings.
2. Establish a career development program.
When people feel they have an agency in the workplace and control their career path, companies are more likely to keep them. According to LinkedIn, employees get a new role internally 3.5 times more likely to be involved and those involved in learning and development programs stay almost 2x longer as those who do not.
3. Encourage and facilitate work-life balance.
Work-life balance is a popular corporate phrase, but how many jobs actually accept it? This does not mean that you have to offer unlimited paid leave, although it is a generous benefit.
Facilitating work-life balance can look like this:
- It offers a more flexible schedule.
- Do not send urgent emails outside of regular business hours.
- Discouragement from work after hours and unpaid overtime.
- Respect for employee leave.
- Monitor scheduling and workloads to prevent overwork.
Implementing these small changes will help your employees prevent burnout and make them more productive.
4. Accept the core values and culture of the company.
Keeping the company’s mission and values at the forefront of all initiatives will, in addition to fostering a sense of belonging, help create cohesive communication. Employees will feel camaraderie as they will know that everyone is striving for the same goal.
5. Lead with empathy.
As a central component HubSpot’s cultural code, compassion is power. This is an important attribute not only for external business needs, but also for internal with your co-workers. Approaching employee relations from an employee perspective will help you develop more effective programs and policies.
Stefano adds: “If we want to cultivate strong relationships with employees, we need to have empathy. We need to listen, share information, take feedback seriously and adapt to our employees to maintain long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with all our employees around the world.”
How to implement programming
At HubSpot, employee relations include using HR Business partners and the implementation of cultural programs and events to help build stronger relationships with HubSpot employees.
However, programming employee relations in your company may look different. Perhaps your employee relationship efforts include providing a good work-life balance for employees or giving shares to each employee in the company by treating them as stakeholders in the company.
Alternatively, you can hire an employee relations manager to provide you with guidance on new and existing contracts and policies so that you can ensure that every employee is treated fairly and feels safe in the workplace. Perhaps your Employee Relations Manager can also gather employee feedback and use it to create new benefit packages that encourage and reward employees for their hard work.
It is crucial that you take the time and effort to ensure that you have nurtured strong relationships between employers and employees. If your employees respect management, they are more likely to work harder, communicate better, and feel more engaged at work. All of these things can motivate employees to go beyond their roles.
Positive relationships with employees are the key to success
After all, a company cannot be successful without a universal alignment of vision, goals and purpose between employers and employees – and this alignment does not happen naturally. It needs to be nurtured to a large extent through strategic efforts in employee relations.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for completeness.