Understanding employee relations definitions can really affect the environment and vibe within the workplace. You want to achieve positive outcome and positive vibe, right? After all, positive vibe is good to encourage and support productivity. How can you expect yourself to achieve better productivity if there is unclear definition of employee relation? So, what it is and how to achieve such a positive outcome?
Employee Relations Definitions
This is basically about the company’s or organization’s efforts to make and maintain (positive) relationship with the employees. Through constructive employee relations, company expect to keep them engaged to work and be loyal. In general, it is the job of HR department to deal with employee relations efforts. But in some companies, they may even have a dedicated and special employee relations manager.
What’s the responsibility? The manager is responsible for acting out as intermediary (or liaison) between the managers and employees. The manager would advise or create policies around employee problems, such as useful benefits, reasonable working hours, proper work and life balance, fair compensation, and many more. The main functions of HR department are two: to prevent problems (or disputes) and resolve them, especially between management and employees. Second, they will help in enforcing and creating policies, which are consistent and fair for every person, personnel, or individual within the workplace.
Viewing Employee Relations in Positive Manner
Once you understand employee relations definitions, then you should view it from a different perspective. Companies must see their employees NOT as paid laborers. Instead, the company should view their employees as contributors and stakeholders. This ‘improved’ perspective will encourage people in executive and management roles to find employee feedback and to put high value to their input. These executives will have better consideration concerning employee experience when they have to make decisions – especially the ones affecting the company in a whole.
Moreover, the company must realize that honest and open communication is the main key of positive employee relations. Lack of communication is one of the many (and most common) factors that lead to negative employee relations. Imagine this: As a leader or an employer, you don’t really know what your employees are facing. What are their struggles? What are their difficulties? What can you do to help them? As employees, they don’t know what you have to deal with either. What do you expect from them? What makes you satisfied or happy? How can they work on their performance and difficulties to meet your expectations?
Without communication, all of you won’t be able to learn about each other’s situation, obstacles, and difficulties. Without communication, all of you can’t learn about each other’s strength, downside, and struggle. That’s why communication is crucial. Try to have a regular meeting where everyone can be involved – they should be able to express their opinions, feelings, and everything. In this meeting, an employer can learn from their employees – and vice versa. There shouldn’t be any ‘power force’ during the meeting.
Common Cases that Damage Employee Relations
Not many people understand positive employee relations definitions. Many of them believe that employers are always correct and employees are the sources of issues. That’s not always the case. Unwise and lousy employers are many. They aren’t good leaders because they don’t really understand the concept of ‘leading’ – they tend to be bossy, instead.
- These are some of the common examples (or cases) how employee relations are damaged and ruined. Micromanaging. This is basically a (management) style where the employer, manager, or supervisor would control or observe their employees or subordinates’ work very closely. It is usually related to negative connotation because it leads of lack of freedom and flexibility in workplace. Moreover, it is basically such a waste of time. Employees tend to disengage and it would affect their work.
- Playing favorites. When an employer or a supervisor treats someone specially and differently, it would be obvious. If you are familiar with the term ‘teacher’s pet’ then it is just the same – but it is on workplace setting. This will create jealousy and envy among employers – which can ruin the relationship among themselves.
- Being unclear. This is mostly related to good communication. Employees must understand their roles and jobs clearly – including the expectation of them. If there is still confusion, which can lead to stress and lower level of engagement. How can you create positive outcome when no one seems to understand what employee relations definitions are.
- Failure in collecting ideas. As good leader, you want to include your employees so they feel (and believe) that they are part of the team. Decision making process would be one of the best times to include the employees. Ask them to provide opinions or even give ideas. If you believe that some of those ideas are good, be ready to implement them. Don’t just collect ideas – you need to be ready to implement them too. If you neglect the part where you need to implement those ideas, you are in a much bigger problem.
- Vision sharing failure. Often times, employees don’t feel that what they are doing is actually crucial. They don’t think that ‘they matter’. That’s why employers need to embrace their employees so they can share the same vision. Ensure your employees that they are part of the company – they matter as a part of something bigger and important. So, make sure that you share (long term) vision with your employees and stress it out regularly – so they won’t forget.
The Main Structures of Employee Relations
Once you understand employee relations definitions, now it is time to focus on the important elements. There are basically the main foundation – the pillars – that can create positive relationship result. So, what are they?
- Open communication. As it was mentioned before, don’t underestimate communication because it is one of the most crucial factors in creating positive relationship. As you realize, communication is crucial in any relationship. But in work setting and relationship, it provides employees with transparency they need. It also provides employees ideas and also role within the organization. They understand their part – they understand where they are at. And more importantly, it gives them a sense that you trust them – giving them confidence in the end.
- Show gratitude. Good leaders won’t hesitate to say thank you and please. In most cases, they ‘bark’ orders as if the employees are their subordinates or slaves. That’s never a good sign. The seemingly simple words show appreciation – and they have significant meaning for the employees. Those positive words will reinforce employees for good work. And it doesn’t hurt to celebrate it when employees finish up a project successfully – within the planned budgets and on time. Don’t be afraid to reward them. Rewarding them won’t cost you a fortune, really.
- Consistent feedback. Employees need feedback to help them improve and grow. Feedback is different from critics, mind you. Feedback is about knowing their potential and helping them to grow – and yet they haven’t realized it by themselves. The key element here is about consistency. Make sure that you discuss things and touching bases with each of them. After all, every person has their own potential and capability. They will appreciate it.
- Invest in them. Most employees don’t know that employers actually care for them, so you need to show them. Good leaders want their employees to grow and be better people – both professionally and personally. Learn about your employees individually. What makes them better? What is each of their strength? Those who are happy in personal level tend to be productive in professional setting. Let them pursue side projects – especially if those projects don’t interfere or affect their main job at work.
Maintaining positive relationship isn’t easy, but if you are able to nail the challenges, then you are on the right path – and you are closing your way to positive employee relations definitions.