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The Meaning of Employee Relations

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Workplace culture and strong internal relationships are undeniably critical for your company’s long-term success. Focusing your efforts on employee relations, and cultivating good relationships between employers and employees can help your Human Resources department mitigate conflict, build trust between team members, and decrease turnover rates.

If the term ‘employee relations’ makes you furrow your brows in confusion, we’re here to help. We’ll explain what employee relations is and why it’s important below.

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What Employee Relations Is

Employee Relations Examples

Employee Relations Best Practices

What is employee relations?

Employee relations is a branch of human resources that deals with policies regarding your employees’ relationships with their employers, and each other.

Essentially, employee relations is any effort or programming a company implements to ensure their employees are treated fairly, feel safe, and are happy in their work environment. Additionally, employee relations cannot be successful unless employees feel there is a level of transparency from management.

Employee Relations Examples

Employee relations programming will vary from one company to the next, however, the issues they tackle are very similar. That said, there are a few common categories most fall under:

1. Unsafe Work Environment

Employers are tasked with providing a safe work environment for employees. If an employee is injured on the job or has an accident, the employer may be liable. Having safety protocols in place and communicating them to the team is a must.

2. Employee Performance

It’s not a fun conversation to have, but there will come a time when an employee’s performance is not up to company standards. Employee relations teams and managers may be tasked with creating a program to address underperformance to get employees back on track.

3. Pay Raises and Promotions

Employee relations may also be involved with career growth and development programs. They are often tasked with making sure pay and promotion guidelines are transparent and communicated properly so employees know what to expect.

4. Sexual Harassment

Employee relations may also work with HR to develop and implement policies surrounding sexual harassment and other forms of abuse. If you’ve ever taken a harassment course at work, chances are it was made possible by the employee relations team.

5. Conflicts Between Workers

While co-workers don’t have to be best friends, it’s important everyone treats each other with respect. Employee relations teams can establish conflict resolution and mediation frameworks to help employees resolve issues in a respectful manner.

6. Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and inclusion programs allow employees to bring their whole selves to work. Employee relations teams are responsible for coming up with D&I policies and providing employees with the tools they need to create an environment where everyone feels welcome.

Employee Relations Best Practices

Riley Stefano, a Culture Content Creator at HubSpot, explains employee relations like this:

“At its core, employee relations is about trust and transparency. But that doesn’t just happen overnight — you have to build it. And every department, team, manager, and leader is responsible for building and adding to that culture of trust and transparency. In People Operations, we strive to create remarkable experiences for employees throughout their time at HubSpot so that they can do their best work and help HubSpot grow better.”

How can you ensure your employees can do their best work? By providing them with a work environment where they can thrive. Here are a few best practices to keep employee relations positive.

1. Encourage open dialog.

Employees should feel safe giving feedback, asking questions, and fleshing out ideas. This requires establishing trust. Instead of just saying “we welcome dialogue,” practice it.

Host a Q&A with team leadership and key stakeholders. Using anonymous surveys is also a great tool for getting honest feedback. Empower employees to ask for clarification and share ideas during meetings.

2. Establish a career development program.

When people feel like they have agency in the workplace and control of their career path, companies are more likely to retain them. According to LinkedIn employees that get a new role internally are 3.5x more likely to be engaged and those who participate in Learning and Development programs stay nearly 2x longer than those who do not.

3. Encourage and facilitate a work-life balance.

Work-life balance is a popular corporate catch-phrase, but how many workplaces actually embrace it? This doesn’t mean you have to offer unlimited paid leave, although that is a generous perk.

Facilitating work-life balance can look like:

  • Offering a more flexible schedule.
  • Not sending urgent emails outside of established work hours.
  • Discouraging working after business hours and unpaid overtime.
  • Respecting employee vacation time.
  • Monitor scheduling and workloads to help prevent overwork.

Implementing these small changes will help your employees prevent burnout and make them more productive.

4. Embrace core values and company culture.

Keeping the company mission and values at the forefront of all initiatives will help create cohesive messaging in addition to promoting a sense of belonging. Employees will feel a sense of camaraderie knowing that everyone is working toward the same goal.

