Posted on 26/07/2018 by Kirsty Craig
Most people know what HR is. Most people know what PR is.
But do you and your managers know what ER is?
Nope, the ER we’re talking about here isn’t a long-running American medical drama… but overlooked and at worst ignored, it could become a long-running, time-hungry and costly courtroom drama between you and a disgruntled employee.
It's about relationships
ER is the term used to define the relationship between employer and employee – Employee Relations. Historically, the term used in this arena was Industrial Relations, which focused on ‘collective’ relationships between Trade Unions and workers’ rights. ER is slightly more sophisticated, modern and ‘individual’ in approach – recognising that engaging directly with the individual is vital to keeping the workforce - be it large or small - happy and productive.
In fact, if you pop an ‘A’ into the acronym, you get EAR. And in its most basic form, that’s what ER is all about. Listening. Listening to what’s going on and listening to your team.
ER savvy managers work to establish a ‘trust base’ relationship with their team; thereby creating a positive climate of employee relations. And while we all know a happy team is a wonderful thing we should never underestimate the speed at which things can change.
Sometimes, all it takes is one person to change the productivity and harmony of a team and managers are normally the first to witness or hear about inappropriate behaviours that could be damaging.
For example, a team member:
• Calls females in the office “sweetie” or “girls” (no really, it still happens!)
• Frequently forwards inappropriate jokes
• Displays bullying behaviours
• Uses the company credit card for personal use
• Comes and goes as he/she pleases
These sorts of behaviours will start to quickly chip away at the rest of the team; they’ll start talking about it between themselves, and before you know it, it’s a big issue that will require a lot of time and effort to sort out. Tackled swiftly and professionally by a skilled, listening and ER savvy manager will, most of the time, ensure a peaceful resolution.
However, we know all too well that there are a great many managers who haven’t been given any training about ER and how to practically apply it for the good of the company.
It can be a costly mistake
Being blind to ER is a costly mistake to make - the average discrimination claim awarded in 2016 was an eye-watering £28,600. Training costs far less!
So clearly, there is a need for more managers to be trained in ER so that they are a) able to gain the confidence and knowledge to deal with the situation themselves and b) are able to recognise when to escalate the situation to a senior colleague.
Take a look at the training we offer here at Kirsty Craig, or contact us to discuss your requirements: https://www.kirstycraigassociates.co.uk/learning-and-development