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7 ways to build a successful employment relationship

No doubt, you would love to know the secret formula for successful employment relationships.

Unfortunately a secret formula doesn’t exist.

The good news is that many tried and true methods to build successful and productive employment relationships are available, and I’m going to share some of them with you taken from my book HR for Small Business for Dummies.

Do your homework before employing

A job exists for everyone, however, sometimes that job isn’t in your business. Doing your homework before you employ is vital to a successful employment relationship.

Needing to get someone on board quickly is often the commercial reality, and this is all well and good, but if you haven’t identified the personal attributes, skills and ability of the person suitable to your business, you may regret your decision.

Welcome people into your business

Never underestimate the value of a really thorough orientation program when introducing new staff into your business.

Getting to know each other, building confidence, explaining clearly your expectations and beginning to understand individual personalities, competency and experience all affects how well the person works with and for you. The first three months of employment is critical to future performance.

Consistency is everything

I’m reluctant to draw comparisons with parenting, but employment by way of its nature establishes an unequal relationship of authority and control. If this relationship is to work effectively, the person in authority (that’s you) must be consistent.

Most employees will do what you ask them, even if they have reservations, as long as you explain your reasons and consistently apply the approach throughout the business and with other employees. When you arbitrarily change your direction, staff become confused, unhappy, and they lose respect for your judgement.

Celebrate success

Along the path to business success are lots of ups and downs. It is important to celebrate the little victories and success along the way. Your employees will appreciate these moments as well, so don’t forget to include them in the celebration.

Try handing out small gifts when you have landed new business, take everyone out for lunch or dinner at a really nice restaurant or hand out movie ticket vouchers when staff have made that extra effort needed to deliver the goods on time.

Being decisive will earn you respect

Employees are on the front line of the business responding to customer enquiries, complaints and demands. If you are the one that must make a decision then decide on a course of action promptly, empower your employees to respond and stick to the decision.

Don’t back track if the heat is turned up on you, and make sure that you support your staff.

Get to know the person, not just the employee

Try extending the personal touch to the people that work for you. This may be worthwhile for no other reason than that you took the opportunity to know and understand another person which is its own reward. If you want to put a price on it, count the times that your staff ask you about your life, your interests and when you are feeling a bit low, how you’re feeling.

Add the times that staff have offered voluntarily to work additional hours to complete tasks or cover for you when difficult customers are demanding to see you. You can’t put a price on loyalty… or maybe you can?

Modelling good behaviour

Employers are judged by the standards of angels so start aspiring to be a model employer. There is no getting around the fact that there are very high expectations on employers when it comes to the treatment of staff. So you should set some standards of behaviour for everyone in your business and then lead by example.

Modelling good behaviour simply means living up to the standards of behaviour that you set for others in your business. Accept responsibility if you make a mistake.

About the Author

Paul Maguire is the author of HR For Small Business For Dummies, as well as the director of Maguire Consulting and owner of Employee Relations Online

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