Recently, several businesses have asked us to develop employee relations plans for them. These are astute companies not only from the perspective of creating a “happy work family,” but also because employees make the best ambassadors. A solid employee relations plan must address the following factors that influence staff morale and productivity:
Understanding – Employees must understand the all aspects of the company and in turn, the leaders of the company must have a good understanding of their employees.
Appreciation & Recognition (Love) – According to the Small Business Administration (SBA), research shows that people often leave an employer because they have not received the recognition they want, or feedback on how they are doing. The book “Nuts!” which profiles the personnel philosophy of Southwest Airlines, states, “Service is not the result of teaching employees to act like customers are important; it comes from employees who genuinely feel loved and who work in an environment that dignifies them by valuing their contributions.” One way to communicate appreciation to your employees is via a regular internal newsletter.
Involvement – Many individuals want to feel essential to the success of their company and in order to do so, they should feel free to make suggestions to their managers. One example of this is at Pan American Airlines where a flight attendant suggested the company eliminate the knife and fork from the “silverware packet” on morning flights because passengers only used the spoon to stir coffee. This saved the company more than $25,000, and the flight attendant was rewarded for her money/time saving suggestion.
Compensation – Employees need to feel they are well compensated, which means having salary and benefits consistent with or better than other people doing similar work in a similar place.
Management Loyalty – Managers must treat employees as they would expect to be treated, and they must lead by example. “Nuts!” recommends, “Treat your employees with care and concern if that is the way you want them to treat each other and your customers.”
Work Environment – Employees are happier and more productive when the physical location of their workplace is clean, comfortable, and pleasant.
Social Responsibility – The SBA says, “People judge firms by their philosophy and level of customer service, their involvement in community activities and their commitment to moral, environmental and even political issues. Today’s employees are concerned about whether the values of the company for which they work are compatible with their own personal viewpoints.”
So as with most things, business success begins within. Get good PR from the inside out.