More Employers Invest in Training, Survey Says

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According to the results of the 2011 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey, the percentage of organizations providing employees with financial assistance for employees to upgrade their skills increased from 2008. In 2011, 91% of organizations report providing such assistance – the highest it has been since 2007. 2010 showed that the percentage of employers paying for training and development decreased, but now appears to be rising again.

While employers continue to use classroom training, tuition assistance, and other traditional avenues to develop their employees’ skills, they are increasingly leveraging web-based methods and e-learning for training. Specifically, 71% of respondents indicated that they used web-based training for employee development, a significant increase of 39% from 2007 and 43% since 2004.

“This survey shows that a growing number of organizations recognize the value of providing financial assistance for employees to upgrade their skills. Employee training programs are a vital part of developing and retaining top talent at all levels of an organization,” says Kelly Keefe, President of ERC.

ERC provides customized training courses for organizations across the nation.

Train Your Employees

4 Ways to Manage Employees’ Needs

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We often define quality of managers by how they make us feel – how they energize and move us through encouragement, support, and inspiration. As a manager, your role is similar to an essential energy source – feeding employees’ needs and sustaining your team’s motivation. Knowing how to energize and motivate your employees requires addressing (4) of their most basic needs.

1. Am I supporting my employees’ physical well-being?

At the most fundamental level, employees need to feel that their managers care about their well-being. Employees’ most basic physical needs, such as rest, fitness, and proper nutrition, support physical health and the energy employees need to perform well. These are all needs which a manager can support through reasonable working conditions, adequate concern for well-being, and an appropriate level of consideration for work/life issues. Managers aren’t always cognizant of unmet physical needs. Additionally, they may be unaware of their coercive style’s affect on the physical well-being of employees. Numerous studies now document the correlation between negative management relations and coronary heart disease, poor mental health, among other health conditions.

2. Am I creating and contributing to a positive atmosphere?

Employees work best when there is positive energy in the work environment to meet their emotional and social needs. Employees have a need to belong, be accepted, and feel part of a team. They need a sense of security and to feel supported and respected. What this means for a manager is cultivating an environment that encourages collaboration, teamwork, and support; and striving for minimal conflict and productive working relationships, both with subordinates and among coworkers. It also means understanding that employees need acceptance and acknowledgement from others, and providing recognition. Creating positive energy doesn’t mean not addressing problems, but does mean that these problems are dealt with in a courteous, respectful, and constructive manner.

3. Am I providing enough challenge and mental stimulation?

Next, there are mental needs, which deal with challenge, personal development, and mental stimulation. Employees have needs for continuous intellectual development and cognitive stimulation. When these needs aren’t met, employees tend to become stagnant, bored, and eventually dissatisfied. Managers can support mental needs by providing intellectual challenge and opportunities for employees to expand current knowledge and thought processes; increasing employees’ ability to work creatively and independently; and offering continuous opportunities to grow new skills. Managers who energize and stretch the minds of their employees foster higher levels of engagement.

4. Do my employees understand that their work matters?

Finally, beyond mental needs, are self-actualized needs. These needs including finding meaning in our work, feeling fulfilled and that we’re making a difference, taking pride in our work and what we do, and being able to see how it impacts others and those we serve. Sometimes employees can’t see the big picture or lose sight of the mission. For these reasons, managers need to define purpose, show employees’ how their work matters, illustrate how it makes an impact, and connect individual goals and contributions to the department and organization. Employees have a basic need to understand that their work matters and is important. This purpose fuels their motivation.

There are many well-documented adverse effects that can occur when these needs go unfulfilled in the workplace. Because these needs directly impact on the energy and motivation of our workforce, as managers, we need to understand the importance of helping employees’ meet these basic needs to energize and motivate our teams.

Additional Resources

Supervisory Series
In the series, participants will gain an understanding of their role as a supervisor as well as employment law as it relates to common supervisory issues. They will also learn how to apply basic managerial and interpersonal skills including dealing with the everyday challenges of being a supervisor, communicating effectively with others, resolving workplace conflict, managing performance, and coaching.

