Championship Points

Relative to community or public relations, the term employee relations does not carry with it the same upbeat tone. Rather, the adversarial message that employee relations connotes has a built-in negativity to it. However, it need not be viewed any less favorably than the other business relations such as shareholder relations or government relations.

In fact, there are numerous ways through which those charged with delivering and maintaining a great working environment can prosper. For instance:

  • Avoid hiring a Homer Simpson or being hired by C. Montgomery Burns. Not only is life too short to work with or for people with these professional characteristics; such colleagues routinely suppress motivation and long-term success.

  • Recognize the professional and personal value in quality, long-term relationships. What is in the "best interests" of a business in the long run must not be in conflict with what is required to succeed in the short run.

  • Do what you can to maintain employee happiness. Even in tough economic times, when your employees are less likely to jump ship, employee happiness is still linked to increased productivity.

  • Just like it is cheaper to keep an existing customer than to woo a new one, the same is true with employees it's less expensive and time consuming to retain an existing employee than to hire and train a new one.

  • Don't play hardball with an employee or his or her representatives just because you can. Conversely, realize that if and when employee representatives play hardball it can damage the long-term relationship with important constituents including shareholders and sports fans.

  • Be prepared to negotiate and bargain in good faith, as any failure to do so will alienate important constituents, including customers or fans.

  • Take a page from the NFL's playbook when dealing with change. Incorporating vested parties in the process, whether formally or merely by providing a "heads-up," will help changes be more favorably received.

  • Recognize the inherent value in the assistance of others. In sports, it's often the media that plays a critical role, but far less visible allies can also help manufacture mutually satisfying results.

  • Be willing and amenable to consider change even if it is not in your immediate best interest to do so. Imagine the pounding the BCS would have taken had it not been willing to tinker with its formula.

  • Surround yourself with people you trust, and if they are new to a company make sure you've done your homework. Getting "O'Learyed" as Notre Dame did not only embarrassed the school, it tarnished the Golden Dome's brand.

  • Proactively manage the employee relations front at all times.

Sports has provided a great backdrop to learn about dealing with employees and their labor issues. An acute matter in sports, employee relations has become equally critical throughout all business and industry, affecting not only the organizations themselves, but those with whom they seek to conduct business.

It is far easier to structure mutually beneficial strategic alliances when potential business partners believe your workforce is both stable and properly engaged in matters that materially impact business operations.

On the Ball. What You Can Learn About Business from America's Sports Leaders
On the Ball: What You Can Learn About Business From Americas Sports Leaders
ISBN: 013100963X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 93
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