10 Employee Relations Interview Questions and Answers for HR Business Partners

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If you're preparing for hrbp interviews, see also our comprehensive interview questions and answers for the following hrbp specializations:

1. Can you discuss a time when you resolved a complex employee relations issue?

During my time as an HR Business Partner at ABC Company, I encountered a complex employee relations issue involving two employees in different departments who had a major conflict that was affecting their work and the entire company.

  1. The first step I took was to listen to both employees and hear their sides of the story. This helped me understand both perspectives and identify areas of common ground.
  2. Next, I gathered additional information by reviewing emails and other relevant documents to get a better understanding of what led to the conflict and how it escalated.
  3. I then set up a meeting with both employees to discuss the issue and we came up with a plan for how we could move forward. During this meeting, I emphasized the importance of open communication, mutual respect, and collaboration.
  4. After the meeting, I followed up with both employees individually to ensure that they were on board with the plan and to address any concerns they had.
  5. To prevent similar situations from occurring in the future, I recommended implementing a workplace conflict resolution training program for all employees. This program would educate employees on how to handle conflicts in a professional and respectful manner.
  6. As a result of implementing this plan, the two employees were able to resolve their conflict and improve their working relationship. The company benefited from increased productivity and a more positive work environment.

Overall, handling this complex employee relations issue required careful listening and mediation skills, as well as strong communication and problem-solving abilities. By implementing a comprehensive plan and following up with the employees, we were able to achieve a successful outcome with positive results.

2. How do you ensure compliance with state and federal employment laws?

As an HR Business Partner, ensuring compliance with state and federal employment laws is a top priority. In order to achieve this, I take the following steps:

  1. Stay Up-to-Date: I subscribe to various reputable HR publications, attend workshops and seminars, and actively seek out updates on changes in employment laws. I also participate in HR forums and meet with industry peers to discuss different approaches to compliance. For example, in my previous role, I created a monthly newsletter that provided updates on the latest employment laws and HR best practices. This resulted in a 20% increase in compliance awareness among employees.
  2. Implement Training Programs: I work closely with the HR team to develop and deliver training programs for employees and managers on the different aspects of employment laws. This includes anti-discrimination, harassment prevention, wage and hour laws, and more. In my last company, I created a mandatory yearly training program for all employees, resulting in a 15% decrease in legal disputes and a 10% decrease in employee turnover.
  3. Conduct Regular Audits: I conduct regular audits of HR policies, procedures, and forms to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal laws. This includes reviewing employee handbooks, job descriptions, performance reviews, and other documentation. I also conduct periodic onsite inspections to make sure that our workplace is free from any hazards that can cause an accident or injury. In doing this, I was able to identify compliance gaps and implemented new policies and procedures to address them, resulting in a 25% decrease in legal costs.
  4. Hire Experts: In cases where we need additional support or guidance, I seek out legal guidance from experts that specialize in employment law. I have developed and maintained successful relationships with outside counsel, saving the company tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees.

Overall, my approach to ensuring compliance with state and federal employment laws is proactive and collaborative. By staying updated on the latest developments, providing thorough training, conducting regular audits, and tapping into outside expertise when needed, I am confident in my ability to maintain compliance while fostering a positive work environment.

3. What steps do you take to improve workplace culture?

The steps I take to improve workplace culture are:

  1. Conducting regular employee engagement surveys to gather feedback and identify areas of improvement. Based on the survey results, I develop action plans to address specific concerns such as work-life balance, career development, or communication issues.

  2. Encouraging employee recognition and fostering a culture of positivity and gratitude in the workplace. As an example, in my previous role, I implemented a peer-to-peer recognition program which resulted in a 25% increase in employee satisfaction rates in the area of recognition within the first quarter.

  3. Implementing diversity and inclusion initiatives to foster a sense of belonging and psychological safety in the workplace. For example, I led a team to organize a diversity awareness week which resulted in a 20% increase in employee awareness and understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

  4. Being intentional about team building and cultivating a sense of community in the workplace. In my current role, I organized team outings and events, such as volunteering at a local charity, which led to a 30% increase in employee engagement and team cohesion.

  5. Celebrating achievements and milestones, both at the individual and team level. For instance, I initiated an employee-of-the-month program that led to a 15% increase in employee morale and motivation within the first quarter.

Through these steps, I have been able to foster a workplace culture that is focused on employee well-being, collaboration, and continuous improvement.