Employee Relations best practices example: company core values

5. Lead with empathy.

As a core component of HubSpot’s culture code, empathy is a strength. It’s not just an important attribute for external business needs, but internally with your coworkers as well. Approaching employee relations from the perspective of an employee will help you develop programs and policies that are more effective.

Stefano adds, “To cultivate strong employee relations, we have to have empathy. We have to listen, share information, take feedback seriously, and adapt with our employees to maintain long-lasting and trustworthy relationships with all of our employees globally.”

How to Implement Programming

At HubSpot, employee relations includes utilizing HR Business Partners and implementing culture programming and events to help build stronger relationships with HubSpot employees.

However, employee relations programming might look different at your company. Perhaps your employee relations efforts include ensuring a good work-life balance for employees, or giving each employee stock in the company, so they are treated as stakeholders in the business.

Alternatively, perhaps you hire an employee relations manager to provide guidance on new and existing contracts and policies so that you can ensure each employee is treated fairly and feels safe in the workplace. Perhaps your employee relations manager can also gather employee feedback, and use it to create new benefits packages that incentivize and properly reward employees for their hard work.

It’s critical you take the time and effort to ensure you’ve cultivated strong relationships between employers and employees. If your employees respect leadership, they’re more likely to work harder, communicate better, and feel more engaged at work. All of these things can motivate employees to go above and beyond in their roles.

Positive Employee Relations is Key to Success

Ultimately, a company can’t be successful unless there’s a universal alignment of vision, goals, and purpose between employers and employees — and that alignment doesn’t happen naturally. It must be cultivated, in large part through strategic employee relations efforts.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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MARKETING

State of Content Marketing in 2023

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State of Content Marketing in 2023

I just pressed send on the manuscript for my book to be released in September. It’s called Content Marketing Strategy (snappy, eh?), and Kogan Page will publish it.

Last week, marketing professor Philip Kotler wrote the foreword. I won’t spoil it, but he mentioned the need for a strategic approach to owned media.

He writes, “(T)he company doesn’t carry an account of showing these marketing assets and their value. As a result, the company cannot show the CEO and company board members a return on owned assets or content.”

Luckily, my upcoming book shows exactly how to do that. Funny how that works out.

In any event, all this struck me that now is an opportune time to look at where the beloved practice of content marketing stands today.

First, let’s go back to 1999 when Kotler published Kotler On Marketing, one of his more than 70 books. The latter 1990s – a time of tumultuous change – fueled most of the thinking for the book. But he knew that it was merely the beginning.

Kotler concluded the book with a section called “Transformational Marketing.”  In the next decade, he wrote, “marketing will be re-engineered from A to Z. Marketing will need to rethink fundamentally the processes by which they identify, communicate, and deliver customer value.”

Well, it’s taken over two decades, but it’s finally happening.

Consumers have changed, but marketing operations are just starting to

In case you didn’t notice, almost every marketing conference these days starts with the same four or five requisite slides:

  • Digital technologies, such as search and social media, empower consumers today.
  • Consumers research, engage, buy, and stay loyal to brands in ways that have fundamentally changed.
  • First-party data and privacy are of the utmost importance.
  • Artificial intelligence begins to threaten the idea of the usefulness of search and pressure companies to deliver better and more personalized experiences.

You get it. Consumer expectations in the age of the social, mobile, and AI-driven web are different than they were.

However, the continuing challenge in 2023 is that content and/or marketing operations in enterprise companies are only beginning to evolve. Most marketing departments have remained as they were when Kotler wrote his book — they still work from mid- to late-20th century hierarchies, strategies, and processes.

Most marketing departments still work with mid- to late-20th-century hierarchies, strategies, and processes, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Content marketing isn’t new, but a content marketing strategy is

For hundreds of years, businesses have used content to affect some kind of profitable outcome. But the reality is this: Whether it was John Deere’s The Furrow from the 1800s, Michelin’s guide to car maintenance in the early 1900s, or even Hasbro’s GI-Joe partnership with Marvel in the 1980s, content was not — and is not for the most part now — a scalable, repeatable practice within the function of marketing. In short, companies almost always treat content marketing as a project, not a process.

