What does employee relations mean?

Employee relations alludes to the relationship between the manager and the employee, and it can be on that is founded on mutual respect, appreciation, trust, or fear. It’s important for companies to uphold a good relations program to ensure all employees are treated fairly, help to strengthen relationships internally and to remediate problems that arise.


Below are four simple ways that managers can help maintain positive employee relations: 


1.Open communication channels:

In any relationship, communication is key. Employees spend the majority of their days at work so it’s important that they feel comfortable with their co-workers, managers as well as successful in their tasks. 

Always Be Communicating (ABCs). Let your team know you’re there if they need to discuss work, or anything else they may need and be as transparent as possible about what you need from them. 

It’s important to keep communication flowing at all times, engage your employees, and let them share thoughts anonymously.


2. Recognize:

Gestures of thanks and kind words go a long way and the truth is, reinforcing good work is what inspires them to keep it up.


3. Constant feedback:

A frequent feedback channel that offers praise or criticism on areas of improvement is essential in nurturing a positive relationship. Employees want feedback, they want to learn, grow and improve. Providing them with tips and guidance they need to get there by giving feedback sessions will be highly appreciated.


4. Invest in employees:

Show your employees that you are about them as an individual and not just a 9-5 employee. Expressing that their growth is important to you, on a professional and personal level, is a big statement that will elicit their respect and keep them engaged.


4 tips to improve employee relations:

As a manager, there are many things you can do and stop doing to help improve relations. 


1. Put a halt to micromanaging:

When a manager micromanages instead of trusting their team, the employee risks becoming disengaged. The quality of their work will suffer which could actually lead to more micromanaging– it's a vicious cycle. Keep in mind that there's a difference between offering your guidance and micromanaging. Guidance and feedback are great and keep employee relations positive, but hovering and watching every move will eventually cause employees to doubt themselves. 


2. Don't play favorites: 

You may not realize it but it's obvious when an employer chooses a favorites and it can be demoralizing to the rest of the team– ruining employee relations. It creates tension between co-workers and can lead to employee disengagement. 


3. Speak clearly:

Good communication is necessary. Employees need to clearly understand their roles in the workplace and what's expected of them. Once this has been clearly communicated, you can work with them to meet those expectations. 


4. Invest in team communication:

You want to make your employees feel like they are part of the tam and part of the decision making process. Ask employees to submit their ideas, or at least make it known that their ideas are welcome and suggestions will always be considered. Remember: don't collect ideas for the sake of collecting. Try to implement some and put action to your intentions. 


4. Share your company vision:

Employees want to feel like what they are doing is important. Let them know that the part they are playing in your company is part of something bigger than them. If you want to fuel your employees' passion, share the long term vision of the company and don't be shy to communicate this frequently. 


What does good employee relations mean? 


Good employee relations can lead to excellent employee retention

With unemployment rates at an all-time low, this means it’s becoming more difficult to find good talent. It’s important for HR teams and managers to do everything they can to manage their employees in a way that helps them retain their best employees. If your company is struggling in this area, here are 3 tips on retaining your top talent.


1. Give your employees flexibility with their schedules:

A work/life balance is extremely important for anyone. If you incorporate flexible work schedules and telecommuting, you may find that your employees are more productive, satisfied, and experience less conflict between work and personal obligations. Though some employers are cautious to shift control to their employees, studies prove that providing flexible work schedules reap positive results. 


2. Make professional development a priority: 

In addition to a greater work/life balance, you’re also offering your employees more development options. Many workers want to be able to continue learning, even when they already have jobs. Allowing flexibility in work schedules enables them to work around their educational goals. This is not only a win for your employees, but it’s also a win for you as an employer as well. Retaining employees who are determined to learn and improve on the job is should be encouraged. 


As an employer, you should also focus on providing your employees with development tools internally as well. Bernard Health, for example, hosts Thirdy’s, or, company-wide meetings that occur three times a year to focus on each individuals growth professionally.

3. Give credit where credit is due (recognize hard work):

Employee recognition is important. It increases productivity in the workplace, reduces employee turnover, helps generate higher profits and can even help increase customer satisfaction. Keeping employees engaged in order to have positive results for the company is a huge task that management needs to take on. Keep in mind, when employees feel recognized, they stick around. 


Internally, Bernard likes to share High-4’s (or high-5’s) for individual achievements via Connect– an online forum. Making High-4’s public to the entire company allows our entire team to feel awarded and recognized. It’s important to make sure you are acknowledging the individuals involved in making your company goals achievable, rather than only focusing on goal setting and gaining profits. 


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