5 Tips to Improve Employee Relationships and Engagement

by Kylee Stone Aug 10,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

As a leader, you have to think of ways to keep your team motivated and engaged. Find new ways to improve employee relationships and engagement. A recent survey brought out that in 2021 only 65% of employees felt engaged in their work.

This means that 35% of employees do not feel a great connection with their roles and the organizations they work for. Poor relationships turned out to be a major contributor to low engagement. They can have negative effects on your organization, such as low employee motivation, low loyalty, high workplace conflict, and even attrition.

Numerous studies have shown that employees are not afraid to leave their jobs if they’re unhappy. According to the 2022 Career Optimism Index, 1 in 3 Americans would readily leave their jobs even without having another job as backup. But on the positive side, 69% would stay in their current jobs if their employees would implement key changes in the organization.

What are those crucial changes that will help you improve employee relationships, increase engagement, and boost retention? Let’s dive right in and find out!

1. Help Your Employees Upskill and Grow

Results from the previously cited 2022 Career Optimism Index indicate that 68% of employees would like to stay in their jobs if their employer made an effort to upskill them. The same study shows that 52% of employees feel they are easily replaceable in the workplace. 41% worry about job loss.

These numbers mean that developing your employees can make them feel more secure in their jobs and build loyalty. This is a great way to improve employee relationships. But when it comes to upskilling and reskilling, you need to think beyond tuition reimbursement programs and sabbaticals.

Consider offering:

  • Training resources like certified courses. 
  • Use the right platform to build effective courses 
  • Stretch assignments
  • Cross-training programs like job-swapping
  • Simulation-based learning

You could also leverage email software like ActiveCampaign or email sequence software that allows you to regularly send out educational emails to your employees and encourage them to take the time out to read them.

Use gamification to make these employee development programs more effective. It involves incorporating games into training programs, such as:

  • Creating goal-oriented challenges
  • Awarding badges and points
  • Creating friendly competition through leaderboards

2. Consistent Feedback and Mentoring

Share constructive feedback with your employees and help them improve consistently. Recognize their strengths and point to areas of improvement. This will push them to achieve their personal and business goals, enhance their job satisfaction, and increase engagement.

However, giving feedback the wrong way could damage employee relationships.

Here are some tips you can use to get better results:

  • In-person discussions are the most effective for giving feedback. 
  • You could do video calls as well for people who work remotely. When you talk to your employees and they can see you, the chances of misinterpretation are less.
  • Use a sincere and respectful tone. Be polite when pointing out mistakes.
  • Present issues as if you are observing, not interpreting. Allow the employee to share their perspective of the situation.
  • Balance the positives and negatives. The feedback doesn’t necessarily have to be on either extreme. You should give a mix of the two to ensure that your employees don’t get demotivated, but are charged up to take action.
  • Be specific about what they can improve on as opposed to generally saying ‘they need to improve.’

3. Establish Transparency and Give Your Employees a Voice

Open communication and a culture of transparency are one of the most significant methods to improve employee relationships. Share with your employees all about the organization’s accomplishments, anxieties, modifications, evolutions, and other changes.  Prevent misunderstanding and friction between the employees and management. Additionally, you should empower employees to share their concerns, struggles, and achievements. Allow them to voice their opinions on changes in the company.

This will help create an environment where employees feel free to give honest feedback to their superiors. It’ll create a tight-knit company culture that’ll help employees feel valued and connected to the organization.

4. Alleviate Stress at the Workplace

Another great way to improve employee relationships is by making your organization an easy and enjoyable place to work.

A study has associated workplace stress with strong work dissatisfaction, which results in poor employee relationships.

Proper resources

Provide enough resources to improve employee experience, which, in turn, makes them more productive and better at what they do.

This can involve:

  • Providing clear instructions
  • Having more workable processes
  • Making information accessible
  • Removing obstacles that reduce efficiencies, such as slow computers, jamming printers, and complicated systems and software
  • Creating protocols for conflict resolution
  • Automating redundant tasks to provide your employees enough time to handle more demanding tasks without getting overwhelmed

Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

Create a safe work environment for all employees by having strict policies regarding workplace discrimination and harassment. Employees who are working unreasonably long hours get less time with family and in personal endeavors. It creates a workforce that’s emotionally and mentally drained. This affects their performance at work and their relationship with your organization. You should strive to provide flexible work schedules and be supportive of employees who request time off.

When your employees have a strong support system at home and a good work-life balance, they’ll have a stronger engagement in the workplace.

Life Coaching

It’s also a good idea to hire life coaching services for your employees. This helps in their wholesome development, and not just in the workplace. It helps them deal with any underlying personal issues causing them to be stressed at work too. When you improve the life of your employees, their performance in the workplace will automatically improve. Taking these measures creates a better work environment for your employees and will improve employee relationships by making them feel cared for.

5. Acknowledge and Reward Employees

Incentivizing outstanding performance is an excellent way to improve employee relationships. Everyone likes to feel appreciated for their efforts. Working in an environment where performance and growth are acknowledged builds employee motivation and engagement.

It makes the employee feel their work contributes to something bigger, which improves job satisfaction.

You could launch gold, silver, and bronze-level incentives for employees who reach various achievements, such as bringing in an impressive number of sales leads or achieving growth, such as a promotion. You can also reward new hires with a branded welcome kit. It’ll set the tone for the relationship they have with your organization.

Improve Employee Relationships in Your Organization

Taking these steps to create healthy employee relationships will lead to higher profitability. Investing in employee development and rewarding their achievements motivates them to improve their performance.

Giving them a voice, being transparent, and reducing workplace stress create an environment where they keep giving their best performance. It also keeps them loyal. Employees are the lifeblood of any organization. Make sure you foster a culture of inclusiveness to boost engagement to reap the rewards of a cohesive team.

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Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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