The Associate Relations department is one of the most critical within an organization, as it is responsible for facilitating positive relationships and overall employee management. Sometimes also called Human Resources or Employee Relations, this team helps streamline office processes and makes a beneficial addition to a company for five main reasons:
They help disseminate information
Whether it involves circulating updated office policies, explaining new government regulations or sharing company news, the Associate Relations team can ensure that all coworkers receive the same information. When everyone is on the same page, it can help cut down on inter-departmental gossip and miscommunication, which in turn can alleviate some work-related stress.
If there is a disconnect between management and employees, the Associate Relations department can also help cultivate and distribute the information needed to clear up the problem.
They streamline disciplinary actions
Performance reviews and meetings about misconduct can be tense for managers and employees alike, especially when the former are not properly trained in how to handle these situations. Associate Relations team members can work together to create written guidelines and hold training sessions to ensure that all confrontations regarding workplace disruptions, poor performance, disciplinary action and other complaints are handled professionally and respectfully. Associate Relations understands the serious nature of confidentiality and can help the reporting individual take the right steps toward resolving the problem by involving all of the right parties without causing a scene.
They can help boost morale
Everyone is busy during the workday, so in many cases company morale is put on the back burner while job-related tasks are being completed. However, if employees are unhappy at work and do not have a positive impression of the company or its values, they are likely to become unmotivated and not put their best effort forward. Something as simple as hosting team gatherings after work, finding interesting speakers to give "lunch and learn" presentations or organizing company-sponsored intramural sports teams can make a huge difference and can be planned on a more regular basis with the help of an Associate Relations team.
They manage the employee assistance program
In the modern working world, companies are becoming more willing to accommodate the needs of their employees and are even providing programs to help them through hard times. Employee assistance programs can help with everything from drug and alcohol addiction and mental health counseling to setting up flexible spending accounts and working with management to agree on nontraditional work schedules to better fit the needs of working parents.
They facilitate quality in the workplace
At some companies, the Associate Relations team also acts as the office manager. Members of the team will be in charge of acknowledging employees' birthdays, work anniversaries and other special occasions, in addition to ordering supplies and being the point of contact when computers and other machines are not working properly. Associate Relations often also conducts office-wide surveys to give employees a confidential space to air their grievances and request changes.
In companies without Associate Relations teams, these responsibilities are often distributed to executives and managers who do not have the time to give relevant tasks the attention they deserve. Those considering the pros and cons of creating a new Associate Relations team should start by thinking about the processes they currently have in place. Who is in charge of each of the functions listed above? Are they managed efficiently? Associate Relations professionals are typically very passionate about fostering happiness and balance within the workplace and can help streamline all office processes to make the workday run more smoothly for everyone.