Chat with us, powered by LiveChat 1. Read the chapter and take notes. Jot down concepts that are unclear and any questions that you have from the reading.? 2. Watch the Accenture video on inclusion. https://www.yout - Writeedu

1. Read the chapter and take notes. Jot down concepts that are unclear and any questions that you have from the reading.? 2. Watch the Accenture video on inclusion. https://www.yout


1. Read the chapter and take notes. Jot down concepts that are unclear and any questions that you have from the reading. 

2. Watch the Accenture video on inclusion.

Make a note of any particular element of the video that surprised you or resonated with you.

3. Visit the Harvard Project Implicit page here: You do NOT have to register to participate.

· Click on the top left link (Project Implicit Social Attitudes). Read through the disclaimer and click I wish to proceed at the bottom.

· A new page will open with all of their implicit bias tests. Explore the tests. You are not required to take one for this class (but it’s encouraged). I just want you to see all of the types of implicit biases they are researching. 

4. Watch the HR Daily Advisor: 10 Sins of Employee Documentation video: Make a note of any elements that were surprising or confusing. 

5. If you have forgotten what performance management entails, then this short video provides a good review:

CHAPTER 6 Employee Relations

The functional area Employee Relations will be 24 percent of the

Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) exam weighting. For

both human resource professionals and managers, employee relations is

a very important responsibility because it is focused on “people.” No or-

ganization can run without people to do the work necessary to accom-

plish organizational goals.

For early-career HR roles, employee relations is concerned with many

things, from how the organization communicates with employees and

creates policies, to managing conflict and performance. Many of these re-

sponsibilities are guided by federal, state, and local laws. That’s why the

Employee Relations function partners closely with a labor attorney.

However, while a labor attorney can be a helpful guide, HR is responsible

for applying the laws in practical terms so managers and employees alike

are able to perform their functions appropriately.

The Body of Knowledge (BoK) statements outlined by HR Certification

Institute (HRCI) for the Employee Relations functional area by those per-

forming early-career HR roles are as follows:

Knowledge of

•   01  The purpose and difference between mission, vision, and value state-

ments as well as how they influence an organization’s culture and


•   02  How HR supports organizational goals and objectives through HR

policies, procedures, and operations; for example, functions of human re-

source information systems (HRISs), organizational structures, preparing

HR-related documents, basic communication flows and methods, SWOT

analysis, and strategic planning

•   03  Techniques used to engage employees, collect feedback, and improve

employee satisfaction; for example, employee recognition programs, stay

interviews, engagement surveys, work/life balance initiatives, and alter-

native work arrangements

•   04  Workforce management throughout the employee lifecycle, including

performance management and employee behavior issues; for example,

goal setting, benchmarking, performance appraisal methods and biases,

ranking/rating scales, progressive discipline, termination/separation, off-

boarding, absenteeism, and turnover/retention

•   05  Policies and procedures to handle employee complaints, facilitate in-

vestigations, and support conflict resolution; for example, confidentiality,

escalation, retaliation, and documentation

•   06  The elements of diversity and inclusion initiatives and the impact on

organizational effectiveness and productivity; for example, social respon-

sibility initiatives, cultural sensitivity and acceptance, unconscious bias,

and stereotypes

Laws and Regulations

As with all the other chapters, you will find more details about laws that

apply to employee and labor relations in Chapter 2. Look to that chapter

for information each time you come across a reference to a law you don’t

understand or have yet to hear about. Figure 6-1 lists some of the federal

laws that apply to this functional area.

Figure 6-1  Key federal laws impacting employee and labor relations

EXAM TIP   Whenever you see the term labor relations, it means you are

talking about employees who are represented by a union.

State Laws

Each state can pass its own employee relations laws—and many have. At

the state level you will find such coverage as these, governing the follow-

ing topics:

•   Expansion of benefits beyond those provided for in federal law

•   State disability insurance programs

•   Unemployment insurance programs

•   Paid sick leave

•   Equal employment opportunity protections for classes beyond those in

federal law

•   Wage and hour requirements for overtime rates and rules of application

It is often the case that a state law covers the same topic as a federal

law but offers more protections for employees. In this scenario, you

should follow whichever law is more “generous” to employees.

Federal Regulations

When Congress passes a law, it is up to the appropriate department (or

agency) such as the U.S. Department of Labor (and the National Labor

Relations Board) to develop and publish proposed regulations that will

implement the new law. Once the proposed regulations are published,

there is a requirement for a public comment period. At the close of the

public comment period, the department will review the comments, make

any changes it believes appropriate in the regulation proposal, and pub-

lish either the final regulations or a revised proposal with a new public

comment period. Once published as final, the regulations will carry an

implementation date (or dates for individual components of the law’s re-

quirements). Once that date has arrived, all employment organizations

subject to the new law and regulations will be obligated to comply.

