How to Build Strong Relationships with Employees

8 Jul

HR professionals need to build relationships with existing workers.

Human resources doesn't actively manage workers day to day, but the department is crucial to the retention of top performers and key talent at the organization. Without HR professionals' involvement in human capital management, the entire company can see high turnover, lost productivity and unmanaged benefits.

Yet HR departments need to be careful with employee management, as HR professionals who are unable to effectively manage workers' payroll and benefits or who don't speak with employees about their professional development can also be the reason for high turnover and costs. According to Time magazine, many workers don't talk to HR unless they have issues in the workplace. While the article focused on what employees should do to build relationships, HR professionals can make it easy for workers to approach them and build connections early on in the hiring process. From staying informed about a top worker's career expectations to ensuring all employees understand their benefits, HR professionals need to reach out to workers and construct lasting relationships.

Start with Effective Onboarding
If workers don't feel as if they are supported by HR from day one, HR professionals can have a harder time creating relationships with employees. HR representatives need to be involved in the onboarding of new workers to ensure they are gaining the information they require to perform their jobs correctly and be effective members of the workforce. Transitioning into the company needs to be easy as possible for employees, and HR professionals need to be one of new hires' go-to resources, which lays the foundation for a great, rewarding relationship between HR and employees.  

Check in with Workers Frequently
Many HR departments have few representatives available to work with their large workforce, but HR professionals shouldn't be afraid to reach out and speak with workers frequently about their progress at the company, any goals they may have for professional development and how they are feeling about their employment. According to an article in, HR professionals need to invest time in creating relationships with existing workers rather than simply looking to bring in the next big talent. Each HR representative can be in charge of following up with certain workers throughout their first year of employment, and then a couple of times a year afterward.

Ask the Right Questions
When speaking with employees, HR professionals should ask about certain aspects in the workplace to gauge employee engagement. From how workers are feeling about their careers to issues they see at the company, inquiring about specific parts of their work experiences can help HR professionals show they want to improve workers' satisfaction at the company and value employees' opinions. An article in Inc. magazine provided a list of 25 questions managers and company leaders should ask their workers, and HR professionals should take note. Asking about satisfaction with benefits, need for professional development and even qualities others may not know a worker may have can help HR professionals build a strong relationship with each employee.

Provide Professional Development Opportunities
Even though workers were hired for specific skill sets, that doesn't mean they are happy with their abilities or are fine with not advancing within the company. HR professionals know they need to stay informed about workers' career expectations, but they should also offer the right development opportunities and give workers information about upcoming promotional opportunities to help employees achieve their goals. 

Connect Workers with Mentors
HR professionals can put their networking skills to use by matching employees to people they can learn from. According to the article, introducing workers to company leaders and encouraging mentorships can help workers feel supported by their HR departments and valued by their businesses. 

Communicate Changes to Benefits
Perhaps one of the easiest and yet often overlooked relationship builders is reaching out about adjustments to benefits and compensation. HR professionals can't construct relationships with employees if they aren't effective at employee benefits management. Communicating about bonuses, new health care plans and the like should be a primary focus of every HR department, and HR professionals should ensure they encourage workers to inquire about any changes if they have questions.

Offer Training on Self-Service Software
Self-service payroll and benefits solutions are made to be user-friendly, yet HR professionals shouldn't leave workers on their own to learn these critical systems. These tools are made to make it easy for employees to take control of their information and benefits, and HR professionals need to provide basic training and resources on this software to ensure workers are using solutions effectively. 

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