Have you ever been part of an organisation where you felt valued, respected and listened to as an individual?
It is likely that in such an organisation, you would have reciprocated with greater loyalty, engagement and initiative at work.
Progressive employers recognise that cultivating good employee relations requires nurturing a workplace environment where employees genuinely feel engaged and heard.
Prioritising employee relations can provide a host of benefits for employers. According to a Gallup study, highly engaged workforces have significantly lower absenteeism, increased productivity, and delivered greater profitability than less-engaged ones.
Creating conducive environments for positive employee relations requires structured processes, communication channels and initiatives that foster better employee wellness and work-life harmony. While many potential areas can be addressed to foster good employee relations, here are three key aspects that employers should not ignore:
Implementing a Structured Grievance Handling Process
Navigating employee complaints and dissatisfaction is a necessary part of managing a workforce. A workplace grievance may occur when an employee feels unfairly treated for various reasons. While this may be challenging, how an employer responds will leave a lasting impact. Addressing and resolving each issue raised is a valuable opportunity to build employee trust.
Rather than dealing with individual complaints as they occur in an ad hoc manner, employers should establish a proper grievance-handling process that facilitates fair, transparent and efficient resolutions and provides a safe communication channel that assures employees they will not face negative repercussions as a result of their complaints.
Employers should remember that they aim to assure employees that they work at an open, safe and fair organisation where their concerns are taken seriously. Regardless of the validity of the grievance, employers should demonstrate prompt and thorough follow-ups in grievance handling.
With sound grievance-handling procedures in place, employees are likely to have greater confidence in the management. Structured and transparent communication processes also give employers access to open and honest employee opinions, which can be leveraged to plug gaps in the organisation’s policies or work environment.
Encouraging an Inclusive Culture of Diverse Views
Diversity in the workplace is another key factor for an organisation’s success. When the workforce consists of employees with different backgrounds, cultures and experiences, the overall level of creativity, innovation and problem-solving is enhanced. Rather than having a homogenous approach to a task or challenge, the organisation can tap into various ideas and experiences to address issues.
An inclusive workplace needs to be carefully cultivated – employers must consider how they can tap into different talent pools to ensure a varied mix of employees in their workforce. Mature workers are one such group. Older workers present unique and valuable capabilities that contribute to company growth. Thus, programmes and policies that enable re-employment and flexible work arrangements should be considered to help encourage the inclusion and integration of mature workers.
Employers may also consider effective ways to tap on the wealth of expertise and knowledge these employees offer. Creating mentorship and teaching opportunities where mature workers can provide consultative advice and serve as subject matter experts can help to build up the overall capability of the workforce, as well as enable these employees to be meaningfully employed for longer.
Effectively Listening to Employees
Being receptive to employee feedback can greatly benefit organisations. When employees know their views are valued and acted upon, they are likely to feel more connected to the organisation and therefore be more motivated at work. This may lead them to take greater initiative in sharing more efficient ways of working or highlighting gaps they have observed.
However, the challenge for many time-strapped organisations is finding the time to gather employee feedback regularly. Pulse checks (short, regular surveys to garner employees’ opinions) are a quick and effective way to gather views on specific organisational developments, such as newly implemented measures. These can be valuable to complement more extensive annual employee engagement surveys, allowing employers to quickly identify general employee sentiments and address issues in a timely manner. Examining the results of such feedback exercises and implementing follow-up actions are key to building trust.
The Fair and Progressive Employment Index (FPEI) has a free employee survey module that companies can use to gather employee feedback and identify practice gaps.
Developing positive employer-employee relations requires a foundation of progressive values and open communication. Investing time and effort into cultivating the right work environment can create a more engaged, satisfied and productive workforce that will significantly benefit the organisation.
Learn more about the Fair and Progressive Employment Index (FPEI), a free online self-assessment tool that allows employers to evaluate organisational workplace culture and benchmark their practices against industry peers. The FPEI offers insights and recommendations on how employers can leverage their workforce for better business and employee results.
This article is contributed by TAFEP. Learn more about Grievance Handling and Age Management Practices. Find out how to adopt the Tripartite Standards on Grievance Handling and Age-Friendly Workplace Practices.