The True Importance of Employee Relations

We have all heard the exhausted saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” But what happens after those you know get you to the place you want? Then suddenly the phrase turns to “It’s not about my position, it’s about my legacy.”

Almost everyone desires to make a change, whether it’s on a global, local, or organizational scale. Even if “making a difference” isn’t in the forefront of your mind, a sense of belonging certainly is. Just like food and shelter, humans have an inherent need for relationships, especially in their place of work where they spend 40 hours a week. However, employee relations has started to take a back seat for managers. Recently, it has become more and more clear to me that managers and executives don’t see the impact employee engagement has. Leaders have started to forget just how imperative building a community within a company is in order for the business to thrive.

You may be asking, how do you actually know this? Well think about any job that you have had where you were working as a subordinate to someone else. If you liked your manager, supervisor, boss, etc. did you work harder? If you didn’t like that person, did you feel complacent, just working with the minimal effort 9-5? Maybe these questions don’t resonate with you. In that case, there is analytical data.

Gallups Q12 is an assessment used to gauge the relationship between employee engagement and business performance. Some of the most interesting results included: profitability, productivity, shrinkage (theft), and customer ratings. This assessment has also shown that companies who purposely incorporate employee engagement seem to recover from the recession faster than others.

I think we can all agree that employee relations is essential to any company, but what is the best plan in order to implement this? Easy. There isn’t one. There is no one step-by-step plan that will magically generate engagement from your employees, but here are a few tips to get you going in the right direction:

  • Know your employees. What personalities are in your midst? Personalities create the atmosphere and vice versa. These personalities require different methods of relationship building.
  • Distinguish what tactics work. Identify the best strategies to get honest responses from employees. There are a myriad of tactics. Maybe you could hand out a survey or walk around and engage in spontaneous conversations. One-on-one meetings may be the best or weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly department meetings. These are several examples, but knowing the personalities of your employees will help determine what will truly engage them.
  • Be willing to adapt. One method today may be obsolete tomorrow. Change is inevitable, so it is always important to be in frequent communication with the employees to hear the shifting responses.

Employee engagement is the driving force behind productivity and profitability. Build relationships with your subordinates. Allow an environment where coworkers can build relationships with each other. Always remember that the legacy you leave may be a result of the relationship with your employees.

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Shauna Bradley

UCommunicate Consultant

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