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The Power of Positive Employee Relationships: Realizing Your ROI

As the workplace evolves, so should your strategy for maintaining positive employee relationships. Today’s employees come to work every day to find purpose and satisfaction —not just to collect a paycheck. Fostering positive employee relationships does more than keep workers happy; it improves your bottom line. When you invest in employees, you’re guaranteed a return on that investment through increased employee engagement and productivity, better talent retention, and improved brand reputation. Organizations that focus on building positive employee relationships from within quickly realize a positive impact on every facet of the business — from recruiting to results.

The 2015 “Labor of Love” survey from Virgin Pulse found that nearly 60% of employees believe their relationship with their employer—positive or negative—impacts their focus and productivity at work. Beyond productivity levels, many employees (44%) say a good employer relationship positively impacts their stress levels, leading to higher productivity overall. When employees are stressed, productivity diminishes, as Emma Seppala, Ph.D., and Kim Cameron, Ph.D. highlighted in their article for Harvard Business Review.

How do you realize the ROI from employee relationships? Here are five places to start:

#1: Employer Brand

Advertising and PR are important vehicles to promote your brand. However, when it comes to establishing an employer brand, people tend to trust their friends, peers, and online reviews to decide if your organization will be their next place to work. When you become a word-of-mouth-worthy employer of choice, finding and hiring top-tier talent becomes significantly easier.

So what does the employer-employee relationship have to do with building your brand? If you want people to talk about your employer brand, you have to give them something to talk about, and the better the employer-employee relationship, the more positive things they’ll have to say.

Start by making sure your employees feel valued for the role they play at your organization. Here are a few actions you can take:
– Listen to employees and make them feel heard.
– When employees give you feedback, acknowledge it and do something about it.
– Recognize employees for a job well done, and give credit where credit is due.
– Build a positive employee experience from recruitment to outplacement and everything in between.

#2: Retention

The cost of finding and replacing employees is equivalent to between 30 and 50 percent of their annual salary, and the average cost of an unfilled position is approximately $500 per day, according to our parent company, Randstad. Given the high-cost of hiring and recruiting, employers are expressing growing concern over trends in job mobility and attrition of employees caused by dissatisfaction in the workplace. In a recent blog post, It Takes More Than Salary to Attract and Retain Talent, our Practice Development Manager, Emily Elder, noted that one in three employers is concerned voluntary exits will increase, according to Glassdoor’s Statistical Reference Guide for Recruiters.

Retention has become a major concern for employers. Even beyond cost, retaining good, productive employees is vital to business agility. When employees have positive relationships with leaders and managers, retention increases and attrition decreases. According to SHRM’s Job Satisfaction and Engagement research report, “The majority of employees find the relationship with their immediate supervisor and senior management to be very important to their job satisfaction.” When employees feel respected and trusted, they extend similar respect and trust to their managers and peers. Fostering a workplace where open communication and the ability for both peers and managers to show appreciation for a job well done creates a positive environment where employees thrive and want to stay long-term because they feel valued.

#3: Employee Engagement

Did you know that there are many outside factors that impact employee engagement? Employees might feel less engaged if they’re short on sleep, or bored, for example. Sometimes, engagement is out of your control. But did you know that manager relationships account for 70% of variance in employee engagement? Gallup found that great managers “build workplaces that are engines of productivity and profitability.”

Positive relationships between managers and employees can have a profound impact on engagement levels. The stronger the relationship, the more likely managers will be able to spot roadblocks and challenges to an individual employee’s success. When the manager-employee relationship is solid, managers can help employees stay engaged and overcome obstacles that might otherwise serve as distractions.

Disengaged employees who are not working to their full potential are slowing economic growth and costing organizations between $450 and $550 billion annually, according to a Gallup poll. When employers successfully get workers engaged, involved, and enthusiastic about their workplace through stronger employee relationships, they realize ROI through improved productivity, increased job satisfaction, financial savings, and the achievement of corporate goals.

