Employee Relations Meaning, Scope17th October 2020
The definition of employee relations refers to an organization’s efforts to create and maintain a positive relationship with its employees. By maintaining positive, constructive employee relations, organizations hope to keep employees loyal and more engaged in their work. Typically, an organization’s human resources department manages employee relations efforts; however, some organizations may have a dedicated employee relations manager role. Typical responsibilities of an employee relations manager include acting as a liaison or intermediary between employees and managers, and either creating or advising on the creation of policies around employee issues like fair compensation, useful benefits, proper work-life balance, reasonable working hours, and others. When it comes to employee relations, an HR department has two primary functions. First, HR helps prevent and resolve problems or disputes between employees and management. Second, they assist in creating and enforcing policies that are fair and consistent for everyone in the workplace.
To maintain positive employee relations, an organization must first view employees as stakeholders and contributors in the company rather than simply as paid laborers. This perspective encourages those in management and executive roles to seek employee feedback, to value their input more highly, and to consider the employee experience when making decisions that affect the entire company.
The term ’employee relations’ refers to a company’s efforts to manage relationships between employers and employees. An organization with a good employee relations program provides fair and consistent treatment to all employees so they will be committed to their jobs and loyal to the company. Such programs also aim to prevent and resolve problems arising from situations at work
Employee relations has become one of the most delicate and complex problems of modern industrial society. Industrial progress is impossible without labour management cooperation and industrial harmony. Therefore, it is in the interest of all to create and maintain good relations between employers and employees.
Employer-employee relations mean the relationships between employers and employees in industrial organizations. According to Dale Yoder, the term employer-employee relations refers to the whole field of relationship among people, human relationship that exist because of the necessary collaboration of men and women in the employment process of modern industry.
Nature of Employee Relation
- Employer-employee relations are the outcome of the employment relationship in industry. These relations cannot exist without the two parties employer and employees.” It is the industry which provides the setting for employer-employee relations.
- Employer-employee relations include both individual relations as well as collective relations. Individual relations imply relations between employer and employees. Collective relations mean, relations between employers’ associations and trade unions as well as the role of the State in regulating these relations.
- The concept of employer-employee relations is complex and multi-dimensional. The concept is not limited to relations between trade unions and employer but also extends to the general web of relationships between employers, employees and the Government. It covers regulated as well as unregulated, institutionalized as well as individual relations. These multi-pronged relationships may be in organized or unorganized sector.
- Employer-employee relations is a dynamic and developing concept. It undergoes change with changing structure and environment of industry. It is not a static concept. It flourishes or stagnates or decays along with the economic and social institutions that exist in a society. The institutional forces give content and shape to employer-employee relations in a country.
- Strictly speaking a distinction can be made between human resource management and employer-employee relations. Human resource management deals mainly with executive policies and activities regarding the human resource aspects to the enterprise while employer-employee relations are mainly concerned with employer-employee relationship. Human resource management refers to that part of employment relations which is concerned with employees as individuals, collective or group relationship of employees and employers constitute the subject matter of employer-employee relations.
- Employer-employee relations do not function in a vacuum. These are rather the composite result of the attitudes and approaches of employers and employees towards each other. Employer-employee relations are an integral part of social relations. According to Dr. Singh (Climate for Industrial Relations, 1968) the employer-employee relations system in a country is conditioned by economic and institutional factors. Economic factors include economic organizations (capitalist, socialist, individual ownership, company ownership, and Government ownership), capital structure and technology, nature and composition of labour force, demand and supply of labour. Institutional factors refer to state policy, labour legislation, employers’ organizations, trade unions, social institutions (community, caste, joint family, and religions), attitudes to work, power and status systems, motivation and influence, etc.
- Several parties are involved in the employer-employee relations system. The main parties are employers and their associations, employees and their unions, and the Government. These three groups interact within the economic and social environment to shape the employer-employee relations system.
- The main purpose of employer-employee relations is to maintain harmonious relationships between management and labour. The focus in these relationships is on accommodation. The parties involved develop skills and methods of adjusting to or cooperating with each other. They also attempt to solve their problems through collective bargaining. Every employer-employee relations system creates a complex set of rules, regulations and procedures to govern the workplace.
(a) Relationship among employees, between employees and their superiors or managers.
(b) Collective relations between trade unions and management. It is called union-management relations.
(c) Collective relations among trade unions, employers’ associations and government.
Scott, Clothier and Spiegel remarked that industrial relations has to attain the maximum individual development, desirable working relationships between management and employees and effective moulding of human resources. They have also asserted that either industrial relations or personnel administration is primarily concerned with all functions relating man effectively to his environment.
Some of them are as under:
(i) Administration of policies and programmes of industrial relations
(ii) Public Relations
(iii) Labour Relations
(iv) Recruitment, selection and placement of labourers
(v) Formulation of rules relating to law and order situation within the organisation and their explanation
(vi) Provision of recruitment test, intelligence test, ability test, skill test, etc.
(vii) Provision of training and education programme
(viii) Preparing report on performance evaluation and ability evaluation,
(ix) To provide medical and health services
(x) To advise in the solution of problems relating to education, trade, health and conduct of the employees
(xi) To conduct survey on the attitude of the employees
(xii) To complete record of employment of the employees
(xiii) To conduct research on employees
(xiv) To enforce labour legislations
(xv) To provide for redressal of employee’s grievances
(xvi) To provide for collective bargaining and dialogue to minimize labour disputes
(xvii) To provide for retirement and pension programme
(xviii) To prepare and enforce plan regarding compensation and evaluation of individual work performance, etc.
But under industrial relations following aspects can be included:
(a) Promotion of development of healthy industrial relations at plant and industry level.
(b) Maintenance of industrial peace and avoidance of disputes.
(c) Promotion of industrial democracy through participation schemes.
(d) Group relations, i.e., relations between various groups of workmen.
(e) Community relations, i.e., relations between industry and society.
(f) Promotions and development of healthy labour-managements relations.
(g) Prevention of industrial disputes and maintenance of industrial peace and harmony.
There is no clear-cut boundary of each aspect; the areas of these are overlapping to a good extent.
Industrial Relations Nature
Industrial relations are always a mixture of cooperation and conflict. However, much cooperation may be sought as an organizational objective, some conflict will always remain.
There are, at least, three reasons for this:
- Both the groups (labour and management) develop different orientations and perceptions of their interests. They also develop generally negative images about each other.
- There are no mutually accepted yardsticks or norms to tell to the two groups how far they should go in the pursuit of their objectives. In the absence of norms, both groups claim complete rationality for their demands.
- There is no neutral field for the groups to meet on. This means that whenever the two groups meet each other for negotiations, they bring with them, some carryover from the post, besides their inherent distrust and suspicion for each other.