An employer-employee relationship is both a financial and a social contract. All employers rely on the skills and endeavour of their employees, who are prepared to give up their time and energy in order that they can earn a living. Effective employer/employee relationships are those which are based upon both the spirit as well as the letter of the employment contract.

Successful businesses understand that being a good employer does not cost any money, which means that you can be a good employer during difficult economic times as well as in a boom. In fact, being a good employer saves money because it reduces ‘churn’ and avoids the need to replace people, which wastes time and money.

Good employers have the following attributes:

  1. They think strategically to protect the business and the people that work in it.
  2. They understand that people need to be kept informed about the direction that business is planning and how it is performing. (The livelihoods of their families are at stake and they will appreciate being treated like adults and being given an honest account. Employers who do not provide information will find that people fill the gap with bad news.)
  3. They care about people and they demonstrate it by actions rather than just words.
  4. They understand that people have family commitments and see that as a driver not a distraction.
  5. They smile at people and say “Good morning”.
  6. They are consistent – they do not say one thing and do another.
  7. They run a business that people can take a pride in.
  8. They invest in the future and demonstrate that they appreciate their employees by providing the right “tools for the job”.
  9. They weed out non-performers sympathetically to avoid putting excessive strain on everybody else.
  10. They display leadership and confidence; particularly when things get tough.
  11. They ask their people for advice, listen and act upon the advice where appropriate.
  12. They are flexible.
  13. They show respect for people.
  14. They thank people frequently.
  15. They give criticism in private but acknowledge achievements in public.
  16. They reward people fairly at all times and exceptionally during good times.
  17. They are without prejudice in terms of gender, race, age or religion.
  18. They create an environment with no blame culture and support people in rectifying mistakes.
  19. They apologise if the mistake is theirs.
  20. They are enthusiastic.