The employer-employee relationship is crucial to every workplace. Here are the five essential building blocks of these relationships.
You sorted through the resumes. You conducted the interviews. You ran the background checks. You vetted your top candidates. You made your employment offer. And, finally, you hired the employee. The hiring process is a stressful one for candidates, but it’s even more stressful for the employer. A job applicant only needs to send in an application, go to an interview, and play the waiting game. An employer must wade through hundreds of applications and dozens of interviews in hopes of finding just one person who is perfect for the job. It’s a day fit for celebration when that employment offer finally gets accepted. At last, you’ve found the light at the end of the tunnel!
Except this part of the process isn’t the end of the tunnel at all. Hiring is only the beginning. Sure, the screening and interview process might be done, but the next stage—developing an employer-employee relationship—is just as important.
The employer-employee relationship is vital to every company in every industry you could possibly think of. A strong employer-employee relationship results in the employee feeling respected, empowered, and supported. These feelings create passion and engagement in the workplace, nurturing strong employee morale and a vibrant company culture. Happier employees are more likely to work their hardest and stick with their jobs for the long haul, which affects everything from revenue to employee retention.
The employer-employee relationship is at the root of any team’s success. Here are the five essential components you need to pay attention to while establishing relationships with your employees.
Both parties need to respect each other for an employer-employee relationship to exist. An employee who disrespects his manager can damage the hierarchal leadership structure of the workplace and reflect badly on the company. Perhaps an employee badmouths his boss behind her back at work, encouraging other employees to develop similarly disrespectful attitudes. Alternatively, maybe the employee takes his grievances against his boss to social media, creating a potential PR problem for the company. Either of these outcomes can be devastating to workplace morale, productivity, and harmony.
Even though the boss is at or near the top of the hierarchy, she has no right to disrespect her employees. An example is a manager who yells at his employees, makes threats, or mocks people on the team: these shows of disrespect and intimidation are not just bad for the employer-employee relationship, but can also escalate into genuine harassment or abuse. That kind of issue can lead to everything from low employee retention and bad word-of-mouth to fines and lawsuits. Issues like verbal abuse and sexual harassment do not exist in a healthy employer-employee relationship.
Open communication is a cornerstone of any successful relationship, and the employer-employee relationship is no exception. As the employer or boss, transparency is part of your job description. Make sure all employees understand their responsibilities and the expectations to which they are being held. Keep your employees aware of changes at the company, from new initiatives and goals to overall performance indicators. These details are important, and keeping your employees in the loop will make them feel like part of the whole.
Employees need to be willing to speak up. Whether it’s raising a complaint about management style or informing a boss about a death in the family that might impact productivity, employees are just as obligated to communicate as employers are.
Employers need to support their employees to establish relationships of trust and respect. This element can take on a few different forms. For instance, an employer should take an interest in an employee’s goals. Figuring out what an employee wants to get out of a job—regarding experiences, new skills, knowledge, or the like—is one of the first things that should happen after hiring. From there, the employer should make a conscious effort to help the employee reach those goals. That might mean assigning the employee to specific projects or helping her find learning and professional development opportunities that can benefit both parties.
Support can also mean simply having your employees’ backs on a day-to-day basis. A manager who throws his employee under the bus for a mistake or a missed deadline is not being supportive. Constructive criticism may be warranted, but blaming employees for things that went wrong instead of identifying areas for improvement is the antithesis of good relationship-building.
There need to be boundaries in every employer-employee relationship. The first is the boundary between the professional relationship and the personal relationship. Many bosses like to be friendly or even social with their employees. However, developing close personal friendships—or worse, romantic bonds—is messy territory that can lead to allegations of sexual harassment or favoritism.
The second line that shouldn’t be crossed is the boundary between work life and home life. An employer who thinks it is appropriate to call, text, or email employees at all hours of the day is not respecting boundaries. Once the workday ends, bosses should make a rule of not contacting their employees unless there is a genuine emergency.
To foster strong employer-employee relationships, employers need to show that they recognize and appreciate the contributions their workers are making to the company. This kind of recognition can come in many forms, from strong evaluations to employee of the month awards to raises, bonuses, or job promotions. In short, employers should remember that while criticism is an important part of the professional world, so is praise.
Strong employer-employee relationships are not built overnight. It takes time to build trust, respect, and understanding. However, by understanding the elements that go into effective workplace relationships, you can focus more on establishing those bonds with your employees.
Michael Klazema has been developing products for criminal background check and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.