...because people matter.
Jackie Wells Smith, the publisher of Your Employee Handbook and a former human resources executive and consultant of 25 years, says fostering positive employee relations is the single most important area owners and operators should focus on, especially in the small-business sector. Not only does it improve productivity, but it may also address larger problems:
“In my experience, lack of attention to employee relations is usually the source of whatever problems [an owner or operator] is having,” Smith says. “If they have retention problems, turnover problems, problems with frequent accidents, I generally find that the source of it was always the same place: Employees were unhappy with their jobs.”
Lack of productivity, accidents, frequent turnover and retention problems are all risks to your business -- risks that involve your human capital and risks that can be mitigated by good employee relations.
Employee relations is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Strategies for good employee relations can take many forms and vary by a number of factors, including industry, location, company size and leadership philosophies. A strong employee relations program starts with clearly written policies that describe your company's philosophy, rules and procedures for addressing employee-related matters and resolving problems in the workplace.
One of the most effective ways to ensure good employee relations is to adopt a human resources strategy that places a high value on employees as stakeholders in your business. When employees are treated as more than just paid laborers, but actual stakeholders with the power to affect outcomes, they will feel more valued for the job they do and will do that job better. When hiring your employees, you sought individuals that shared your mission and your values. Your goal was to hire someone that would be commited to the success of your organization...a true stakeholder. Now that you have found that person, make sure they feel the value that you have placed in them.
Effective communication is perhaps the most important element for successful relationships with your employees. They need to be informed of what's going on with the company and must feel that their opinions, feelings and concerns are being heard. Open lines of communication can be informal, such as day-to-day conversations between employees and supervisors, or formal, such as workplace satisfaction surveys or grievance and appeals procedures.
NavigationHR can work with you to find the best way to maintain positive relations with your employees, whether it is developing a plan for you to follow or being available to communicate with your employees for you when you simply do not have the time.