Addressing the gap: 1 in 5 large enterprises lack employee relations tools

Nicole Currie

Written By Nicole Currie

17th April 2024

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Why transforming employee relations in UK enterprises is vital

The business landscape is constantly evolving, throwing a multitude of workforce management challenges at large enterprises. These challenges are further amplified by ever-changing laws and regulations.

With more employment law changes coming this year, and the potential for a shift in government that may bring more change to employee rights (see more in People Management), failing to invest in digital employee relations transformation now could lead to a wave of issues.

Alarmingly, recent research shows that 1 in 5 large UK enterprises lack essential employee relations case management tools. Without these tools, HR departments are wasting valuable time and managers are not empowered to handle people matters effectively.

This opens the business up to significant risks, such as an increase in disciplinary cases, employee relations tribunal claims, and overwhelmed HR teams, a concern reported by HR Magazine.

Employee relations 2.0 results

Read the full research paper here

The problem: Lack of employee relations tools to navigate the changing workforce landscape

Another concerning finding is that less than 40% of respondents claim to have full access to employee relations data, such as cross-company trends and caseload analysis. This lack of visibility blocks proactive efforts to address the root causes of issues, such as rising absenteeism, as reported by CIPD, and higher turnover rates, an issue highlighted by HR Dive.

Without these valuable insights, HR are often making decisions based on assumptions or limited data, hindering impactful change.

The solution lies in digitally transforming employee relations processes by adding a fit-for-purpose employee relations case management system to your HR tech stack. By proactively managing personnel issues and increasing employee engagement, the investment in this transformative technology will pay for itself in the long run and deliver a significant return on investment.

This is a compelling business case for any large enterprise organisation looking to achieve positive ROI and improve employee relations practices.

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The power of proactive people management: Staying ahead of the curve

As a human resources leader, you have a lot to manage when it comes to your HR technology stack, so investment in employee relations is sometimes overlooked. However, prioritising this investment brings undeniable benefits. Once HR leaders see this firsthand, they are eager to invest for several compelling reasons:

  1. Consistency and risk reduction: Digitally transforming the employee relations function can deliver greater consistency, minimising the potential for costly workplace disputes and legal risk, contributing to a more stable and compliant business.
  2. Business success metrics: Improved employee relations directly impact key business metrics such as absenteeism, turnover rates, and productivity. When employees feel supported and valued, they are more likely to stay with the company, be engaged in their work, and perform at their best. These positive outcomes have a tangible impact on organisational success and competitiveness.
  3. Enhanced employee experience: Investing in employee relations streamlines processes and empowers line managers to handle people matters, resulting in a more efficient and responsive HR function. HR professionals can dedicate more time to strategic and complex issues, improving their overall contribution to the organisation and reducing HR overwhelm.

Prioritising investment in employee relations within the HR tech stack is crucial for driving business success and enhancing the overall employee experience.

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The benefits of true digital transformation in employee relations

When employee relations processes are transformed with fit-for-purpose technology, the benefits are significant. Statistics reveal that enabling managers to self-serve employee relations matters significantly reduces reliance on HR, allowing managers to shift from reactive problem-solving to proactive resolutions.

Graph illustrating Proportion of cases closed with no HR contribution at all with empowerAs evidenced by these results, thanks to line managers taking more ownership, processes for managing areas like sickness absence, performance, flexible working, and disciplinary matters are streamlined. With this kind of transformation, managers can focus on leading a successful team, setting ambitious goals, and nurturing a thriving workforce.

Typically, across our empower® customer base, 69% of employee relations cases were successfully closed by managers without HR intervention, highlighting the enhanced capabilities and confidence within enterprises embracing new ways of working.

By prioritising investment in employee relations transformation, you’ll see the value of investing in your people for long-term financial and organisational health.

See the stats here

Digital transformation: More than just going digital

Digital transformation isn’t simply about digitising processes; it’s about investing in the right solutions that simplify work and empower your most valuable assets: your people. Many organisations make the mistake of investing in solutions that streamline processes, but which aren’t fit for managing the complexity of employee relations data.

The best transformation solutions will provide line managers with the necessary resources to better manage people matters while giving HR the visibility and control to manage risk and drive positive change.

Empower your people, empower your business

Imagine the impact on your organisation if your HR department could devote more time to strategic priorities and less time on transactional administrative tasks. Think about how much more effective managers could be in engaging with their direct reports if they were able to confidently and consistently handle 90% of employee relations tasks themselves, without defaulting to HR.

Employee relations transformation delivers this.

By equipping managers with the right tools and training, you’ll unlock a wide range of benefits:

  • Confident and capable managers: Consistent employee relations case management and guided journeys empower managers to handle people matters effectively, boosting their confidence and skillset, and improving the employee experience.
  • Streamlined efficiency: Faster case resolution and reduced workloads for HR are achieved through streamlined processes and instant access to information.
  • Reduced risk and enhanced compliance: With managers and HR guided through every stage of the process while maintaining a digital audit trail in one place, the risk of costly tribunal claims arising from a lack of proper process management can be reduced.

With the right processes in place, organisations can improve their employee experience, enhance compliance, and achieve greater efficiencies.

Investing in your people pays off

Proactive management of employee relations matters go beyond just avoiding problems. It’s about creating a positive employee experience and building a thriving workforce. The benefits extend to your bottom line – organisations that embrace employee relations transformation see a significant decrease in employment tribunals and a boost in manager effectiveness.

Organisations must prioritise investment in employee relations transformation to create a more agile and engaged workforce that can effectively navigate the ever-changing business environment of today. Delaying investment in employee relations transformation means missing out on actionable insights and manager empowerment.

Employee relations transformation success stories

Organisations that have implemented a comprehensive employee relations transformation strategy have not only witnessed a significant reduction in employment tribunals but also experienced a notable increase in manager empowerment. Discover more about this transformative approach in this compelling Wickes case study.

This Currys case study here also tells the story of how empower® transformed employee relations, freeing up HR to enable them to invest their time in completing an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy overhaul, developing progressive new policies fit for the modern workforce, such as Menopause, Gender Reassignment, Pregnancy Loss, and producing a suite of contemporary, on-culture policies.

Read more case studies here

Take the first step – reassess your approach to employee relations with a free consultation

Don’t miss out on the transformative power of a fit-for-purpose employee relations case management solution. Schedule a free consultation with our experts. We’ll help you assess your current approach, identify opportunities for improvement, and build a compelling business case for investment in your most valuable asset – your people.

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