WHAT ARE EMPLOYEE RELATIONS?
Employee Relations is not just a term, nor it only means relationships between employers and employees. It refers to an organization’s efforts to create and maintain a positive relationship with its employees. Companies that invest in employee engagement and retention plans are more likely to keep employees loyal and productive at work. According to The Impact of Employee Engagement on Performance, a study by Harvard Business Review (HBR), 71% of respondents agree that employee engagement is very important to the overall success of the organization.
A company’s human resources department manages employee relations efforts whilst some others have a dedicated team to focus on employee relations. They would be responsible for being a listening ear to employees, an intermediary between employees and managers to advise on policy creation in areas such as fair compensation, useful benefits, work-life balance, reasonable working hours, and more.
It is key to prioritize the prevention and resolution of disputes between employees and management. They must be impartial in their judgment, yet remain emphatic enough when enforcing policies to ensure a wholesome workplace for all employees.
Stakeholders and contributors. That’s how companies should view employees instead of merely paid laborers. Employees do more than just trade time and energy for money; they dedicate their best efforts to the goals of the company and we as employers should remunerate accordingly.
TOP 5 COMMON EMPLOYEE RELATIONS CHALLENGES
Some of these may sound familiar as they seem to be common occurrences, for both small and larger organizations. Here’s what they are, and how you can manage them better:
1. Conflict Management
It happens everywhere and is inevitable, but we should avoid it. Disputes among employees, or between a business owner and an employee usually stem from similar sources and thankfully almost always can be resolved with some effective tips.
Everyone has different tolerances towards what they find offensive or uncomfortable. Some may be bothered by the way someone talks or the way someone treats others, consider setting values for your organization as a reference, so employees can refer to it when they feel uptight or confused.
Encourage open communication in the workplace and provide a channel for employees to express their concerns anonymously, and provide constructive suggestions to improve the working environment. This helps minimize gossip and misunderstandings, helps employees trust each other better, and be open to discussion about what is bothering them. Ultimately, everyone just wants to be understood, seen, and heard.
2. Hours & Wage Issues
A job satisfaction study by a Chicago-based management consulting firm, HR Solutions Inc. claims that pay is the number one area where employees seek change. Employees tend to scrutinize overtime payments and holiday pay where they can, and they should, human resources should be ready for all kinds of questions, that’s good employee relations. This may mean pulling out records manually, backdating information, and cross-checking, which can be a hassle.
We recommend having a self-service timekeeping software to help your employees keep track of clocking and out via their smart devices. It’s an efficient way for HR to monitor closely yet building trust and giving them a sense of ownership of their schedule.
3. Adequate Safety at Work
Accidents can happen, but prevention must be taken at all costs. Promote safety in the workplace, not just when a new hire joins, but perhaps quarterly. Bring in a professional to share tips and test your employees’ knowledge. It’s about educating, having proper safety equipment and safety guidelines.
Our suggestion is to incorporate better workplace safety tips that ensure they have access to these safety tips, using appropriate signs and labels, as well as encouraging quick breaks every couple of hours for a boost of energy.
4. Annual Leave Disputes
Different companies have different policies about leaves, from application to disputes. It’s vital to communicate employees’ leave entitlement and how to adhere to the process for a smooth requisition.
5. Attendance Woes
An effective way would be to put something in writing and enforce it, it may affect certain aspects of their wages (tips, etc) but do this carefully while still practicing empathy under unique situations. If it does not work, call for a huddle and encourage open communication, be as honest as you’d like for them to be with you. There may be challenges that you never thought possible, so, be compassionate and be ready to listen and understand, more practical nuggets for implementation here.
7 EFFECTIVE WAYS TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE RELATIONS AT WORK
1. Promote Dialogue and Communication
Dialogues are also a great way to resolve conflict. Did you know that employees in United States companies spend approximately 2.8 hours each week involved in conflict? Yikes. Moods and feelings are easily transferable and can affect the entire team if not careful. Conflict is not inevitable, but is manageable and should be dealt with professionally.
