Employee relations involves multiple layers of communication, from employer-employee relations to interactions among the workforce itself. An employer can utilize several strategies at once to improve employee relations, from encouraging more interaction on business projects to adjusting management style to encourage a positive working environment. Employee relations is a critical component of a successfully run business. Without an effective strategy to maintain positive employee relations, communication quickly breaks down, causing unrest and slowing productivity.
Sharing the Work
An employer can encourage employees to share work with one another through team projects as a means of improving employee relations. Comfort level and ease of communication between employees increase when employees must work together to achieve a common goal. Decisions should be made through a collective effort, with a team leader intervening only in extreme cases where communication breaks down and the group is left without a clear direction.
Management as the Example
Management has a great influence on employee relations and the working environment in a given office or place of business. A positive attitude and message when dealing with employees can improve employee relations by creating constructive working relationships free from bias and discrimination. Positive reinforcement helps employees feel valued in the workplace and encourages the communication of any employee relations problems. Basically, communication and employee relations improve when management sets the tone with positive leadership behavior and constructive, positive feedback.
Group Break Times
Meals can be a community event in the workplace. An employer can encourage employees to have lunch breaks at the same time to create a sense of community and improve working relationships between employees. Workers who are required to take breaks at odd hours or alone sometimes feel isolated from the rest of the workforce and might be less likely to improve workplace relationships. By taking meals together, employees can openly discuss the events of the day in a lower-stress environment than being actively engaged in work. Employees should avoid talking about work so the low-stress environment is preserved.
Written Communication Strategies
Verbal communication is vulnerable to misinterpretation. Written documents, including meeting notes, company initiatives and memos, should be disseminated among all relevant employees to provide a team atmosphere among the workforce. Avoid leaving employees out of emails and other written documents whenever possible to maximize the sense of inclusion. Employees who are left out of these notifications could feel left out and less important than workers who are included. This improves employee relations because employees feel a sense of active participation in the business and the company's various short-term and long-term projects.
Jonathan Lister has been a writer and content marketer since 2003. His latest book publication, "Bullet, a Demos City Novel" is forthcoming from J Taylor Publishing in June 2014. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Shippensburg University and a Master of Fine Arts in writing and poetics from Naropa University.