That fundamental change will finally take hold in 2023. It could happen because of the digital disruption and ease by which you can now publish and distribute content to aggregate your own audiences. It could happen through the natural evolution that the ultimate outcome – more than the marketing – matters more.

As we roll through 2023 and beyond, content — and the exponentially increasing quantities of it produced by every organization — deeply affects not just your marketing strategy, but your business strategy. Content in marketing is now bigger than simply content marketing, and it should be dealt with as a component of that business strategy throughout the enterprise.

#Content in marketing is bigger than #ContentMarketing. Treat it as a component of the business strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

In 2023, the No. 1 focus of my consulting and advisory practice these days: help companies transform content into a repeatable, scalable, and measurable function that drives value through a multi-channel strategy. It’s bigger than publishing a blog, creating a lead-generating resource center, or sending an email newsletter. Today’s content marketing team is being absorbed into marketing because marketing and its various operations are fundamentally transforming into a content-producing machine.

It is not good enough to produce content “like a media company would.” The goal must be to operate as a media company does. Your job is not to change content to fit new marketing goals. Rather, your job in 2023 is to change marketing to fit the new business content goals.

Your job in 2023 is to change #marketing to fit the new business #content goals, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

The unaware builds a case for the aware

The term “content marketing” continues to evolve. Even today, I run across those who still call it “brand publishing,” “custom content,” or “inbound marketing.”

My take matches with what Kotler described in 1999. I always thought the term “content marketing” would become part of “marketing” more broadly. In 2023, that happened. So, returning to the lexiconic debates of 2013, 2014, or 2015 doesn’t seem terribly productive. Content marketing is just good marketing, and marketing is just good content marketing.

That said, two kinds of companies do well at the broader view of content marketing. Some of them, such as Cleveland Clinic, Red Bull, Arrow Electronics, HubSpot, and REI, have purposely devised content marketing strategies as differentiating approaches to their marketing. They are succeeding.

Others, like Amazon, Microsoft, JPMorgan Chase, and Peloton, backed into a smart content marketing strategy. But executives at those companies probably don’t recognize it as such. If asked (and some have been), they would say acquiring or launching a media company operation was just a smart business strategy to diversify their ability to reach their consumers consistently.

They’re right, of course. Many have yet to read books about content marketing, been influenced by the Content Marketing Institute, or even recognize content marketing as a separate approach (as far as I know). And they are also succeeding.

Consider this proof: As I write this article, six companies have a market capitalization of more than $1 trillion. Four of the six wholly or partially use the business model of media creation to further marketing and business strategies. Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon are all, in part, media companies that also sell products and services.

Why would you not avail yourself of that same model?

The future looks cloudy and bright

As for the overall state of enterprise content marketing, it’s in transition, as all marketing is. As a focused project-based approach, working in ad-hoc ways across a business, content marketing appears to have proven its worth. Hundreds of entries every year to the Content Marketing Awards feature myriad case studies using content marketing techniques in strategic ways to profitably affect business results.

And yet, it remains to be seen whether you can make content marketing a scalable, repeatable, measurable function within marketing.

As to what the discipline’s future holds? At last year’s Content Marketing World, one of my favorite events, the Executive Forum gathered senior leaders from brands succeeding with content marketing. As we talked about the future, one participant said: “The only certainty is change. I can’t tell you where or when, but I do know there will be change, and this is the principle we build on now.”

As for my take, Kotler’s idea of transforming the marketing function seems to have gotten lost along the digital road traveled by marketers. In so many cases, marketing – and especially content – remains just an on-demand service function within the business. Its sole job is to produce ever more voluminous amounts of content that describe the value of the brand (or its products or services) so that sales can sell more efficiently, customer support can serve more effectively, and all manner of customer interfaces are more beneficial to both sides.

However, and maybe because I need to rationalize now that my book is finished, I passionately believe it’s finally time for marketing to reclaim its ability to create value — not just reflect it in the polished shine of your traditional products and services.

