Employee Relationship Management (ERM)

“Employee relationship management” is a term that refers to relationship development and management between employers and their employees. There are a lot of different issues that can affect employee satisfaction, which has a direct result on employee productivity and overall corporate culture. Employee relationship management can be driven by using employee surveys to directly engage your employees in the issues that are most important to them.

People in organisations interact with each other during work, formally and officially as well as socially and informally. During the course of interaction, relationships develop, which are invisible connecting links, coloured by emotions of love, hate, repulsion, respect, fear, anxiety and so on. These are usually mutual but not necessarily reciprocal. If A hates B, it does not follow that B hates A. It is possible that B loves A and even sympathizes with his thoughts.

Relationships imply feelings for each other. They may be positive (friendly, wanting to be close) or negative (unfriendly, wanting to be distant). Relationships always exist between interacting persons. There is no neutral point. Indifference is not neutral. Indifference tends to be negative.
Relationships influence behaviours at work. Expectations of each other, perceptions of the intentions of either, distributions of assignments, readiness to conform or to rebel, enthusiasm to contribute, etc., are to some extent outcomes of these relationships. Attitudes and motivations influence, and are influenced by, the nature of these relationships.

Employees are among an organization’s most important audiences with the potential to be its most effective ambassadors.

Employee Relations are practices or initiatives for ensuring that Employees are happy and are productive. Employee Relations offers assistance in a variety of ways including employee recognition, policy development and interpretation, and all types of problem solving and dispute resolution.

Once there was a time when “Employee Relations” meant labor relations everywhere around the world. Negotiate. Orchestrate. Dictate. HR professionals helped negotiate collective bargaining agreements. The provisions of that contract defined the relationship between management, unions, and workers.

Today, Employee Relations is a much broader concept. It involves maintaining a work environment that satisfies the needs of individual employees and management. Improving employee morale, building company culture, conveying expectations.

An effective employee relation involves creating and cultivating a motivated and productive workforce. People are generally motivated from within, but what can you do to help foster the type of environment where employees thrive, enabling your company to outperform the competition

“Employee Relations” starts with determining the type of workplace the company wants. It starts by considering what the company wants its employees to say about working for the company. In a competitive market, it is important to that employees don’t feel that they might be treated more fairly elsewhere. After all retention is one of the major functions of HRM.

By considering what the company wants employees to say about working for it gives shape to the company’s culture. The company culture conveys organization’s core values to its employees, customers, vendors, and community.

In addition to the workplace climate, the company also considers the types of processes or systems it wants to employ within the workplace to support the company culture and enhance the working relationship that exists between the company and its workforce. Such systems could include communications, policies, training, and development.

Also, an essential step in building effective Employee Relations is to evaluate the human, financial and other resources available that reinforce the values and guiding principles the company wants echoed throughout the organization. For example, what type of supervisors and managers does it believe can bring out the best in people and projects?

The company should also make certain from the start that employees are not in counter productive work environments where work is more arduous than it needs to be. Is the workplace compliant with employment law? A major source of frustration for employees is the feeling that they were treated unfairly. Good liability management tools are necessary to ensure that the company avoids unnecessary confrontations, time wasters and costly legal battles

Traditionally Employee Relations programs were centered around labor union relations. Today, Employee Relations does not necessarily involve unions. However, it does involve cultivating the leadership style and workplace practices that help make union organizing activities a less attractive option for employees.

Establishing workplace and management principles set the stage for fostering a successful work climate and establishing your company’s culture. Effective Employee Relations is about establishing processes that address and nurture that culture.

Employees in such organisations develop attitudes very different from those in another organisation that does not make any such distinction and is more secular in its policies. These different attitudes will be reflected in their behaviours outside the organisation and will either strengthen or weaken the social fabric. An organisation in which authority is highly centralised and does not allow its people enough discretion, will develop among its people tendencies for dependency and inability to take responsibility. These tendencies are handicaps in their roles as parents or citizens. The extent of concern shown for the effect of working conditions on employees’ health has an impact on the society, not merely in terms of general health and costs on medical care, but also in terms of the kind of activities that the members of the society participate in.

When an organisation is sensitive to its impact on society, and responds to the society’s concerns, it is said to be socially responsive. On the contrary, if it is concerned only with its own purposes and ignores the impact that it has on society, it is said to be socially not responsive
Relationships also contribute to stress and conflicts at work, which in turn, affect quality of work life of individuals as well as the quality of organizational outputs, measured in terms of customer satisfaction, competitive advantage, innovation, and so on.

Some of the core issues that can be controlled with effective employee relationship management are:

  1. Communication – Open communication both amongst your employees and between the employees and the management team is imperative. When employees feel that they can’t be heard, they may become frustrated, leading to lowered employee morale. Lowered morale can result in lowered productivity and an uncomfortable, or even hostile, work environment. Employee surveys can give you a thorough understanding of how your employees feel about communication in your work environment.

  2. Conflict management – When problems arise, it is important to understand how to handle them. This is a fundamental aspect of employee relationship management. Sometimes those conflicts occur between employees and employers. EmployeeSurveys.com can provide you the necessary tools to help you negotiate and manage conflicts in your business.

  3. Employee growth – Employees that feel they are only required to put in their hours and go home will do just that. Employees that feel they can become a valuable asset based on their work, as well as their ability to provide important ideas, offer input, and perhaps pursue growth opportunities within the company, will create a positive atmosphere within the corporate culture.

  4. Focusing on employee relationship management can have profound effects on how your business operates. Conducting employee surveys is a useful tool towards reaching a beneficial level of employee relationship management because they provide an opportunity for candid feedback and analysis that isn’t achievable in typical business communication.

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