“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
There is no doubt that nowadays, a company’s success depends on its employees, and the literature regarding engagement and human capital development is exhaustive.
The bottom line is that all individuals, no matter what position they occupy in a company, what their functions are or where they stand in the hierarchy, must maintain employee relations at work which, in turn, shape their work experience and performance. The key to any company’s success is good teamwork, where a team is made up of a group of individuals who must interact with one another.
So how can you make the most of your employee relations? Here are a few tips to help you out!
Managers: how to make the most of your Employee Relations
1. Understand yourself to better understand your interactions with others
All human beings look at and analyze the world and other people through their own eyes; according to their perception of the world. Every individual has their own unique way of perceiving reality, and there will always be differences between their perception, others’ perception, and reality. There are as many ways to look at a certain reality as there are individuals!
Therefore, to better understand your relations with other people, it is crucial to start off with self-awareness, to be able to understand how we influence our employee relations, as well as understand how we each have our share of responsibility in contributing to its dynamics.
There are many ways to learn how to get to know oneself better, and it can sometimes take a whole lifetime to do so. A good starting point to better understand your own personality is to take a psychometric test in order to identify your natural behaviours, which will always make an appearance in everyday work situations.
2. Understand others through active listening
In all human interactions, there is “you”, but there is always another person and his/her way of perceiving reality. Active listening is a good tool that will help you understand others, as well as their perception of reality.
Forget about emails and spend quality time with your co-workers!
Here are a few tips to help you develop your active listening skills:
- Put aside your own preconceived notions and don’t rely on your personal interpretation of things
- Make yourself available to others and allow them to express themselves without interrupting
- Ask open questions and encourage them to explain their thoughts in more detail
- Learn how to manage silence (We can never stress that enough!)
- Pay attention to your body language, as well to that of others
- Rephrase what they say in your own words
- Be empathetic and kind
3. Manage conflict in an optimal manner
All managers who wish to improve employee relations need to know how to manage conflicts in an optimal manner. There is exhaustive literature on the subject, too!
That being said, at the heart of every conflict is a relation between two people and two different perceptions of the same reality. Hence, to understand the dynamic between the two, you need to understand each person’s way of seeing things.
Actively listening to both sides is an excellent starting point, and there are also many other ways to better understand the dynamics of employee relations. Evaluating the professional complementarity level between two people is an excellent way to grasp how they interact.
4. Accept, respect, and encourage diversity
Understanding the other party is crucial, but accepting others’ differences is more so. Managers who are able to accept, respect, and promote diversity will enhance productivity as well as strengthen their company’s competitive advantage.
Wanting to surround ourselves with people who resemble us is a natural protective reflex, but opening ourselves to change will provide us with a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow, which will, in turn, benefit everyone.
5. Develop vulnerability and managerial courage
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
As a manager, to have the courage to be vulnerable, the courage to be yourself, is the cornerstone of inspiring leadership. The era of the manager who knows it all, who has an answer to everything, and who cannot be shaken by anything is a thing of the past.
We are all inspired by genuine people who are brave enough to acknowledge their vulnerability, to ask for help, tell it as it is, attack problems directly, build on the strengths of each and every employee, engage others and bring them to participate without being afraid of making mistakes or being wrong.
To have managerial courage means to tell the truth as it is, at the right time, to the right person, and more often than not, you need to accept your own vulnerability to be able to do so.
You might enjoy watching Brené Brown talk about vulnerability in this video!
6. Make employee relations enjoyable
Success is only possible through teamwork, and it is rare to achieve great success without enjoying or being enthusiastic about what you’re doing. So, make room for fun, actively promote it among your teams, and you will greatly benefit from it. No one feels like surpassing themselves if their work is not enjoyable! Do you know many people who excel at something they don’t enjoy doing?
How the organization can help develop better Employee Relations?
1. Have a clear vision and share it
In order for individuals to work together towards a common goal, they need to know exactly where they are heading. If the vision is unclear, all efforts will be for nought.
So, share your vision, make sure your employees are an integral part of it and play an important role in its development and implementation.
If your employees are important, then you need to listen to them!
2. Promote values that reflect the importance of Employee Relations
As an employer, if you value teamwork, then make sure it is effectively highlighted in your performance appraisals. How many companies assess individual performance and forget about team performance?
Is enjoying work important? Prove it by valuing it! Are employee relations and teamwork important? Encourage team-building sessions. Are your employees important? Find ways to show them that they are important and invest in their development!
Promoting the value of employee relations is essential, but you must not forget that employees also have human relations outside of work that are just as important to them.
The majority of your employees need to find a balance between their professional and personal lives to achieve work-life balance. Don’t forget: be flexible and take everything into consideration when you make decisions.
3. Let managers manage their employees’ needs
If the promotion of employee relations is important to the company, then it is crucial to let managers manage their employees’ different needs.
Some companies create different procedures for all kinds of situations pertaining to the management of employee relations. However, we are all unique and our ways of interacting with one another are just as unique. Therefore, your organization should provide the necessary tools and training for your managers, all the while allowing them to manage this diversity and use their own judgement… one specific rule and one specific way of doing things cannot be applied to everyone.
To sum up, there are a lot of tools and ways to make the most out of employee relations! It is important to remember that all employee relations will be influenced by our subjective perception of reality, as well as by others’ subjective perception. In the end, we are essentially people in relation with one another. But we need to know ourselves better in order to fully grasp how we influence our relations with other employees at work. Moreover, we will better understand others and the dynamics that bring us all together so that we can constructively improve collaboration.