Within Small to Medium–sized Enterprises (SMEs), an employee relations strategy can be harmonious or exploitative, or anything in between. It can change continuously depending on the various challenges SME’s react to.
A positive employee relations strategy is directly linked to higher levels of employee engagement and equally relates to productivity levels, enabling the business to increase its potential to achieve enhanced business outcomes.
An employee relations strategy fosters the relationship between any individual employees, their co-workers, superiors and the organisation as a whole. Positive, strong employee relations should include employees who feel good about themselves and their job.
It is important that organisations strive for good employee relations, as this is a key contributing factor when the degree of job satisfaction of an employee is being considered.
Positive employee relations mean increase job satisfaction, and as a result, organisational commitment. This is proven to decrease absence rates, timekeeping issues and employee turnover.
How Can SME Employers Implement Relations Strategies?
There a few simple steps organisations can take to actively improve the employee relations within the workplace.
- Management must treat all employees fairly and equally. Employees have an expectation of fair treatment. Favouritism or discrimination is not only illegal but will have detrimental effects on employee relations.
- Maintain open systems of communication. Remembering that communicating should always be a two–way process. Management should not just continuously make decisions and changes without considering employees’ opinions, and instead take these on board if feasible.
- Employees should always be kept well informed or know where or who to approach for information. Informed employees will always make better decisions and are more likely to be motivated to carry out their roles. In addition, by keeping employees informed, they are more likely to feel a part of the organisation, which will in turn increase job satisfaction and organisational commitment. A good rapport between employee and employer will ensure the workforce feels comfortable with the organisation and management.
- Similarly to ensuring open communication, encourage employees to give feedback. The feedback will make employers aware of any concerns or issues or even ideas employees may have. Encouraging feedback will also give employers an idea of what employees think of them as an employer and allow the employer to make changes before an employee becomes so disengaged that they may be absent, leave or display presentism – where they come to work but input is at a minimum.
- Make a conscious effort to keep an employees’ job interesting, try and give employees challenges, which can be done by assigning a greater degree of responsibility or providing additional training to increase the tasks an employee will be able to carry out.
- Rewarding employees is key to achieving positive employee relations. Rewards can be tangible or intangible, depending on the resources an organisation has, if the rewards show the employer’s appreciation towards the workforce.
- Competitive salaries are also a contributing factor to good employee relations. However, many organisations may not be able to offer high salaries. It is important to ensure wages are fair and reflect employees’ skills, abilities and behaviours accordingly.
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