How HR can Help Improve Employee Relations

When was the last time you took a good look at your workforce? What did you see? You probably saw a rapidly changing group of employees that is getting more diverse by the day. The accelerated growth of diversity in the workforce over the past 20 years has spawned new developments in managing employee relations, making it one of the biggest challenges facing the HR Department.

The HR’s primary goal is employee’s satisfaction. Therefore, it is important to keep policies consistent across employees to prevent discontent. HR issues influence employee’s relations in positive or negative ways and management should obtain HR advice when employees’ relations issues arise.

There are a few key steps in HR that you can take to help improve employee relations:

  1. HR Perception – An area where employee relations expertise is absolutely necessary in the workplace is improving the perception of human resources throughout the organization. Personnel administration of the 1980s evolved into the human resources strategic partner in a span of about 25 years; however, some employees and even executive leadership still see human resources as purely an administrative function and nothing more. HR can address misconceptions and underestimations about human resources department through interacting with executive and departmental leadership, developing methods to improve the value of human resources and becoming the face of HR for employees whose limited knowledge of human resources goals fuels their misconceptions.
  2. HR Access – One of the most effective ways to strengthen the employer-employee relationship is through face time — or, increasing the amount of personal interaction with employees. All too often, the human resources department is situated in a remote and inaccessible area in the workplace. This prevents employees from making a quick stop to ask human resources staff about benefits, taxes, payroll and workplace issues. HR can improve access to human resources through modifying HR department hours to accommodate employee schedules and talking to employees during regular walkthroughs of the worksite to put a face on human resources.
  3. HR Reach – The human resources department probably has the broadest reach of any section or discipline. Employee relations matters involve anything that has to do with the workplace and employment; therefore, employees can seek guidance from HR on a variety of issues. When employee relations matters involve other human resources disciplines, there’s usually a combined effort between HR and the other discipline in achieving a resolution that’s satisfactory to the employee and the organization.

* Dr. Flor Glinoga is an internationally recognized Management and HRD Consultant. With a PhD in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Development Management, Dr. Glinoga has a wealth of knowledge about individual, group, and organizational behavior.  For the past 36 years, she has engaged individuals and organizations in the change process to increase their productivity, efficiency and effectiveness to include HR Services, strategic business plan programs, develop leadership skills, and build self-mastery.