Clearing The Path To Better Employee Relations

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Much has been written about the difficulties business owners are facing in regard to the current job market. The Covid-19 crisis caught businesses off-guard and many were forced to suspend operations and lay off workers—and were then immediately understaffed when conditions improved and demand surged.

But there’s another dynamic at play here: The pandemic-related disruptions caused a lot of employees to re-examine their career paths. According to a 2021 survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group, 36% of those surveyed felt undervalued in their jobs as the pandemic ran its course, and many were inspired to look for jobs with greater flexibility and autonomy, more pay and comprehensive benefits.

I own and operate an excavation business in North Carolina. Our sustainable approach to business extends to our company culture and how we treat our employees. In this volatile hiring environment, it’s more important than ever to cultivate positive relationships with your employees in order to retain the ones you have and attract the ones you want. Here’s how you can do just that.

Human Resources

Your employees are a resource that must be carefully nurtured. My team and I like to hire new employees and put them in a positive environment full of mutual respect and understanding that will cause them to grow not only as workers but as people. If your new hires are seeds or saplings, you want to see them grow into mature trees that have laid roots in our company’s culture. Your best and longest-serving employees have invested their careers with your organization; you should reciprocate their investment of time and energy by training them well and giving them the best equipment to help them do their jobs. The more you invest in your employees, the more they’ll invest in your company. It’s a two-way street.

Respect: The Key To Understanding

Respecting your employees as people with lives outside of their jobs can make them feel fulfilled within the work environment. Don’t treat your employees as expense items whose salaries must be kept as low as possible to maximize your profit margins. Instead, treat them as equal partners who are just as invested in the success of the company as management is.

By giving your employees a seat at the company table, they realize that their performance on the job really matters to the success of the company as a whole, and they will give more of themselves to achieve excellence. These measures of respect shown to your workers pay big dividends in their job satisfaction and overall happiness. And a happy staff is the backbone of a successful company.

Have Patience And Loyalty Will Be Returned

Your employees are human beings with hopes, dreams and lives outside of the company. Like all humans, they are fallible, and they make mistakes. They also may have aging parents and children who are sometimes sick. As business leaders, when we show employees understanding and compassion for the complexities of modern life that we all face, that respect is returned, and they’re less likely to leave the company for a competitor who is offering more money or sign-on bonuses. When we treat our people as more than just an expense, they will treat the company as their company and as more than just a way to earn a paycheck.

Human Stewardship Equals Corporate Success

I believe my company has been successful because we invest in our employees. Trust and understanding take years to grow, and so it requires a sustainable work environment where employees feel fulfilled. My employees are the ones who directly interact with our customers and they are the people who get the job done. As the owner of the company, it’s my charge to carefully till the soil for their professional growth by giving them the best equipment and the best work environment. This builds their own confidence in our corporate culture and they produce their best work—really going the extra mile to produce excellence.

Final Thoughts

There are many companies that treat employees as expendable items, creating a cut-throat environment abounding with paranoia and fear. The anxiety caused by employees knowing that they can be fired for the smallest offense might inspire compliance, but it doesn’t produce excellence. If there’s one thing that the global pandemic has taught business leaders, it’s that employees are not an expendable resource, and they won’t stick with your company if you treat them that way.

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