Management & Leadership DevelopmentERC offers several courses in management and leadership development on topics related to communication, conflict management, performance management, project management, problem solving and general leadership. These courses can also be customized to your organization’s unique needs. For more information, please contact ckutsko@yourerc.com.

Employers Increasingly Offering Health Savings Plans

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According to the results of the 2011 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey, the percentage of Northeast Ohio employers offering health savings plans continued to increase from its current 35% – the highest percentage reported by the survey since 2003. The survey, conducted in partnership with Smart Business Magazine, showed a steady increase in the percentage of Northeast Ohio employers offering health savings plans over the years, indicating that this benefit is increasing in popularity.

The results of the survey also showed that health insurance premiums were continuing to rise, and more employers said that health insurance costs are a growing challenge for their businesses. Specifically, organizations report a 10% increase in health insurance premiums from 2010, an increase of 1% from 2010, and the highest increase from 2007 based on the survey results. Employers appeared to be turning to alternative health care options, such as health savings plans, to manage rising costs.

 “The increase in Health Savings Plans (HSA’s) is not surprising as more employers are seeking ways to balance providing competitive benefits with gaining more control over rising health insurance costs,” says Patrick Perry, President of ERC.

To download the free results of this survey, please click here

4 Ways to Motivate Employee Wellness

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Wellness programs have the best of intentions: to improve employee health, cut health care costs, and enhance productivity. Motivating employees to engage and participate in wellness programs and make lasting lifestyle changes, however, can be challenging for employers. Here are four (4) ways organizations have been successful in motivating employee wellness.

1. Make it easy.

Simplicity is key. Health management tools that are offered to your employees should be easy to use and integrated into their daily lives. For example, web-based tools and applications for smart-phones are available which help employees track fitness, diet, and other activities to help manage health and wellness. Some of these applications also have health alerts and reminders to help employees keep wellness at the forefront of their priorities, as well as the ability to link pedometers, scales, and monitoring equipment to their health profiles. These applications are intended to provide simple wellness solutions that are integrated into employees’ daily lives.

Additionally, educational messages (such as wellness tips, articles, etc.) should be short, direct, and easy to view. Wellness education often gets lost in lengthy company newsletters or placed on an HR bulletin board that employees rarely view. Great information can also be buried within your carrier’s website, or your organization may just be providing too much information. Consider creating or subscribing to a short wellness communication that provides tips and education on various wellness issues, or provide links to resources on a particular topic. “Quick reads” are usually ideal.   

Finally, offer wellness activities which are relatively easy and that all (or most) employees feel comfortable doing. Excessively rigorous fitness routines and diet programs, while beneficial, may not appeal to your entire workforce. Once you’ve engaged participants, continually introduce more difficult programs to stretch employees to new levels.

2. Bring it on-site.

Organizations are increasingly bringing health specialists on-site for their employees to access. These specialists include wellness coaches, nutritionists, physical fitness experts, trainers, therapists, and more. They may offer convenient and accessible services such as coaching and education, and also provide customized and personalized attention for individual employee needs.

On-site clinics or shared clinics, which provide a range of primary care and wellness services, are also becoming more common in the workplace. Depending on the type of health practitioners employed and resources available at the on-site clinic, they can provide physicals, screenings, immunizations, biometric screening, treatment for work-related injuries, on-going care for chronic conditions, assistance with acute symptoms/diseases (i.e. colds, infections, strep, etc.), access to prescriptions, among others. Employers typical employ or contract a nurse, others also offer a physician, and some may even offer access to other specialists. These individuals may be available on a limited basis or everyday depending on the organization’s needs, and employers typically eliminate co-payments or at least reduce them for on-site services.  By taking control of on-site health management, employers have found that they can better manage health-care costs and reduce absenteeism. Aon Hewitt finds that employers typically receive a return of $2-$4 for every $1 they invest in clinics.

