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Developing the employment relationship

What holds the relationship together?

The relationship between the employee and the organisation is partially determined by the organisation’s health. That is to say, its return on investment, revenue and profitability.

If the organisation is a healthy one, it can invest in its employees, either individually or as a group, through the implementation of various policies and procedures which, in turn, impact on employees’ experience of the work environment. These investments also play a role in establishing a process of employee reciprocation. In other words, employees feel more connected to the organisation in return and their work efforts and outputs positively affect the organisation’s health. Both the employees’ and the organisation’s health are intertwined.

Developing the relationship

Sustaining motivation and employee engagement is a difficult task, as they can be affected by a number of other factors. These could include organisational culture, leadership style, organisational values (spoken and salient), the existence or lack of trusting climate, day-to-day interaction between an employee and their line manager and, last but not least, HR policies and procedures (Parsons 1986).

The HR policies and procedures present at the very beginning of the employment relationship play an important role. More specifically, this covers the way in which individuals are treated from recruitment, through career development, performance reviews to grievance handling, disciplinary procedures and redundancy, as well how they are allowed to perform their work (eg flexibility). How individuals are managed and communicated with will also impact the employment relationship.

Some ways in which a positive and productive employment relationship can be developed, among others, include:

  • A ‘realistic job preview’ – that is, presenting both the positive and the negative aspects of the job during the recruitment interview
  • A well-thought-through induction for new starters
  • Updating the employee handbook on a regular basis
  • Prompt communication of changes to existing or development of new policies and procedures

Taking it further

You can study this topic in greater depth in the fourth short course in this program, The Employment Relationship.


Parsons, D. O. (1986) ‘The Employment Relationship: Job Attachment, Work Effort, and the Nature of Contracts’. in Handbook of Labor Economics. ed. by Ashenfelter, O., and Layard, R. Amsterdam: Elsevier

Further reading

Shore, L.M., Coyle-Shapiro, J. A.-M., and Tetrick, L. (2012) The Employee-Organization Relationship: Applications for the 21st Century [online] New York: Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. available from https://locate.coventry.ac.uk/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=COV_ALMA5187868100002011&context=L&vid=COV_VU1&search_scope=LSCOP_COV&tab=local&lang=en_US [10th May 2019]

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This article is from the free online course:

Employee Engagement and Motivation: An Introduction

Coventry University