Employee Relationship management is vital to keep your employees engaged and motivated. Today, with organizations having large remote teams, businesses and HR leaders need to work together to build outstanding employee relationships that lead to success.
What exactly is employee relationship management?
Employee relationship management, commonly known as ERM, is the procedure organizations undertake to build strong relationships. ERM efforts help build morale, connect different team members, and identify weak points within the organization. HR teams and leaders applying best practices in conflict resolution and employee engagement generates a safe and interactive workplace culture.
Importance of ERM
Humans, in general, can’t work well together without a positive relationship. Relationship management in the workplace helps build effective teams where employees respect each other, listen and contribute to new ideas, and work effortlessly as a team.
You don’t want your best talent to be scared away by cold employee relations. Confusion, stress, multiple processes, and tension make for bad employee experiences. Tight-knit teams are high on morale and employee engagement, leading to better-quality retention. When your employees can work well together, they have the motivation to succeed as a unit—and that determination builds even stronger relationships as each employee champions another.
How does one improve employee relationships in the workplace?
There is no magic key to ERM—it takes awareness, constant efforts and consistent work to improve employee relations. The best way to manage employee relations is to pay attention to your team’s needs and wants and practice what you preach.
Start with on boarding
What better way to kick-start a good working relationship than connecting your employees during on boarding? Human interactions are exponentially more effective than training videos and stale boring seminars. Introduce new hires to their colleagues early in an informal setting so they can start building positive relationships. Show them around the office. Plan informal team dinners or lunches to get to know newer team members better.
An outing isn’t always possible—especially in the middle of a pandemic—so an informal Zoom meeting focused on people, not work, can be a good start to the first day of on boarding. Make your new hires feel welcomed and part of the team at the earliest.
Build a supportive environment for employees
If you want your employees to feel safe and comfortable, build policies that focus on employee well-being that help you create a supportive and welcoming culture.
While taking great steps against workplace discrimination, the sad truth is that workplace harassment and toxic work environments still exist. Create safe space where employees feel supported while demolishing abuse and negativity, which allows more positive relationships. Create a no-tolerance policy for discrimination, disrespect, and bullying. It's crucial to build conflict resolution guidelines so your leadership can be responsive and armed to take action instantly.
Poor communication is one of the biggest roadblocks to building strong workplace relationships. Communication breakdowns can make teammates feel disconnected from a mess of misunderstandings. This has a huge and harsh impact on teamwork and productivity. Set communication guidelines and standards to establish the way your team communicates. Outline and define clear goals, confirm team roles, and encourage cross-collaboration to get work done.
Use a business messaging tool to centralize your communication so everyone in your team is on the same page. Integrating your project management tools with your conversations makes for easier team coordination.
Invest in your employees, and they’ll definitely return that investment. Give your employees opportunities to learn through skill-sharing and cross-team collaborations
Webinars and companywide learning opportunities are another effective way to encourage positive interactions. Learning new skills and thought processes helps team members grow side-by-side. Up-skilling today is important at every level. Affinity groups can group employees who never work together, giving them an opportunity to get to know each other while they learn and grow.
How can HR teams improve ERM?
Your HR team shouldn’t be limited to talent management and payroll—they should be driving employee relationships and companywide engagement as well.
Relationship management from an HR perspective focuses on company values and employee structure. Underlining your business’s values around transparency and respect, for instance, reminds employees to practice those values in their day-to-day interactions.
It’s not all about rules and guidelines, though—having fun is an equally important part of building strong company culture. Use HR software to track employee happiness/satisfaction and allow team members to report concerns or discomforts. Give people the opportunity to be themselves, embrace transparency, and focus on their happiness and well-being.