On-site fitness programs, classes, centers, and facilities are also a core part of bringing wellness to the workplace. Employees are more likely to participate in fitness programs that they can access at lunch, during the workday, and directly after or before work. Bringing healthy food on-site is another way employers are making healthy habits convenient. Offering free healthy snacks, incenting healthy food choices with lower costs in cafeterias, coordinating an on-site farmers’ market, using lunch delivery programs, and replacing vending machine selections with healthier choices, are all common ways employers are providing healthy options on-site.

3. Keep it fun.

Most employees do not consider health management enjoyable, which can be a major barrier to participation in wellness programs. Some employers, however, have been able to engage their staff in becoming more active by creating fun opportunities – such as a “recess” in the middle of the work day, pick-up sports or games, special interest groups (i.e. biking, walking, etc.), and friendly challenges or contests between employees to lose weight and make other important lifestyle changes. Some employers in our region have even coordinated walks or bike rides to exotic and exciting locations…including Hawaii and Cedar Point. By making wellness social, employers find that their staff is more open to being active and has fun doing it. Additionally, these organizations receive an added benefit of improving coworker relationships and teamwork. Some employers even offer fun rewards and prizes for progress towards health goals, such as gift cards, trips, and entertainment.

4. Integrate it with work/life.

Organizations are recognizing that work/life issues are integral and related to a successful wellness program. Not only can work/life issues impair physical well-being, but they can also prevent employees from taking advantage of wellness programs. For example, “not having the time” is one of the most frequent reasons that employees do not participate in wellness activities. Lack of time is often related to work/life constraints, workload, and other stressors that work/life programs can reduce.

Several employers realize that well-being is not limited to just physical health, and take a comprehensive approach to improving employee well-being, extending services to social, financial, mental, and emotional health. To help employees manage all aspects of their well-being, more employers are offering services beyond the traditional employee assistance program such as counseling services, child care/elder care, on-site massage therapy, yoga, stress management training, financial planning, retirement assistance, flexible scheduling, alternative treatments, and on-site convenience services.

Employees are highly receptive to work/life programs, viewing them as supportive to their needs. Thereby, integrating them with wellness initiatives can be advantageous in motivating participation, reducing stress, and helping employees manage their health in a more holistic sense. 

Making wellness work is all about decreasing barriers to its success, one of which is usually motivation and participation by employees. If your organization is attempting to drive participation in its wellness initiatives, try making wellness easy, accessible, on-site, enjoyable, and integrated with work/life programs.

Additional Resources

Preferred Partners (Members only)
ERC has many Preferred Partners and vendors that facilitate different aspects of wellness programs, such as executive physicals, employee assistance programs, health and safety training, and health screening. To view a list of Preferred Partners and the services and cost-savings they offer to ERC members, click here.

ERC Health
For more information about ERC’s health insurance program for small and mid-sized businesses, please click here.

DOL enacts Section 408(b)(2) for retirement plan fiduciaries

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Section 408(b)(2), a 2011 regulation from the Department of Labor, requireed retirement plan fiduciaries, including plan sponsors and investment committees, to understand all fees and expenses associated with their retirement plan. Plan sponsors must also be able to determine if their fees are competitive, or “reasonable” in relation to the services they receive. 

The new regulation required:

  • The contract or arrangement must be in writing and reasonable.
  • The services being performed are necessary to establish or operate a qualified plan.
  • No more than reasonable compensation is paid for the services performed.

The DOL required compliance with the regulation on or before Jan. 1, 2012.

Source: Oswald Financial

Few Local Employers Laying Off Employees, Outsourcing Jobs

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According to the results of the 2011 ERC/Smart Business Workplace Practices Survey, only 5.6% of organizations are anticipating layoffs in 2011, the lowest percentage reported by the survey in the preceding 11 years. Additionally, the results show that the percentage of employers outsourcing jobs overseas had also declined.

