Employee relations are an essential and important part of the operations of every business, whether it is a small, medium, or large sized enterprise. Employee relations, as the term suggests, refers to the relationship between the employees themselves, as well as the relationship between employer and employees. In other words, it is the way all people, who are part of a given organization, associate with, think of, and work with one another. And in this scenario, happy, well-adjusted employees equal more productive, efficient employees. That being said, it is thus imperative for employers and leadership within an organization to keep an eye on employee morale, employee needs, and employee benefits to ensure that the employees are having their needs met within the organization and are working well together.
So, given that employee relations is so important, how can one create an environment that is conducive to happy employees? Well, minimizing conflict, be it within a team, between teams, or across hierarchical levels of the organization, is an important aspect of employee relations. Fighting, arguments, insults, suspicion, lack of respect, jealousy, and other such negative emotions will surely create discord and play havoc on the business processes and efficiency in an organization. Mutual respect, an environment that fosters open communication between employees across all levels of the organization, and management listening to and supporting their employees’ needs are all important for good employee relations. Whether from top to down, or lower level to higher level, the more smooth and easy the relationships and conversations, the better the work environment this then translates to more efficient, happier, and productive employees.
Which is of course why employee relations is given such importance in most organizations today, be it an established multi-million-dollar corporation or a fledgling startup company. The moment there are more than two or three employees in a company, the issue of employee engagement comes into play. Now obviously, the larger the organization and the more the employees, the harder and more important having good employee engagement, and employee relations initiatives and practices in place, becomes. In smaller companies, there may not be a defined HR department, or even a subset within that department, that handles employee engagement initiatives, as one sees in larger multi-national and international corporations. Smaller places may not even have a formal structure in place, but there will still be someone on board who is managing employee affairs and keeping an eye on employee relations.