Employees want to know what’s going on. Keeping the communication channels open gives room for greater transparency. Research shows that when managers are open and honest with their employees, they are far more likely to be less stressed and happier at work.
2. Focus on Company Mission and Values
We all have a preferred future, something greater than ourselves. This rings true especially among millennials, it is proven that they have strong desires to be socially responsible, and to care for the earth more. Leverage your employees’ desire to do good in planning out missions and values for your business.
Many organizations’ mission and values incorporate employee relations, but more importantly, it showcases the core reason why a company holds that value dearly. For instance, “innovation”, it’s big and bold but, a value needs a solid “why”. Something like “to remain at the forefront within the industry and ensure everyone is immersed in creativity”. We are sure your teams will aspire to set goals and be motivated to work for your business.
3. Help Employees Feel Valued
Employees need a compliment or two sometimes, a way for them to know they have done well. When you focus on their flaws, it reflects a lot more on you than on them, ensure that corrective action has been taken and move on. When you focus on their strengths and commend them, they will work with a renewed sense of responsibility. Here’s how can get started:
- Say “thank you” verbally or through cards for big and small things
- Tell employees they are valued, to their face, in front of others
- Recognize high achievers and encourage them to keep it up
- Reinforce company values and lead by example
4. Inspire and Reward
As people at the grassroots, your employees have valuable insights that can contribute to your company’s effectiveness and success. View them as great assets that make your business better.
A reward does not always mean monetary. Recognition is more than what money can buy anyway, consider rewarding employees for more than just performance – behaviour, values, participation, and more. These will give your employees more confidence, knowing that it’s not just about performance alone that earns them incentives.
5. Offer Career Development
When you position people in the right role, they’re certain to thrive. To do so, understanding your employee’s personalities is paramount. We recommend utilizing high-end personality inventories such as TalenX Personality Inventory (TPI) to equip your business with suitable talents according to your employee’s strengths, you can even determine their weaker points and strategize plans and guides to improve and prepare them for future roles.
The TPI incorporates over 100 years of research in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and specific workplace behaviors. Imagine being able to understand their personalities and the patterns that guide them to make certain decisions under certain circumstances, it would be a huge step in preparing them for career success with strategies and plans to follow.
A productive employee can influence another. A mentorship program is a two-way growing process. A senior employee would be allowed to lead and mentor a new hire, in turn, the new hire would have a better reference on how to perform better in their current role.
In today’s marketplace, it’s not uncommon for companies to offer tuition reimbursement or certification programs. Employees should be given every opportunity to grow in knowledge, skills, and talents, as this does not benefit the employee alone, but as an employer, it’s having another highly skilled and trained person in your organization.
6. Promote Health and Work-Life Balance
Work should never be at the expense of your employees’ personal lives. If things are not fine at work, it impacts the relationships at home and vice versa. Imagine someone coming home late from work for several nights and not being able to handle their share of the chores, this may be a problem for their partner and so on.
More organizations are hearing their employees out and opting for more flexibility at work. This includes flexibility in work schedule, paid time off, work from home ability, and other health benefits to bridge the balance of work and family life, as they are starting to notice how it correlates.
Remember that working from home is a privilege and should not be taken advantage of, one’s quality of work should remain as high-performing as it would at work. Instead, work towards achieving a balance with sufficient time spent on work and with family.
7. Use Software to Achieve Error Free and Avoid Redundancy
Welcoming AI software can be a game-changing thing in employee relations. With the latest tech, companies can automate and improve communications. Project management can be paired down to fewer steps, enabling employees to assume other more important roles.
The key is to increase efficiency and eliminate redundant tasks. If machines can sort the tedious part of things, why not let it? Consider how much 10 minutes of filling out a weekly timecard turns into 520 minutes each year. This will save a lot of time and effort for the entire department.
In the unlikely event when an employee resigns or gets laid off, the productivity levels are deceased until they find a replacement. Furthermore, when you have software, you can create an employee portal with a dashboard where all details are stored, from leave balance, overtime, and employee handbook. One place for all needs.
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