Results from the preceding eleven surveys, conducted by ERC in collaboration with Smart Business Magazine, show that while the percentage of employers projecting layoffs since 2001 had widely fluctuated and spiked in 2009 (54.2%), most employers were not expecting any layoffs in 2011.

In addition, the survey results showed that the percentage of organizations outsourcing jobs overseas had decreased two years in a row to 6.7%. This also suggests that jobs are staying in Northeast Ohio, and may have indicated an upturn in the local economy from the two years before.

“We are pleased to see that Northeast Ohio employers are keeping jobs in the region and that the percentage of employers projecting layoffs is the lowest since we began conducting the survey. In other surveys we’ve conducted, we’ve seen more employers also indicate that they are hiring and providing pay increases this year as compared to the past two years. These are all positive signs for our local economy,” says an ERC Representative in 2011.

7 Ways to Respond When an Employee Quits

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Employers often must deal with turnover and resignations of their best people. When an employee quits, there are many right and wrong ways to respond. Here are 7 critical questions to ask to guide your responses and actions when an employee says “I quit.”

1. Do you value the employee?

When an employee approaches you about their transition, how you respond to the employee depends on how much you value them. If you value the employee, you have two options: do everything you can to keep them at your organization or accept the resignation and show gratitude for their contributions. The option you choose will likely depend on the reason for the resignation and your relationship with the employee.

As an employer, you have an obligation to help address any issue that is preventing you from retaining a top performer. Sometimes these issues are personal and beyond your ability to impact, but many other times there will be something you can adjust in the workplace. This, however, should ideally be done before the employee approaches you with their resignation, because by that time they have likely already made a firm decision.

If you don’t value the employee, accept the resignation without negative commentary, request it in writing, and quickly coordinate logistics for their transition (final paycheck, etc.). Keep your dialogue with the employee limited, professional, and operational in nature.

2. Do you want their feedback?

While most employers conduct exit interviews or surveys to gather feedback from exiting employees, not all organizations consider whether they actually want the feedback of these employees. In fact, it’s not uncommon for employers to mandate exit interviews. Let’s face it though, not all employees’ opinions should be counted equally, especially if they are poor performers. You could find yourself implementing changes to feedback that are simply unproductive complaints.

Be sure that the employees’ opinions and suggestions are worthwhile before you spend time and resources on gathering their feedback in the first place. Top performers, new-hires, and highly tenured employees are all those whom you will likely want to solicit feedback. Their ideas and opinions are often helpful in making changes to workplace and on-boarding programs.

3. Do you have a replacement?

Do you have a replacement who is currently employed at the organization? An employee can quit, leave, or get “hit by a truck” at any time. Knowing this, good managers always make sure that they have a replacement for themselves and for the members of their team, in the event of an emergency. They ensure that someone is cross-trained in the role and can step to the plate if needed. As employers and managers, you should always be asking yourselves: “What if xxxx leaves?” to better your business and minimize risk. Otherwise, you’ll be scrambling to figure out how to fill your or their shoes, and this lack of planning can potentially disrupt your business.

4. How will you retain their knowledge?

Many employees carry a great deal of knowledge, talent, and expertise that is sometimes difficult to train or hire, especially those with significant tenures or unique skills. Increasingly, organizations are focusing on knowledge-sharing practices to cope with this issue before they encounter significant talent losses. The bad news is that it might be too late to retain the knowledge of your key employee if you haven’t already implemented knowledge-sharing practices. These practices could include succession planning, mentoring, knowledge management systems, and procedural/workflow documents which capture their knowledge before it’s lost.

5. How will you notify others?

A best practice when notifying others about a resignation is to start the communication process intimately, with the employee’s managers/supervisors, then with the employee’s team or department, and finally the entire organization. Alert staff of the transition, the timeline until his/her departure, and plan for replacing the employee.

If you want the employee to leave immediately or don’t trust them to work productively until their last day, it’s best to send an immediate written notification to your employees and not use this tiered communication approach. Keep the communication general and let employees know that their coworker has moved on to other career opportunities.

