One of the most important parts of employee satisfaction in any job is a good relationship between the employee and the company, but sadly, this isn’t always easy. Almost half of employees in a 2014 survey reported experiences with abusive behavior in the workplace. This can be a key reason people may look to leave a corporation. In order to make sure employees have a good relationship with management, a business should have and enforce a good industrial relations policy.

Importance of Industrial Relations

Industrial relations, or employment relations, encompasses the collection of relationships between employees, the company and management. This represents not only the financial relationship between the employee and the company but also employee satisfaction, comfort and engagement with management in the workplace. A strong relationship leads to better work from employees, more engagement in the company culture and better employee retention. A poor relationship, however, can lead to abusive behavior like bullying, poorly motivated employees and high turnover.

Poor industrial relations happen when management fails to be open and transparent about an employee’s role or the company culture. Managers who micromanage, refuse to listen to employee suggestions and don’t explain the company’s goals will end up alienating employees who simply want to do well.

If employees can’t trust the company or aren’t sure about their place within a business, they’re much more likely to grow dissatisfied with their position and look for another. These issues increase if a union relationship is involved because there are a number of additional issues to consider, including compensation and labor laws.

Suggestions to Improve Industrial Relations

Improving employee relations is easier than it seems, but a company’s human resources department needs to be behind the effort as well. Ensuring that HR supports management’s efforts to establish good manager-employee relations will allow these concepts to be documented and enforced. There are several ways to improve industrial relations and ways to improve manager-employee relations.

Establish Open Communication

Be sure employees are comfortable approaching management with questions or requests and be as transparent as possible with answers. Practice open communication from management’s side by checking in with employees weekly or biweekly in a casual environment to discuss their ongoing work and what they may need from management to be successful. This also helps keep employees on track with their projects and performance.

Invest in Employee Development

Employee development is worth the investment, both in and out of the workplace. Giving employees on-the-job opportunities for training, classes or seminars shows that management is interested in them not only now but for the future as well. In addition, offering benefits like gym memberships, volunteering opportunities and other quality of life improvements will help employees feel like they matter to the company in ways unrelated to their output.

Importance of Employee Recognition

Over 75 percent of employees say they are starved for recognition. Be sure to recognize individual contributions as they happen. Making this part of a weekly or biweekly check-in ensures that employees never have to go too long without praise. When possible, link this appreciation with financial incentives or discuss future opportunities for employees.

Ask for Input

This is part of a good communication strategy, but it’s separately important to ask for feedback on the company’s goals and management style. When employees feel like they can have an impact on the company systems and that management is really listening to them, employee engagement improves.

It’s important for management to interpret these concepts in a way that fits with their business model to keep industrial relations positive. A company with clear goals and a good strategy shouldn’t find it difficult to construct an employee relations program they can use to ensure employees are happy, safe and productive in the workplace.