What Are Employee Relations And Why Are They Important?

October 19, 2023

Many people view the workplace merely as a convenient setup that brings together two strangely-paired individuals.

On the one hand, it is a mean-looking and highly insensitive employer who’ll utilize every opportunity to patronize anyone under their authority. On the other hand, is a fully submissive but often slothful employee who only puts up with the work for its monetary benefits and not for any self-fulfillment.

However, the case is quite different.

Nowadays, numerous companies implement strategies that make the workplace more fulfilling to employees beyond the excitement of waiting for paychecks. One such technique is employee relations.

Here’s an overview of employee relations and why the concept is essential in every workplace.

Happy mid aged business woman manager handshaking at office meeting. Smiling female hr hiring recruit at job interview, bank or insurance agent, lawyer making contract deal with client at work.

Photo Credit: AdobeStock.com

Introducing Employee Relations

Employee relations is a term for ongoing strategies to streamline the relationship between an employer and their employees. These measures foster healthy engagements between a company’s bosses and its staffers while promoting an overall conducive working environment.

At first glance, employee relations sounds like something anyone can pull. That’s especially true for companies with smaller workforce.

However, fostering a healthy office environment is an art that more often requires professional help.

Fortunately, there are numerous firms that offer dedicated employee relations services at industry-competitive rates. A noteworthy mention is Employment Innovations. Contact them with your requirements, and they’ll prescribe solutions tailored to your company.

Employee Relations versus Employee Relationship Management (ERM)

Although commonly used interchangeably, “employee relations” and “employee relationship management” have different meanings.

Employee relations typically focuses on fostering healthy interpersonal relationships between employers and employees. It begins the first day a staffer joins a company and continues throughout their tenure there.

On the other hand, employee relationship management entails creating good relations within the workplace. The concept may involve additional players besides employers and employees.

Employee Relations versus Human Resources (HR)

The employee relations and human resource departments may have overlapping roles. However, they both perform distinct purposes.

A human resource department directs various aspects of managing a company’s workforce and work environment. Their functions include but are not limited to recruiting, onboarding, training & development, remuneration, and health & safety.

In contrast, employee relations is a specialized function whose primary mandate is maintaining the relationship of an organization’s employees with each other.

Staff, presentation and business man in a meeting, teamwork and planning with brainstorming, feedback and review. Presenter, group and team share ideas, collaboration and partnership with documents

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Types of Employee Relations

Employee relations fall into two broad categories - vertical and horizontal employee relations. The names are self-explanatory.

Vertical employee relations focus on the relationship between employees and their superiors. The superiors could be executives, directors, or administrators.

Horizontal employee relations seek to improve the harmonious coexistence between staffers of the same level within an organization. It may also target employees currently working on a common project or initiative.

Benefits of Employee Relations

1. Encouraging Free Engagement


Employee relations can create an enriching workplace where employees freely engage with each other. This can be realized through various strategies, such as scheduling community-building activities, offering rewards and incentives, and helping employees achieve the elusive work-life balance.

Not only do these activities promote a sense of personal fulfillment. They also allow employees to bond with each other.

2. Improving Workplace Communication


Quality communication is paramount in any company, regardless of its nature or workforce. It’s the only way to uncover intimate secrets and growth ideas that would otherwise remain obscure.

One way to achieve effective workplace communication is by encouraging and acting upon feedback. You could also consider group projects, especially during brainstorming sessions. This allows for a free exchange of insights.

Ecstatic male employee celebrating success outdoors in city

Photo Credit: AdobeStock.com

3. Fostering Employee Satisfaction


Personal satisfaction is almost always a result of robust employee relations practices. As mentioned at the beginning, not everyone is drawn to the office by the paycheck or other fringe benefits.

Many employees crave engagement beyond their primary calls of duty. Your staffers will feel more satisfied when you take time off your schedule to find out how they’re coping.

4. Helping With Dispute Resolution


Workplace disagreements aren’t uncommon. But how you resolve these disputes can determine whether you retain the aggrieved parties or lose them.

Employee relations allow company executives to seamlessly navigate disputes. Since free communication channels have already been established, it’s easier to conduct investigations and help the feuding parties bury their hatchets.

5. Enhancing Productivity


A recent Gallup survey found that a paltry 23% of the global workforce found their jobs satisfying. The rest cited poor engagement as the primary reason for their dissatisfaction. Now, reduced workplace productivity is the direct consequence of poor employee engagement.

Suppose you realize that your employees appear gloomier in the morning but happier in the late afternoon; then they’re likely looking forward to leaving the office. That’s your cue to introduce better employee relations strategies.

6. Increasing Employee Retention


Happy employees will want to keep their jobs. On the other hand, dissatisfied staffers will always be searching for better employment opportunities.

Implementing proper employee relations tips might improve your employee retention rate. This can make a huge difference in reducing the resources involved in recruiting and onboarding new employees.

Two happy professional business people team woman and man workers working using digital tablet tech discussing financial market data standing at corporate office meeting.

Photo Credit: AdobeStock.com

Final Word


Every company, despite its scale, needs employee relations. It’s the surest way to encourage harmony between employees and employers while fostering a conducive workplace environment.

It’s possible to set up an internal employee relations department. Alternatively, you can engage the services of independent employee management organizations.



Carlos Diaz
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.

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