Workplace culture and strong internal relationships are undeniably critical for your company's long-term success. Focusing your efforts on cultivating good relationships between employers and employees can help your Human Resources department mitigate conflict, build trust between team members, and decrease turnover rates.
At its core, employee relations is a branch of human resources that deals with policies regarding your employees' relationships with their employers, and each other.
For instance, an employee relations manager might create and implement policies regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, negotiate new contracts as employees move up in the ranks, and work with directors or employers to create benefits packages for individuals or departments.
If you aren't sure what employees relations is, or simply aren't sure why it's important, keep reading.
What is Employee Relations?
Riley Stefano, a Culture Content Creator at HubSpot, explains employee relations like this — "At its core, employee relations is about trust and transparency. But that doesn’t just happen overnight — you have to build it. And every department, team, manager, and leader is responsible for building and adding to that culture of trust and transparency. In People Operations, we strive to create remarkable experiences for employees throughout their time at HubSpot so that they can do their best work and help HubSpot grow better."
Stefano goes on to say, "To cultivate strong employee relations, we have to have empathy. We have to listen, share information, take feedback seriously, and adapt with our employees to maintain long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with all of our employees globally."
Essentially, employee relations is any effort or programming a company implements to ensure their employees are treated fairly, feel safe, and are happy in their work environment. Additionally, employee relations cannot be successful unless employees feel there is a level of transparency from management.
At HubSpot, this includes utilizing HR Business Partners, and implementing culture programming and events to help build stronger relationships with HubSpot employees.
However, employee relations programming might look different at your company. Perhaps your employee relations efforts include ensuring a good work-life balance for employees, or giving each employee stock in the company, so they are treated as stakeholders in the business.
Alternatively, perhaps you hire an employee relations manager to provide guidance on new and existing contracts and policies, so that you can ensure each 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 benefits packages that incentivize and properly reward employees for their hard work.
It's critical you take the time and effort to ensure you've cultivated strong relationships between employers and employees. If your employees respect leadership, they're more likely to work harder, communicate better, and feel more engaged at work. All of these things can motivate employees to go above-and-beyond in their roles.
Ultimately, a company can't be successful unless there's a universal alignment of vision, goals, and purpose between employers and employees — and that alignment doesn't happen naturally. It must be cultivated, in large part through strategic employee relations efforts.