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The subject of employee relations is quite tricky at times… After all, it encompasses everything from small annoyances to full on harassment to certain employees appropriately and timely…
So the fact that most managers spend almost a quarter of their time – 24% to be exact according to research from the University of Oklahoma – resolving employee relation problems on average…
And most small companies don’t have an employee specialists on their staff. So what happens when things get better and the company starts expanding and adding new staff members?
Managing Growth and Employee Relationships
Naturally, things only get harder. And the worst thing about it is – this could basically happen overnight. That happened to Alex Tonelli, the founder of Funding circle who went from 15 to 40 employees in less than two months… As he puts it “It was a whirlwind.”
During that period Tonelli’s organization was confronted with a hard question – is there a way companies can develop and maintain strong relationships between their employees and nourish them as the staff continues to grow?
And Mr. Tonelli isn’t he only one dealing with this problem – and as you can clearly see – neither are you. So in order to help you combat this issues, let’s look at a couple of strategies that will help you manage employee relationships when your company starts expanding.
Working on a Shared Vision
No matter the size, every organization needs to have a clear vision shared by their employees. You and your Human Resources department can play a huge role promoting this vision and goals to your staff. But this will require cascading goals from the organization levels down to the individual.
This is called “goal alignment” – and as this Clear Company article points out – it should be a resolution for every business leader out there. In an effort to align your company’s goals with the rest of the staff, you need to provide highly-detailed descriptions of how your employees’ daily activities contribute to your company’s overall success.
This is where tools like charts and infographics come into play, because they give you an opportunity to show the progress of your company in an interesting way. Also, they are great if you want to show your employees how much further they have to go to complete a certain project or even a daily task.
The idea behind this is to break the bigger picture down to individual workers and give each of them an idea of how their performance relates to the success of their team. Just keep in mind that this needs to be an ongoing process – this is not just a one-and-done deal – and if you want to succeed, you’ll need to put in some additional effort.
Maintaining Company Culture
Company culture has been a hot topic in the last couple of years for a good reason. Your culture is there to keep your current employees motivated, attract top talent and prevent them from looking at other employers. Proper culture is built on transparency, and just like goal alignment, it requires some maintaining as your company continues to grow.
According to a recent Work Management survey, lack of information and unclear leadership are the top two stressor at work in the United States. Basically, when workers don’t have a clear understanding of their goals, they get a sense that leadership doesn’t have it either. And as their company gets bigger, employees start feeling overly-stressed and concerned about all of the changes.
One more important aspect of good company culture is employee recognition, so if you want to build better relationships between your employees, you need to celebrate their individual success and more importantly, give feedback on regular occasion.
And lastly, today’s employees seem to value their work/life balance very, very highly. So you cannot let their personal life suffer because of your tasks. So if an employee comes to the higher-ups with a problem, you have to make sure that the management is listening to them closely so that the stuff isn’t under too much pressure and stress due to an unrealistic workload.
Encouraging Open Communication
Once company starts growing, employees will definitely drift apart at least a little. And after a while, this can lead to distrust among your workers, and once the relationships fall apart, you’ll have a difficult time rebuilding them. So you need to look out for disconnect at levels of your organization.
According to a 2016 study from the Charted Management Institute, almost 72% of people in senior leadership think they are trusted by their employees, however, only slightly above 35% of managers seem to agree with that statement.
In order to close the gap, you need to provide every member of your organization an opportunity to speak up whenever he or she wants and ask questions at any time. A good option in this case is to create an internal social network, which will keep everyone up-to-date and on the same page.
Workplace by Facebook is a good platform for this – and we don’t even need to explain it – it’s an internal social network that works and looks exactly like the regular Facebook. And for project communication issues, you have tools like Active Collab that can help your employees work on any project – anytime, anywhere – and allow them to collaborate effortlessly.
A good office atmosphere and relationship between your employees is the foundation of a strong company. Therefore, work on your company’s shared vision, encourage more communication in your workplace and leverage new technologies to connect every member of your team.
Last but not the least, make sure that your leadership doesn’t lose sight of the value of transparency in the work place and you’ll ensure that your employees collaborate and get along, no matter how large your organization eventually gets…