Positive Employee Relations

The practice focuses on managers, training and supporting them to nurture trust-based relationships with their teams. In doing so, the intention is to generate a positive work culture which improves the overall productivity and output of a business, as well as it benefits the employee’s personal well-being.

The Positive Employee Relations is designed to help organizations train managers about the issues that are often a root cause of employee organizing efforts. By combining training on good management practices, labor law compliance and union awareness/organizing, organizations can help managers create a workplace where third-party representation is not necessary and where employees feel heard and respected.

  1. Give Employees Access to Decision Makers

Follow Tim Cook’s lead or the lead of L’Oreal Group’s chairman and CEO, Jean-Paul Agon, by eating breakfast or lunch with employees in the cafeteria or break room. This small act goes a long way in convincing people the management truly cares about employees, does not view itself as superior, and encourages open communication.

  1. Give Employees Multiple Channels for Training and Development

The days when calling a group of employees together who then struggle to stay awake while an HR professional drones on about company policies are gone. Exciting new training and development opportunities are presented as video, specialized company websites and e-learning.

Social media is another powerful tool for employee engagement, because it enables employees across the organization to share knowledge, get quick feedback and get noticed by managers.

  1. Gamify!

Gamification uses the elements of games, like rules of play and point scoring, to encourage continued and motivated play. According to neuroscientists, gamification conditions the brain to seek every-increasing accomplishments, a bit like a Las Vegas gambler, through consistent and positive feedback.

PwC uses Multipoly, a business simulation game to improve recruitment and retention of employees. Employers are applying gamification to deliver personalized training and to encourage employees to achieve higher performance.

  1. Offer Benefits and Rewards With Meaning

Sure, you can give employees a 3 percent pay raise for good performance, but the extra money is not likely to engage or motivate. Why? It is an extrinsic reward that gives short-term satisfaction and then becomes a norm. Also, the employee likely believes it is well-deserved, long overdue and not enough money. How engaging is that?

Of more meaning are personalized benefits and rewards. For example, companies using the Achievers employee recognition system can earn locally sourced rewards, like tickets to a Broadway play or a Visa card. To earn points, which can then be converted to rewards, employees need to get non-monetary recognition from other employees via the Achievers software program for doing great work or contributing quality ideas. Equally important is communicating benefits in an interesting manner to ensure employees fully understand what is available.

  1. Ask Employees What They Really Think

Anonymous annual employee surveys are important, but the real issue is do your employees believe they can safely provide honest feedback to management without repercussions. (Otherwise, why would you feel the need to keep the survey anonymous?)

If you believe the only way to get honest employee feedback is through anonymity, there is a much larger issue concerning employee engagement that needs addressing through the internal communication system.

Remember, too, that setting a precedent for annual employee surveys allows companies to utilize them if union organizing activity does begin. At that point, employees are accustomed to providing open and honest feedback, and surveying employees during union organizing efforts doesn’t feel forced or insincere.

  1. Give Employees Opportunities for Work-Life Balance

Offering work-life balance might just mean letting employees work remotely one day a week. For other companies, it might mean allowing a multi-generational workforce to select benefits that have the most meaning. For example, employees over 40 or parents of young children may value a flexible work schedule over an employer-paid disability policy.

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