Fostering Excellence
Bringing out the best in each of us
Many companies and employees treat their association as contractual. Employees assist employers produce goods or services in exchange for a wage or salary. This sterile relationship is unlikely to inspire loyalty, trust and a mutual sense of investment. Organizations thrive when their members individually thrive, and also when those members in turn nurture the organization beyond simply producing goods or services.

Employees and employers should look at their association as a relationship, one that depends on the active positive contributions of each party. All relationships need nurturing and positive environmentals in order to be healthy. Here are important items to consider when nurturing a employer-employee relationship:

Healthy Employer-Employee Relationships 

Both are enriched – If an employer and an employee are to have a healthy relationship, they must get more out of the relationship than productivity and pay, respectively. The relationship should enrich each party beyond that sterile dimension. The work given to employees should allow them to develop and grow professionally. In return, employees should invest in their organization’s vitality. In addition to producing contractual goods and services, employees should invest in the longevity and prosperity of the organization, improving processes and best practices. In this way, employer and employee enrich each other in a mutually beneficial association.

Shared vision – Employer and employee should also be moving in the same direction. If the goals of the company and the goals of the employee are not aligned, there will be some inherent tension between employee and employer. When the company’s organizational goals support the career goals of the employee, the relationship is strong and the efforts of both are mutually supportive.

Shared values – Not all companies share the same set of values, nor do all employees. When employees work for companies who do not share their values, or when the workplace culture does not fit the employee well, there will be friction. It is important for employees to find employers who share their values if they want the relationship to be strong.

Both parties can terminate the relationship – No employer-employee relationship can be healthy if either party is trapped in the relationship. If an employee does not have the background or training to leave their current employment for something of equal or greater value, they can often become trapped in their current employment and unable to leave. This can create feelings of resentment and impotence. Conversely, if an employer cannot let go of a toxic or unproductive employee, they can also feel helpless to meet the requirements of their clientele.  Employees need to be employable in ways that allow them to leave the company, and the company needs to have the HRO infrastructure to move employees along who are not partnering with them to meet company goals.

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Employee-employer relationships are an art, not a science, and need to be nurtured. Healthy relationships are those wherein both parties are enriched, where they share common goals and values, and where neither is trapped in a relationship that does not meet their needs. These relationships inspire trust, loyalty and a mutual sense of investment.
Michael Farr, PMP, is a Chief Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force and founder of He is passionate about recognition and enabling professionals to motivate their organizations through recognizing their member’s excellence. When he is not slaying dragons with his kids, he can be found at @fosterxcellence on Twitter and @fosteringexcellence on Facebook.