Six Surprising Elements of Labor Relations

Industry Trends

May 31, 2023

Employees at work in factory

Given the rapidly changing economic and political landscape, it’s easy to understand why so many decision makers struggle to keep up with the changing dynamics of labor relations. The truth is that there are many complexities when it comes to gauging employee attitudes and managing interactions between workers and management as well as engaging a team for productivity.

Many managers and supervisors consider the basic elements they must follow—like wage calculations, contract negotiations, or grievance procedures. But did you know that there are some surprising factors to consider as well? From advances in technology impacting how workers interact on-the-job to shifts in employee engagement impacting your bottom-line savings, labor relations goes far beyond traditional wisdom. We’re here to tell you that labor relations is far more complex than simply providing competitive salaries and inviting open communication in the workplace. Many surprising elements can directly affect the success — or failure — of your labor relations programs, initiatives and policies. In this post, we’ll explore six of these surprising elements that your organization should be aware of in order to create a safe and productive work environment for employees.

Mobility and Shift Options

We all know that every job has its own set of requirements and constraints, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for flexibility. In fact, providing employees with mobility and shift options can work wonders for your business. By allowing your staff to shift their schedules or even change locations, your company can leverage their unique talents and capabilities to your advantage. Not only does this increase productivity and efficiency, but it can also help boost morale and job satisfaction. At the end of the day, happy employees make for a more successful business. Employers who offer flexible shift options or opportunities for career advancement often find themselves with a more motivated and loyal workforce. It’s just one of the many ways that labor relations can go beyond just negotiations and disputes.


That’s right, the unique personalities of both employers and employees can have a significant impact on your labor relations processes. For example, a boss who is seen as approachable and empathetic may be more likely to build trust with their employees, leading to smoother negotiations and fewer conflicts. On the other hand, a manager who is dismissive or abrasive may find themselves facing more resistance from their workforce. This just goes to show that when it comes to labor relations, there’s more at play than just numbers and contracts.

Displaying Empathy

Empathy may not be the first word that comes to mind when discussing labor relations, but it is certainly a surprising element that can greatly benefit employers. Empathy is a quality often associated with personal relationships, but its impact extends far beyond that.  Too often, management and employees are seen as two opposing forces in the workplace, with little understanding or acceptance between the two. But, by encouraging empathy within the workplace, employers can not only improve their relationships with employees, but ultimately increase productivity and job satisfaction. Empathetic employers are better able to address the concerns and needs of their workers, ultimately leading to increased employee satisfaction and retention. In this day and age, employers who go the extra mile displaying empathy with their workforce will find themselves with a significant edge over their competitors.

Hiring and Recruitment

Another one of the surprising elements of labor relations that people often tend to overlook is hiring and recruitment practices. Believe it or not, how a company goes about recruiting and hiring new employees can greatly impact their relationship with current employees. For example, if the company constantly hires from outside sources without giving current employees a chance to move up, they may become disengaged and feel undervalued. On the other hand, if the company promotes from within and offers opportunities for growth, employees may feel more loyalty and motivation to their employer.

With unionized work environments this area can become even more tricky. But with an integrated tool like Sodales for Enterprise Health, Safety and Employee Relations, we make it easier to manage your union job bidding processes. Sodales enables your organization to provide your unionized employees with fair opportunities for advancement and hiring based on seniority and collective bargaining agreements. So, when it comes to labor relations, it’s important to consider even the seemingly small details like recruitment and hiring practices.

Effective Record Keeping

Documentation is an important part of labor relations. Employers can maintain a fair and legally defensible workplace by keeping clear and detailed records of all employee-related activities, incidents and communications. Effective record keeping has many benefits when it comes to labor relations, from helping your organization stay complaint with laws and regulations to creating a proactive environment when it comes to dealing with infractions and corrective actions.

With labor relations, organizations can have dozens of Collective Bargaining Agreements that they must comply with – meaning thousands of pieces of paper that can become overwhelming to keep track of. That being said, its crucial for your organization to consider the digital tools that can be used to manage the volume of data that flows through your enterprise for labor related areas- like Sodales for Enterprise Health, Safety and Employee Relations.

The Power of Communication

One surprising element of labor relations that many employers may not expect is the power of communication and effective dialogue. While it may seem like a given, employers who prioritize open communication and transparent dialogue with their employees are much more likely to maintain positive labor relations and avoid potential conflicts down the line. When employers take the time to listen to their employees’ concerns and feedback, it not only shows that they value their workers, but it also promotes a more collaborative and productive work environment overall. Therefore, employers who prioritize communication skills and fostering positive relationships with their employees are often better equipped to handle any labor relations challenges that come their way.

But how do you maintain this open communication with your workforce and promote transparency throughout the entire organization? That’s easy with Sodales for Enterprise Health, Safety and Employee Relations. By providing your employees with a confidential and integrated tool like Sodales, they can easily submit grievances, complaints, incidents and more and have an open line of communication with their management team throughout every stage of the process.


Successful labor relations is a critical component to any business’ success. Employers must take a proactive role in managing a variety of elements that can directly impact the relationships between employers and employees. From effective record keeping to the influence of open communication and transparency, these six surprising elements can make a significant difference in developing strong, productive, and lasting labor relations programs and policies. By promoting a culture of support and open communication, organizations can create a positive and rewarding workplace that attracts and retains quality employees for the long term.

To learn how you can effectively manage these surprising elements of labor relations with Sodales, book an industry specific demo today.

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