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Fostering partnerships with clients and relationships with customers is vital to the success of any small business. The most important relationships to encourage, however, are the ones within your own building. Good employee relations promote loyalty and increase productivity; the way management interacts with staff directly affects your company’s bottom line. Here are a few tips to ensure success in this endeavor.


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Set The Tone

The best way to establish great employee relations is by taking a preemptive strike. Set the tone you want. Management should be friendly, open, upbeat and, above all else, positive. No grumblings or negativity. If management isn’t optimistic about the state of affairs, that sour attitude is going to affect the entire staff.


Be Inclusive

The quickest way to sabotage any kind of relationship is by making it feel like “us” and “them.” Management should share the company’s vision with the rest of the staff. The more you involve your crew, the tighter the bond will become.


Explain The ‘Why’

Laying down the law to keep everyone on the same page might seem like a great strategy, but if you’re not careful, it can actually have a detrimental effect on workplace relations. Yes, outlining procedures is necessary, but be sure to include the reasons why these rules are in place, so your staff can see the full picture. And, don’t forget to invite suggestions from your employees on ways to better the system. Understanding why certain protocol is in place and having a chance to contribute are some of the best ways to cultivate positive employee relations.


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Provide Regular, Positive Feedback

Formal reviews at scheduled intervals are often too little, too late; and frequently, the emphasis is placed on workplace deficiencies. Employees need to hear that what they do has real value and impact—and they need to hear it in real time. “I like the way you handled that situation. Great job. I’m impressed with your ability to think on your feet in difficult situations. You’re a real asset to the team.”


Offer Training And Incentives

It’s not beneficial to anyone if your staff works on autopilot. Have a system in place that allows them to continually learn and advance. To entice that growth, reward achievements with a solid and fair incentive program.


End Every Day On A Positive Note

To keep a marriage strong, never go to bed angry. The same principle applies to the workplace. No matter how stressful the day was, management should thank their staff and let them know they are appreciated. Always send your employees home with a handshake, a smile and a few kind words.


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For more tips and inspiration for small business owners,
visit CBS Small Business Pulse Chicago.