5 tactics to improve employee relations

Employee relations–the manner in which the managers and HR representatives at your company interact with your workers–can have a huge impact on your workplace culture. Maintaining positive employee relations helps to improve staff morale, reduce workplace conflict and ultimately, increase productivity.

Here at SurveyMonkey, we strive to stay on top of the most up-to-date research on the workplace. Using the millions of responses we gather on a daily basis as a guide, here are some straightforward ideas and tactics for improving employee relations at your organization:

1.  Set the tone from their first day

First impressions matter. Subjecting an excited new employee to endless paperwork and meaningless presentations won’t capitalize on their initial enthusiasm. Instead, greet them just as enthusiastically and take the time to personally get them set up for work. Introduce them to their coworkers and even assign a mentor to help them acclimate. Making them feel like they’re valued and welcome from the very beginning will set a positive tone that that will remain with them as they learn how they fit into to your company and their new job.

2.  Provide positive feedback

More often than not, the focus of evaluations are on how an employee can improve and what they need to do better. In addition to this, employees need to hear about the things that they do right–on a regular basis.

  • Let them know they have value. Believe it or not, employees actually need to hear this on a regular basis. Letting them know when you think they handled a situation well or did a good job in a difficult situation makes them feel like they are an asset to your team.
  • Say thank you. Employees who feel that they have supportive supervisors who recognize the good work they do are 67 percent more engaged than those who don’t. They are also far more likely to remain with your company. A simple thank-you card or note can make more of a difference than you realize.
  • Publicly recognize high achievers. Praising employees at monthly or weekly meetings for their accomplishments and positive contributions to your company will serve to motivate the ones you recognize and inspire others to work harder.

3. Improve Communication

Communicating with employees solely through memos or emails is not only inefficient, but also impersonal. Workers will easily feel as if they are not an integral part of your company if all you ever do is talk at them. Your employees are some of the most important resources you have, and so having two-way personal communication is essential.

  • Be visible. Managers and HR representatives should make themselves seen and ensure that employees know they are accessible and approachable. This offers your employees the opportunity to easily seek any guidance or assistance they may need in order to be at their most productive – and to deal with any issues or concerns they may have.
  • Have regular company meetings. This gives you a chance to share important information, provide updates, and allow your employees to ask questions.
  • Involve employees in goal-setting. Employees who are involved in setting goals for themselves, their team, and your company will take ownership of those goals and work much harder to meet them.
  • Offer transparency. Employees who feel that their managers are open, honest, and trustworthy, are 94 percent more likely to be happy at work. Transparency also works to create a more cooperative workplace atmosphere.

4. Offer career development

Companies that take an active role in offering and encouraging career development for their employees will find that they end up with a more motivated and well-equipped workforce. Managers and HR representatives should work closely with employees regarding ways they can improve on their existing skills and get new training.

  • Set up professional development plans. This can help your employees reach their career goals. On a recent study we conducted with The Ladders, we found that Millennials, Gen-Xs and Baby Boomers all ranked professional development opportunities as the second most important element when deciding whether or not to take a job.
  • Consider a tuition reimbursement program. Assisting your employees with furthering their education while working for your company makes for a better-trained, more flexible workforce– and enhances their sense of loyalty to your company.
  • Provide career advancement opportunities. In the same SurveyMonkey/Ladders study, we found that the majority of Millennials, Gen-Xs, Baby Boomers and older workers expect to receive a promotion within one to two years of starting a job.

5. Help them be happy

If your employees are happy, they will be more engaged as well as more productive at work. The brain of a person in a positive mood simply performs better than that of an unhappy person. And happy workers are also more creative and better at solving problems. Simply letting your workers know that you care about their happiness is the first step, but you can also take some additional steps to create happier employees.

  • Make sure they are in the right job. Your employees won’t be happy or successful in their work if they aren’t in a job that they are well-suited for. Believe it or not, today’s employees cite doing their best as very important, and for many, it’s the main element they’re looking for in a job.
  • Give them meaningful work. In a recent study, SurveyMonkey found that employees ranked meaningful work as the second most important aspect of a job.

Whatever steps you take to improve employee relations, you’ll want to be able to evaluate employee engagement on a consistent cadence and use benchmark data to compare your results to other companies. You’ll find that at SurveyMonkey, we offer a wealth of information, questionnaire templates, and solutions to help encourage your employees to be healthier, happier, and more engaged.

Use SurveyMonkey benchmarks to get context on where your organizations’ employee engagement stands. Get started→