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Maintaining strong relations

Maintaining strong relations

Maintaining strong relations

From payroll and talent acquisition specialists to IT support engineers, there are many different professions that are being counted on to keep companies afloat. Among that list are employee relations (ER) specialists – and they are the subject of this article.

Especially in light of current events, when mental wellbeing is being tested to the extreme, the ER function comes into its own. It’s a multi-faceted role, which covers anything from designing employee frameworks to assessing the impact that people practices and policies have on employee experience. The last thing any organisation wants is to alienate its people. 

ER directly impacts loyalty and retention, helping organisations hold on to their best talent. And given that manager behaviour is one of the root causes of employees leaving, you can begin to see just why ER is so important. Interestingly, a study by Canadian PR firm, Argyle found that nearly half of all workers (49%) reported an improvement in their relationship with their employer during the recent crisis. A slightly higher number (52%) said the same about their co-workers.

Whether crafting approaches to communications, measuring and assessing employee engagement or setting the strategy on employee wellbeing, ER specialists can make such a telling contribution. But there is much more to the role than dealing with  internal stakeholders and understanding employment law. So just what are the skills needed to succeed in what can often be a high pressured and demanding environment?

Dealing with difficulty

Soft skills such as communication and approachability are two key requirements given that a big part of the role is to understand what the key employee issues are – and the steps needed to rectify them. As you would expect in such a people centric role, integrity is a must, as you must be seen as a trusted partner that generates operational efficiencies and adds value to the bottom line.

As well as interpersonal skills, ER specialists need to be comfortable with data concerning key HR metrics such as employee satisfaction and retention rates. For example, what are the reasons why people are leaving? ER experts need to be inquisitive to delve deeper into the numbers. Budget management is pivotal here – as trusted business advisers, they must influence the business agenda and secure the finances to develop effective solutions, for example coaching and counselling.

Often acting as a mediator between the employer and employee, ER professionals must be adept at resolving workplace conflict. They must also provide advice to managers on how to deal with difficult situations, which don’t come any tougher than the challenges of the current climate. As we’ve seen from the research, relationships are now stronger among co-workers. And for that ER must take a lot of the credit.   

If you’re looking to hire an Employee Relations specialist or HR Manager who deals with Employee Relations, or to discuss your HR recruitment needs, please get in touch with Bev Parekh today on 0207 1876056 or email

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