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PBM 101: How to enhance employer employee relationships

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PBM 101: How to enhance employer employee relationships

In this Principle Based Management 101 series, we’re unpacking mental models, ideas, and tools you can use to level up your work.

This article was previously published by Stand Together Foundation.

Principle Based Management™ provides a holistic approach to making decisions, solving problems, and creating value for individuals in your community, team members in your organization, and society at large. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​It is rooted in proven principles that have fueled the ongoing success of Stand Together and our partners. In this Principle Based Management 101 series, we’re unpacking mental models, ideas, and tools that you can use to reach the next level in your work.


Sometimes, consciously or unconsciously, we may view employees as mere instruments to achieve our objectives. We may believe that if we come up with just the right "carrot and stick" our employees will do what we ask. However, it's important to recognize that employees are not just means to an end. Instead of adopting a more transactional approach, we get better results when we strive to build true partnerships with each employee. The more we discover the motivators that tap into the innate drives of each employee, the better off we all are. 

In Principle Based Management, we believe our organization succeeds when we empower each individual to pursue opportunities beneficial to them and our organization — when we approach motivation through the lens of mutually beneficial partnership.

How do we partner with our employees to enhance employer employee relationships?

Mutual benefit is the cornerstone of all partnerships across our lives, including those between teammates, external partners, those we serve, employees, and the organization. As leaders and supervisors, we can deepen our partnership with employees by taking an individualized approach— recognizing that what people value and find motivating differs for each of us. 

Consider the following questions:

  • How am I partnering with employees to understand what they uniquely value and find motivating?
  • What conversations can I have with employees to find areas of deeper mutual benefit?
  • Which of our policies might be pushing us to treat employees as interchangeable variables in a formula versus unique individuals?
How can we motivate employees to maximize their contributions?

While compensation can be a powerful motivator, it is only one of many motives this dimension prompts us to consider. For example, our culture, mission, and the nature of the projects that employees work on can also be a source of motivation, each in their own unique way. 

By continually striving to understand the gifts, passions, and innate motivations of each employee, we can work to align their interests with those of the organization, creating mutually beneficial outcomes for everyone involved.

How can employers help employees maximize their contributions and find meaningful success?

Consider if the following statements are true and/or what you might do to intentionally improve:

  • I strive to help employees find roles and projects that advance our vision and that align with their personal gifts and interests.
  • I use compensation to help employees feel connected to the value they create and reward them accordingly.
  • I seek to align each employee's incentives with what will motivate them to maximize their contributions to our shared vision.

Learn more about Principle Based Management and how it can help you transform your results.

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