Employee relations - everything you need to know about them

Employee relations - everything you need to know about them
  1. What is “employee relations”?
  2. The most important principles in managing relations with employees
  3. How to manage employee relations
  4. Honest communication
  5. Employee participation in creating the company's vision
  6. Trust
  7. Recognition and appreciation
  8. Relationships with employees included in the company's policy

Work relationships are a factor that has a huge impact on the atmosphere in the workplace. In this article, we will look at the most important principles for employee relationship management, examples of unsuccessful employee relationships, and share some best practices on how you can improve them.

What is “employee relations”?

In short, the term "employee relations" refers to the relationship between employers and employees. This applies to both individual and collective relationships, with increasing emphasis on the relationships between managers and their team members. This term covers the contractual, practical, as well as physical and emotional scope of the employee-employer relationship.

The term "employee relations" is also used to emphasize the activities of the company - or HR department - to manage the relationship, which are usually included in company policy.

Good relations with employees are a key factor influencing the overall performance of the company, and this is because good relationship management with employees translates into better well-being and, consequently, better results. And since employees are the lifeblood of any organization, good employer-employee relations, as well as relations between employees, must be ensured.

The most important principles in managing relations with employees

At the core of the employee-organization relationship is a social and psychological contract, which consists of beliefs about mutual obligations between the two parties . Often, not surprisingly, employees notice that their company has failed to properly fulfill this contract.

Such beliefs, regardless of whether they actually reflected reality, led to a decrease in trust, job satisfaction, willingness to stay in the company, and a sense of employee obligation, as well as their involvement in the performance of both duties included in the position taken and tasks not belonging to the company. their basic duties. This shows how disaffected an employee can have a disastrous impact on the work relationship.

There are two primary reasons why an employee may feel that there has been a breach of a psychological contract: default and non-compliance. Breach of contract occurs when the manager of the organization is aware of the obligation, but consciously fails to fulfill it. An example would be when a recruiter makes a clear promise to a new employee that they will be promoted within three years, and then fails to keep that promise.

On the other hand, incompatibility occurs when the employee and manager have different views on the existence of a particular obligation or the nature of a given obligation. An example would be when a recruiter stated evasively that employees usually get promoted quickly, often within the first three years, and the new employee (wrongly) interpreted this as a promise.

From the above examples, we can draw two basic conclusions regarding employee relationship management: keep your promises and communicate clearly and honestly.

As tempting as it may be, don't overdo the opportunities your company can offer candidates or employees as it will lead to disappointment and all the other negative effects mentioned earlier. And if you are aware that for some reason you will not be able to meet a certain obligation, be honest and inform employees as soon as possible.

How to manage employee relations

Let's take a look at some of the actions that HR departments take in the field of labor relations to manage the employee-employer relationship. Here are the 6 best practices in this area:

Honest communication

This is not surprising. As we mentioned before, open and honest communication with employees is crucial as it is the basis of their relationship. Inform employees of any organizational changes, inform them as soon as possible about the employee's departure and build relationships in which no one is afraid to speak up and ask questions. Part of this communication should be about sharing your company's vision.

Employee participation in creating the company's vision

There are two components to this practice: you should frequently share the company's mission and vision and discuss it with colleagues. It's a good idea to ask your employees questions like "What is our company's mission?" or "What is our target for 2021?" during meetings with the team. This method involves everyone and is better than repeating the company's vision over and over again by a manager. This is the first step towards co-creating the company's vision by the entire team. It makes people feel that they are part of something bigger and that they are, in fact, playing an active role in achieving a common goal.


In other words: don't micro-manage. After making sure that people know what to do, what is expected of them, and that you are at their disposal if they need you, let them act. Trust them.

Recognition and appreciation

Showing employees that you care about them and recognizing them is key in building strong employee relationships. One way to do this is by publicly expressing your praise:

Encourage the entire team to meet regularly. This is a great, informal opportunity to thank you for a job well done and to highlight completed tasks. It is also a great opportunity to make sure that team members are appreciated. Also pay attention to the achievements of specific departments, thanks to which employees will feel that they are part of the organization and work towards a common goal.

At the end of each week, celebrate together what you've achieved. It doesn't have to be anything complicated: send an email reminding employees to write down praise for their colleagues, which they will then read in the group forum before the weekend.

Investing in your people

An effective - and usually financially beneficial - form of L&D is peer coaching. Being a coach and being a peer-coach gives people full insight into their performance and allows them to gain new knowledge and leadership skills. Additionally, peer coaching strengthens the sense of camaraderie among employees and has a positive impact on their commitment.

Two things are also worth noting. The first is feedback. It is difficult to talk about the development of people without taking into account the feedback, because it is thanks to constructive feedback that we can improve. The second is flexibility. If you want your people to develop, you should give them time to do so. Giving them some flexibility in managing their day and work responsibilities also allows them to schedule time to study.

Relationships with employees included in the company's policy

There are probably as many examples of employee relations policies as there are companies, but they have several things in common:

- An introduction about the company and why it needs an employee relations policy

- The guiding principles of the company in creating employee relations

- Compatibility section

- Section on collective bargaining / labor relations

- Disciplinary Procedures Section

In summary, working relationships have a huge impact on the workplace climate - and on organizational performance. The best practices in this article can be of great help in building strong relationships with employees in your organization. If you think we missed something, let us know in the comment :)

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