Employee Relations

The Difference Between HR & Employee Relations

Jeffrey Fermin
Jeffrey Fermin
February 24, 2023
7 Min Read
The Difference Between HR & Employee Relations

Managing employees effectively is crucial for the success of any organization. While Human Resources (HR) and Employee Relations (ER) are both essential for managing employees, they are not the same thing.

In this blog, we will discuss the differences between HR and ER and explain how they contribute to creating a positive workplace culture. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the distinctions between these two critical functions and how they work together to ensure a harmonious relationship between an organization and its employees.

What is Employee Relations?

Employee Relations refers to the management and maintenance of the relationship between an organization and its employees. It involves creating and maintaining a positive workplace culture and environment, addressing employee concerns, grievances, and conflicts, and establishing policies and procedures that govern the employee-employer relationship.

ER is a part of the broader field of Human Resources, but it differs from HR in its focus on employee relations issues. While HR covers all aspects of managing employees, including hiring, compensation, benefits, training, and development, ER is specifically concerned with managing the relationship between the organization and its employees.

What Do Employee Relations Professionals Do?

Employee Relations professionals play a critical role in fostering positive relationships between an organization and its employees. Their responsibilities involve managing and maintaining the employee-employer relationship, addressing employee concerns, resolving disputes, and ensuring compliance with relevant employment laws and regulations. Here are some of the key duties that ER professionals typically perform:

Developing and implementing policies and procedures: ER professionals create policies and procedures that govern the employee-employer relationship, including performance management, conflict resolution, and grievance procedures. They work with management and HR to ensure that these policies and procedures align with the organization's goals and values.

Resolving employee disputes: ER professionals act as mediators between employees and management to resolve disputes and conflicts. They listen to employees' concerns, investigate complaints, and work with all parties involved to find a resolution that is fair and equitable.

Providing guidance and advice: ER professionals provide guidance and advice to managers and employees on a range of employment-related issues, such as workplace behavior, discrimination, and harassment. They also offer training and support to help managers and employees navigate these issues effectively.

Ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations: ER professionals ensure that the organization complies with relevant employment laws and regulations. They stay up-to-date with changes in the law and advise management and HR on compliance issues.

Promoting positive workplace culture: ER professionals play a key role in promoting a positive workplace culture by fostering effective communication, promoting employee engagement and morale, and ensuring a safe and inclusive work environment.

Overall, ER professionals are responsible for creating and maintaining a positive and productive work environment by fostering effective communication, resolving conflicts, and ensuring compliance with employment laws and regulations. Their work is critical for the success of the organization, and they play a vital role in building and maintaining a positive relationship between an organization and its employees.

The Difference Between HR and Employee Relations

Employee Relations and Human Resources are two essential functions of an organization that work together to manage employees effectively. However, there are some key differences between the two:

  • Focus: The primary focus of HR is managing the entire employee life cycle, including recruitment, compensation, benefits, training, and development. ER, on the other hand, focuses on managing the relationship between the organization and its employees, including conflict resolution, employee grievances, and workplace culture.
  • Skills: HR professionals typically have a broad range of skills, including data analysis, strategic planning, and compliance. ER professionals, on the other hand, require strong interpersonal skills, conflict resolution skills, and the ability to communicate effectively with employees at all levels.
  • Duties: The duties of HR professionals include recruiting, hiring, training, performance management, compensation and benefits administration, and compliance. ER professionals, on the other hand, are responsible for employee relations, conflict resolution, grievance handling, and policy development.
  • Relationship with employees: While both HR and ER professionals work with employees, the nature of their relationship is different. HR professionals are involved in every stage of an employee's life cycle, from hiring to separation. ER professionals, however, typically interact with employees when there are conflicts or grievances to be addressed.
  • Scope: HR is a broader function that encompasses several sub-functions, including talent acquisition, benefits administration, performance management, and compliance. ER, on the other hand, is a specialized function that focuses solely on managing the relationship between the organization and its employees.

In summary, HR and ER are both essential functions of an organization that work together to manage employees effectively. While HR focuses on managing the employee life cycle, ER focuses on managing the employee-employer relationship. Both functions require different skills, and the nature of their relationship with employees is different.

