Do you know the most important way to prevent Human Resources problems? It’s not by having an employee handbook, rigorous interview and hiring process, or paying employees above average salaries (although all of these things do help). It’s by caring about your employees and treating them with fairness, respect, and kindness…no matter the situation. Ultimately, if you care about your employees, they will care about you and your company. This results in your employees
wanting to do a good job and, if a difficult situation arises, being able to work through it with them.
Are you a leader who:
• makes your employees feel valued or demeaned?
• thanks employees for a job well done or do you always focus on what they have done wrong?
• establishes a personal connection with your employees — do you know the names of their children, hobbies they enjoy, or their favorite sports teams?
• checks-in with your employees just to see how they are doing?
• asks your employees if they need any help with their job or do you just keep piling on the work?
• seeks your employees’ input, collaborates with them on how to make your company even stronger, and explains your rationale for decisions?
• is “real”…do you share your feelings and struggles with your employees?
• takes the time to listen to an employee when he/she has a concern and works with them to find a solution?
Our relationships with our employees will help to determine if our company is a success or a failure and where we as leaders spend our time — focused on continuously dealing with employee problems or growing the company. Taking the time to invest in these relationships pays off hugely. Here are some “real life” examples of the value of a strong employee relationship:
• A manager had to terminate a long-term employee due to performance issues. She conducted the exit meeting with an amazing amount of compassion, gentleness, and kindness — so much so, that the employee thanked and hugged the manager before departing!
• A company was experiencing some poor media coverage. The President gathered all of the employees together and explained to them her feelings about this coverage, the media’s misconceptions, and asked them for their support…not one employee left the company.
• A company was experiencing cash flow problems due to delayed client payments which resulted in needing to delay payroll by several days. The senior leadership met with the employees to explain the delay and offer their apologies – the employees understood.
Without strong relationships, the outcomes of the above examples would have likely been much different. Thankfully, these three leaders had gained the heart of their employees prior to these situations. They had consistently shown their employees they cared which resulted in their employees caring about and supporting them – ultimately, preventing HR problems that can take significant amounts of time, money, and energy to resolve.
Are you gaining the heart of your employees? If not, start to implement some of the above practices today – your business success depends on it!
YOUR TURN: What do you do to create strong employee relationships?