Rights and Responsibilities

One important aspect of employee relations is rights and responsibilities.

As with any relationship, each party (employee and employer) must allow

for certain rights and responsibilities for the relationship to continue in a

healthy and productive way. Doing this is part of complying with the laws

that are passed.


Employer responsibilities include such things as treating employees in ac-

cordance with the principle of “good faith and fair dealing.” It is more

than an ethical requirement. Good faith and fair dealing is a legal

covenant. Employers are expected to honor commitments made to em-

ployees when employees are convinced to act based on those employer

promises. For example, when a manager interviews the best qualified job

candidate and says, “We really want you to move out to our state and be

part of this organization. We will have a job for you for as long as you

want it,” the employer has enticed the candidate into action based on the

promise of permanent employment. If the employer cuts the new em-

ployee off the payroll when downsizing the organization, it has broken its

obligation under the covenant of good faith and fair dealing. The result

can be a lawsuit based on contract law.

Employer rights include the expectation that employees will work for a

full 8 hours each day they are scheduled for 8 hours. The employer has a

right to ensure worker behavior while on the job meets with policy re-

quirements, and the employer has the right to inspect employee work

product, work space, and communication related to work.


Employees have the right to expect they will be treated with good faith

and fairly by their employer. They have the right to proper wage calcula-

tion and prompt payment. They have the right to full benefit provisions

as provided by organizational policy and contract provisions.

Employees also have responsibilities. Those include the responsibility

to give a full 8 hours of effort for an 8-hour workday compliance with all

to give a full 8 hours of effort for an 8-hour workday, compliance with all

employer policies, and treatment of everyone in the workplace with


Organizational Strategy

Employee relations programs should be aligned with an organization’s vi-

sion, mission, values, goals, and objectives. All employee relations pro-

grams communicate organizational strategy in some way. For example, a

performance evaluation usually rates employee performance based on

certain expectations, outputs, and behaviors. These may be attendance,

customer service, following policies, creativity, and so on. The options are

endless. However, what is important is that the categories chosen for the

performance evaluation align with the things the organization cares

about and hopes to accomplish.

Employees and the organization are ultimately more successful when

there is a shared understanding of the things that are important. For ex-

ample, a core value of “honesty” may not be relatable to employees if

there are not programs for constructive feedback, mediums for reporting

employee concerns such as an open-door policy, or an option for anony-

mous reporting of serious breaches of organizational policy.


A mission is a written declaration of an organization’s core purpose and

focus that normally remains unchanged over time. Properly crafted mis-

sion statements do the following:

•   Serve as filters to separate what is important from what is not

•   Clearly state which markets will be served and how

•   Communicate a sense of intended direction to the entire organization


A vision is different from a mission. A mission is something to be accom-

plished, whereas a vision is more of an inspirational statement. It de-

scribes what the organization envisions for the future if it fulfills its mis-

sion. A vision is intended to serve as a clear guide for choosing current

and future courses of action.


Values are important and lasting beliefs or ideals shared by the members

of a culture about what is good or bad and desirable or undesirable.

Values have a major influence on a person’s behavior and attitude, and

they serve as broad guidelines in all situations. Some common business

values are fairness, innovation, and community involvement.

Goals and Objectives

Objectives define strategies or implementation steps to attain the identi-

fied goals. Unlike goals, objectives are specific and measurable and have a

defined completion date. Objectives follow the SMART test (specific, mea-

surable, achievable, relevant, and timed). They outline the “who, what,

when, where, and how” of reaching the goals.

Strategic Planning

Strategic planning is a regular process that executive management in all

functional areas is involved in. It flows from an organization’s mission,

vision, values, goals, and objectives. It describes the direction the organi-

zation wants to go in and how resources should be allocated to pursue

this direction. The annual budget each year is usually an output of strate-

gic planning.

A common technique for strategic planning is a SWOT analysis. SWOT

stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths

and weaknesses are looked at as internal factors within the organization

that can be managed. Opportunities and threats are controlled by exter-

nal forces. SWOT analysis is a long-standing simple process used in strate-

gic planning for collecting information about an organization’s current

state. Four foundational questions are posed:

•   S: What are the organization’s strengths?

•   W: What are the organization’s weaknesses?

