This article will seek to define what the term Employee Relations is and what part it plays in your Nursery.


Any business starts with the same basic aim – to be successful.  What defines success and leads a business to success can take many different forms.

At the Nursery HR People we firmly believe that ensuring your staff are treated with care and with value is a critical part of being a truly successful business.  Your business is your employees, therefore by looking after them, you are looking after your business.

So how does Employee Relations fit into this and what are Employee Relations?

In short, Employee Relations is a term that refers to the management of the relationship between employers and employees, as well as co-workers.

Human Resources can play a pivotal role in the management of Employee Relations. For example if a particular HR process is required to be used as part of managing an Employee Relations case such as sickness absence then HR are often called upon to provide guidance and assistance in managing such a situation.

However Employee Relations is not just relevant to HR processes and can take many forms and guises within a business.

An effective Employee Relations programme will equip Managers and Line Managers with the ability to foster a positive working environment and build healthy relationships amongst their employees.  Research has shown that a positive working relationship between employees results in increased employee motivation, increased confidence within individuals and increased team morale.

People do not work at their highest level when isolated and working independently of others.  Individually we can work towards a goal but productivity is maximised when we work as a team towards a common business goal.

We frequently hear from businesses that managing conflict remains a key issue for managers. Conflict can exist between co-workers or between employers and employees.  It can take more obvious forms of poor working relationships, but can also show itself within high absence levels, high staff turnover, and in extreme cases claims of bullying and costly tribunals.

So how can you ensure outstanding management of Employees Relations in your nursery setting?

Here are my top 3 tips for easy implementation:

1) Communication

Clear and open communication in the workplace is of the upmost importance in ensuring positive Employee Relations.  Communication should be a two way process, involving listening as much as giving instructions/providing information.  When significant information needs to be given, this should be done in an open environment where feedback should be welcomed and encouraged.  Meetings between employers and employees should be held regularly and can be done on a one to one basis (eg for individual performance reviews) or as a team (eg morning team briefings).

Having clear and compliant HR policies in place that seek to clarify and support employees and the employer in managing Employee Relation cases is also of vital importance. Following clear guidelines and structure will ensure that fair and consistent processes are being followed and applied by all parties. This reduces anxiety and helps bring matters to a swifter resolution.

2) Motivation

Motivating employees is another key factor in the management of Employee Relations.  Communication as discussed above can go a long way towards increasing motivation levels.  Empowering employees is another positive motivational tool.  Providing challenging tasks and encouraging the employee to take the lead in managing the completion of the task encourages motivation, and this can be increased by acknowledging and rewarding work completed successfully.

Investing in your employees, providing training and opportunities to further develop their careers again can be highly motivating.  Encouraging an employee to develop a career plan and working with them to achieve this not only motivates an employee but also creates a feeling of loyalty.

Employers must seek to make the employee experience at work a positive one and embed a culture that is supportive and encourages excellence.

3) Environment

Research has proven that getting the work environment right for your business, is another crucial element in keeping your employees motivated, and creating an opportunity for transparency within a business.

Creating a positive working environment that promotes success is valued by employees.  Encouraging employees to have an input into the working environment is a quick and easy way to ensuring they feel comfortable and happy in the workplace.

For example setting up an Employee Forum where members of your team have the opportunity to come together to discuss the work environment and make suggestions of how this can be improved is a fantastic way of involving your employees in shaping their work environment.

Final Word

Whilst incorporating any elements of the above, it is crucial to remember that leading by example should always be at the forefront of what any employer does.  A true team approach should involve all, and as an employer you should be willing to take on any task that you ask of an employee.

Ultimately it is important to recognise that there is a direct relationship between efficient employee relations management and gaining an ‘Outstanding’ workforce in your setting.  Engaged, happy and motivated employees will ultimately meet targets and achieve beyond expectations, ensuring that your setting is the best that it can be.

I am certain that many Nursery settings already operate a high level of Employee Relation management but for those reading this who feel they need assistance in this area please do get in touch and we would be delighted to offer some further support and guidance.

Alternatively, if you have a success story of an innovative way you have implemented Employee Relations management in your setting that you would like to share with other settings, The Nursery HR People would love to hear about it.

If you have found this blog useful, do take a look at the Blog area of the Nursery HR people which provides regular updates on a wide variety of topics relating to all matters of HR within the Early Years Sector.

Have a great week!

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Fiona Tyson


Operations Director

01509 833121

Less HR More Learning!