Today is Hug Your Boss Day. While it is a wonderful gesture, the unofficial holiday may feel like more of a good idea than a practical one for some employers and supervisors. The employee/employer relationship is extremely complex. There’s the personal aspect, which is present in any relationship, but there’s also the power aspect.
Most work environments have clear distinctions in their chain of command, and this creates a hierarchy with the boss above their employees. The employee may feel pressured to behave in a certain way for fear of putting their livelihood at risk. This leads employers to question, “Do they really like me or do they just want a paycheck?” According to the 2013 Gallup State of the American Workplace report, bosses have good reason to be concerned. The report found that 70 percent of workers either hated their work or were disengaged from it. Only around 30 percent said they honestly liked their boss. Another study from Accenture found that an unfavorable opinion of their boss was one of the top reasons employees feel unhappy at work.
Critical Components of a Solid Employee/Employer Relationship
Employee relationship management is the new corporate buzzword for nurturing relationships with employees. Experts have realized that having the best relationship possible isn’t just good for office morale, it’s also beneficial for the company’s bottom line. You can work on improving your employee/employers relations with these four key components:
#1: Mutual Respect
Respect is a requirement for building and maintaining good relationships. If respect is not present between two people, it’s virtually impossible for a relationship to progress.
Employers: Remember to provide constructive criticism instead of simply complaining or talking down to your employees. When an employee comes to you with a concern or idea it should always be taken seriously. Also, one of the most effective ways for employers and managers to gain the respect of their employees is to lead by example.
Employees: Respect your employer’s position. They likely earned their position by being good at what they do and working hard. If you don’t agree with a decision, discuss your concerns with them one-on-one — not during the middle of a meeting!
#2: Common Goals
When people work together toward a common goal, special bonds are formed that create the basis for a rock-solid relationship. That bond creates a team mentality that replaces the traditional boss/subordinate dynamic.
Employers: Share your vision with your employees, and get their buy-in. Bring them on board with where you want to take the department or company, and make sure they know they play a key role in getting the entire team there.
Employees: Share your ideas with your employer. Get their buy-in and take the reigns on a project you can work on together.
Trust is about more than being honest and forthright. It’s about putting your own well-being in the hands of another person.
Employers: Go to bat for your employees. If upper management, the company owner or a feisty client questions or complains about one of your employees, do your best to mitigate the situation instead of opting to throw your employee under the bus. It’s also important to keep things as transparent as possible with employees. Finally, trust that your employees can handle their jobs without micromanagement.
Employees: When you say you’re going to get something done, do it. When you have a deadline, meet it. The more you deliver, the more your employer or manager will trust that you won’t let them down.
All good relationships are centered on communication. It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it, how often you talk and whether you back words up with action.
Employers: Exercise an open door policy, and make one-on-one meetings a regular occurrence. One positive way to incorporate positive interaction is with a weekly 4-1-1 meeting where you discuss what the employee has planned for the coming days. Employers and managers must also praise employees when they’ve done well and address issues head on as soon as they happen.
Employees: Speak up! Too often employees bite their tongue, which only leads to resentment and a host of other unsavory feelings. Let your boss know that you’re unhappy or when you feel things aren’t on the right track, but only do so after the feeling has passed so the conversation is as level headed as possible.
Good employee/employer relationships are beneficial for any type of company. Employees will enjoy their work, feel more fulfilled and develop loyalty with the company. This certainly makes the jobs of managers and employers easier, and in the end, it helps the company as a whole become more successful.