As soon as employers start bringing remote employees back to the office, improving employee relations will become a matter of concern and managers will need to renew their focus on it.
We have been in a state of remote working for over 20 months. A number of new employees have joined and made an exit during this span of time. Therefore it is even crucial to build a powerful strategy for improving employee relations in the workplace.
Here’s how to do that. But first let’s look at this very important statistic.
Did you know that over $500 Billion is lost every year because of employee disengagement and poor employee relations? The way managers and HR professionals interact with employees have a tremendous impact on the success of a business.
Even small changes in the way employee relations best practices are conducted can contribute significantly to dynamic workplace culture. Doing so helps strengthen a positive environment at work, reduces conflicts, and enhances productivity at work.
In this article, we’ll talk about some actionable advice and a few starter ways to improve employee relations in the workplace.
7 Strategies and best practices for improving employee relations in the workplace
Explore some of the best and tested ways to improve employee relations in the workplace. You can also download our free guide on how to practically manage a remote team (+bonus tips for remote team management).
1. Give constructive feedback
Employee evaluation is not just a measure to determine incentives. It should focus on how they can contribute more to their work to get robust results for the corporation, and that starts with getting authentic feedback for their performance.
Give employee feedback regularly to tell them how reliable they are at their work, not merely when the performance audits are on edge, but routinely to help them implement the feedback and improve on the go.
Here are a few approaches you can use to extend constructive feedback to your employees:
- Be precise and straightforward about the “what” and “why” of your feedback.
- Avoid emails or phone calls, and use videos or in-person discussions for giving feedback.
- Have a sincere and candid tone.
- Be fully aware of the situation before giving feedback.
- Once you give your feedback, allow the employee a chance to respond.
- Don’t shy away from pointing out mistakes, however, respectfully.
“The results of your analysis were impressive, but here’s how you can make minor changes to get better results.” Acknowledging their good performance and providing them ways to improve is an essential aspect of constructive feedback.
This will encourage them to recognize their mistakes and strengths, motivating them to achieve outstanding business and personal goals.
2. Increase communication with regular check-ins
Your employees play a make or break factor in your business success. They are the most significant resources you have. So, simply assigning them tasks and taking updates is probably not the best way to move forward.
Enhancing communication with your employees with routine checks will help bring up any issues they face at work or any problems they want to discuss. It’ll also help resolve one of the most significant employee relationship issues- conflict management by mediating disputes and finding midway solutions for them.
Here are few actions you can take to establish effective communication and improve employee experience:
- Encourage face-to-face conversations or video calls regularly if working remotely to strengthen work relations.
- Know when to switch from email to one-on-one conversations in real-time.
- Re-consider your Human Resources communications strategy. An employee communications app like Slack can come in handy to raise the bar for employee engagement.
- Be innovative with internal email communications. Apart from work communication, share engaging content like memes, videos, company blogs, or infographics to provide educational resources and promote light humor.
- You can even use surveys to understand how employees feel about the current communication structure and improve accordingly.
The idea is to look approachable to employees for any problems. Finding solutions together, showing support, and acknowledging their thoughts can go a long way.
3. Provide training and opportunities to upskill
Training and upskilling opportunities are crucial for employee growth and development. Providing resources, webinars, courses, etc., will help them get better at work and ultimately benefit the company.
Establishing such opportunities will help you:
- Increase employee satisfaction
- Boost employee morale
- Enhance productivity at work
- See a learning curve in performance and growth
- Reduce employee disengagement
There are various ways to present such opportunities. However, here are some ideas to begin with:
- Workshops or webinars
- People skills training
- Technical training
- Higher education reimbursements
- Guest speaking forums
- Free access to e-learning platforms
4. Create a culture that promotes transparency
Being open and loyal to your employees about the company’s accomplishments and anxieties, however demanding they may be, creates a culture of transparency.
Moreover, creating a work environment that empowers them to voice their concerns, share struggles and achievements will help build a strong-knit company culture.
