top of page

Building Better Labor Relations: Be Active, Be Real, and Be Reliable

With Labor Day just around the corner, now’s the time to talk about labor relations and how they can make or break any enterprise. Fortunately, the formula for building better labor relations is relatively simple whether you’re an employee or a boss. Be active, be real, and be reliable.

Be Active to Build Better Labor Relations

“My door is always open!” We’ve all heard that at some point in our lives, but have we ever stopped to unpack what it means? Having an open-door policy is a step in the right direction for labor relations, but it is a very passive one that requires a person to actively bring concerns to your attention (and potentially risk their job). An organization that doesn’t communicate stratifies and disconnects. An organization that stratifies and disconnects fails.

From supervisors to middle managers to the upper echelons of any company or group, everyone needs to actively work to understand the concerns and overall mood of the entire workforce from top to bottom. Actively communicating with people from all levels of the business or group can stop problems in their tracks and reveal areas of weakness you never knew existed.

Simultaneously, employees must make an active effort to bring their questions and concerns to their supervisors and–if necessary–over them. Workers are always the first line and the first to know when things are breaking down. Don’t hesitate, activate and communicate, when you see that happening.

Be Real to Build Better Labor Relations

Far too many people try to construct a work persona for themselves or put on a fake front they think people will like. Truth is, people usually aren’t good enough actors to come off as genuine. People will see through the disguise and wonder what it is that’s being hidden. Trust breaks down.

How can you avoid this? It’s relatively easy: just be real. Be you. A person who is real and open is far more accessible and easy to communicate with than a person who is faking it. Establishing trust and rapport is only possible when all parties are authentic. Neither employees nor bosses should attempt to establish a “front.”

Be Reliable to Build Better Labor Relations

The best managers and the best bosses are the ones that lead by example. They are the first ones in and the last ones out. They are the first to volunteer for the hard projects and the last to try to slip away from the grueling day-in, day-out stuff. They show they care about their teams by remembering small things like family milestones and birthdays for their team. And, most importantly, they always have their team’s back. Teams follow leaders like that wherever they lead.

Employees can reflect that same reliability to build trust with their superiors. Schedule your time off in advance whenever possible. Don’t complain about your work unless there is a real problem that needs to be addressed. Show up on time. None of this is hard. None of it is rocket science. And yet, it will put you at the front of the pack.

Labor relations are actually really easy. Start from a point of humanity, be active, be real, and be reliable and you will find people respond extremely well. If you need more help with labor relations, Strategic Management and Logistics offers Human Resources support that can help put your business or organization back on track.


bottom of page