Expert Webinar: Designing and Optimizing Your ER Organization

Feb 23, 2022
Rebecca Trotsky

Last week I was thrilled to host and moderate a thought leadership webinar on the topic, “Designing and Optimizing Your ER Organization.” The webinar featured a panel of employee relations (ER) experts that included: 

  • Dana Hawkins, Head of Employee Relations, Robinhood 
  • Megan Chiasson, VP, Head of Employee Relations, Capital One 
  • Robert Steindler, Director, Employee Relations, HR Risk & Compliance, Serco 

It was a lively discussion with lots of questions from the audience, demonstrating that this is a really hot topic. Companies that are launching and fine-tuning their ER teams are trying to determine the optimal structure, find team members who have the right skills, define their team’s scope of responsibility and, more importantly, clarify what lies outside the responsibilities of employee relations. As Dana remarked, “This isn’t your mother’s HR anymore,” an observation that I think everyone could relate to. 

Here are three of the biggest insights that I came away with from this amazing discussion: 

  1. Many people are establishing or honing their ER functions, and they need others to serve as guides, mentors, experts, etc. We don’t have to go it alone in building an entire function from scratch. empowER is a great community in which to share experience and best practices and look for guidance and direction. Especially with so many people still working remotely, it’s important we find our tribe and connect with each other to eliminate feelings of being in this by ourselves. 
  2. Understand our team’s process and role boundaries and articulate them to our organizations. Reinforce what line leaders or HRBPs need to own, otherwise we’ll drown in our workloads, and we won’t be able to demonstrate our true value since we’ll be spread too thin to be effective. This will also lead to burnout. 
  3. One of the most important things to consider when building a team is to hire people who love this kind of work. Dana shared some interview questions that are very much on point. 

Robert and Megan both spoke about the need to celebrate successes along the way. ER can be stressful, but it’s a critical and trusted resource in any organization, so it’s important to recognize our people for their achievements to keep everyone energized- especially in this intense time. double exposure of businessman hand working with blank net work diagram as digital cloud concept-2

You can hear a replay of this webinar here. There are so many amazing insights from this panel and I’m sure that listening to it will inspire you as much as it inspired me.  

Additional resources 

  • Join empowER, an online community specifically for ER professionals to share ideas, ask questions and access valuable resources, including a playbook on designing and optimizing your ER organization 
  • The Centralization of Employee Relations: Practices and Trends 
  • Expert Webinar: Great Resignation & The Future of Work on March 2. Register here. 
Rebecca Trotsky
Rebecca is responsible for HR Acuity’s talent acquisition and retention strategy as well as driving employee relations capability and effectiveness across customers, prospective customers and employees with the goal of elevating the impact of employee relations.
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