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Successful Employee Relations: A SMART Approach to Become The Employer of Choice

Employer of choice

Is one of your goals to have successful employee relations and become the employer of choice in your market? If not, perhaps it should be. High turnover rates, excessive absenteeism, inefficiency are all symptom of not having successful employee relations. It doesn’t matter if you are a team of 500, 50 or a team of 3, poor employee relations will negatively impact your business.

What are you doing to become the employer of choice? What current plans do you have in place? Are you consistently acting on these plans or is improving employee morale just an idea that you have yet to follow through on? How important is it to you to have successful employee relations? Glenn Kutler and I facilitated a seminar on these issues at a recent event sponsored by Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC.

Marc Furman, a partner with the firm and the host for the event, explained the essence of a process oriented approach. “’We are looking at and overlaying the process to get a better common place understanding of the employment issues at hand and how you can deal with them in a more proactive way. The process is the tool to help you identify what the real issues are, prioritize, and then focus your efforts and actions in the right area.”

Here’s a SMART approach you can adopt to start taking action today to become the employer of choice.

Set a goal

Whether you’ve tried to address this issue before without success or you’ve been meaning to but haven’t gotten around to it, doesn’t matter. What’s important is what actions you are going to take today to move forward. The first step is to set a goal. 

Is Your Goal Specific and Focused?

“I’m going to have successful employee relations and be the employer of choice.” Is this a good goal? Is this goal specific? I mean really specific? Or is this goal so general you cannot identify an area of focus?

Ask yourself this important question. “What does being the employer of choice mean to me?” In other words, what do you think of when you hear “employer of choice?” What images come to mind?

Seriously, try to visualize it. In three years, if your company is the employer of choice…

  • What would this look like?
  • What is your company doing?
  • What are you doing?
  • What do people say about your company, externally and internally?
  • What are your employees doing?

Your answers can pinpoint where your focus should be as you take action to develop successful employee relations and become the employer of choice.

Here are some ideas participants shared during the seminar.

  • Reduce turnover
  • Increase employee desire to move up the company ladder
  • Create an environment that encourages growth and development
  • Improve employee morale

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Is This Goal Measurable?

After identifying potential areas of focus (let’s say, reduce turnover and increase internal staff promotion), how would you measure whether or not you successfully met these goals? It is not enough to say you want to reduce staff turnover; you need to know by what percentage.  You must be able to measure your success.

Is This Goal Attainable but Also Challenging?

While it is important to have dreams that stretch far beyond imagination, when setting goals, it’s important to keep them realistic and attainable. Would you be motivated to work towards a goal you knew had no realistic chance of being achieved?

This is not to say your goal should not be challenging. A goal that is easily accomplished is not a good goal either. The goal you set should take you and your company to new heights.

By What Date Are You Going to Achieve This Goal?

Set a time period for when you expect and want your goal to be achieved. It’ll help you stay accountable and focused.

What employee issues are you dealing with right now? What’s on your mind? What do you want to improve going into 2014? How will becoming the employer of choice launch your business forward? What action are you going to take today? 

5 Tips for Communicating Disappointing News to Your Team.

Have you ever sat there and wondered to yourself, “How am I going to break this news?”

Just moments before, one of your best and most respected team members came into your office and informed you she has accepted an offer she couldn’t refuse and will be leaving the organization.  Or was it a routine meeting with a core client that turned not so routine when he informed you he will be discontinuing your services?  Perhaps the large account you were chasing has politely said, “No thanks,” and now you are asking yourself, “What next?

In truth, there is no shortage of ‘disappointments’ in the business world.  What is important is how you handle these moments. Will you and your team lose faith and become distracted? Or will you stay focused on organizational goals, the mission and ultimately the vision?

This is on you, the leader. How will you communicate with your team to help them make sense of the situation and stay focused on the vision? Here are 5 tips that can help:

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Be honest and transparent

People most often sense when something is amiss.  Withholding facts only encourages them to speculate, to fill in the blanks with incorrect information.   Instead of resolving itself, the situation actually lingers and even mushrooms.

On the contrary, when you are proactive and immediately tell your team that Jane has left the organization because she was offered more money, more ownership, or more flexibility at her new organization, you reduce the risks of speculation.  You allow the team to openly address the situation and thus put the organization in a better position to move forward.

Don’t undersell the disappointment

Your task does not stop at being honest.  Emotions come into play. Bad news evokes emotions. Recognize that everyone reacts to situations differently and let them feel how they feel.

Don’t try to convince your team it’s not a big deal if it really is. Let your staff be upset, let them be angry, let them be disappointed, but don’t let them be confused and uncertain. Give people a BRIEF amount of time to feel and express their emotions and then move the team and the organization forward.

Allow others to share input

Your team is valuable. They have experience, knowledge and insights. Utilize this. Ask them what they think. Like Jane, do they desire more money, more ownership and more flexibility with their schedule?

Are there any other underlying issues? Do team members have their own opinions of why the core client discontinued your services?

Now is a good time to bring to the forefront everyone’s concerns, issues and ideas. It is on you to turn this into an opportunity.

Connect with the vision

How does this relate to the vision? Does your organization strive to attract and hold onto highly talented team members? What can be changed to make sure that vision is reached? What needs to happen in the next year?

What’s next?

If you step back for a moment, you may realize that you now have a greater understanding of what you want to achieve, what this really entails, and how you will go about it.

Now, make sure your team also understands and is on board. Help them understand their role and make them aware of what they need to achieve in the coming days, weeks, months and year to reach the shared vision.

Are you trying to move your organization forward after a setback? Are things going good but you want to take the organization to another level of success? Are you in the Greater New York or Greater Philadelphia area? Contact us to set up a complimentary workshop for you and your team.