Employee relationship management (ERM) is defined as the process used to support the relationship between an organisation and its workforce; “balancing the interests of individuals, employers and society in order to deliver performance, engagement and fairness”(Overell,2010:5).

Whilst the process can take the form of either a unitary approach, in which the workforce is viewed as entity unified by one aim, or a pluralistic approach, whereby inequalities are identified, primary areas of focus are likely to include:

Dispute management.
Measuring and monitoring results.
Goal setting.
Determining employee needs.

Highlighting the benefits of this process, research has identified a link between ERM and the achievement of business goals; with the maintenance of a positive workplace climate and high levels of employee engagement aiding this process (Overell,2010;6). In support of this theory, CIPD argue in favour of the significance of good employee relations contributing to “enhanced business outcomes as well as better health and well-being for employees”(CIPD,2017).

However, providing contrasting, the complex nature of this process is identifiable in response to the number of variables impacting upon the direction of these techniques. To expand, whilst communication is said to be the glue that supports the policies, making them redundant if ineffective, “many organisations perform badly in this area, failing to give employee communication the priority it deserves”(CIPD,2017). Similarly, the influence of management financial bias, currently estimated to make up 95% of decision making motives, (Larson,2017) can also be accredited to ineffective ERM; thus highlighting the importance of appropriate internal control mechanisms.

For example, the conduction of environmental scanning, whereby internal strengths and weaknesses are identified and their implications assessed, will provide support.

What other variables will contribute to the effectiveness of ERM?

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