A Guide to Employee Relations in SME

employee relations strategy

Within Small to Medium sized Enterprises an employee relations strategy can be harmonious or exploitive, or anything in between, or even change continuously depending on the various challenges SME’s react to. A positive employee relations strategy is directly linked to higher levels of employee engagement and equally relate to productivity levels, enabling the business to increase its potential to achieve enhanced business outcomes.

An employee relations strategy fosters the relationship between any individual employees, their co-workers, superiors and the organisation as a whole. Positive, strong employee relations should include employees who feel good about themselves, and about their job. It is important that organisations strive for good employee relations as this is a key contributing factor when the degree of job satisfaction of an employee is being considered. Positive employee relations means increase job satisfaction, and as a result, organisational commitment and is proven to decrease absence rates, timekeeping issues and employee turnover.

There a few simple steps organisations can take to actively improve the employee relations within the workplace.

  • Management must treat all employees fairly and equally. Employees have an expectation of fair treatment and so favouritism or discrimination, is not only illegal but will have detrimental effects on employee relations.
  • Maintain open systems of communication. Remembering that communicating should always be a two way process, and not just management continuously making decisions and changes without considering employees’ opinions and taking these on board if feasible. Ensuring employees are always kept well- informed or know where or who to approach for information. Informed employees will always make better decisions and are more likely to be motivated to carry out their roles. In addition, by keeping employees informed, they are more likely to feel a part of the organisation which will in turn increase job satisfaction and organisational commitment. A good rapport between employee and employer will ensure the workforce feels comfortable with the organisation and management.
  • Similarly to ensuring open communication, encourage employees to give feedback. The feedback will make employers aware of any concerns or issues or even ideas employees may have. Encouraging feedback will also give employers an idea of what employees think of them as an employer and allow the employer to make changes where it can before an employee becomes so disengaged that they may be absent, leave or display presentism – where they come to work but input is at a minimum.
  • Make a conscious effort to keep an employees’ job interesting, try and give employees challenges, which can be done by assigning a greater degree of responsibility or providing additional training to increase the tasks an employee will be able to carry out.
  • Rewarding employees is key to achieving positive employee relations. Rewards can be tangible or intangible, depending on the resources an organisation has, as long as the rewards show the employers appreciation towards the workforce.
  • Competitive salaries are also a contributing factor to good employee relations. However many organisations may not be able to offer high salaries. It is important to ensure wages are fair and reflect employees’ skills, abilities and behaviours accordingly.  

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