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How can I improve employment relations?

Human resource is responsible for acting in an advisory capacity, ensuring positive employee relations, accomplished through clearly written/communicated policies and training for management.

What is a human resource department

The Entrepreneur defines a human resource department as: “The department or support systems responsible for personnel sourcing and hiring, applicant tracking, skills development and tracking, benefits administration and compliance with associated government regulations”. 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.

How HR can help maintain good employee relations

A main responsibility of HR involves explaining employees job descriptions. Sometimes, a new employee may have special talents and assigned many projects for extra compensation, which others with the same job title are not capable of. When the secret gets out and other employees in the department learn on the special arrangement, this will cause resentment and others may believe that their working rights are being ignored. Since they can’t question the management, employees may turn on the new employee, alienating the person or sabotaging him/her to prevent his/her ability to fulfil the job requirements. Ensuring that individuals with the same job description perform the same tasks and special projects are shared, with no employee given additional privileges, this will help to prevent employee conflict. When employees feel that they can't speak with the management, it's important that they feel that the HR is approachable so that they can ask for employment help.

HR training of managers

Another area where clarity is needed is performance reviews. Evaluations should lack ambiguity regarding what’s being evaluated, preventing supervisors from interpreting areas differently for different employees. A detailed policy will help to ensure fair evaluations. While it may be assumed that employees don’t share evaluations with each other, this is another myth, as it is human nature to want to know how we rate compared to others in similar roles. Many managers are hesitant to discipline or fire a problematic employee, letting them create trouble and a negative environment for others. Employees may again sabotage or alienate this individual causing them to become more problematic. As time goes on, employees may increase their hostility and the work environment deteriorates. Some employees may not be willing to participate in the hostility, becoming resented and alienated by fellow employees. HR should ensure that managers are well trained in how and when to discipline employees with appropriate feedback provided for improvement. HR training of managers should also include when and under what conditions it’s necessary to meet with HR to fire an employee and restoring normal employees' relations within the department.

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