Employee Relations: Job Outlooks and Career Paths

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A smiling young employee relations manager welcomes a new hire to the company.


Maintaining positive relationships between managers and employees is essential to any successful business. On a daily basis, an organization’s employee relations function can make the difference between an effective or ineffective work environment.

Employee relationship management provides managers with the opportunity to motivate employees and maximize their potential. Since it encourages employees to increase their level of job effort, employee relationship management, if done properly, has a positive effect on the productivity of an organization.

Individuals who are interested in helping organizations build a more effective and efficient workforce should consider pursuing employee relations jobs. Those who want to contribute to the field of human resources in an employee relations capacity can look into earning an online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree or an online Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Psychology degree.

Students and professionals can explore several career paths associated with employee relations, from an employee relations specialist to an employee relations adviser.

What Is Employee Relations? A Key Concept at a Glance

The ultimate goal of employee relations is to create strong, trusted relationships between an organization and its workforce. It depends on organizational leaders cultivating a positive work environment for employees and managers alike. Effective employee relations causes employees to feel valuable in the workforce and diligently pursue their professional goals. It also strives to eliminate toxicity in the workplace, such as bullying, aggression, physical or verbal abuse and conflict.

Strategies of Employee Relations

Different organizations use different employee relations strategies to improve their work culture. Some of these strategies address financial components, such as offering competitive compensation and providing benefits packages. A strategy also used in employee relations jobs has to do with motivation, such as appreciating and rewarding employees in novel ways for accomplishing their work.

Another strategy of employee relations involves creating a dynamic corporate culture through initiatives such as establishing a healthy work-life balance. Managers can work to help their employees achieve this balance by offering team building activities, work-life seminars and training programs, weekly employee luncheons or annual company retreats.

Some managers choose to actively address conflict management between employees, enforcing disciplinary measures when necessary. They can also take preventative measures, by hosting training sessions about workplace safety, for example, to ensure employees feel physically safe and emotionally secure at work.

In practicing sound employee relations, managers and organizational leaders should set an example for their staff by eliminating any conscious or unconscious biases they may have toward employees. As leaders, they are responsible for modeling how to recognize and celebrate diversity in the workplace.

Why Is Employee Relations Important?

Effective employee relations plays a central role in the lives of employees and managers. Maintaining strong, trusted relationships with a workforce can yield the essential benefit of improved employee morale. When managers affirm their appreciation of employees in their roles, the employees feel their presence in the workplace is valued. Gestures such as restaurant gift cards, company gym memberships or weekly casual dress days can unite teams of employees. Celebrating special occasions, such as birthdays, can also help develop a sense of community among employees.

By working to achieve high levels of workplace quality, professionals in employee relations jobs can help increase productivity now and in the future. Emphasizing the importance of verbal and written communication can enable managers to connect with employees more effectively.

Developing and maintaining quality employee relations is essential for a company’s overall operational efficiency, as the productivity of employees is directly linked to workplace cooperation and success.

Employee relations is also important because it can have a positive impact on company goals, such as increased employee retention and improved revenue. To experience the full benefits of employee relations, managers and organizational leaders should be willing to gather and act on feedback from employees. Multiple voices and perspectives can help managers address problems and issues with an informed mindset. Understanding and appreciating the diverse talents of employees can help managers make better decisions.

Employee Relations Specialist

Employee relations specialists play an integral role in human resources departments. As the job title implies, professionals in this occupation specialize in cultivating and improving the workplace dynamic between employees and managers. As such, employee relations specialists are responsible for managing labor relations within an organization.

Typical responsibilities associated with the role include managing the recruitment and hiring process. Also essential is overseeing the employee separation process and conducting exit interviews.

Employee relations specialists can counsel employees regarding issues that arise in the workplace. This aspect of the job requires a strong background in organizational psychology. Understanding the influence of thoughts, behaviors and actions of individuals on other employees helps employee relations specialists better relate with the workers they counsel.

Employee relations specialists also serve as professional mediators between employees and managers. They are responsible for keeping records of any complaints or problems that arise among or between employees and management.

Collecting, organizing and analyzing employee data is a significant aspect of the role. Professionals in this employee relations job create files for employees, including information from background checks, physical examinations, complaints and other records. As experts in human resources, employee relations specialists oversee orientations, training sessions, development seminars and other employee-related activities.

Education and Skills

Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as an employee relations specialist should earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources, organizational psychology or a related field. They should develop skills considered essential for the position, such as knowledge pertaining to employment law and human resources policies, interpersonal relationship building, organization, excellent verbal communication, attention to detail, problem solving and decision-making.


The median annual salary for employee relations specialists was around $60,900 as of July 2020, according to the compensation source PayScale. Factors relating to education level, experience, company, and job location can influence the precise salary earned.

Employee Relations Consultant

Employee relations consultants perform a wide range of duties in an organization’s human resources department. Their main concern revolves around improving the relationship between employees and managers. Employee relations consultants have an important employee relations job, as they ensure the satisfaction of all working professionals in a company. Organizations can hire employee relations consultants to proactively address problems that exist in a company before they escalate.

Employee relations consultants help managers implement more effective recruiting methods, such as creating job advertisements in conjunction with the marketing department. They also significantly influence the process of hiring new employees, conducting screenings as well as interviews. They consult with managers to identify which potential job candidates are the most qualified. Once new individuals are hired, employee relations consultants help managers make decisions about the orientation and training process.

