The employer employee relationship is a historically fickle one. Anyone with a year of professional experience understands the inherent difficulties of spending the majority if your waking life with someone. Most people attribute problems to the power dynamic (and when the dynamic is abused, this undoubtedly causes the relationship to disintegrate), but there’s a lot more to it than that. This post is all about improving the employer employee relationship, with advice for both sides to consider. If you’re currently in the midst of a difficult situation, get emergency relief with this five-star course on learning how to work with difficult people.
1. Ethics Only Go So Far
The majority of businesses these days understand the greater importance of running an ethical business (still many choose not to act on their understanding). To accomplish this, companies draft employee codes of conduct and generally strive to make their expectations understood and properly implemented.
The problem with this is that the code of conduct is forgotten within about three days and the day-to-day goings on of the business stand in its place. Having ethical rules can be a slippery slope; where there are rules, there is pressure to enforce them. And few people are disliked more than rule enforcers (police officers being the case in point).
The moral of the story is that ethics only go so far and a cumbersome book of ethics is a heavy burden for an employee. How the business is run day in and day out is the ultimate law. So, if you must, draft your code of conduct carefully. And if you have to hand out discipline, learn the right way to do it with this vital course on disciplining employees.
2. Bigger Than Shareholders
I won’t make many points that are exclusive to large businesses, but this is an important one that even small companies should keep in mind for when it’s their turn to make tough calls.
It is such a common practice these days to be loyal to shareholders that we hardly question that notion. But certainly employees should garner more loyalty than shareholders? I’m not saying layoffs can never happen; sometimes they’re inevitable. But things of this nature need to be handled with the utmost compassion and in a way that does justice to the tremendous, underlying emotional impact of such a decision. Just like the way the employee code of conduct is quickly forgotten, so are the people who are laid off. But their lives and their families haven’t gone anywhere; they’ve just disappeared from view.
Learn more about how to handle a variety of difficult situations with this article on situational leadership and developing competent, committed employees.
3. Time To Say Good-Bye
To the employee, the fact that you can be fired without notice and yet are still required to give two weeks notice upon resigning seems like an injustice. It’s easy for the people who are going to keep getting paid to say good-bye, so why should an employee be expected of anything more?
The truth is, the best employer employee relationships are the ones in which the employee can have a conversation with the employee about looking for new opportunities. Most of the time, employees look for the jobs on the sly, use sick days to attend interviews and purposefully give as little notice as possible. But the employee should take the high road and act more professionally than this, especially when a good relationship exists with the employer.
Sure, the company can sustain longer than an individual, but you are still leaving behind the livelihood of a number of people who were recently your colleagues. So treat them with the same respect you would expect.
4. Please Respect The Thin Line
It’s probably been a while since your heard Jurassic 5’s “Thin Line,” but I bet you remember the gist of it (best friends should stay just friends). A lot of people get romantically involved through their careers, which is generally acceptable as long as it is handled correctly. The situation gets tricky when it’s between an employer and an employee. A prejudice will exist and the faith in the employer to make the right decision regardless of who is involved is suddenly cast in a shadow of doubt. Looking for advice? Check out this post on reciprocal relationships and how they form the dynamics of social stability.
You’re probably thinking that if one person has to leave the company, it’s the employee. But that’s not fair, just because the other person has more power or is in a more “important” position. Further, it’s not just enough to recognize this after the relationship is under way. When the attraction is building, this will be obvious to everyone else watching. Favoritism will be undeniable, so even if the relationship isn’t realized, the same negative effects will result anyway. So tread very, very carefully when it comes to employer employee relationships, and please respect the thin line.
5. Nurture Potential, Grow Professionalism
Ideally, no single employee will be stagnant in their roles for too long. As soon as they show potential beyond their current responsibilities, help them grow. Push them forward. Letting this potential remain stagnant will only cause frustration and boredom to set in. Plus, this is just a whole lot of potential energy the company is wasted.
Not only will you help employees reach their goals and gain true satisfaction from their work, you’ll build trust, skill levels, energy and overall a more solid foundation of employees. Invest in your own people and you will be rewarded.
If you need ideas on how to nurture potential, check out this awesome course on developing superstars and taking your employees to the next level.
6. Employer: Not Your Best Friend
An employer should be neither too high nor too low when it comes to communication. Obviously open lines of communication are essential; the employer should be forward with important information and the employee should be comfortable approaching the employer about questions and concerns. This is just a basic of company culture; get more ideas with this course on how to create and align your company culture for success.
While this helps build trust, it can also cause relationships to become too friendly. You might not thing such a thing is possible, but if you’ve ever had a boss who wants to be your best friend, it can be a strange, uncomfortable experience. This kind of thing might be great when things are going smoothly, but the time will come when someone needs stern words, or work needs to kick into the next gear, and then the best-friendship is revealed to be a false cover for the real relationship that existed all along: employer employee.
7. Gratitude Is The Sign Of Noble Souls
Needless to say, this should be practiced on both sides of the relationship, but it is, admittedly, more important that the employer is grateful of excellent work, enthusiasm, initiative, etc.
On a smaller level, even saying please and thank you creates a kind of reciprocity. But for truly great work, take a minute to compliment the employee, especially if great work has been coming in consistently. The last thing you want is for a great employee to think his or her work is not appreciated and then lower their standards (or worse, start looking for a new organization on the sly). Learn effective communication tactics with this course on learning boundaries, communication and assertiveness skills.
Every team and team member responds differently, so use your intuition. So people will like public recognition, some won’t; some will enjoy a small gift, others will be unsure of how to accept it. But either way, gratification is the key to fulfilling an employee’s desire to produce work that positively impacts the company. Pick up free advice on how to do gratification right with this post on employee appreciation in the workplace.
8. Sacrifice And Follow Through
Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to get what you want. An employer can get too comfortable in their position and expect everyone else to make sacrifices. But it’s important that the company sees the employer make sacrifices, too. Then it becomes apparent that the playing field is more level and that the employer is willing to do their share in promoting the success of the company.
The same goes for following through. Yes, employee’s need to follow through on their work and commitments, but employer’s have a tendency to make grander proclamations that never see the light of day. Don’t say something you are not or can not follow through on 100%. It only takes once instance of not honoring your word to ruin a reputation. Having big plans and big ideas is great, just make sure you have the resources and commitment to back it up.
Learn what it takes to get the most out of people (including yourself) and how to turn employees into company champions with this class on managing performance and building a great team.