Employee Relations (ER) is the specialisation of maintaining employer/employee relations, including the avoidance and resolution of work-related grievances. Specialised ER positions are relatively rare, as these responsibilities are commonly included as part of an HR Generalist's remit. In unionised environments, the role is usually described as Industrial Relations (IR), and the IR specialist has a more formalised role in representing the company in negotiations with the union. The specialisation is most widely needed in industrial and blue-collar settings, but is by no means restricted to these environments.
The ER/IR specialist needs to be a good communicator and be well-trusted by both management and employees alike. Successful practitioners are strong relationship developers and are able to connect with a wide range of personalities at all levels. They also work well under prolonged pressure and cope well with deadlines. ER/IR specialists often have no formal training in the field, but will be qualified by experience.
Example Job Titles
Director of Employee Relations (ER); Head of Labour Relations; Director of Industrial Relations (IR); Workforce Relations Director.