Another primary job responsibility of employee relations consultants involves creating unbiased methods of conducting employee assessments. After evaluating the progress of employees, employee relations consultants can advise managers regarding which employees deserve promotions or bonuses. They can also identify which employees are not reaching company standards. Improving workplace environments by ensuring employee safety is another aspect of the employee relations consultant position.

Education and Skills

Students and professionals who are interested in working as employee relations consultants should earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources, organizational psychology or a related field. Core competencies associated with the role include strong analytical skills, effective interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication, the ability to identify and solve problems, decision-making, knowledge of employment law and policies, negotiation skills and management expertise.


The median annual salary for employee relations consultants is $70,100 as of July 2020, according to PayScale. Education level, specific company, years of practical experience and job location can all affect salary levels.

Employee Relations Coordinator

The employee relations coordinator role exists in relation to other employee relations jobs in an organization’s human resources department. Employee relations coordinators complete the practical and more detailed daily responsibilities of human resource professionals. They work under the supervision of human resource managers and are in charge of coordinating activities relating to hiring and training.

While employee relations consultants can advise managers about the hiring process and what type of job advertisements to post, employee relations coordinators are responsible for posting the job advertisements, reviewing resumes and determining which applicants can move to the next phase of interviews.

Employee relations coordinators facilitate the daily duties of the human resources department, answering any questions employees may have regarding the hiring process, compensation, insurance, benefits, retirement or company policies. They refer employees to employee relations specialists when it comes to specific matters that require specialized attention. Employee relations coordinators help other employee relations professionals organize orientations for new hires as well as ongoing training sessions for employees.

Organizing and managing the personal information of employees requires employee relations coordinators to perform their duties with care and strict adherence to privacy procedures. They work alongside employee relations consultants to advise management about changes that can enhance the work environment.

Education and Skills

Those who are interested in working as employee relations coordinators should earn a bachelor’s degree in human resources, psychology, organizational psychology or a related field of study. The position’s common responsibilities demand a particular skill set including the ability to multitask, excellent teamwork and interpersonal skills, problem solving, the ability to research and analyze information about employees, organization, decision-making, proficiency with basic technology and negotiation strategies.


The median annual salary for employee relations coordinators was around $47,800 as of August 2020, according to PayScale. Factors such as level of education, years of experience, specific organization and job location can affect the exact salary.

Employee Relations Adviser

Employee relations advisers serve employees and organizational leaders by working in the human resources department. They help foster positive relationships among employees as well as between employees and management. They address issues employees may have with co-workers or the broader organization.

The employee relations adviser position revolves around offering assistance regarding workplace cooperation problems. Employee relations advisers help managers spot and address problems that arise with personnel. Daily duties commonly associated with the profession can include discussing the process of recruitment with managers and other human resources professionals. Employee relations advisers also help make decisions about compensation and benefits, working with employee relations consultants to evaluate employees on a regular basis.

An important responsibility unique to the role of employee relations advisers is coaching and mentoring employees. These human resources professionals can offer to counsel employees regarding employment law and their company’s policies. They serve as educators and supporters, as they advise employee relations experts about performance issues and expectations. They meet with employees and managers one-on-one to keep everyone informed about the decision-making process and any changes in policies or regulations.

Education and Skills

Individuals who are interested in working in the employee relations job of an adviser should pursue a bachelor’s degree in human resources, psychology, business, organizational psychology or a related field. In a degree program, students will develop skills typically considered essential for the role. These skills include organization, interpersonal skills, active listening, planning, decision-making, verbal and written communication, problem solving, research, analytical thinking and competencies related to performance management.


The median annual salary for professionals working as employee relations advisers was around $65,300 as of July 2020, according to PayScale. The exact amount an individual can earn may be shaped by their education level, years of experience, company and job location.

Establishing a Dedicated Workforce

Excellent employee relations can make an organization more successful in both the short-term and long-term. Individuals who are interested in employee relations jobs, working as either specialists, consultants, coordinators or advisers, can begin by pursuing a degree in human resources or business. They can also prepare for one of these roles by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology or organizational psychology.

At Rider University, students can earn their online Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree in two years by finishing all coursework online. Courses in the curriculum include Psychology and Culture, Personality, and Social Psychology, among others.

The University also offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Psychology degree. Students can also complete this 100% online program in two years. Courses include Strategic Management and Policy, Legal and Ethical Environment of Business, Fundamentals of Management and Organizational Behavior, and Management Information Systems, among others.

Learn how the Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Psychology degree programs at Rider University can help you prepare for an employee relations job and pursue your professional goals.


Recommended Readings

Conflict Resolution in the Workplace: Techniques and Strategies
Flow in the Workplace: What It Means and Why It’s Important
How to Measure Employee Engagement and Satisfaction


Houston Chronicle, “Skills Needed in Employee Relations”
Houston Chronicle, “The Traditional HR Function of Employee Relations”
Houston Chronicle, “What Is an HR Coordinator?”
Houston Chronicle, “What Is the Difference Between Industrial Organizational Psychology & Human Resource Management?”
PayScale, Average Consultant, Human Resources (HR) with Employee Relations Skills Salary
Payscale, Average Human Resources Advisor with Employee Relations Skills Salary
PayScale, Average Human Resources (HR) Coordinator with Employee Relations Skills Salary
PayScale, Average Employee Relations Specialist Salary