•   O: What external opportunities might help the organization to progress

toward its vision?

•   T: What external threats could foil the organization’s plans and business?

HR’s role in the strategic plan is to align its initiatives with the

organization’s objectives. Having the right number of people, with the

right capabilities, at the right times, and in the right places, engaged and

motivated to do the right things is HR’s primary support role for the orga-

nization. For example, recruitment initiatives must align with plans for

opening a new facility. Retention incentives such as compensation and

benefits should fit into the organization’s plans for holding on to key em-

ployee groups.

What will be the human resource department’s contribution to the en-

terprise strategic plan? Table 6-1 outlines some things that are fairly


Table 6-1  HR’s Contribution to the Strategic Plan

Organizational Structure

A business structure, otherwise known as an organizational structure, de-

fines how activities such as task allocation, coordination, and supervision

are directed toward the achievement of organizational aims. It can also

be considered the viewing glass or perspective through which individuals

see their organization and its environment.

The four main types of organizational structure are flat, functional, di-

visional, and matrix, as detailed next:

•   Flat  A flat organization (also known as a horizontal organization or de-

layering) has an organizational structure with few or no levels of middle

management between staff and executives. The advantages of this type of

structure are that it elevates the employees’ level of responsibility in the

organization, and it removes excess layers of management, which im-

proves the coordination and speed of communication between employ-

ees. Fewer levels of management encourage an easier decision-making

process among employees. The disadvantages are that employees often

lack a specific boss to report to, which creates confusion and possible

power struggles among management. Also, flat organizations tend to pro-

duce a lot of generalists but no specialists, and the specific job functions

of employees may not be clear. A flat structure may limit the long-term

growth of an organization; management may decide against new oppor-

tunities in an effort to maintain the structure. Larger organizations strug-

gle to adapt the flat structure, unless the company divides into smaller,

more manageable units.

•   Functional  A functional structure is set up so that each portion of the or-

ganization is grouped according to its purpose. In this type of organiza-

tion there may be a marketing department, a sales department, and a pro-

duction department. The functional structure works well for small busi-

nesses in which each department can rely on the talent and knowledge of

its workers and support itself. One of the drawbacks to a functional struc-

ture is that the coordination and communication between departments

can be restricted by the organizational boundaries of having the various

departments working separately.

•   Divisional  A divisional structure typically is used in larger companies

that operate in a wide geographic area or that have separate smaller or-

ganizations within the umbrella group to cover different types of prod-

ucts or market areas. Many automotive manufacturers such as Toyota

have a divisional structure, with divisions for each car brand, a parts di-

vision, and divisions for each geographic area. The benefit of this struc-

ture is that needs can be met more rapidly and more specifically; how-

ever, communication is inhibited because employees in different divi-

sions are not working together. Divisional structure is costly because of

its size and scope. Small businesses can use a divisional structure on a

smaller scale, having different offices in different parts of the city, for ex-

ample, or assigning different sales teams to handle different geographic


•   Matrix  The matrix structure is a hybrid of the divisional and functional

structures. Typically used in large multinational companies, the matrix

structure allows for the benefits of functional and divisional structures to

exist in one organization. This can create power struggles because most

areas of the company will have dual management—a functional manager

and a product or divisional manager working at the same level and cov-

ering some of the same managerial territory.

EXAM TIP   The advantage of a functional structure is that it promotes

skill specialization; the disadvantage is that it reduces communication

and cooperation between departments.

Organizational Communication

Following from organizational structure is the consideration of how com-

munication flows through the organization. Depending on an

organization’s structure, communication may be easier or more difficult.

For example, in a flat organizational structure, employees in all depart-

ments may work together closely, and communication is relatively seam-

less. In a divisional structure, especially where employees are separately

geographically, other departments can be “out of sight, out of mind,” re-

sulting in strained communication.

Workplace communication is the process of exchanging information,

both verbal and nonverbal, within an organization. An organization may

consist of employees from different parts of the society. They may have

different cultures and backgrounds and can be used to different norms.

To unite activities of all employees and restrain from any missed deadline

or activity that could affect the company negatively, communication is

crucial. Workplace communication is tremendously important to organi-

zations because it increases productivity and efficiency. Ineffective work-

place communication leads to communication gaps between employees,

which causes confusion, wastes time, and reduces productivity.

Communication starts from the top. Management should always be

thinking about whether communication is effective and which new meth-

ods of communication could be more productive. For example, are more

meetings needed between departments? A monthly newsletter to all em-

ployees? More e-mails updating employees on the status of projects? The

options are endless. Whether interacting with colleagues, subordinates,

managers, customers, or vendors, employees’ ability to communicate ef-

fectively using a variety of tools is essential.

