Employee relations is about creating and maintaining a positive working relationship between an organisation and its people.

An important part of that relationship is the culture, and the extent to which the organisation seeks to be resolution-focused. People professionals have an important role in setting that culture through the development of policies and processes which apply the law in a practical, fair and transparent way. So specialists in this area need a deep understanding of employment / labour law, keeping up-to-date with legislative developments in order to advise the business and line managers to create the best outcome for individuals and the organisation.

When relationships break down, it’s also important for ER specialists to know how to deal with those disputes internally as well as through the legal system when needed, and the different ways in which you can resolve conflict through consultation and negotiation with individuals and representative bodies.

And, increasingly, ER specialists are using employee voice insights from working groups and staff forums to change the way things work, and create a more positive working culture in organisations.

The success of any business starts and ends with your people. People practitioners bring management practice to managing people especially in professional areas such as employee relations."

Alan Price, CEO, Bright HR

Employee relations standards

Each standard progresses through four levels of impact. Which level do you most embody in your day-to-day work?

Foundation level Associate level Chartered Member level Chartered Fellow level
At this level you'll understand: At this level you'll understand: At this level you'll understand: At this level you'll understand:
Employee relations culture The culture and approach to employee relations in your organisation How the employee relations culture impacts the way people work How to develop and review your employee relations culture to be resolution-focused and improve business outcomes How to drive an employment culture that improves performance and reputation, whilst mitigating risk
People policies What people policies are in place in your organisation and how they support employee relations practices How to apply your organisation’s people policies in a wide range of situations to support effective case management and employee relations practice How to develop and apply people policies which improve the worker experience and employer brand, and mitigate risk How to develop an employee relations strategy which positively impacts the business and the way people work
Employment law Key employment/labour law How to apply employment/labour law in a wide range of work situations How to apply and interpret employment/labour law in a range of complex work situations and mitigate risk How to manage the impact and risk to the organisation of employment/labour law and regulation
Legal systems The legal system which deals with employment disputes (eg employment/labour tribunals, arbitration) The evidence needed to support employment legal cases/labour disputes How the employment legal system works, and how to prepare for and manage cases/labour disputes How to lead complex legal cases/labour disputes and manage organisation risks associated with legal action
Dispute resolution What workplace conflict is and a range of dispute resolution techniques (eg mediation, conciliation, negotiation, settlement agreements) How to apply different dispute resolution techniques to resolve workplace conflict How to manage high risk and complex disputes, and when to use legal routes How to create a culture which mitigates workplace conflict
Collective employment law What collective employment/labour law and collective bargaining is (if applicable in your region) Collective employment/labour law, and how to work with formal representative bodies such as T rade Unions and Works Councils (if applicable in your region) Collective employment/labour law and how to manage collective bargaining relationships (if applicable in your region) How to develop strategies and frameworks that support collective bargaining and collaborative relationships (if applicable in your region)
Consultation and negotiation The importance of consultation and negotiation with individuals and groups Different approaches and models of consultation and negotiation How to drive effective working relationships through consultation and negotiation How to establish frameworks and mechanisms to support a culture of effective consultation and negotiation
Voice and engagement The different ways by which employees’ voices can be heard Why employee voice is important, and the role of employee groups in engaging workers (eg employee councils, staff forums) How to use employee voice insights to positively impact the way people work How to use employee voice insight to shape the organisation’s culture
Employee and worker relationships The different types of employees/workers in your organisation (eg employed, gig worker, contractor, consultant) The impact of different employee/worker relationships on the organisation How to balance individual and business expectations regarding employee/worker relationships How to maximise the individual and organisation benefits of different employee/worker relationships

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