6. How will you respond in their remaining days?

If the employee is going to continue to work through their last day, your organization will need to decide how to deal with their existing assignments and project load, and transition their customer relationships. You’ll need to determine which projects the employee will finish, and which ones will be directed to other employees or put on hold.

In addition to responding to work issues, you’ll also need to determine how you will respond to the departure. It’s best to remain positive about the employee’s new opportunity and wish them success, even though you may be upset with the decision.  Also, decide if or how your organization will wish the employee good luck in their new endeavors, perhaps through a social gathering. Oftentimes, coworkers appreciate a formal opportunity to “send off” the former employee. This, however, isn’t always appropriate.

7. Do you want to keep the door open for a future relationship?

When an employee leaves, you can choose to close the door on the relationship or maintain it. Increasingly, employers are keeping the door open and maintaining relationships with employees who have left their organizations. Social networking tools, in particular, provide an opportunity for them to do this easily. This helps organizations continue a positive relationship with their previous employees which can benefit their recruitment efforts. For example, previous employees can serve as excellent referral sources, and some employers use their “alumni” as a network to attract applicants. These organizations recognize that former employees will be asked about their past employment, potentially by their job candidates, and their honest responses can help (or hurt) their organization’s hiring efforts and reputation.

Another way that organizations keep the door open is by having re-hire policies, which allow the former employee to be considered for employment opportunities in the future. Oftentimes, the employee may end up being even more valuable once they have developed more industry experience and skills, which can benefit your organization.

Inevitably, a talented employee will choose to leave your organization at one time or another, and how you prepare for this departure ahead of time and respond as an employer and manager can make a difference during their transition. Streamlining your exit strategies, creating a good exit interview, developing standard communication practices, implementing knowledge sharing, preparing possible replacements, and maintaining positive relationships with your “alumni” are all ways that you can effectively respond to unavoidable resignations.

Additional Resources

Supervisory SeriesIn the series, participants will gain an understanding of their role as a supervisor as well as employment law as it relates to common supervisory issues. They will also learn how to apply basic managerial and interpersonal skills including dealing with the everyday challenges of being a supervisor, communicating effectively with others, resolving workplace conflict, managing performance, and coaching.

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5 Common Types of New Leaders

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5 Common Types of New Leaders

Some employees aspiring to be managers or leaders struggle at first when they take on these new roles. Here are 5 common types of employees that grapple with management and leadership responsibilities, and suggestions for how to help them in their roles.

1. The high-achiever

Characteristics:

This is a leader who excelled at their previous roles, but is fearful of taking on more responsibility outside of their comfort zone. Their anxiety about performance tends to get in the way of their effectiveness, especially in leadership roles.

They can tend to get too caught up in tasks, believe that nobody can do the job as well as them, fail to distinguish between urgent and less important priorities, obsess about how they compare to others, take few risks, and starve themselves of personal growth into new areas because of their fears of failing.

While their style may have been effective in previous roles, when they move into management or leadership roles, they find themselves frustrated, unable to produce, and under-confident in their new jobs.

How to develop:

Unfortunately, this individual will need to experience failure and adversity to grow, even though it may be a difficult experience for them. That’s part of being a leader.

They should be challenged to grow personally, even if just incrementally over time. Expose this employee to new things gradually—not all at once.

Help them develop strategies to attain high performance in their new role because achievement is important to these employees. Praise them as they grow in their new role and have small successes. This will help develop confidence that they can perform well as a leader.

2. The technical expert

Characteristics:

This individual has solid technical strengths for which they were promoted into a management leadership role, perhaps in mathematics, IT, or engineering.

The technical expert, however, over-relies on their technical skills (often because they enjoy using these skills) which are less important in their new role.

Their technical strengths are so strong, that they may lack soft-skills or view them as less important to leading others than technical competencies. They tend to struggle with communicating, developing and training employees, and delivering results through others. While they are well-respected for their technical competence and are a rich resource of knowledge, they tend to struggle with imparting this knowledge on others that they manage or lead. They also may have trouble building a team and achieving the same results through others.

