Human Resource Expert Offers Employee Relations Tips from Hiring to Firing

Apr 12, 2011
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Alexandria, Va. — Many employers focus on relationships with employees when it is too late – when the employee quits or needs to be terminated. The process is backwards, according to Christine V. Walters, M.A.S., J.D., SPHR, author of the new book From Hello to Goodbye: Proactive Tips for Maintaining Positive Employee Relations (ISBN: 978-1-58644-206-4).

In From Hello to Goodbye, published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Walters provides employee relations tips – from orientation to exit interviews – to ensure every step of the employee relationship runs smoothly and beneficially for both employer and employee.

Top employee relations tips include:

1. Collaborate to create the best employee orientation program. “Build your onboarding program with input from executive team members, department managers, front-line supervisors, human resources, and employees actually doing the work. With this feedback, you can develop a well-rounded program that meets the needs of the entire organization.”

2. Ask questions and listen when an employee makes a harassment claim. “When an employee tells you that he is being harassed, ask the employee to describe the behaviors or actions that are occurring. Then listen. If you do not hear any references to membership in a protected class, do not ignore it; this could still signal an employee relations matter and you should take steps to facilitate and resolve the matter.”

3. Know your state laws. “Many states have laws that require employers to provide a certain amount of leave, paid or unpaid, to employees for family, medical, military, voting, and other reasons. Be sure your policies comply with federal and state law requirements.”

4. Be consistent when considering employee termination. “Don’t just open your employee handbook to be sure termination is in accordance with your policy; be sure it is also consistent with how the company has treated other employees in similar situations.”

Walters is an attorney and sole proprietor of FiveL Company in Maryland. On April 12, she will be speaking on “Employee, Where Art Thou? The Latest News in Managing Disability and Leave Issues” at SHRM’s Talent & Staffing Management Conference in San Diego, Calif.

She has 25 years of combined experience in HR administration, management, employment law practice, and teaching. Walters has served as an expert witness and testified before the U.S. Congress, state legislative committees and federal administrative agencies.

Walters holds a bachelor’s degree from Lynchburg College, a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University, and a juris doctor degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Review copies of the book and author interviews are available upon request. For more information on From Hello to Goodbye and other SHRM-published books, visit: http://www.shrm.org/Publications/Books/Pages/default.aspx.

About the Society for Human Resource Management

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in more than 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession. Founded in 1948, SHRM has more than 575 affiliated chapters within the United States and subsidiary offices in China and India. Visit SHRM Online at www.shrm.org and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SHRMPress.

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