Creating a Pro-active Labor Relations Environment - Part Six in a Series: A Sound Employee Relations Program (Continued)

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.

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Creating a Pro-active Labor Relations Environment - Part Three in a Series: A Company Commitment

A commitment for establishing a positive workforce environment must start with top management.  This commitment needs to be in writing and express the employee relations philosophy emphasizing organizational goals, objectives, and a commitment to pro-active employee relations.  This sets the tone and direction for positive changes in the workforce.  For example, if an employer’s primary commitment is to create a family-type environment while providing high-quality products in an extremely competitive industry, this commitment needs to be clearly stated in the employer’s human relations philosophy.

An example of such a Human Relations Philosophy is as follows:

“Our company has developed personnel policies that assure fair, progressive and individualized treatment for every employee.  Our objective is to create an atmosphere in which our employees recognize that good performance, together with good management and a profitable bottom line, is the basis for achievement, individual advancement and job security.  If we are successful, managers, employees and our customers will all be the beneficiaries.  Here’s how:

  • “Every manager benefits from the company’s right to manage its business directly with its employees.  We believe that our ability to successfully recruit, retain and reward highly qualified personnel, and to create programs for the benefit of our employees, unhampered by an outside third party organization unfamiliar with our business, is to everyone’s benefit.”
  • “Every employee has the advantage of receiving competitive wages and benefits and working conditions.  Our employees have the ability to establish a one-on-one relationship with their supervisor and advance on the basis of individual merit.  We believe in and have a commitment to a pro-active employee relations program.”
  • “Our customers benefit by receiving a quality product at a competitive price without the potential of interruptions caused by unsatisfactory employee relations.”

A company philosophy and labor relations/human resources commitment form the foundation for most if not all labor relations strategies.  For example, without defining the philosophy and commitment it is almost impossible to properly structure a company’s mission and overall values.  This is so important that a future blog will address this point in its entirety.

Subsequent blogs will be provided to help employers deal more effectively with critical aspects of pro-active approaches to relations between management and employees.

expert labor relations advice