4. How do you approach sensitive employee situations such as harassment or discrimination allegations?

As an HR business partner, I understand the sensitivity and urgency surrounding harassment or discrimination allegations. My approach begins with active listening to the concerned employee, taking their allegations seriously and creating a safe environment for them to share their experiences.

Next, I gather as much information as possible about the situation through both formal and informal channels such as interviews with witnesses, reviewing documentation, and seeking advice from experienced colleagues if necessary. I ensure strict confidentiality and protect the privacy of all parties involved.

If the allegations are true, I take swift action that can result in termination of the accused and create an organizational culture that reinforces zero-tolerance for harassment or discrimination. In my last position as HR Business Partner, our comprehensive anti-harassment training program has resulted in reducing harassment cases by 75% over the span of two years.

Importantly, I understand the impact an allegation can have on the affected employee's mental and emotional state, so I offer them support and resources, including connecting them with our employee assistance program (EAP) and providing them with access to counseling services.

My approach is firmly grounded in HR best practices and aligned with applicable legal requirements.

5. What is your experience with creating and implementing policies and procedures?

During my time as an HR Business Partner at XYZ Company, I led a project to create and implement a new company-wide code of conduct policy. This involved conducting research on industry best practices and legal requirements, as well as collaborating with cross-functional teams to gather feedback and gain buy-in.

  1. Firstly, I conducted a thorough review of our existing policies and identified gaps and inconsistencies that needed to be addressed. I presented my findings to senior leadership, and we agreed on the need for a comprehensive code of conduct policy.
  2. Next, I worked with a team of subject matter experts to draft the policy content. We incorporated feedback from various stakeholders and ensured that the policy was clear, concise, and aligned with our company culture and values.
  3. Once the policy was finalized, I led the implementation process, which involved developing training materials and delivering training sessions to all employees. We also created an internal reporting mechanism to ensure that employees could easily report any violations of the policy.
  4. Since the implementation of the new policy, we have seen a significant decrease in the number of reported violations and an improvement in overall employee conduct. Additionally, our company has received positive feedback from clients and partners on our commitment to ethical business practices.

In summary, my experience with creating and implementing policies and procedures has been successful in improving organizational compliance, enhancing company culture, and maintaining a positive reputation within the industry.

6. Can you walk me through your process for conducting workplace investigations?

When conducting a workplace investigation, my process typically involves the following steps:

  1. Receiving a complaint or report of a potential violation - I ensure I have a thorough understanding of the nature and circumstances of the report or complaint, and gather any relevant information or evidence.

  2. Establishing the scope of the investigation - I assess the seriousness and potential impact of the allegations, and determine which parties need to be involved in the investigation.

  3. Interviewing witnesses and involved parties - I conduct interviews while carefully documenting the responses and any additional evidence provided.

  4. Reviewing and analyzing any relevant documentation or evidence - I review any policies, procedures, or relevant documents, and analyze the evidence gathered in interviews to piece together a clear and comprehensive picture of what may have occurred.

  5. Making conclusions and recommendations - Based on my analysis of the evidence, I can make conclusions and recommendations for how to address the issue, ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and prevent similar incidents in the future.

Through this process, I have successfully resolved and closed multiple workplace investigations, ensuring a safe and productive work environment for all employees. For example, in one investigation involving allegations of harassment, I was able to interview all parties involved and obtain corroborating evidence to bring the issue to a close. Through clear communication and effective investigation techniques, I was able to resolve the issue while protecting the rights and interests of all parties.

7. How do you measure the effectiveness of your employee relations initiatives?

Measuring the effectiveness of employee relations initiatives requires a combination of quantitative and qualitative data. One way we measure success is through employee surveys. We conduct surveys after each major initiative to gauge employee satisfaction and gather feedback on what worked well and where we can improve. In our most recent survey after implementing a new development program, 90% of employees reported feeling more supported in their career growth.

  1. We also track employee retention rates - if our efforts have been successful in improving employee relations, we should see a decrease in turnover. Since implementing a new recognition program, our turnover rate decreased by 15%, indicating that employees are more satisfied and engaged.
  2. Another metric we use is the number of employee relations issues raised and resolved. After implementing a new conflict resolution program, we saw a 30% decrease in the number of employee relations cases opened, indicating that employees are better equipped to handle and resolve conflicts on their own.

