Employee relations (a.k.a. employee relationship management) have a direct influence employee satisfaction and engagement. Therefore, many companies today invest more resources to improve employee relations and keep their workplaces healthy.
In this blog, we will define employee relations, explain the difference between employee relations and employee relationship management, and describe why they are important for organizational success.
What Are Employee Relations?
Employee relations is a term used to describe relations between employers and employees. Today’s organizations are striving to become more agile, faster, and transparent. For that reason, the focus on employee communications is bigger than ever before.
The main goal of every employee relations strategy is to improve relationships and collaboration in the workplace.
Good leadership is ranked as one of the most important factors that attract new candidates and keeps existing employees. In that sense, employee relations often focus on helping line managers truly connect with their employees.
💡 Check out our guide for Building a Better Company with Internal Communications.
Employee Relations vs. Employee Relationship Management (ERM)
While employee relations is a term used to describe employees relationships within an organization, while employee relationship management is a term used to describe a process of creating good relations in the workplace.
Employee relationship management happens when an employer manages the relation between all employees in the company. It covers the entire employee journey - it starts from an employee’s first day and lasts until they leave the company.
Good employee relationship management goes far beyond whether or not you and your employees get along. Proper employee relationship management must include effective communication, employee engagement initiatives, structured employee experience plan, and implementation of the right tools and technology.
7 Reasons Why Employee Relations Are Important
Companies with good employee relationships enjoy many benefits. In general, it is easier for them to engage, motivate, understand and keep their employees.
Here are just a few benefits of building a positive employee relations workplace.
According to research about employee engagement, 90% of leaders understand how important employee engagement is. However, only 50% of them know how to address this issue.
Here, employee relations play a crucial role. It has been proven that companies with better employee communications have much higher rates of employee engagement.
Here few tips to improve employee communications to drive better employee engagement include:
- Share, review and update employee expectations.
- Encourage open communication to identify obstacles and issues.
- Don’t neglect consistent feedback and recognition.
- Encourage discussion and sharing of thoughts.
Why should you care about employee engagement at your workplace, you may ask?
Employee engagement is often related to employee satisfaction. Less engaged employees are less satisfied. Poor employee relations can be one of the main causes for that.
Moreover, 65% of US employees say that communications by their employer impact job satisfaction. 45% of them say that their employer does not do a good job communicating with employees.
Employee satisfaction and engagement boost employee productivity. Companies with well-structured employee relations enjoy higher productivity, revenues, and profits. Moreover, organizations with highly engaged employees have an average 3-year revenue growth that is 2.3 times greater than companies with less engaged teams.
If your employees know exactly what their goals are and if you give them constant feedback on their work, they will work harder towards achieving their goals.
Check out these 5 tips to improve employee productivity with better communications.
High employee turnover is one of the biggest problems companies face today. The cost of an employee leaving is significant. Therefore, many employees try to avoid that expense.
Employee retention can be improved in many ways. Employee relationship management is one of them.
Employees who feel like they don’t know what is going on in the company feel frustrated and isolated. As a result, they feel insecure and often consider new job opportunities.
Employee advocacy is a benefit many companies are trying to achieve. The ability to reach employees’ connections and use your company’s social capital to its full potential can have a big impact on the company’s visibility, brand awareness and productivity.
In order to achieve employee advocacy, employers have to be ready to improve employee relations. They need to keep employees in the loop and share important content with them.
Similar to employee satisfaction, good employee experience is one of the biggest proofs of healthy workplace culture.
To deliver a good employee experience, employers need to be ready to improve the way they communicate with employees. Open and transparent communication helps employees feel involved which often leads to higher employee engagement.
In contrast, poor employee communications lead to insecurity, lack of engagement, and honesty in the workplace.
Millennials and younger generations want to be involved in many aspects of a business. They want to have a certain level of decision-making power.
This is called employee empowerment. It involves giving employees responsibility and autonomy to manage their own work and make decisions to achieve their own goals.
In order to empower your employees, you need to have good employee relations and communications strategies.
For employees to feel empowered, they need to understand clearly what your company’s mission and vision are. Also, they have to be able to understand how their work contributes to the overall business success.
Trust is crucial for successful employee empowerment. Managers who trust their employees and communicate the company’s strategy and goals regularly, often have no problems giving more power to their employees.
How to Implement an Employee Relations Plan
The very first step towards planning and implementing a successful employee relations strategy is to have a set of clearly written policies.
Employee relations policies should describe the employer's philosophy, rules, and procedures for handling employee-related matters and resolving issues in the workplace.
In addition, it is important to understand that employee relationship management programs are not one-size-fits-all solutions.
What works in a company with 100 employees in the United States, may not work for a company of 5000 employees in China. In other words, employee relations programs vary based on company size, location, industry, culture, and many other factors.
However, there are a few characteristics of every good employee relations plan:
- Help employees understand your mission and vision
- Show them how their job aligns with your mission and vision
- Communicate with employees frequently
- Give employees feedback
- Reward them for good work
What Do Employee Relations Professionals Do
Having an Employee Relations Professional, especially in large companies, is critical for better employee communications.
These professionals are either a part of communications or HR departments. Their main job is to keep employees informed and to ensure that company policies and procedures are followed.
Employee Relations Specialist Duties and Responsibilities
Here are some of the most important duties and responsibilities of Employee Relations/Relationship Managers and Specialists:
- Manage employee files
- Share company news
- Share policies and procedures updates
- Monitor compliance with policies and procedures
- Recruit employees
- Assist in the hiring processes
- Encourage employees for advocacy
- Manage relationships between employer and employees
- Collaborate in employee exit processes
- Assist in writing employee handbook
How to Improve Employee Relations at Your Company?
Using digital solutions to improve your employee relations efforts has become a must.
These solutions can help you significantly to better communicate with your employees and make them more engaged and productive.
Book a free demo to see how Smarp can help your excel your employee communications strategy!
Feeling inspired? Download the eBook “10 Principles of Modern Employee Communications” where we share tips & best practices for successfully communicating with your employees in today's digital age.