How to develop:

This individual may need to weaned off their technical tasks gradually. Having them let go of all of their technical responsibilities too quickly may lead to disengagement in their new role.

Help them share technical knowledge with their staff, through knowledge sharing tools, processes, and interactions (such as mentoring, training, etc.).

Knowledge and expertise may be so engrained in these employees that you will have to explore tasks thoroughly. Lastly, spend more time training them on soft skills, especially communication, team-building, and engaging others.

3. The overconfident manager

Characteristics:

These employees may be less receptive to learning how to lead, thinking that they know “all there is to know” about leadership. They may have even already had some management or leadership experience, and are usually charismatic, out-going, and dominant, but their confidence tends to get in the way of their success.

Frequently, over-confidence may lead these types of employees to exert too much command and control, be too bossy, and focus less on participation and collaboration with their teams.

They tend to like to receive credit for their team’s accomplishments, but may push blame for failures on others. They may try to gain influence by using their title or status, and not by engaging others. They like holding power and authority, sometimes to a fault, which can lead to micromanagement.

How to develop:

This individual benefits from successful role models who display appropriate leadership behaviors, such as senior leaders. Usually their approach to leadership stems from how they’ve been managed in the past or inaccurate perceptions of how leaders should act, so showing them other ways of leading can be helpful—especially if it’s a prominent person in the organization whom they respect.

Experiential learning and training is also crucial for these employees, who often need to see the negative results of their actions and behaviors. Employee feedback (such as an employee survey or 360) may also help the leader understand how their actions affect the engagement and perceptions of their staff.

4. The friend

Characteristics:

This is a leader that is congenial, well-liked, and has above average soft-skills. They are extremely supportive of their employees and approach management interactions more like coworker relationships. This individual refrains from having tough or crucial conversations with their employees and fails to acknowledge or manage conflict, frequently avoiding it altogether.

They often don’t manage performance well, and put up with poor results to maintain a positive relationship. In essence, they focus on being their employees’ friend, rather than their manager or leader. 

In fact, some of these leaders may be managing previous coworkers or friends of theirs. They may even engage in behaviors that are considered unprofessional for a leader, such as participating in informal social activities, becoming Facebook friends with their subordinates, or gossiping about other employees.

How to develop:

This individual doesn’t necessarily need training in soft skills, but does need training on core management principles, such as performance management, feedback, and conflict management.

These will be uncomfortable topics for this individual that you may need to address multiple times.

They may also need to be coached on how to balance creating supportive relationships and interactions with their employees with results and getting the job done.  Some will also need to better understand the role of the leader and how to act professionally with their employees.

5. The inexperienced

Characteristics:

Perhaps this is a young employee, a “high potential,” or an individual with no experience supervising or managing others. It’s not that this employee is a bad leader per say, they just don’t have the knowledge, skill, or experience yet to lead. Usually these types of leaders are promoted into leadership roles by necessity or because they have exceptional talents and potential that the organization finds valuable. If promoted before well-groomed, expect these employees to make mistakes—and lots of them.

How to develop:

This individual should usually be developed into a leadership role over time, rather than promoted and then trained. They may benefit from not only management and leadership development programs and curriculum, but also mentorship.

Through mentoring relationships with other leaders and managers, these individuals will learn from those that have plenty of experience managing and leading others, which can balance out their experience gaps.

These individuals will need on-going development as they grow into leaders—not just an initial training program.

Whether your current or aspiring leader is a high-achiever, technical expert, overconfident manager, friend, inexperienced, or a combination of any of these, learn to recognize the challenges your employees face in new management and leadership roles and provide them support to not only help them be more successful, but also enjoy their new roles.

Leadership Development Training Programs

Leadership Development Training

ERC offers a variety of leadership development training programs at all levels of the organization, from senior leadership teams to mid-level managers to first time managers and supervisors.

