Employee Relations Strategy
— March 1st, 2022
Employee relations are about creating and maintaining a positive working relationship between an organization and its people. This includes both individual relationships and the collective relationships of a company.
Building a strong employee relations strategy involves creating an environment that delivers what workers want and need. Employees should feel good about the work they do and where they do it.
At the same time, companies want to feel good about their employees’ productivity, performance, and ability to become future leaders - all of which are dependent on strong employee relations.
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To maintain positive employee relations, an organization must first and foremost view their employees as an integral part of the company rather than just paid laborers. Placing this value on employees encourages those in management and higher positions to seek staff feedback, to appreciate their input, and to consider the employee experience when making important company decisions.
What are the benefits of good employee relations?
Greater employee loyalty
Loyal employees do their best work and perform to their highest of standards. If a company has a staff made up of loyal workers then they can rest assured they will work productively and efficiently.
However, if employees are going to remain loyal to their employers, then the organization has to be loyal to them in return. A company can express loyalty to its employees by nurturing relationships and respect between managers and coworkers.
Strong employee relations have a positive impact on a business’s growth and revenue.
Workers who feel content and engaged in their role carry out their work to the best of their abilities resulting in better products, greater customer satisfaction, and increased sales. Employees will always be a company's most valuable asset.
An international survey by SHRM indicates that productivity loss in the U.S. ranges from 22.6% for planned absence to 36.6% for unplanned absence.
Workplace stress and conflicts are often the driving factors behind employee absenteeism. If employers encourage open communication in a safe space, staff members may be willing to share more freely about what's really going on.
Enhanced work-life balance
With a satisfactory work-life balance, employers can reap a range of benefits. Productivity is higher, absenteeism is lower, and physical and mental health improves.
On the other hand, when employees are faced with an excessive workload, they become demotivated and often experience burnout in their job. In this instance, good employee relations is key so that employees don’t feel forced into hiding their issues and can communicate their true feelings with their managers.
Other benefits of employee relations:
- Reduces conflict
- Employees have extensive knowledge of company practices
- Reduces staff turnover
- Increases productivity
- Offers better employee engagement
- Promotes a better workplace culture
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How to manage employee relations
Promote open communication
The manner in which employers communicate with their workforce is an important part of employee relations. It is a way of sharing information, ideas, and feelings between employees and managers of a company. Without it, managers would not be able to properly lead the employees they manage.
Tips to improve employee communication:
- Create a long-term internal communications plan
- Create an all-in-one communication system
- Encourage face-to-face communication
- Make company culture the focus
- Share engaging content
- Implement surveys
- Strategize an onboarding process for new employees
- Make internal documents easily accessible
- Align employee goals with business purposes
Encourage employee feedback
Employee recognition plays a huge part in boosting performance and maintaining high levels of engagement. When employees receive feedback they feel their work has been noticed and that they are truly a part of the company.
It is also one of the manager's best tools and an important part of organizational communication.
Tips for offering employee feedback
- Give timely, ‘live’ feedback
- Use tact, but don’t sugarcoat anything
- Make it clear that you’re on the same team
- Be specific and provide context
- Be aware of any imbalance in power
Focus on company mission and values
These days, most employees want to be part of something bigger than themselves. Gen Z and Millennials, especially, have a desire to be socially responsible and to benefit the world as a whole.
Working at a values-driven organization instills a sense of belonging and identity in employees and makes it easier for them to develop close bonds with like-minded individuals.
Remember, successful businesses have a reason why they exist and that should not simply be to make money. It’s also vital for employers to take action in regards to their company’s values and mission and to follow through on any promises they may have made.
Other employee relations strategy examples:
- Inspire and reward workers
- Promote an open dialogue
- Offer career development opportunities
- Create an employee relations policy
- Provide formal management training
- Don’t play favorites
- Focus on inclusivity
- Build an official Employee Relations handbook
- Celebrate success
Studies show that more diverse companies produce 2.3 times as much cash flow per employee. Meanwhile, companies with higher female representation in top management positions deliver greater returns to their shareholders.
Celebrating diversity is achieved by embracing those characteristics that set each person apart to create a sense of understanding and togetherness among teams. Not only does this improve the workplace culture, but it will also reduce negative employee engagement.
Examples of ways to celebrate diversity
- Pay attention to cultural nuances
- Address communication barriers
- Develop a cultural calendar
- Encourage education
- Create a bulletin board
- Employee diversity training
- Support employee advancement
- Make company culture important
- Let your employees get to know each other
Employee relations is the term used to describe the relationship between employers and employees. Today’s definition of employee relations refers to the individual as well as collective workplace relationships. Positive employee relations, and learning how to build and maintain them, matter for a whole host of reasons.
With clear employee relations policies in place, employers can align their employees with the culture, values, and mission of the company from the offset, overcome issues by following clear-cut procedures, and benefit from a better togetherness throughout the company.
A positive climate of employee relations - with high levels of employee involvement, commitment and engagement can improve business outcomes as well as contribute to employees' wellbeing.