It’s likely most businesses would say their main goal is to earn a profit. Thereafter, the ancillary goals companies have often align with that overarching goal. In other words, some companies are good to customers because they know good customer service impacts productivity, and, therefore, the bottom line. Amazon and Publix are the recognizable companies that are the first to pop into my mind in this regard. These two companies are examples of businesses who do their best to provide exemplary customer service. Their employees know how to take care of customers. Looking for something? We gotcha! Have a problem? No problem! Need to return a purchase? No questions asked! Their employees’ customer-centric attitudes earn these companies the loyalty of many customers, and, hence, increased revenue.
On the other hand, some companies are good at something else that sometimes flies under the radar: they are great to their employees. While being good to customers is important, being good to employees is equally important. Read on to learn some employee relations examples, and to find out how your business can benefit from making your employees a top priority.
Get to Know Your Employees
When a candidate first begins the process of interviewing for a job, the interviewer typically asks a slew of questions. What is your educational background? Do you have experience in this industry? What drew you to this position? Employers woo candidates and make them feel relevant by engaging them in the inquisition, even if it can feel a little nerve wracking at times.
However, after a candidate is hired, the curiosity soon vanishes, the questions slow or stop altogether, and the honeymoon period ends. That employee often gets to work, focusing on the intricacies of the job position. This is where you will see the difference between companies with exceptional employee relations, and those who could use a little fine-tuning. Southwest Airlines an example of a company with great employee relations. Southwest is known for continuing to get to know their employees, even after the initial interview process. They are not afraid to ask their employees for feedback. Furthermore, they pride themselves on putting employees first, and valuing their employees’ opinions.
Recognize Areas of Strength
Sometimes employers hire a person for one position, and since the employee does that job sufficiently well, she remains there indefinitely. Even if the employee is capable of doing something else better than she performs in the current position, no one takes notice. This is something that happens quite frequently, because sometimes employers are afraid of taking a risk or rocking the boat in case the change ends badly.
Nevertheless, things can end really badly if employers neglect to recognize each employee’s individual strengths. Sure, that employee gets the job done. However, what if he could perform better in a different role, where his strengths are fully utilized? Then, someone else could get his job done sufficiently well! Companies with great employee relations embody this mentality and recognize that employees who utilize their strengths are productive employees.
Look for Employee Growth
If you aren’t recognizing your employees’ strengths, it’s likely you aren’t thinking about promotion opportunities for your employees, either. So, another example of good employee relations is being aware of employee growth. Think of your employees as little birds developing in a nest. Eventually, the right to do is pop them out of their position, and on to bigger and better things.
Some companies are known for promoting from within. In fact, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have made a name for themselves doing just that. Promoting employees helps boost confidence, and improves employee morale by showing employees that this could be you someday!
Be Transparent with Employees
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to promote every employee into the position that employee desires. There are many employees, but the higher-level positions are often fewer and vacant infrequently. Consequently, it is easy to feel like you have crushed an employee’s spirits if the employee isn’t chosen for a position she is vying for.
Still, don’t avoid the conversation. If you feel an employee is unqualified for a position, be candid with the employee. Furthermore, tell her sooner rather than later. It’s also considerate to tell the employee the steps to become more qualified or gain the skills necessary for certain positions. Your employees will respect you more if you have the courage to look them in the eye and be truthful.
Deliver on Your Promises
No one likes to be strung along. This is especially true in situations where employees are hopeful for a promotion or some other positive change within the company. An example of a way to improve employee relations is to build trust with employees. An easy way to build trust is to do what you say you are going to do.
On the flip side, avoid making promises you can’t keep. In other words, don’t talk a big game, not follow through, and end up disappointing employees. Sure, in the short run it would be a mere disappointment. However, in the long run it could earn you a bad reputation, and a lot of disgruntled employees.
All of us have probably heard managers complain about their workers. Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens too often. In fact, there are entire studies conducted on the idea that negative information spreads faster because it gets repeated more often than positive information. Often times, people aren’t even aware of how much negativity they speak!
Instead of coming home each day, dropping your keys on the counter, and mindlessly rattling off all the things your employees did to make your life harder, try a different approach. Spend your drive home reflecting on the ways your employees surprised you over the course of the day. Then, speak positively about your employees to others. Some days are challenging, and some employees can be difficult. However, speaking positively about your employees will help you feel positive about your employee relations. Consequently, you will probably start viewing your employees in a more positive light. That’s the Law of Attraction in action!
Be an Example of a Company with Great Employee Relations
Even though the bottom line is important, know that there is a value in striving for great employee relations. Companies with great employee relations know their employees and recognize ways to develop and promote them. These companies are also transparent with their employees even in hard times, and they make every effort to deliver on their promises. Most importantly, companies with great employee relations speak positively about their employees, which builds employee morale. High employee morale is associated with great company culture, and, therefore, increased productivity and profits. Essentially, it’s a gift that keeps on giving!
So, ask yourself this: would your employees say your company is a good example of great employee relations?