Employee Relations Explained: What You Need to Know

A whopping 60% of people report being emotionally detached at work and 19% claim that they're miserable while on the job. One of the reasons that employees have a hard time enjoying their work is because of poor relations with managers. 

Failing to ensure that your employees are happy and have good relationships with leaders in your company is a big mistake. A happier employee will be more productive and will be less likely to jump ship and look for opportunities elsewhere. 

In this article, we'll tell you what employee relations is and why it's important to pay attention to in your business. 

What Is Employee Relations? 

So what is employee relations exactly? Employee relations (ER) is a term that is known as a business or organization's efforts to build a positive relationship with employees. It focuses on creating good relations between employees and leaders in the organization. 

Often, a company or organization's human resources (HR) department will work to build the ER strategy. In other cases, there will be a dedicated manager to maintain employee relations. 

The goal of employee relations is to improve the employee experience. When working to implement an employee relations strategy, those responsible for doing so will work to create fair business practices. 

HR managers will aim to improve the employee work-life balance and create reasonable working hours and schedules. They'll also ensure that employees feel appreciated in their roles. 

What Is the Importance of Employee Relations? 

Employee relations management is important for an organization for many different reasons. A happier employee will end up doing better work and can make a company or organization much more effective. 

Disputes and problems between employees and managers can lead to unnecessary tension in the workplace. They can negatively impact productivity. They can also reduce an employee's comfort level in their working environment. 

To build a successful business, it's important for employees to work together with others. The better each employee works with others in the organization, the stronger the business will be and the more work will get done. 

By building better employee relations, a business will have an easier time reaching its goals. There will be less employee turnover and dissatisfaction. An organization will experience fewer setbacks while working towards its goals. 

Types of Employee Relations Issues 

There are many potential issues that an HR person or an employee relations manager will need to keep an eye out for to prevent and resolve. Here are some of the main types of employee relations issues that are important to pay attention to. 


Workplace conflicts can include disagreements, disputes, disciplinary, workplace bullying and more. These are common and can cause big problems for an organization. 

It's important to prevent these conflicts from lowering morale. They can cause serious discontent in the business. It's also important to resolve them as quickly as possible. 

Unresolved conflicts can lead to poor employee performance and employees may begin to miss work more often. A high number of workplace conflicts may also reflect poorly on your brand.


Workplace safety issues also need to be given plenty of attention in the workplace in order to keep employees happy. In 2020 alone, 4,764 workers died on the job, and many others experienced injuries.

It's important to promote workplace safety. Ensure that your employees feel safe before accidents happen. 

If an accident occurs, your business could be made responsible for the costs of injuries and medical care as well as any wages that are lost. Employees that don't feel safe will also have lower morale, so be sure to improve safety before it becomes an issue. 

Hours and Scheduling 

Employee dissatisfaction and complaints often come as a result of issues with hours. 

Many employees and managers get frustrated and irritable if hours haven't been counted accurately. Employees may also become frustrated by other scheduling issues as well. 

These issues can cause a lot of tension in the workplace. They can cause employee dissatisfaction, so it's important to keep accurate records. Tracking hours accurately will also be important to prevent breaking federal laws as well. 

Pay Raises and Promotions 

One common situation in which employees may become frustrated is when they are denied promotions and pay raise requests, which falls under the category of a "Grievance." 

It may not be possible to give every employee a raise when they ask for one. However, it's important to mitigate the damage that could occur to your relationship with an employee if they are denied. Offer fair raises and provide career advancement opportunities in your organization whenever possible. 

At the very least, it's important to communicate with employees to help keep them happy after they were denied a raise or promotion. 

Best Practices for Improving Employee Relations 

There's a lot that goes into handling employee relations successfully. However, here are some of the best practices that your organization should follow. These will help you get on the right path for handling and avoiding employee issues. 

Prioritize Great Communication 

One of the key things to remember when trying to improve employee relations is that you need to foster honest and clear communication in your organization. 

It's important to build a company culture in which employees are allowed to speak up and voice their concerns. You should also keep your team in the loop about any changes that are happening in your business. This should include large organizational changes or employee departures. 

The more you can communicate openly with your team, the less chance there will be of hidden resentment growing or issues occurring. 

Rely on Your Employees 

If you have a great set of employees on your team, make sure that you're relying on them and trusting them to do their jobs. 

A team that is micromanaged closely will be less likely to enjoy their work and productivity and morale will suffer. If you're hiring reliable people, then recognize it and let them do their jobs. 

Be sure that you're available to answer questions when needed, but don't overdo it. Avoid micromanaging every step that an employee makes. 

Promote Your Company Vision 

To boost satisfaction, encourage your team to invest in your company goals. 

To start with, your team needs to know what your goals are. Make sure that you communicate your vision to them during the onboarding process. Continue to do so later on as well. 

Ensure that your employees feel as though they're an essential part of helping your company meet those goals. They should feel that the work they do is important and contributes to your company's overall mission. 

Doing these things can make a big impact on your business and can improve your company culture and employee relations quite a bit. 

Show Appreciation to Employees 

You shouldn't only be encouraging your team to take part in your business. You also need to be sure that they feel appreciated. Don't overlook great work or focus on the negative, but ensure that you're celebrating your team's victories. 

Consider celebrating your team as a whole or singling out individuals who did an excellent job on a particular project. Showing recognition and appreciation is important. It can be a great step towards improving employee satisfaction and preventing low morale. 

Invest in Employees 

Be sure that you're investing in your team when you can. Your employee training shouldn't start and end with the onboarding process. You should provide extra training from time to time as well. 

Make sure that your team feels well-equipped for the roles that they have and that you have shown interest in their personal journeys. Look for other ways to invest in them as well.  

Consider introducing an employee wellness program or implementing peer mentoring. Offering career advancement coaching and opportunities can also be well worth it. 

Use HR Software 

To strengthen your ability to provide a great employee experience, it's a good idea to use HR software to help. 

HR software can help you manage the employee journey and stay on top of their individual needs. It can help you manage preboarding, onboarding, grievance and disciplinary processes. You'll be able to give your employees the attention they deserve. 

You should effectively manage employee requests and keep track of case management. This will help you provide employees with answers to their questions and follow up with issues more easily. 

Consider using software to remove the guesswork from employee relations. Doing so can help you build a strong relationship with them throughout their entire time at your organization. 

6 tips to improve employee relations

Understanding Employee Relations 

If you want to improve your organization, you need to pay attention to employee relations. By taking steps to improve employee relations, your business will be more productive. Your employees will also feel more satisfied in their job roles. 

Need help implementing an employee relations strategy? Click here to learn how our employee experience software can help.