Four Essential Building Blocks for Maintaining Good Employee Relations

By Gail Doby, ASID
CVO & Co-Founder, Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University

Your employees are your firm’s greatest asset. Give them the care and attention they deserve, and they will repay you by giving you their best work. That starts with maintaining good relationships with you and with each other. Friction, negativity, frustration and mistrust eat away at employee morale, sapping their energy and lowering their productivity and creativity. To establish and nourish healthy relationships, create a supportive culture building on the following four key behaviors.

Lead by example. As the head of your firm, you set the tone for the entire organization. It is up to you to model the kind of culture you want in your firm. Make yourself accessible to employees. Check in with them regularly and provide help when needed. Letting them know you are mindful of their needs and care about them will help to alleviate uncertainty and anxiety.

Create an open environment. Good relationships are built on honest communication and trust. Be as transparent as you can about the firm’s operations. Keep employees informed and up-to-date on new developments, and encourage employees to do the same. Invite input, feedback and suggestions. Make meetings a time for genuine dialogue and inquiry; keep announcements to a minimum.

Maintain a positive attitude. Be forward-looking and focus on the firm’s strengths and accomplishments. Resolve problems collectively and manage any conflicts that may arise as quickly as possible to alleviate friction or ill feelings. Hold employees accountable but avoid placing blame or reprimanding individuals in front of their peers. Provide constructive criticism and explore options for improving performance. Let employees know you have confidence in their talents, abilities, and capacity to learn and advance.

Celebrate achievements. You should expect the best from your employees, but don’t take it for granted. Establish clear goals, milestones and deliverables, and then acknowledge when they have been met. Recognize individuals and/or teams when they have performed well. Acknowledge personal achievements, anniversaries and the like. Public recognition and celebrations help to create strong social bonds among staff.

Maintaining good employee relationships takes constant vigilance, but it is one of the most important responsibilities you have as an employer. Just as employees need a healthy physical environment in which to work, they need as healthy emotional environment as well to do their best.

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