January 2022


Human Resources is conventionally what HR stands for, but, really, it should stand for Human Relations. Since humans are, well, humans first, rather than mere resources, we thought it’s a good time to look at the importance of employee relationships and how HR plays a pivotal role in these.

How is HR involved in employee relationships?

HR is the bridge between employees and employers. We make sure that everyone’s needs are met, and if they’re not, HR enables all involved to resolve it, acting in the interest of the business, and balance it with employees’ interests are well balanced with the interests of employees so that the company has, retains and attracts the best talent for the business interests to grow. HR is the balance.

Two main roles of HR in employee relationships

HR’s dual purpose in keeping the needs of the employer and its employees balanced is the very foundation of Human Resources, and as it happens, relations too. Looking more closely at relationships within a workplace, it becomes clear that HR is the link between colleagues, and also management and employees.

The role between co-workers

Healthy peer relationships can improve a company’s culture and subsequent success significantly. It is one of the top reasons why people stay in a company – or leave as soon as they can. HR is instrumental in creating a healthy company culture. There are a number of ways to achieve this.

Try to incorporate interdepartmental work team

Building cross-functional teams combine different skills across the company to work towards a common goal. This method creates fertile ground for new, innovative ideas to emerge, and it allows for colleagues from different departments to get to know one another better, creating a more cohesive and collaborative culture among employees.

Encourage social interaction

When colleagues meet in sociable settings, like during lunches or social get-togethers, they build stronger bonds. HR can create social events to help employees network and socialise across the organisation. A more relaxed setting gives more scope for people to build stronger bonds that can blossom into friendships, which are all ways to improve morale and company culture.

Have multifunctional employee communication tools

HR enable employees to maintain fruitful relationships by facilitating accessible, easy-to-use communication tools across the organisation. HR management software have communication modules built in, enabling employees to communicate across departments, even physical geographic boundaries, across different time zones, and collaborate as the business needs arise. This is a great way to empower employees and guarantee a better, more productive and positive work environment.

Other Cloud tools like Slack, Zoom and Googledocs allow employees to share messages, pictures, files, collaborate on projects, get peer reviews and feedback from a wider audience, and so much more. HR facilitates all these. It’s a powerful tool for labour relations management at employees’ fingertips.

The role between management and employee

HR is also the connection between employees and their managers. HR ensures that the greater overarching management goals for the business is clearly communicated across the organisation. HR recruits the right talent and ensure proper training of employees with these goals in mind. When employees feel underappreciated or underskilled in a specific job, HR is the person they turn to to communicate the shortfall and liaise with management to ensure the employee wants and needs are expressed. It’s an important relationship that HR facilitates and manages.

Encourage transparency

One of the ways HR manages the relationships between employees and management is by encouraging transparency between the two parties. Employees who are kept in the dark most often will feel undervalued, demoralised and disempowered, all the traits you want to avoid in a healthy organisation. Honest and open communication between the two tiers, albeit discreet where appropriate, is of the utmost importance. HR is the liaison of this communication channel. Mediation is often one of the pivotal functions of HR and definitely increases transparency and a better work culture.

Hold surveys to better understand the relationship

A great way to gauge the needs and morale among employees is by holding regular surveys. Surveys enable HR to understand what employees want and how to work out ways to give them what they want in order to stay with the organisation and be happy, engaged and productive employees.

In turn the workforce will feel that you are in touch, that they have a space where they can voice their needs, and that they are heard. It builds trust between employer and employees and lead to employee loyalty.

Be approachable, honest and involved

With HR being the pivot point for employee and employer relationships, it is crucial to be open and approachable. Employees should feel comfortable enough to approach you to talk about their concerns. In turn, be honest and open, as much as you can in your interactions with the workforce. Naturally some topics are confidential or on a need-to-know basis, but open, truthful communication is still possible. This helps build trust with employees and ensure their loyalty.

How HR can improve employee relations

HR has several tools to its disposal to build strong, healthy employee relations. This helps improve morale, minimise conflict and ultimately inspire employees to be more productive.

Encourage team-building exercises

HR is ideally placed to create team building activities for specific teams, and even between more than one team. The benefits of these activities are that it improves communication, collaboration, empathy, problem solving and decision making among colleagues. Ultimately, it strengthens relationships within the company and across departments.

Create a good company culture

Team building, transparency and great communication all work towards a wholesome company culture. Good company culture creates a better working environment, create an empowered workforce and a more optimistic culture where employees feel valued and recognised. It’s very much centered on that warm and fuzzy feeling rather than cold hard currency, but it makes or breaks a place of work.

Look at career improvement or development

Research shows time and again that employees are more loyal when they have a career plan and progress ahead of them. A key function of HR is to ensure that employees receive the correct career counselling and a track for career and skills development.

Be transparent and have effective communication

Effective communication means staff feel they are kept up to date with organisational movements and news. It instills a culture of trust and transparency, and it all starts with HR. Effective communication and transparency does not only pertain to HR’s interactions with employees, but also to communication between employees and with management. Accessible communication channels are paramount, and with a good human resources management system (HRMS) this is so much easier to achieve.

Utilise HR management systems and software

Within an HRMS staff can book training for career development. HR can manage a mentorship programme for staff in the system and staff can easily participate in surveys within the system. Company events are easily diarised within the system for all employees, and employees can manage their leave allowances within the system, giving them a sense of autonomy and empowerment. A system can also provide the platform for employees to communicate with one another, achieving the culture of cross-functional collaboration and transparency that is vital to successful organisations.

Encourage performance, and reward accordingly

HR is also the place where performance incentives are built and from where these are communicated to the rest of the company. An excellent reward system that is fair and transparent goes a long way to retain employees and attract the right talent.

Customize Employee Relationship Activities on your HRMS


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