Workplace expectations and employee demands are constantly evolving, therefore, it’s imperative that organizations update their employee relations and labor relations policies and strategies accordingly. Organizations that fail to do so will quickly become unappealing to employees and lose their competitive advantage. It’s critical that a human resources department understands what can make or break its strategies.
What are employee and labor relations?
By definition, employee relations refers to the creation and maintenance of positive interpersonal workplace relationships. It’s managed by developing, implementing and monitoring programs and policies that deal with issues like conflict management, employee-manager liaisons and performance management. As Career Trend explains, labor relations (also called industrial relations) oversees staff’s relationships with unions. Labor relations managers supervise processes that occur between organizations and their corresponding unions.
In a nutshell, an employee relations team focuses on the staff’s relationships with one another, whereas labor relations focuses on employee relationships outside of an organization. While both departments have unique roles and responsibilities, they work in tandem. Appropriate management is crucial for creating a productive working environment that benefits the organization and its staff.
The benefits of updating your current employee and labor relations strategy
As CNBC reports, an increasing number of employees are joining unions. It’s vital that organizations — no matter their field — have robust labor relations strategies in place to ensure harmonious collaboration between organizations and unions.
An organization’s labor relations specialist must focus on their approach to collective bargaining whereby labor union members ask employers (through the help of their union) for increased pay, a good employee benefit package, an employee assistance program and improved working conditions. Unions are incredibly powerful and it’s in an organization’s best interests to cooperate through fitting labor relations strategies.
It’s also prudent for organizations to have effective employee relations strategies. Employee satisfaction is increased and maintained through cordial relationships. Positive intra-organizational and interpersonal relationships will keep organizations on unions’ “good side” and lead to improved productivity. Employee relations supervisors must design strategies that:
- Enhance communication across an organization.
- Build trust between employees and managers.
- Reward employees.
- Request employee feedback.
- Invest in every employee.
- Distribute resources correctly.
Strategies for effective labor relations management
The ultimate goal of an effective labor relations strategy is to keep employees happy. According to ADR Daily, a labor relations function must consider the following elements when updating its labor relations strategy:
- Grievances: Ensure you have grievance management processes in place to deal with grievances effectively and in accordance with your collective bargaining agreements with unions in your workplace.. Grievances include workplace conflict and dissatisfaction with remuneration, benefits, working hours and other factors that influence employee satisfaction.
- Safety: Management needs to make certain that the organization provides employees with safe and healthy working conditions, obviously dependent on the nature of the work. Your organization must be committed to ensuring your employees’ health and safety at all times.
- Recruitment and retention: Every organization’s human resource department needs to have clear policies about employment that provide guidance on how they hire new employees and keep their current staff.
By updating employee relations and labor relations strategies to keep pace with changes in the working world, specialists can guarantee the survival and success of their organizations.
At HR Acuity, we understand that it can be challenging for organizations to understand how they need to reform their programs and policies and to monitor them once they’re implemented. As the forerunner in human resource management software, we provide digital platforms designed to help your organization run its employee and labor relations operations smoothly and effectively. Contact us today to arrange a personalized demo tailored specifically to your organization’s unique needs.