Heart of HR: Building Strong Employee Relationships

By: Krissy Fuller

In the world of work, where coffee is the elixir of life and emails are our daily epics, building strong relationships with employees is like adding a collection of spices to the meal you’re preparing.  Sure you can eat a bland meal, but the combination of seasonings can elevate your meal to perfection.  The same is true in the workplace, think of employee relationships as the seasoning to your workplace culture, ie: meal.

Some of us aren’t natural chefs (yep, sticking with the cooking theme here) and need detailed instructions on how to cook, so we don’t end up with a burnt flavorless meal.  The good news is that when it comes to helping you build strong employee relationships – we’re basically Michelin rated chefs in the HR world. Below is our tried and true recipe!

  1. Open and Transparent Communication

Think of communication like a friendly game of charade – you want everyone to get the message.  Encourage team members to express themselves with as much creativity as they’d use in a game of Pictionary.

  1. Recognition and Appreciation

When someone accomplishes a goal it’s important to recognize it.  Now, that can look different for everyone.  We recommend asking employees how they like to deserve praise and recognition.  Some may want a simple email from you, while others prefer to be recognized in front of their peers.   Receiving appreciation goes a long way in keeping employees motivated and happy and is incredibly easy to incorporate into your daily/weekly/monthly routine. 

  1. Professional Development Opportunities

Providing your employees with the opportunity to learn new skills, shows them that you value them.  That they aren’t just an end to the means of getting the job done.  We also recommend letting your employees pick some of their training.  Even if it doesn’t seem directly relevant to their role, all training is beneficial.  A data entry specialist who wants to take a creative writing class, could come back refreshed and renewed, and find new ways to streamline a process. Is that writing class directly related, no.  But is your employee learning a new skill that helps them feel reinvigorated, a benefit?  ABSOLUTELY.  

  1. Work-Life Balance

We’ve all heard this before.  This is not breaking news. BUT it is often not enforced.  Take a look at your employees vacation balance.  Have they taken a day off?  Are they constantly staying late, and coming in early?  These are all simple ways to see if your employees have work-life balance.  Perhaps the workload has increased in a particular department, and it’s time to hire another role.  

  1. Team Building Activities

Yep – team building activities.  Don’t groan, you can do these in easy creative ways.  Here at be the change HR, we love to talk about food and movies, and pets.  Perhaps you introduce a “Virtual Pet Day” where everyone introduces their pet/s, or favorite animal at the beginning of a meeting.  If you notice that your employees LOVE coffee – ask them about their favorite coffee brand or local coffee spot.  Sharing this info can help your team get to know each other better and find commonalities.  

  1. Empowerment and Involvement

We’ve all heard the saying – better to ask forgiveness than permission.  Empower your employees to make decisions.  The more decisions they can make, the more that can come off your plate.  Of course, you will need to give guidance.  You will also have to accept that sometimes they will make decisions you don’t love.  Remember to not overcorrect.  (Unless it’s a gross negligence situation).  Learning takes time, but in the end empowering your employees to make decisions and be involved helps build trust and foster deeper relationships.

  1. Flexibility and Adaptability

Don’t worry – we’re not going to tell you to allow employees to continue to work from home.  While we think that piece is important, what we’re talking about here is flexibility and adaptability to allow your employees to show up as their whole self.  Do you require employees to cover their tattoos?  Perhaps once a month you have a casual day where you allow them to show their tattoos with pride.  Or maybe you have a no hat policy, employees may like to wear one on a dress down day.  We’ve seen some clients have a lot of fun with having a sports fans day – where employees wear gear for their favorite team.  We understand that dress codes are important, but we also think it’s important to allow employees to have a little freedom, a little fun, and be able to show up as their whole self.  

Building strong relationships requires some work, but like everything else in life the best things come from consistency and effort.  Your employees are the lifeline of your company – if they’re not worth investing in, we don’t know what is.


Download Our Brochure

Want to see everything we offer with complete pricing? Fill out the form below and we will email you our brochure.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.