To build trust in and commitment to a pro-active approach, attention must be focused on four areas:
- Effective communication.
- Handling complaints and performance problems.
- Knowledge and application of company policy.
- Building commitment.
Third Step: Knowledge and Application of Company Policy
To build and maintain strong employee relations, management should make sure that employees fully understand company policies. It is equally important that management apply them consistently.
- Review and revise, if necessary, any current employee handbook and policy manuals to emphasize a pro-employee attitude. The handbook and policy manuals provide employees with comforting written assurances regarding conditions and benefits without necessarily committing the employer to a binding employment contract. Likewise, statements of the company’s philosophy and presentation of its rules, regulations and procedures should reflect a similar cooperative attitude.
- Involve employees in the formulation of internal rules and procedures. One way to do this is through the use of joint employee-management conferences, committees or continuous improvement teams.
- Know the facts about company benefits and encourage employees to ask about them. Create an employee benefits kit containing descriptions of all benefits, explanations regarding the use of the benefits, and standardized, easy-to-use forms. Employees rarely know the true value of their benefits and total compensation unless they are systematically informed of their full range and value.
- Make certain that employees are fully aware of the existence of due process in the company as well as the specifics of handling grievances/complaints.
- Apply all company policies and procedures, including discipline, consistently.
- Make certain all personnel actions (hiring, terminations, promotions, etc.) are only made after appropriate legal and human resource considerations.
The remaining step of a sound employee relations program set forth above will be discussed in a subsequent blog. Additionally, other blogs will be provided to help employers deal more effectively with critical aspects of pro-active approaches to relations between management and employees.