Tackling Employee Relations: How to Build a Solid Workplace
Employee relations are key to a thriving company culture that attracts and retains top talent. When employees feel appreciated and respected, they are more likely to be productive and happy.
In this blog post, we will discuss what makes employee relations important, some tips for improving employee relations, plus how to go about creating a positive work environment.
The importance of good employee relations
As the old saying goes, “it takes two to tango”. The same can be said of any relationship, including that between an employer and employee, as well among themselves – all parties must work together towards a common goal in order for it to be successful.
If employer-employee and workplace relations are strong, they result in a positive environment where members of staff feel appreciated and valued. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity and employee satisfaction, as well as, ultimately, a decreased turnover rate.
When it comes to maintaining good employee relations, it is vital to have a thriving company culture: a set of shared values, beliefs and behaviors that characterize the organization. A strong company culture can help to foster a sense of community and belonging among employees, which help improve communication, collaboration, and motivation in the workplace.
On the other hand, poor relationships between members of staff can lead to a toxic work environment in which there are disgruntled employees who are unhappy and inefficient. This can be extremely costly for a company, both in terms of lost productivity and in terms of the high turnover rate that often results.
How to improve employee relations
There are various different methods that employers can use to improve the employee relations efforts within their organizations. A few key methods are described in detail below.
Having open lines of contact is key in any relationship, which is why employers need to ensure that they are effectively communicating with their employees in order to maintain good relations with them. Effective communication means being clear and concise when giving instructions, providing feedback (both positive and negative), and being available to answer questions or address concerns.
Creating an open-door employee relations policy where they feel comfortable approaching management with questions or concerns can go a long way in improving communication within an organization. This can be achieved by establishing regular one-on-one meetings between managers and employees, as well as setting up an anonymous feedback system.
Teamwork is another important aspect of maintaining positive employee relations. When employees feel like they are working together towards a common goal, it can help improve morale and motivation in the workplace.
Employers can encourage collaboration by hosting team-building events, creating opportunities for employees to work on projects together, promoting a culture of knowledge sharing where employees feel comfortable asking questions and offering suggestions, or simply by fostering an environment of mutual respect. Moreover, employers must lead by example and treat their employees correctly if they expect the same in return.
Promoting a positive work-life balance
A healthy mixture between the social/family and professional lives of staff members is essential for the employee experience and their relations with line managers . When employees feel like they have a good work-life balance, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their work.
Employers can promote a healthy work-life balance by offering flex time or remote work options, encouraging employees to take their vacation days, arranging company-sponsored social events, giving prepaid debit cards, and giving access to wellness programs or services, among other things.
Employees who feel taken care of by their employer and colleagues are more likely to be confident in their own abilities and therefore perform better in their roles. Additionally, employees who feel supported also tend to be loyal to the company and have a lower turnover rate.
Employers can provide support to employees in many different ways. A few examples include offering Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), investing in training and development opportunities, having a clear and fair employee Handbook, and implementing policies that protect employees’ rights.
Recognizing and rewarding achievements
Everyone enjoys feeling appreciated, which is why employers taking the time to acknowledge the successes of your staff members can go a long way to boosting morale and employee satisfaction. This can be done through formal recognition programs that come with awards or prizes, or simply by verbally acknowledging colleagues’ accomplishments with a “well done” in team meetings.
There are many different ways to show appreciation, and it is important to find the method (or combination of methods) that works best for your organization. Regardless of how it is done, ensuring that employees feel appreciated for their hard work is essential for maintaining positive employee relations.
Offering competitive salaries and benefits
The feeling of being paid fairly and receiving worthwhile additional perks will usually make any employee content in their position and consequently feel positively towards their employer. Therefore, employers need to stay up-to-date on salary trends in their industry and region in order to offer competitive compensation packages.
On top of offering fair salaries, employers should also provide benefits that their employees will find valuable. This could include anything from health insurance and retirement plans, though providing benefits such as child care or eldercare, to tuition reimbursement. Importantly, wages should be paid fairly between different team members to keep relations between them positive.
Allowing time for training and development
Employees who feel like they have the opportunity to improve their skills and grow within their roles are more likely to stay with a company for the long term and form strong bonds with their line managers and colleagues alike . Also, employees who receive training are better equipped to do their jobs and tend to be more productive overall.
There are various ways in which employers can provide training and development opportunities for employees including by sending them to relevant conferences or seminars, offering in-house training courses, and providing mentorship programs.
Creating an inclusive environment
An inclusive workplace is one that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of race, gender, religion, or other factors. Creating this kind of environment not only benefits employees by improving relations with and between them, but also the company as a whole thanks to having a more diverse and innovative workforce.
Employers can promote inclusivity in the workplace by ensuring that their hiring practices are fair, providing training on unconscious bias, and instituting policies that protect employees from discrimination and harassment.
Having an employee relations plan in place
Coming up with, documenting, and making available to everyone a procedure for how to handle employee misconduct and the various employee related matters that may arise for employees is critical for any organization that wants to maintain strong relations between all parties.
Taking the time to invest in their employees allows employers to create a more productive and positive work environment, which in turn leads to increased profitability and competitiveness.
Implementing an employee relations strategy
Successfully implementing an employee relations strategy requires having clear and defined policies and procedures in place for dealing with any problems faced by or involving members of staff and solving all issues that arise in the workplace. That means everything from handling complaints and resolving workplace conflicts to making staff feel valued and appreciated, all of which can be facilitated with a good employee relationship management system.
However, bear in mind that no human resources or employee relationship management system is a one-size-fits-all solution and so what works for one organization might not for another – it depends on their size, location, industry, culture, and many other factors. Employee relations plans therefore need to be tailored to the specific needs of each company.
That being said, there are some general tips that every employee relations manager or HR department should follow to help them with successfully implementing an employee relations strategy:
- Define the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in the plan – from senior department heads, though, HR, to employee relations managers.
- Align the plan with the company’s overall strategy, corporate identity, and business goals.
- Design the plan in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to follow for everyone involved.
- Write a set of guidelines that address the above-mentioned methods for improving employer-employee relations.
- Communicate the plan to everyone in the organization – including employees, line managers, and the various stakeholders.
- Check-in regularly with employees to identify any potential issues early on and prevent them from escalating.
- Make employees feel like they can give feedback and raise concerns without fear of retribution.
- Encourage employees to take advantage of the resources available to them, such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).
- Monitor the guidelines on a regular basis to keep it up-to-date and fit for purpose.
- Review at predetermined intervals or when a market change / emerging trend necessitates and update the plan accordingly so that it always remains relevant and effective.
Employee relations play a vital role in determining the business success of every organization. A strong company culture will help improve communication, collaboration, motivation, and productivity in the workplace – all of which are essential for maintaining positive employee relations.
There are so many ways that employers can improve employee relations within their organization, such as promoting a healthy work-life balance, and recognizing achievements. Taking such steps to improve employee relations allows employers to create a thriving company culture where everyone feels valued and appreciated, which is essential for any organization that wants to be successful.
If you still need help improving employee relations as an employer, how about using a human resources management system like the one created by employee relations professionals like Sloneek to facilitate open and honest communication and better collaboration in the workplace?
Sloneek offers a free trial, so you can explore all the features of the system and see how it can benefit your organization without having to commit. What are you waiting for, sign up today and improve your employee relations without further ado.