Protecting The Well-Being Of Your Staff
- An Employer’s Responsibilities
- Employer vs. Employee Expectations
- Maintaining A Work-Life Balance
- Supporting Professional Development
- Dealing With Employee Conflict
- Employer’s Liability Insurance
An Employer’s Responsibilities
As an employer, it is essential that you protect the well-being of your staff, because your workplace’s most valuable asset will always be the people you employ for your business. When your employees are under pressure, dissatisfied and stressed, the impact can be devastating not only to the well-being of individual employees, but the overall morale of your workplace and ultimately the performance of your business.
The resulting fall in productivity means that businesses are unable to provide their products and services at full capacity, affecting revenue and profits. As for employees, their growing dissatisfaction leads to higher levels of stress, incurring yet more financial costs for businesses due to the expenses associated with recruiting and training replacements.
By understanding what employees expect when it comes to their work-life balance, their professional development and their relationships with their colleagues and superiors will be maintained. By cultivating a professional atmosphere employees will focus on their duties and responsibilities, which benefits the operation of the business.
Employer vs. Employee Expectations
As an employer, you will undoubtedly have different expectations to your employees. However, steps can be taken to ensure that your desires as an employer and the desires of your employees become mutually compatible. For example, as an employer you expect your employees to completely dedicate their working hours to your business by being as productive and as resourceful as possible. Your employees, on the other hand, expect to be appropriately compensated for their time and effort by being financially rewarded, recognised and acknowledged via training opportunities and praise as well as various benefits and perks.
There are several ways in which you can align employer and employee expectations, and even though they are achieved through different means and have different objectives, they benefit everyone involved. Some examples include introducing timed breaks, engaging with employees’ struggles and challenges, and providing incentives for high performance and target achievements. It is imperative that you recognise the challenges your employees are facing, and introduce corporate changes and training initiatives which help to maintain productivity, satisfaction and efficiency levels.
By demonstrating that you are invested in the professional and personal welfare of your employees, and rewarding them for the work that they do for you, you will encourage them to work as hard as possible in support of the interests of your business. In this way, you can navigate employer and employee expectations so that they benefit one another, rather than being exclusive to each other.
Maintaining A Work-Life Balance
For many employees, maintaining a work-life balance is one of their primary considerations when it comes to accepting or retaining a position. Whilst you are not responsible for the work-life balance of your employees, there are some steps you can take as an employer in order to demonstrate your commitment to their well-being within and outside of the professional environment. Through positive policies, decisions, values and expectations you can encourage your employees to pursue a healthy work-life balance.
For example, you can implement a policy where employees are not to be contacted outside work hours or during their time off. This will ensure that your employees can enforce firm boundaries between their professional and personal lives. By introducing flexible work schedules, you can give your employees the freedom to adjust their working hours and perhaps even work remotely on a full or part time basis.
It is important that you don’t expect your employees to consistently work long hours or over the weekend either, as this will inevitably result in burnout and dissatisfaction. When employees are supported in achieving a healthy balance, they are more likely to stay with their present employer and perform to the best of their abilities whilst at work.
Supporting Professional Development
Employees expect their employers to support their professional development. It is recommended to pursue professional development throughout your career, so that you can gain the experience, qualifications and skills required to be successful in your role, receive a promotion or change your position. When employers support the professional development of their employees, they are showing that they are invested in their employees for the long-term. Whether it is through online courses, training initiative, webinars, workshops or degree programs, there are countless ways that you can introduce professional development opportunities within the workplace.
Of course, this not only benefits employees, but you as an employer as well. Through professional development, you can ensure that your employees are constantly learning and applying innovative and creative skills, which will be of considerable benefit to your business. What’s more, your employees will appreciate your commitment to their professional development, and they are less likely to leave a position if they feel that their employer is committed to their growth and success when it comes to their careers.
Professional development is an incredibly broad subject, and just some of the areas where you can support your employees’ careers include conflict management, critical thinking and time management. Another way to offer professional development is through performance reviews. By delivering these performance reviews tactfully and carefully, you can ensure that your employees understand how much their contributions are valued by you and at the same time offer constructive advice that can be used to address areas of improvement.
Dealing With Employee Conflict
Whenever people are working within a collaborative environment, employee conflict is to be expected. However, there are some measures that you can adopt as an employer in order to ensure that employee conflict is managed and controlled. If unaddressed, employee conflict can create a toxic work environment, which can have a significant impact upon the welfare of your employees. There are several factors that can contribute to the emergence of employee conflict, with some common causes being unclear expectations and poorly defined roles, insufficient communication as well as an absence of trusting relationships between employees.
As an employer, you might not necessarily be involved with the day-to-day activities of your employees, and noticing tensions and disagreements amongst your employees may be difficult. However, it is in the interests of yourself as well as those who work for you to be diligent when it comes to identifying employee conflicts, especially before they begin to disrupt productivity and performance levels. First and foremost, observe how your employees interact with one another in meetings so that you can understand the dynamics within the team and how effectively they collaborate.
There may be some employees whose perspectives and opinions are drowned out by louder voices around them, and it is important that these employees have the chance to express any grievances in a safe place. Similarly, defensive or argumentative employees should be closely observed, especially if they are usually implicated in arguments and disagreements. By understanding the dynamics between your employees, you are perfectly positioned to address and resolve conflicts effectively and quickly.
Employer’s Liability Insurance
The people you employ are your business’ most valuable assets, and protecting their interests is synonymous with protecting your own interests. It is essential that you promote your employees’ well-being whenever and wherever you can, whether it is by encouraging a healthy work-life balance, supporting professional development or resolving employee conflicts. However, there is no way to control every variable, and incidents can still happen.
If any employee feels that their well-being has been negatively impacted whilst at work, they can make a claim for compensation against you. This is why obtaining employer’s liability insurance, as an employer is essential, because it will protect you and your business should this happen. Within the United Kingdom, employer’s liability insurance is a legal requirement if you employ staff, as explained here. This insurance will cover any compensation claims that are brought against you, enabling you to fulfil your obligations towards the well-being of your employees as well as financially and legally protecting your business.