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Make Employee Relations a Priority in the New Year

Posted By Bob Ogle, Thursday, December 19, 2013

There’s nothing new about New Year’s resolutions.

Every year, people think of things they’ll focus on as a new year arrives. Sometimes it’s going to the gym or making home improvements. For others – especially business owners – it’s figuring out ways to strengthen their businesses in an economic and competitive environment that continues to be challenging.

One hidden area that holds a subtle rate of return is employee morale. Use the New Year to take a look at how your employees feel about working for you, and ways you can improve their outlook if needed. The National Federation of Independent Businesses offers several suggestions:

  • Ask for feedback from employees. Robert Biederman, co-CEO of the Boston-based consultancy HourlyNerd, says he begins by asking employees for ideas. "Our basic philosophy is that self-directed employees – subject to proper monitoring and oversight – are far happier employees.”

  • Keep overtime to a minimum. Co-founder Ryan Sanders of BambooHR in Provo, Utah, says employees report being "happier, more focused and more willing to be productive during work hours because they know they’ll never be asked to work more than 40 hours in a week. They respect the company’s acknowledgement that they aren’t drones fit to be worked to death.”

  • Bring your people into the light. When guests are present at your business, don’t be shy about introducing them to your employees whenever it’s practical. The fact that you’re willing to lift them out of obscurity – even for a moment – goes a long way towards validating their importance to your team.

  • Charity begins in the workplace. If your business often makes donations to non-profit groups or charities, ask for input from employees and make them feel engaged in the process. It makes employees feel good about working for a business that cares for the community, and also reinforces the prestige of your company and your employees, particularly in smaller communities.

  • Get out of the office. Among many employers, a popular morale-booster is the "off-site” lunch, even though it can cost a few dollars compared with some of the other suggestions. Employees get a break from the work routine and are able to engage each other as individuals. If your company is larger, pick different internal teams to send to lunch together. An hour or two out of the office can pay off in a healthier attitude and a happier employee.

Tags:  employee relations  employees 

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