For you to run a successful business, you have to pay attention to your employees. By making them feel valued and resolving their concerns fairly, you will turn employees into the first and best ambassadors for your company. Here are five powerful yet simple ways to improve employee relations.
Employee relations specifically refer to efforts by the company to manage the relationships with its employees. How management does this affects the overall well-being of individuals in the work place and the quality of work.
Jack Welch the former CEO of General Electric put it this way, “It goes without saying that no company, small or large, can win over the long run without energized employees who believe in the mission and understand how to achieve it.”
It is therefore in the best interests of everyone that this critical area is well taken care of. Here are a few ways management can improve employee relations.
At the core of any good relationship is good communication. It is the same in the workplace. This goes far beyond management sending mass emails telling teams what they should do. It extends to management heads availing themselves to interface one-on-one with their employees.
A casual hello and a question about how work is going is a good start. Keep the communication genuine too; just like people are able to tell when you are feigning interest in them, so will your employees.
Setting up meetings where transparent communication is encouraged is another way to foster good employee relations. These meetings can include updates from management on issues affecting the company. This makes the employees feel less detached from what’s going on in the workplace. It is also good to open up the floor so employees can have a chance to share too.
Because of power dynamics at play and different personality types, it can be hard for some employees to open up publicly. This is where managers can go a step further and seek feedback with the use of well-crafted employee surveys. These provide a safe channel for employees to share, and improve employee relations.
Seek employee input
A great way to improve employee relations is to ask for input when it comes to setting up policies, particularly ones which directly affect your employees. This creates a feeling of autonomy and that is one of the highest desires of people in the work place. In addition to that, people are more likely to go along with policies they had a role in crafting.
Besides that, as your employees are the people ‘on the ground’, they may have insights that management may overlook.
As an example, allowing teams to decide who works later shifts on certain days may give a particular employee the freedom to attend a crucial after work activity (a partner’s performance or play perhaps). A decision made in this way will likely leave everyone satisfied.
Say thank you
Who doesn’t want to receive a nod of appreciation for a job well done? As management, you mustn’t fall into the trap of always correcting and seeking for ways to improve staff’s performance. Give appreciation where it is warranted, genuine appreciation too; not one that has a ‘but’ in the middle of it. “Thank you so much but it would have been better if you had…”
Many organisations tie rewards to goals and targets and this can be an incentive for people to work harder. You don’t have to always offer a monetary reward, a day off for instance is something many employees would appreciate. But even in the absence of something tangible or material, you can make your employees feel appreciated with those two little words; thank you.
Offer opportunities for advancement
Nobody wants to feel like they are stuck on their career journey. Many employees say career growth is more important than starting salary when accepting a job offer. An employer who recognises this and addresses it will have more motivated employees. While the employee should be in charge of their career path, it shows a boss cares if they initiate the conversation.
This conversation can reveal that someone would be happier and more effective in a whole other department. If this parallel job shift within the company is possible, management will have shown flexibility and earned themselves a loyal employee.
Management can go ahead and set up professional development plans which map out where an employee currently is, where they want to go and how they can get there. If that involves them getting more training, support them in achieving that. Complete this process by opening advancement opportunities. Let your employees be able to see themselves rising up the ranks.
Prioritise work/life balance
These days, employees highly value policies that support a work/life balance. These include; flexible work schedules, working from home and day care facilities at the workplace. As a business owner, it is easy to forget that staff have lives, especially when you yourself might spend your entire free time working.
You will want them to be as invested as you are and might even feel disappointed that they are not working as hard. But working this way, is a recipe for disaster, not just for your employees but also for you.
Lead by example and end the habit of going home late every night and praising those employees who leave late too. Instead, make leave time mandatory and encourage employees to take it without making them feel guilty about all the work they have left behind or that they will find when they come back. Employees should feel that you support them having a life away from the workplace.
Employees will spend roughly a third of their whole lives at work, this is why it is very important that time is spent in an environment where they feel that they are valued by their bosses and are seen as integral parts of the business.
Implementing the tactics above will improve employee relations and go a long way in making this possible.