Many organizations boast that their employees are their company’s most valuable asset. However, there is still a prevalence of employee relations issues in the workforce that is stopping employees from reaching their full potential.
This is detrimental to the company because when an employee has a poor relationship with their manager—especially one that is founded in fear or lack of trust—they risk becoming disengaged.
Fortunately, many of these issues can be resolved through proper communication.
Before we continue to learn more about employee relationships and how to fix the problem…
Employee relations defined
First, it’s important to understand what employee relations really means and why it’s important.
Employee relations, known historically as industrial relations, is concerned with the contractual, emotional, physical, and practical relationship between employer and employee.
Essentially, it alludes to the relationship between manager and employee, which can either be founded in mutual respect, appreciation, and trust, or fear and lack of transparency.
Companies want to avoid the latter, as employees who don’t feel connected with their manager often feel less compelled to perform at their best.
Employee relations also references the efforts that a company makes, typically through the HR department, to manage the relationships between managers and employees. A good employee relations program ensures that all employees are treated fairly, helps to strengthen relationships between employee and managers, and helps to remediate problems that surface between them.
Why are employee relations important?
Strong employee relations are crucial to every company because when employees and managers share a positive relationship, employee engagement, productivity, motivation, and morale are high.
Employees who get along with their manager and enjoy going to work rather than feeling anxious about it have a better overall work experience. Happy employees work harder, produce better work, and ultimately keep customers happy and business thriving.
The four pillars of employee relations
Here are four simple ways that managers can help maintain positive employee relations:
In any relationship, communication is the key. Employees spend the majority of their days at work, so it’s important that they feel comfortable with their manager and fulfilled in their tasks.
One way to ensure this is to ABC – always be communicating. Let your team know that you are there to talk about their work or anything else they need, and be as transparent with them as possible about what you need from them.
It’s a great way to keep communication flowing at all times, engage your employees, and let them share their thoughts anonymously in a safe environment
Simple gestures of thanks and kind words go a long way (longer than you might think).
Appreciation and gratitude mean a lot to your employees, and the truth is that reinforcing good work is what is inspires them to keep it up.
Giving public praise is another great way to show recognition while also inspiring the rest of the team. Rewarding your team properly creates a culture of appreciation between employee and manager, ultimately inspiring your employees to work hard for you and the company.
Offering frequent feedback to your employees on their great work and constructive criticism on where they can improve is essential in nurturing a positive relationship with your team.
Employees want feedback; they want to learn and grow and improve. Providing tips and guidance by holding frequent feedback sessions such as monthly one-on-ones meetings will be highly appreciated.
Invest in your employees
Show employees that you care about them as people, not just as 9-to-5 workers. Expressing that their fulfillment is important to you on a professional and personal level is a big statement that will elicit their respect and keep them engaged.
The truth is, if an employee is happy in their personal life, they’ll be much more productive at work, so investing in their lives at large, not just at work, will benefit everyone.
Four ways to show employees you care
- Offer them a gym membership so they can stay healthy and feel good
- Allow them to pursue side projects that interest them
- Offer to support professional development initiatives
- Allow the option of paid time off for volunteer work
How to improve employee relations
There are many things good managers can both do—and not do—that will help improve employee relations.
1. Stop micromanaging
When leaders micromanage instead of trusting their team and giving their employees autonomy, employees risk becoming disengaged. Subsequently, the quality of their work will suffer, which usually leads to more micromanagement, creating a vicious cycle.
Keep in mind that there is a difference between offering guidance, and micromanaging. Guidance and feedback are always great and keep employee relations positive, but watching employees’ every move, hovering at every step, and offering too much unsolicited advice will actually begin to make employees doubt themselves. This will lead to a plethora of other problems.
2. Don’t play favorites
It is generally obvious to all when an employer chooses favorites, and it can completely demoralize the rest of the team and ruin employee relations.
Playing favorites also creates tension between colleagues, which can lead to employee disengagement.
3. Be as clear as possible
Again, this ties back to good communication, but employees need to clearly understand their job roles and what’s expected of them.
You can work with your team members to meet those expectations, but confusion often leads to stress, which decreases engagement.
4. Collect ideas from the team
Make employees feel like they are part of the team and part of the decision-making process.
Ask employees to submit ideas, and make it clear that their ideas are always welcome and that suggestions for new initiatives will always be considered.
Remember, don’t just collect ideas for the sake of collecting them. This will have an even bigger negative effect. Instead of just listening to your employees’ ideas, put action to your intention by implementing the good ones.
5. Share the company vision
When Dan Pink talks about the motivators that drive us, one of them is purpose. Employees need to feel like what they’re doing is important.
All employees need to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. If you want to fuel your employees’ passion, share the long-term vision of the company with them, and don’t be afraid to communicate this frequently.
How do you maintain positive employee relations? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
For more insight on how strong employee morale can boost the bottom line, see 6 Amazing Benefits Of Employee Engagement.Comments