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Achieve Strategic Goals Through Stronger Employee Relations

Q+A with Elizabeth Aylott, author of Employee Relations

Q: What are 'employee relations' and why are they important?

A: Many people believe that employee relations are synonymous with industrial relations and Trade Unions, and may feel that this is less relevant in the modern world. Yet good employee relations is critical to business performance so that we can achieve strategy through people. HR professionals need to be able to relate to employees both individually and when represented, managing the relationship through the times when employees support what the organization is doing and times when they do not.

Q: How should HR practitioners manage grievances?

A: No-one finds it easy to have challenging conversations and we find as HR professionals that we may either support others with these difficult conversations, or be carrying these out ourselves. It is important that we enable others to investigate grievances thoroughly, and my book Employee Relations spends some time looking at how to support investigating managers. It also discusses mediation, which is increasingly used to resolve conflict and disputes.

Q: In a world with fewer Trade Unions how does negotiation work?

A: Globally, the Trade Union movement has a strong presence, and within the UK there remain many organizations with Trade Union representation. However, an understanding of the skills of negotiation are invaluable to all HR professionals, in fact, all managers, who work with employees. 

Q: What motivated you to write Employee Relations?

A: Nothing that an organization achieves is done without people, and poor employee relations can cost the business a great deal. I wanted to support HR professionals to get the best out of people, to be confident in their dealings with employees and representatives and to be seen as exemplary professionals. I have been supporting HR professionals to develop their skills and knowledge in this for many years, and believe that this is an area where we can add value to businesses.