Employee Relations Institute to improve knowledge and competence of managers in workplace relations

Launched yesterday, the Employee Relations Institute (ERI) is a membership organisation that has been set up to improve employee and workplace relations in the UK.

"There is without a doubt a skills gap in the UK [in this area] and also a realisation that we are not as productive as a lot of other European countries," said former HR director at Gateshead council and chief executive of the institute Jan Parkinson. 

The ERI has already gained widespread support from public and private sector employers and trade unions.

Parkinson told HR magazine: "Whatever level you are in an organisation, you have a responsibility to help others gain new skills, whether that's offering someone out of work a chance and training them internally or encouraging staff to move forward in their chosen career."

The ERI has been established to:


  • Provide professional qualifications and continuous development to line managers, HR professionals and trade union and employee representatives
  • Undertake research into employee and workplace relations and engagement
  • Provide benchmarking and best practice across all sectors of employee relations
  • Represent the views of its members to the Government, Europe, and employer and professional and trade groups.


The institute has a board made up of leading business people, employers' representatives and senior trade union officials. It also has the backing of organisations such as BP, RBS, TUC, ACAS, UNITE the UNION, USDAW and UNISON.

In partnership with the Bradford University School of Management, the ERI will offer a full education programme, leading to a masters qualification aimed at senior managers, employee representatives and HR professionals, that focuses heavily on the practical and behavioural skills required, backed by relevant theory.

The programme will start in March 2013, with shorter on-site programmes becoming available from September 2013.

Andy Cook, former HR director at Transport for London and chair of the Institute said: "Most people work for their direct line manager, rather than their CEO or the brand of the employer. That is why the line manager and their ability in the workplace is absolutely key to creating a successful working and business environment. Employers that overlook this key issue do so at their peril."

Parkinson added: "As well as providing professional qualifications the ERI will carry out research into employee and workplace relations in order to ensure that we are keeping abreast of all current and key employee relations issues."