Has anyone ever said, “I want to work in a toxic environment where teamwork and communication are weak, employees have zero resources and are treated like dirt, and expectations are misunderstood”? Probably not. Rather, many people want to work in a great place where they get along with their teammates, communication throughout the company is strong, resources are plentiful and expectations are fully understood. Employee relations can make or break the way employees and even prospective employees view your organization, so ensure it’s effective. Six ways to do so include:
- Employee Training: Employees need a clear understanding of the organization’s “rules of the road.” What do employers expect of employees and in turn, what can employees expect from the organization? Expectations are often also outlined in the employee handbook.
- Communication Processes: Make sure you have clearly defined communication channels for employees’ problems—who should someone go to if they have an issue? You also need to make sure there is more than one person to whom the employee can reach out. For example, if the supervisor is the problem, to whom else can the employee take his or her concerns? This is critical when talking about harassment or discrimination, as the courts look to see whether you have a process for handling employee issues and whether those processes were followed.
- Supervisory Training: Supervisors need to understand how the organization expects them to deal with problems and employee relations issues, especially harassment prevention. Training provides an affirmative defense for the organization if there is a claim filed—showing that you did harassment prevention training will help your case.
- Employee Communications: Other ways to ensure good employee relations include communications such as newsletters and state-of-the-organization communications that keep employees updated.
- Temperature Surveys: Get a pulse on the organization by finding out what employees think. Make sure you are prepared to act on some items brought up, or you may lose credibility.
- Exit Interviews: Obtain feedback from someone who is leaving the organization. In addition to giving the employee closure, these also give the exiting employee a chance to share valuable feedback that will allow the organization to improve. Consider using a third party, which could allow for more candid comments.
For more tips on developing a successful human resources program within your organization, download the eBook,The 30-Minute Guide to HR: A Quick Guide to Success in HR for the Busy and Confused.