Without this transparency, it can lead to misunderstandings, troubled employees, and unresolved issues regarding some common problems like safety, hierarchy, etc.
This is how you can instill a transparent culture within your organization:
- Keep your employees in the loop about modifications and company evolutions.
- Organize regular meetings to share numbers, achievements, and challenges.
- Open the floor for communication and feedback.
- Encourage employees to ask questions in meetings.
This can significantly improve employee relations, and engagement resulting in a more dynamic culture that rewards transparency.
5. Allow flexibility and empower independent decision making
While the idea of independent decision-making may not look promising initially, it can lead to enhanced confidence, developing leadership skills, and unexpected yet excellent outcomes.
It’s not too exciting to have one person make all the decisions. Bypassing on the hat, allows employees to be creative and do things differently. You never know how they approach these decisions, which may even turn out to be beneficial and eye-opening.
The key to business growth is experimentation. Allowing employees to make decisions, even at a group or department level, can significantly boost their confidence and empower them to do better and work harder.
Moreover, when you do this, you display confidence and faith. It boosts morale and pushes them to think differently and pursue a different perspective of doing things. Initiating creativity and openness through flexible decision-making is much better than assigning tasks every day and expecting some dynamic results.
Here are a few ways to empower flexible decision-making in your organization.
- Physical or digital suggestion boxes to facilitate new and creative ideas.
- Responding and appreciating innovative ideas.
- Employee surveys to draw ideas, suggestions, and improvements.
- Brainstorming sessions using innovative methods like brain dump and mental associations to bring forward some creative thinkers.
6. Rewards and recognition for employees
Rewarding and recognizing outstanding performances by employees can significantly help in improving employee relations and create a culture of collaboration rather than competition. Everyone likes to be appreciated and acknowledged for their work, be it on a small scale.
These make the employee feel that they’re a part of something bigger while working in an organization where performance and growth are rewarded.
Here are some powerful ways to implement a recognition culture:
- Determine employee growth factors.
- Track performance by keeping reporting managers in the loop.
- Be fair and promote a transparent environment.
- Host annual rewards that motivate employees to work hard.
These employee rewards can be bonuses, incentives, gift cards, wall of fame, etc. The idea is to reward outstanding performance and empower others to work harder to reach the same level with a rising growth graph.
7. Analyze performance and growth to make improvements
Promoting and empowering growth is not enough for improved employee relationships. You need to analyze how these methods are working out, how employees respond to them and tweak them to make improvements.
This will help you identify gaps in your employee engagement strategy and improve it to enhance relations. Here’s how you can analyze employee performance and growth:
Step 1: The first step would be to define performance factors. While these can vary depending on your employee and business goals, here are a few common ones:
- Speed and efficiency
- Quality of work
- Time management and attendance
- Creative ideas and solutions
- Demonstration of entrepreneurial and leadership spirit
- Personal development efforts
Step 2: Determine a metric rating system to evaluate performance and growth for a particular duration of time. You can either have a rating chart from 1 to 5 or rank it by setting values as parameters, like- partial contributor, contributor, performer, driver, transformer.
You can get as creative as you want but make sure the parameters are easy to understand and can be evaluated easily.
Step 3: Schedule a one-on-one meeting with the employee and reporting manager to rank on these factors. Have a SWOT Analysis to list down motivations and pain points to drive solutions and make progressive improvements.
Step 4: Gather data and manage individual performance to initiate growth and create an improvement plan. These ratings shouldn’t be shared with anyone but be used to create a structure that can drive improvement and enhance employee relations.
In the end, satisfaction and happiness are some of the biggest indicators of strong employee relations. It also determines employee retention and if they would want to continue working with the organization.
Good relations at work foster greater productivity and efficiency. It makes work much more engaging and interactive, empowering employees to work harder. Use these seven practices to improve relations between the employees and management. The stronger these relations are, the more the company will grow.