Train Your Employees

Most Maintenance Jobs See Pay Increases

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According to the 2011 ERC Wage Survey and the 2011 ERC Salary Survey, the majority of maintenance jobs surveyed have experienced pay increases since 2009. Both hourly and salaried maintenance jobs showed consistent rises in pay from 2009.

Maintenance Jobs with Hourly Rate or Salary Increases from 2009
Hourly Jobs

 

2009

2010

2011

Janitor/Custodian

$11.76

$11.85

$12.68

Machine Maintenance Mechanic - Senior

$20.02

$19.53

$21.00

Machine Maintenance Mechanic - Junior

$17.50

$18.21

$20.40

Maintenance Electrician - Senior

$21.64

$22.30

$22.77

Maintenance Electrician - Junior

$18.40

$18.66

$25.68

Maintenance Worker - General

$16.49

$17.90

$18.59

Source: 2011 ERC Wage Survey

Salaried Jobs

 

2009

2010

2011

Facility Maintenance Manager

$62,980

$65,046

$70,835

General Supervisor – Maintenance/Trades Function

$48,969

$63,247

$66,897

Supervisor – Custodial Services

$33,262

$33,434

$45,464

Supervisor – General Maintenance

$54,216

$55,828

$59,030

Source: 2011 ERC Salary Survey

For more information about our ERC Wage Surveys, please click here, or for more information about ERC Salary Surveys, please click here

Win Trust & Influence: 6 Tips for Improving Employee Relations

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In HR, how you approach everyday employee relations can make a difference in whether or not your employees and managers view you as a trusted advisor. Here are ways that you can improve your relationships with managers and employees at your organization to win their trust, respect, and confidence.

Interact and communicate with employees on a daily basis

Make regular interaction a priority and it will help you do your job better. Walk the plant floor or the office. You’ll get to know employees personally, understand their concerns, and better identify work problems that you can fix. Meet with employees regularly, either one-on-one or in small groups. The best HR professionals have won the respect and trust of their employees by taking an interest in their day-to-day lives and creating an open dialogue.

Maintain their trust and confidentiality

Be a trusted resource that employees can turn to discuss problems, conflicts, or other issues. Handle employees’ concerns with integrity and professionalism. Refrain from discussing confidential issues with other members of your team or outside your department, or gossiping about employee matters. If you gather employees’ feedback on any topic, always protect their confidentiality and anonymity. Don’t try to pinpoint who said what.

Advocate for your employees

Know what drives retention and engagement for your employees. Advocate for and champion programs that enhance employees’ work experience and those that are important to your workforce.  Over time, these improvements will be noticed by your employees and they will value your contributions. We have seen many HR professionals gain the respect of the employees’ and leadership teams by creating great places to work.

Gain the respect of your managers

Develop strong relationships with your supervisors and managers. Learn about them and their departments and ask them how you can be of better assistance to their needs. Understand their demands and make their jobs easier, not harder. Create tools and systems and offer training to help them do their jobs better and more efficiently.  In doing so, you will have more luck collaborating with them to manage employees.

Make an impression from the start

Use on-boarding as a way to build your reputation with employees as a trusted advisor. Build a positive rapport prior to them coming on-board by staying in contact, being responsive and accessible, and providing them with all of the information they need for their first day. In addition to facilitating orientation, describe your role to employees in ways that you want to be perceived. Reach out to new-hires multiple times within the first 6 months to gather feedback, provide support, and solidify a positive relationship.

Be objective and balance interests

Execute and enforce policies and procedures consistently and fairly, with no exceptions. Additionally, balance serving all of your internal customers – leaders, managers, and employees. Learn to look at issues objectively from all sides of your business and balance these three interests. Be collaborative in developing and implementing policies. Don’t develop policies without considering their perspectives. 

 If you want to broaden your influence, achieve better results, and improve relationships with your internal customers, consider using these approaches. We have witnessed many HR professionals win the trust and confidence of their managers and employees by adopting these positive employee relations practices.