Overall, our goal is to continuously improve employee satisfaction and engagement. By regularly collecting data and measuring the success of our initiatives, we can make data-driven decisions and ensure our efforts have a positive impact on our employees and the company as a whole.

8. What strategies do you use to reduce employee turnover?

One of the most effective strategies I use to reduce employee turnover is to focus on improving employee engagement. One way of doing this is to conduct regular employee surveys to gather feedback on how employees feel about their work environment and the company culture. Based on the feedback, we can then implement changes that will lead to a more engaging work experience.

For example, in my previous role as an HR Business Partner, we conducted an employee survey that identified inadequate training as a key reason for turnover. To address this, we implemented a new onboarding program that ensured new hires were properly trained in their roles and given the support they needed to succeed. As a result, our turnover rate decreased by 25% over the following year.

Another strategy I've used with success is to provide clear career development paths to employees. I worked with the company leaders to create individualized career plans for employees, outlining career growth opportunities within the organization. This not only helped us retain top performers but we were also able to attract new talent to the organization. Our turnover rate decreased by 15% within the first six months of implementing this strategy.

  1. Conduct regular employee surveys to gather feedback
  2. Implement changes based on employee feedback to create a more engaging work environment
  3. Create individualized career plans for employees to provide clear career development paths

9. How have you managed conflicts between employees and management?

Throughout my career as an HR Business Partner, I have often been tasked with managing conflicts between employees and management. In one instance, a group of employees expressed concerns about their workload and lack of support from their supervisor. After conducting interviews and gathering data, I presented a proposal to management to hire an additional team member to help alleviate the workload and improve support for the team. This proposal was approved, and the new team member was hired.

  1. In another instance, management had implemented a new policy that was unpopular among a group of employees. To address their concerns, I held individual meetings with each employee to understand their specific concerns, and then facilitated a meeting between the employees and management to discuss possible solutions. Through this process, we were able to make adjustments to the policy that addressed the employees' concerns while still meeting the goals of management.
  2. On a different occasion, I was tasked with mediating a conflict between an employee and their supervisor. Through active listening and respectful communication, I was able to help both parties understand each other's perspectives and come to a mutually beneficial resolution. The employee later reported feeling more supported by their supervisor and satisfied with their job responsibilities.

Overall, my approach to managing conflicts between employees and management involves gathering data, proposing solutions that meet the needs of both parties, and facilitating effective communication to reach a resolution. These efforts have resulted in improved morale, increased productivity, and reduced turnover in the organizations I have worked with.

10. Can you describe a time when you had to make a difficult decision related to employee relations?

During my time as an HR Business Partner, I faced a challenging situation regarding an employee who was not meeting expectations and was causing disruptions in the team. The employee had been with the company for several years and had a good track record, but their recent behavior was affecting team morale and productivity.

  1. First, I scheduled a meeting with the employee to discuss their behavior and the impact it was having on the team. During the meeting, I listened actively and asked open-ended questions to understand their perspective.
  2. Following the meeting, I spoke with the team members individually to get their feedback on the situation. I also analyzed the employee's performance data to identify any patterns or underlying issues.
  3. After careful consideration of all the information I had gathered, I made the difficult decision to put the employee on a performance improvement plan (PIP). The PIP outlined specific metrics and expectations for the employee to meet within a certain timeframe.
  4. Throughout the PIP, I provided regular feedback and performance coaching to the employee. I also kept the team informed about the progress of the PIP, which helped to rebuild trust and confidence in their manager.
  5. By the end of the PIP, the employee had met and exceeded the expectations outlined in the plan. The team had become more cohesive, and their productivity had improved.
  6. In hindsight, I believe that my decision to implement the PIP was the right one for the overall health of the team and the success of the company. By taking a data-driven approach and involving all stakeholders, I was able to make the difficult decision with confidence and achieve positive results.


In conclusion, the interview questions presented in this blog can serve as a guide for HR Business Partners who want to improve their employee relations skills. With the right mindset, HR professionals can create a positive work environment that fosters employee growth and development. It's also important to remember that a successful job search involves more than just acing the interview. Some next steps include writing a great cover letter (write a great cover letter) and preparing an impressive HRBP CV (prepare an impressive HRBP CV). Finally, if you're currently seeking a new opportunity, be sure to check out our remote HRBP job board (remote HRBP job board) to find your next career move.

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