#4: Employee Network

When employees leave your company, voluntarily or involuntarily, they become brand ambassadors. Positive or negative, good or bad, employees have an extraordinary opportunity to impact your business even once they’ve left. Positive employee relationships extend far beyond your employer brand—former employees can solidify positive sentiment and create an alumni network that might offer a number of benefits to your company down the road.

Former employees can always come back in some capacity. Their relationship with you is no longer finite. They might become boomerang employees after gaining additional valuable experience elsewhere. They could come back to work as freelancers or gig workers. Valuing employees and treating them well may lead to a favorable business outcome, months or years down the road.

#5: Business Results (AKA Your Bottom Line)

When you endeavor to fully support the employee journey, you’re making a commitment to improve the employer-employee relationship. That relationship begins with the first point of contact with a potential employee and continues long after that employee has left the organization. Companies that offer best-in-class engagement, retention, outplacement, and other HR services designed to support employees along their career paths will find this approach is a recipe for business success. Measurable business metrics—from revenue to employee retention and even diversity numbers—all hinge on an organization’s ability to build and foster positive employee relationships.

In today’s Employee Relationship Economy, where former employees become vendors, customers, brand evangelists, recruiting references, and even boomerang employees, the employer-employee relationship is crucial. Look across your organization to spot weak spots, or hurdles standing between managers and employees, or your brand and employees and ask yourself these questions:
• Can employees trust your company?
• Do workers feel supported in their journey at your company and beyond?
• If team members want to undergo a job transition, would they feel supported?

What is your organization doing to improve the employee-employer relationship? Let us know – we’re committed to helping companies build positive workplaces based on trust and transparency. Our solutions help organizations achieve these five goals – and more.

The post The Power of Positive Employee Relationships: Realizing Your ROI appeared first on RiseSmart.

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About Mildred Blankson

I am a Human Resource Professional with a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management. I have several years of experience in Human Resources and i hope this blog will be a great resource in helping you find the perfect job or candidate that you seek.

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How to Leverage Company Benefits to Recruit and Retain Top Talent

One-third of organizations have increased their overall benefit offerings in 2016, according to a research report compiled by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). As recruiting and retaining top talent continue to become increasingly difficult for employers, robust benefit packages play a key role. When salaries and perks (think: free lunch) are nearly equal from company to company, employees are likely to opt for the company that offers the best benefits and greatest opportunities.

Medical and financial benefits aside, employees are looking for lifestyle and career benefits. SHRM reported that the top reason employers increased benefits in 2016 was to remain competitive in the marketplace—and the three biggest focus areas for change were in the health (22%), wellness (24%), and professional and career development (16%) categories. Robust benefit packages that include career development, health and wellness, and flexible working options provide a platform for employers to stand out. Nearly one-third of employees look for external positions because they desire “overall better benefits,” second only to higher compensation.

The type of benefits you offer speaks volumes on how you treat and support employees, which always manifests by way of your external employer brand. It’s not enough to say “we have great benefits,” because “great benefits” are now table stakes. Companies have mastered the art of talking about perks, from catered lunches to team building activities. Failure to talk about the real support and development opportunities you offer to employees might translate to missed opportunities. So how can hiring managers and recruiters promote employee benefits to help with recruiting and retention?

#1: Kick “industry standard” out of your vocabulary

When recruiters and hiring managers list their company’s benefits and summarize with the catch-all phrase, we offer “industry standard” benefits, it’s not enough. When all else—compensation, vacation days, and perks—are even, offering a standard benefits package won’t help your company standout enough to secure commitment from a top employee. Even though it might be tempting to default to a quick response, it pays to provide more detail about the benefits your company offers, in length, during the interview process.

And even more importantly than providing a laundry list of benefits (but kudos to you for that list!), explain how these benefits fit in with core company values. For example, if you offer flexible work arrangements and flexible hours, explain that these arrangements support your company’s value of work-life balance. If you provide a gym membership or showers at work, talk about how it enhances company culture or creates opportunities for employees to get the exercise they desire in a convenient way.. When recruits begin to see how your benefits support their shared values and interests, they’ll see the benefits you offer are much greater than “industry standard.”

