The article by Peterson, Bert on ‘Employee Relations Today,’ clearly states that employee relations (the foremost of which is to drive out fear) starts at the top. The way the Chief Executive looks at the company sets the standards. If employees are viewed as labor cost then no matter what anyone else in the company tries to do can overcome this perception. (1:3) In the words of Dr. Deming (as cited in Bert, “n. d. “), who developed the widely acclaimed Deming Quality Principles: “Drive out fear. Many employees are afraid to ask questions or to take a position; even when they do not understand what the job is or what is right or wrong.
People will continue to do things the wrong way, or not to do them at all. The economic loss from fear is appalling. It is necessary for better quality and productivity that people feel secure. ” (2:1) Fear works to maintain discipline. But it also effectively discourages people to ask question. They are to follow orders that they receive. They carry them out exactly as they are directed. This approach is probably necessary when one is ordering troops into battle, but it seems a bit out of place in the business world. (2:1) Fear also helps in discouraging embarrassing questions from subordinates.
They spend most of their time “polishing the boss’s shoe. ” Initiative is lost and creativity is suppressed. Coming to work then is not an enjoyable experience. The employee is to know his/her place in the “pecking order”, the job thus becomes to protect that place, and if safe, to improve that place. From an economic perspective this may be acceptable, but the personal impact on employees and managers is unforgivable when the alternative to a fear environment is so simple. The alternative is respect for everyone in the company. Respect means treating employees the way you would want to be treated.
It means considering people as being intelligent, knowledgeable about their jobs, hard working and enthusiastic, all in all being craftsmen. (2:2) Respect for employees begins with humility from those on top. It is important to remember that the company is successful because of the talent, effort and attention of the lowest level of employees. The efforts of top managers are no more important than the interaction of the lowest level of employee with a customer. Managers must believe that employees are intelligent, hard working and every bit as skilful as the manager is. (2:3)
Results of Employee Relations Good employee relations translate into a happier, healthier and motivated workforce. Working becomes a pleasure. Even though there is no single solution to employee relations’ problem, a simple step in the right direction is to treat employees with respect and give them the credit they rightly deserve. Employee Counseling The Need for Counseling Everyone has periods of time in their life of difficulty, change and transition, when personal issues affect their work and relationships; issues such as emotional, family matters, career, financial, grief, or abuse of alcohol/drugs.
It is important for managers to realize that everyone includes their employees. (6:1) Every person goes through ups and downs in life and that includes employees. This affects their performance and attitude at work. Helping them get through the blues is not only the humanistic style of management but it also saves organizations many costs in terms of quality problems and miscommunication. What is Counseling Counseling can come in many forms. It can come as advice from a friend or relative. It can be guidance from a religious organization or a social worker.
“COUNSELING is Gaining Understanding then Perceiving Options and Finding Encouragement for Making Changes. Counseling provides options for change. ” (6:1) The Goals of Counseling The general aims of counseling are listed below. 1. Provide support and understanding; 2. Help identify problems and clarify issues; 3. Train employees to develop coping skills; 4. Educate employees in self-management techniques; 5. Encourage them to take personal responsibility; 6. Refer to proper community resources if required and 7.
Provide follow-up to monitor success. Types of Counseling As mentioned earlier, helping employees get through the blues is simply smart management. This help can come in many forms. The three basic types of counseling that will come under discussion are: 1. General Counseling Approach 2. One-on-one Performance Counseling 3. Specific/Need-based Counseling Approach General Counseling Approach. The organization can have this kind of approach when it aims to help the employees on a collective basis to maintain an optimistic perspective of life.
The article ‘Seven Ways to Beat the Blues’ describes seven ways that can be incorporated as part of a philosophy of the department/division or it can be part of an on-going counseling program. The guidelines listed below are generic in nature and apply to all employees across the board. 1. Maintain a realistic, factual and optimistic perspective on things; 2. Develop a healthy and positive relationships with people; 3. Get regular exercise; 4. Maintain a healthy balanced diet; 5. Rest and relaxation; 6. Get sunshine; 7. Improve your self-esteem.
This kind of approach of giving tips to employees regarding how to conduct their affairs shows that the organization cares about the welfare of its employees. One-on-one Performance Counseling. Managers specifically use this approach, when they are faced with issues of poor performance. Usually there are two things that a manger does when faced with such a problem a. nothing b. write a formalized warning Both these methods are on two extremes. Another more suitable course of action would be to talk with the employee personally and try and find out what is the reason behind the poor performance.
It is a six step coaching approach and it does yield positive results. The steps are as follows: 1. Gather and verify performance information and decide if proceeding is worth your time or hassling the employee. Don’t act on rumors or suppositions. 2. Meet with the employee and reach agreement on what’s happened or what hasn’t happened. 3. Get agreement on whose problem it really is. 4. Ask for solutions. Include them, which helps compliance. 5. Evaluate the solutions, agree on the best alternative and on what will happen and when. 6. Monitor progress and give feedback to correct and/or to reinforce the employee’s actions.
However it is important that before a manager decides to take this course of action several other factors are considered, for example: 1. Is this employee problem worth mentioning at all? 2. Is this the employee’s very first time with a minor infraction? 3. Has the employee had proper training? 4. Is the correction of performance within the employee’s control? It is important to remember that before any action is taken the management’s own role in the situation is evaluated. Has the management adequately reinforced the desired behavior or has it shown complacency in the past regarding performance related problems.