An Apple a Day: Why Building Positive Employee Relations Can Keep the Outsiders Away

An obvious key to maintaining good employee relations is to keep employees satisfied with their work and their work environment.  While it is, of course, impossible to keep all of your employees happy and satisfied at all times, it is important to consider the reasons behind employee dissatisfaction and the steps which can be taken to erase that dissatisfaction so that employees will not feel they must contact an outsider, such as a government agency or worker advocacy group, to represent them on the job.  Most causes of employee dissatisfaction can be eliminated if they are only recognized and treated quickly.

Topping the list of reasons that employees become dissatisfied is unfair or unequal treatment among employees.  Managers must take steps to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and equally. Fair treatment means, among other things, explaining basic policy decisions to employees as well as explaining decisions among employees concerning such basic matters as job promotions, transfers, overtime assignments, and the like. Another catalyst of concern is when complaints and grievances are ignored. Even if the problem cannot be resolved, the most important point to remember is to grant the employee’s concern the time and attention it requires.  Company leaders must ensure that employees look to them as their first source of information and representation in their needs, questions, and desires as a company employee.

Think of the actions below as human resource “apples.” A steady diet of these apples keeps the dissatisfaction away. The best way to maintain good employee relations is to manage effectively and respectfully by continuing to:

  1. Treat all employees fairly and with dignity and respect;
  2. Apply all personnel policies and procedures consistently and equitably;
  3. Talk with employees on a regular basis about events that concern them;
  4. Listen and follow through quickly on individual suggestions or complaints;
  5. Provide a system that allows employees to raise issues or concerns with you and other levels of management without fear of retaliation; and
  6. Train, develop, counsel and support employees.

A company that can confidently say these six items are firmly entrenched in the organizational culture will reap the benefits of higher employee satisfaction and lower risk of intervention by outside organizations.

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About HR Headaches
HR Headaches is a blog for Human Resources professionals, business owners, and in-house counsel to get the latest news, analysis and tips in the area of labor and employment law. Every day there are new court decisions, agency interpretations, and regulations which affect the workplace, making it difficult, if not impossible, for many employers to keep current. HR Headaches is dedicated to providing information in a practical, no-nonsense manner to help employers avoid legal disputes and keep policies up to date.
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