East Tenth Group is pleased to continue our monthly Guest Blog. This month we are featuring Jennifer Brown, a top HR consultant. Jennifer partners with companies and businesses to make their infrastructure stronger through creative and innovative people practices.  Today she shares her insights on truly caring about your employees.  I look forward to hearing from you in the comments.

Do you know the most important way to prevent Human Resources problems? It’s not by having an employee handbook, rigorous interview and hiring process, or paying employees above average salaries (although all of these things do help). It’s by caring about your employees and treating them with fairness, respect, and kindness…no matter the situation. Ultimately, if you care about your employees, they will care about you and your company. This results in your employees wanting to do a good job and, if a difficult situation arises, being able to work through it with them.

What Kind of Leader Are You?

Are you a leader who:

  • Makes your employees feel valued or demeaned?
  • Thank employees for a job well done or do you always focus on what they have done wrong?
  • Establishes a personal connection with your employees — do you know the names of their children, hobbies they enjoy, or their favorite sports teams?
  • Checks-in with your employees just to see how they are doing?
  • Asks your employees if they need any help with their job or do you just keep piling on the work?
  • Seeks your employees’ input, collaborates with them on how to make your company even stronger, and explains your rationale for decisions?
  • Is “real”…do you share your feelings and struggles with your employees?
  • Takes the time to listen to an employee when he/she has a concern and works with them to find a solution? [Tweet “If you care about your employees, they will care about you and your company.”]

Our relationship with our employees will help to determine if our company is a success or a failure and where we as leaders spend out time — focused on continuously dealing with employee problems or growing the company. Taking the time to invest in these relationships pays off big.

When Strong Employee Relationships Pay Off

Here are some “real life” examples of the value of a strong employee relationship:

  • A manager had to fire a long-term employee due to performance issues.  She conducted the exit meeting with an amazing amount of compassion, gentleness, and kindness — so much so. that the employee thanked and hugged the manager before departing!
  • A company was experiencing some poor media coverage.  The CEO gathered all of the employees in a room and explained to them his feelings about this coverage, the media’s misconceptions, and asked them for their support…not one employee left the company.
  • A company was experiencing cash flow problems due to delayed client payments which resulted in needing to delay payroll by several days.  Senior leadership met with the employees to explain the delay and offered their apologies – the employees understood. [Tweet “Taking the time to invest in employee relationships pays off big.”]

Without strong relationships, the outcomes of the above examples would have likely been much different. Thankfully, these three leaders gained the heart of their employees prior to these situations.  They consistently showed their employees they cared, which resulted in their employees caring about and supporting them – ultimately, preventing HR problems that can take significant amounts of time, money, and energy to resolve. Are you gaining the heart of your employees? If not, start to implement some of the above practices today – your business success depends on it!