Also, nonverbal communication must be taken into consideration. How

a person delivers a message has a lot of influence on how it is perceived.

HR is often responsible for management communication training, which

emphasizes skills for nonverbal and verbal communication.

E-mail Communication

As technology becomes even more prevalent, workplaces find themselves

communicating via e-mail more than ever. E-mail communication is an

art. It is easy for a reader to construe a whole different meaning from an

e-mail message than what was originally intended.

Here are some tips concerning e-mail etiquette:

•   Start on a personal note.

•   Tame the emotions.

•   Keep it short and sweet.

•   Read it twice.

•   Master the subject line by making it clear and concise.

Human Resource Information Systems (HRISs)

HR professionals coordinate a wide variety of employee activities that in-

volve large amounts of data over time, so having a human resource infor-

mation system (HRIS) can be an important part of the HR strategy. An

HRIS provides data management and accurate and timely information for

decision-making. It also streamlines HR processes by reducing the

amount of time spent on daily transaction activities, such as tracking em-

ployee status changes. It frees the HR team to work on tasks that are more

aligned with the organization’s goals and strategy.

An HRIS functions as a productivity tool for HR. Increased speed and

accuracy result when HR transactions are performed with computer soft-

ware rather than manually. Routine transactions such as employee head-

count, payroll tracking, and time and attendance reporting become auto-

mated and more cost effective.

Data for legal compliance and reporting can also be housed in an HRIS,

such as data about staffing, turnover, benefits, and regulatory compliance

issues. HR staff can provide reports on the total number of employees,

cost to hire, vacant positions, benefits costs, required reports such as EEO-

1, and the cost of raises and bonuses.

A company’s HRIS also functions as an executive information system to

aggregate high-level data for long-range planning such as succession

planning. The system provides information for strategic needs such as

forecasting, staffing needs assessment, and employee skills assessment.

Lastly, an HRIS can also function as an office automation system to de-

sign employee documents such as job applications and requisitions, to

schedule shared resources such as a conference room, and to schedule

and track employee training. All employee communication, such as news-

letters, employee handbooks, and benefits changes, can also be housed in

an HRIS.

Human Resource Policies

HR policies are guidelines on the approach the organization intends to

adopt in managing its people. HR policies are written statements of the

company’s standards and objectives and include all areas of employment.

They contain rules on how employees must perform their jobs and inter-

act with each other.

EXAM TIP   HR policies serve three major purposes: to reassure employ-

ees they will be treated fairly and objectively, to help managers make

rapid and consistent decisions, and to give managers the confidence to re-

solve problems and defend their decisions.

Employee Handbook

The terms employee handbook and policy manual are often used inter-

changeably. Regardless of the term used, this document sets forth expec-

tations for employees and describes what they can expect from the com

tations for employees and describes what they can expect from the com-

pany. It should also describe legal obligations such as the employer’s and

employees’ rights.

Many states have rather strict laws about employment policies and

their communication with workers. Generally, it is not acceptable to make

policies effective retroactively. Plan to circulate any policy changes or ad-

ditions to your employees with sufficient time for them to digest and ad-

just to the requirements before the implementation date.

NOTE   Attorneys recommend having employees sign a document ac-

knowledging receipt of the employee handbook. It doesn’t mean they

agree with everything in the handbook but rather that they have received

a personal copy. This is helpful in preventing legal claims.

Developing an employee handbook can take a short amount of time or

a considerable amount of time. It is important to involve other depart-

ments and employees in the process to make sure the handbook is both

legally compliant and accurately communicates organizational values

and goals. If the organization has unions, it may be necessary to negotiate

policy changes through the collective bargaining process.

When writing an employee handbook, keep in mind that it typically in-

cludes the following topics:

•   ADA policy  The duty to provide reasonable accommodation is required

under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). To comply with the ADA,

attain diversity goals, access a larger labor pool, and take advantage of

tax incentives, most employers adopt a written policy with a formal, com-

prehensive approach to employing people with disabilities.

•   EEO policy  Employees must be informed of their right to be free from

workplace discrimination and retaliation. EEO policies also apply to ven-

p p pp y

dors, contractors, and other third parties with whom the employer con-

ducts business. State or local laws may expand the list of protected


•   Harassment policy  It is important for employees to understand that the

organization has zero-tolerance for harassment and what avenues are

available for reporting and resolving complaints.


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