Employers hoping to keep a competitive edge are offering more than the “industry standard” at every stage of the employee journey, including at severance – according to a recent study by RiseSmart. If you’re on the cutting edge of severance offerings, use those benefits to differentiate your company form the competition.

#2: Talk about goals in the recruiting and interview process

Before an employee is even hired, find out what they’re looking for in their employer and what their short and long term goals are. Ask questions like, “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” and “How are you hoping your employer will support you along your career journey?” Employees, many of whom are seeking opportunities for career development and continuing education, need to know you plan to invest in their individual career goals.

A Career Builder survey found that 45% of employees, regardless of generation, plan to stay with their employer for less than two years. During their tenure, they expect to benefit and grow with each new role and and at each new company. It’s important to convey to prospective employees that you invest in each individual employee, regardless for how long they plan to stay in the role for which they are being hired.

#3: Amplify the employee voice

Remind employees early on that they have a voice to share about company culture and employee benefits. Glassdoor, for example, recommends employers invite new hires to reflect on their first few months at the company. Whether this leads to internal feedback or a public review, it can assist efforts aimed at creating a positive employer brand.

L’Oréal recently launched a #LifeatLoreal hashtag to encourage employees to share photos of their experiences at work. The campaign all stemmed from the idea that people would trust their peers on social media when it came to L'Oréal being a great place to work. Employees posted a wide variety of pictures, including snapshots of various benefits and perks in action—such as flex days and catered lunches. Encourage employees to share the experiences they enjoy the most on the social channel of their choice.

#4: Keep employees engaged with benefits

On average, salary is only about 70% of an employee’s total compensation. When employees don’t take advantage of the benefits offered by the company, it’s equivalent to leaving 30% of the total compensation package on the table. Employers who keep employees engaged with benefits are more likely to see benefits manifest as part of the employer brand. An employee is highly unlikely to leave a Glassdoor review that mentions a positive benefit if she has never actually utilized the benefit.

Try hosting monthly or quarterly Q&A sessions to discuss available benefits. When you roll out a particularly hefty benefit, such as a new 401K offering, or an update to parental leave policy, give employees ample opportunity to ask questions. You could also share success stories from employees who have taken advantage of a particularly niche benefit, such as an hour of free lawyer services, to showcase how the benefit is used and encourage other employees to check it out.

#5: Benefits are the forgotten negotiation tool

If you are a hiring manager or recruiter engaging with a candidate, think beyond salary, or equity. Everything is negotiable, from vacation days to health insurance choices. Savvy employees, especially as the war for talent continues to heat up, will use benefits as negotiation tools—but don’t shy away from doing the same thing on the employer side. It’s often easier to offer more benefits than to secure additional salary for an employee.

Don’t be afraid to talk about your full complement of benefits, including your severance benefits. Prospective employees may feel more comfortable about joining a company that will take care of them, in the event of a downsizing or restructuring event. You may want to consider offering perks like outplacement and career transition services to employees who leave voluntarily as well as those who are involuntary subjects of a layoff. Knowing that you are invested in their career, even after they leave, will help you create a workforce of dedicated, engaged, and satisfied employees.

The world is small and everyone is connected. When you invest in employees, it leads to a positive employer brand. In the new Employee Relationship Economy, former employees will someday become vendors, customers, brand evangelists, recruiting references, or even boomerang employees. In a world where the employee/employer relationship is no longer finite, it’s important to convey your full support for employees’ career endeavors at every stage of their career journeys -- beginning early in the recruiting and interview process.

In every recruiting conversation, highlight your dedication to each employee’s career. When you frame up your organization’s benefits in context of how they fit in with the employee’s journey, it’s easy for the candidate to see how your company would support his journey. Communication about employee benefits can go a long way in the recruiting process—and will have a direct impact on your employer brand. If you offer much more than “industry standard,” you should be screaming it from the rooftops. Your current and prospective employees deserve to understand just how committed you are to their personal and professional journey.

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