What Employee Relations Training Consists Of?

Employee relations training typically includes a range of topics related to managing workplace relationships, communication, conflict resolution, and compliance with employment laws and regulations. Some common areas of focus for ER training include:

  • ER policies and procedures: ER training typically covers an organization's ER policies and procedures, including how to report incidents, the investigation process, and how to handle grievances and complaints.
  • Workplace communication: ER training may include communication skills training for managers and employees, emphasizing effective communication strategies, active listening, and conflict resolution.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI): ER training may cover topics related to DEI, such as unconscious bias, cultural competence, and creating a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture.
  • Harassment and discrimination prevention: ER training may include modules on preventing harassment and discrimination in the workplace, including identifying and addressing inappropriate behaviors and maintaining a respectful workplace.
  • Compliance with employment laws: ER training may cover important laws and regulations related to employment, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and anti-discrimination laws.
  • Case studies and scenarios: ER training may include case studies and scenarios that provide examples of ER situations and how to handle them effectively.

Remote Teams and Employee Relations

The rise of remote work has brought new challenges to employee relations. With teams working from different locations and time zones, it can be difficult to maintain a positive workplace culture and ensure that everyone feels connected and supported. However, with the right ER strategies, remote teams can thrive.

One key to effective ER for remote teams is communication. Clear and consistent communication is essential for building trust and maintaining relationships between team members and managers. Regular check-ins and virtual meetings can help ensure that remote team members feel connected and engaged.

Another important aspect of ER for remote teams is creating a sense of community. Team building activities, virtual happy hours, and online forums can help remote workers feel like part of a cohesive team. It's also important to foster a culture of inclusivity and belonging, ensuring that remote workers feel valued and supported, regardless of their location.

In addition, organizations should establish clear policies and procedures for remote work, including guidelines for communication, performance expectations, and the use of technology. By establishing these policies and providing training and support, organizations can ensure that remote workers feel empowered and equipped to succeed.

How Can An Employee Relations Software Save Me Time?

Companies should invest in employee relations software as it can help them manage employee relations more efficiently, reduce risk, and improve the overall employee experience. ER software can streamline processes related to incident reporting, investigations, case management, and resolution, saving time and reducing the administrative burden on HR and ER professionals. Here's how ER software can save you time in several ways, including:

Automating tasks: ER software can automate routine tasks such as collecting and tracking employee data, scheduling interviews, sending notifications, and generating reports. This automation eliminates the need for manual data entry and saves time.

Centralizing data: ER software centralizes all employee data in one place, making it easy to access and manage. This eliminates the need for multiple spreadsheets and databases, which can be time-consuming to maintain and update.

Streamlining processes: ER software streamlines processes such as onboarding, offboarding, and performance management, making it easier to manage these tasks efficiently. This can save time by reducing the administrative burden on HR and ER professionals.

Improving communication: ER software improves communication between employees, managers, and HR/ER professionals. It enables employees to report incidents or raise concerns easily, and for managers and HR/ER professionals to respond quickly and effectively.

Enhancing analytics and reporting: ER software can provide real-time data and analytics on employee relations metrics, such as complaints, grievances, and incidents. This information can help identify trends and areas for improvement, and make it easier to generate reports quickly and accurately.

Can Employee Relations Affect a Businesses Bottom Line?

Yes, employee relations can have a significant impact on a business's bottom line. Good ER practices can help create a positive work environment, improve employee engagement, and enhance productivity and performance.  On the other hand, poor ER practices can lead to low employee morale, high turnover rates, and legal disputes, all of which can negatively impact a business's profitability.

Does Your Company Have an Employee Relations Software?

AllVoices is a powerful employee relations software that can help organizations foster a positive work environment and promote transparency and accountability in their ER practices.

With its easy-to-use platform, employees can report incidents and provide feedback anonymously, allowing organizations to address issues quickly and effectively. AllVoices also provides rich analytics and reporting, giving organizations valuable insights into ER trends and issues.

Additionally, the software is customizable to fit the unique needs of each organization, ensuring that they can manage their ER cases in a way that aligns with their specific policies and procedures.

Read Our Latest Articles

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.