Almost 27 years ago today, Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay called Content is King. In it, he said that “(C)ontent is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.”

It certainly was one of his more prescient moments. Nearly three decades later, his words have proven true. The essay title has become the rallying cry for thousands and thousands of entrepreneurs who now make their living on creating, managing, optimizing, and measuring content on the internet. (A Google search for “content is king” nets more than 1.7 million results.)

But it’s the last line of his essay that I find the most visionary: “(T)hose who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products – a marketplace of content.”

That’s what content marketing is for me in 2023. It’s just marketing – optimizing the value of ideas, experiences, and products in a marketplace of content.

Time to get to work.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

Subscribe to workday or weekly CMI emails to get Rose-Colored Glasses in your inbox each week. 

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute



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27 Best About Us and About Me Page Examples [+Templates]

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Your about page summarizes your history, values, and mission — all in one place. That’s a tall order for just a few paragraphs. If you’re feeling stuck, turn to these about-page examples for inspiration. 

about us page example: laptop held in palm of hand

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MARKETING

MarTech’s marketing operations experts to follow

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MarTech's marketing operations experts to follow

Marketing operations is what makes the magic happen. These are the folks who see that your martech stack doesn’t get stuck. They are the maestros, modelers and makers who make sure the trains run, the data is digestible and that you have the programs you need. Where would we be without them? That’s too scary to think about. Here’s our list of MOps experts who have the ear of the profession.

Darrell Alfonso

Darrell is director of marketing strategy & operations at Indeed and the former global marketing ops leader for AWS. He’s the author of “The Martech Handbook: Build a Technology Stack to Acquire and Retain Customers.” In addition to speaking at many conferences, Darrell was named one of the Top Marketers in the US by Propolis 2022 and among the “Top Martech Marketers to Follow” in 2020 by Martech Alliance. He’s a regular and popular contributor both to MarTech and the MarTech conference; you can find all of his articles at this link.


Eddie Reynolds

Eddie has been in business a long time, starting his first company when he was 14. “A pretty minimal enterprise,” he told one interviewer. “I had a tax ID number, a legal entity, and a company name. I even had the IRS coming after my dad for sales tax that I failed to report properly.” Today he is CEO and revenue operations strategy consultant of Union Square Consulting. He publishes The RevOps Weekly Newsletter and the podcast RevOps Corner. Eddie’s large LinkedIn following attests to the quality of the insights he shares there on  sales, marketing, service, and admin roles. 


Sara McNamara

Sara is an award-winning marketing and sales operations professional whose work has been recognized by awards from the likes of Salesforce (Pardot), Adobe (Marketo), Drift, and LeanData. She is a Senior Manager, Marketing Operations at Slack and a martech stack (+ strategy) solution architect. That and her passion for leveraging technology and processes to improve the experiences of marketers, sales professionals, and prospects, explains why she’s a regular guest on MOps podcasts.


Ali Schwanke

Ali is the CEO and founder of Simple Strat. The firm specializes in helping companies get the most out of HubSpot — from CRM strategy and setup to marketing automation and content creation. She is also host of HubSpot Hacks, “the #1 Unofficial YouTube show for HubSpot Tutorials” and has been a guest speaker at the MarTech conference.


Mike Rizzo

Mike’s career in marketing operations showed him that there is a real and significant MOps community. That’s why he founded MO Pros/MarketingOps.com, the fast-growing online community for people in marketing operations. He is also co-host of Ops Cast, a weekly podcast. 


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About the author

Constantine von Hoffman

Constantine von Hoffman is managing editor of MarTech. A veteran journalist, Con has covered business, finance, marketing and tech for CBSNews.com, Brandweek, CMO, and Inc. He has been city editor of the Boston Herald, news producer at NPR, and has written for Harvard Business Review, Boston Magazine, Sierra, and many other publications. He has also been a professional stand-up comedian, given talks at anime and gaming conventions on everything from My Neighbor Totoro to the history of dice and boardgames, and is author of the magical realist novel John Henry the Revelator. He lives in Boston with his wife, Jennifer, and either too many or too few dogs.

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