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Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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Good Employee Relations

 

What separates the good jobs from the bad ones? It turns out that the answer is usually “the boss.” Sure, making a good wage matters, but research shows that one of the biggest reasons employees don’t like their job is because they don’t like their supervisor. Sometimes, people are promoted to management positions without any clear idea of what a good manager does. That can lead to poor communication with the people they supervise, which can in turn lead to poor office morale. There are numerous ways to be a bad boss, and there are even more ways to be just plain mediocre, which means your employees don’t hate you, but they also don’t really respect you. Strive to be more than middling.

Be Fair

Fairness is a big deal. If you have trouble figuring out what are fair management practices, then it’s past time to learn. All humans have biases. When someone complains about “biased reporters,” they’re complaining about the fact that people who write the news are humans. However, we can’t let those biases get in the way of doing our job, regardless of if it’s working for a national newspaper or supervising a team of twenty people in an office.

We often feel biased towards people who remind us of ourselves or people we love. Again, that’s a natural impulse in many ways. Let’s say there’s an employee named Brian, who is a little too sarcastic with his coworkers sometimes. But hey, you’re sarcastic too, and you secretly think he’s funny. So, you let a few remarks slide, when they should be addressed. That can hurt company morale. We all like to joke around; however, no one likes to feel like they’re the butt of every joke. If someone comes to you because they’re concerned about a remark Brian made, don’t say, “Oh, he doesn’t mean anything by it.” Listen to what your employee is trying to tell you.

Bring in Help

One part of knowing how to manage is knowing when it’s time to bring in someone else to help with a complicated situation. Every company should have a formal human resources department, including smaller ones. If your company doesn’t have that, it’s time to make some noise. Even a small business in Australia should be able to find human resources in Brisbane. When there’s no real HR department, it becomes harder for certain issues to be addressed in a timely manner.


Human resources employees are there to look out for the company’s interests. However, that shouldn’t mean letting the company steamroll its employees in ways that are illegal or unethical. If your HR department is a joke, then your employees are going to lose a great deal of respect for the company as a whole. Discrimination issues also can’t be overlooked. If there’s evidence of a company mistreating an employee who is part of a protected class, things can get ugly fast. Remember that some states and cities offer additional protections that aren’t offered by the federal government. Being a decent, fair manager is much easier than defending yourself against lawsuits.

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