How to Improve Relations Between Remote Employees and Their Manager

Unhappy remote worker
Written By


Published On

January 5, 2023


A poor relationship with a manager is one of the top reasons for low employee satisfaction and retention. A recent study by GoodHire found that 82% of employees would consider quitting their job due to a bad manager. In addition, Gallup found 50% of professionals left their job to "get away from their boss" at least once in their career.   

Building positive relationships is especially difficult for remote workers but is essential for increased employee satisfaction and long-term retention. In this article, we will define employee relations and teach you how to improve relationships between management and employees that work remotely. 


What are employee relations, and why are they important?  

Many areas affect employee relationship management. Key elements that significantly affect poor employee relations include:


Workplace Conflicts/Bullying

Disputes or bullying between employees or between employees and their managers are major HR issues that affect workplace culture. Frequent unresolved conflicts within a work environment lead to low employee morale and should be a focus area for improvement for every company.

Workplace Safety

Accidents are terrible for good employee relations and lead to significant company expenses. Employers will be responsible for medical costs, leave, and lost wages if accidents occur due to an unsafe workplace.


Workplace Flexibility

Employees that work remotely generally desire and expect a flexible schedule from a business owner. It is essential to work with employees to lay out expectations that meet the company's and employees' needs.

Pay Raises/Employee Evaluations

Ignored requests for pay raises and evaluations are a significant source of employee frustration. Companies should be clear about personal and financial growth pathways within the company.

Positive interactions between employees and their supervisors

Maintaining positive employee relations is essential to ensure loyal employees are engaged and satisfied with their roles. Employees who experience poor relationships with their managers have low morale and higher turnover rates. Companies need to help supervisors build strong one-on-one relationships with their subordinates, especially in remote settings where relationships are harder to foster.


Key elements that negatively impact employee relations with their manager include: 


Failure to appreciate

Employees that feel unappreciated are far less likely to have workplace satisfaction than those with supervisors who demonstrate frequent appreciation.

They are making employees' work feel unimportant

Employees need to feel like their work is valuable to the company. Giving employees time-consuming tasks and not explaining their value can cause significant issues. Managers should also assign tasks based on expressed interest so employees feel heard and enjoy their work.


They are not providing incentives for hard-working employees

Managers who only offer negative consequences instead of incentives are far less likely to effectively encourage their employees to provide consistent quality work.


Favoritism/Inconsistencies in the treatment of employees

Managers must communicate consistently with their various employees regardless of their roles. Employees that receive less communication will feel undervalued compared to their counterparts that receive more interaction. 

Rigidity in the way that managers manage their employees

Managers that do not allow flexibility in managing employees with different personalities and responsibilities will have less employee satisfaction and poor relations.

Differences in interpretation of work duties

When roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined and discussed before starting employment or new positions, it will lead to workplace dissatisfaction and ruin relationships between employees and their managers.

Lack of consistent communication

Employees working in remote settings that do not feel like they can reach out to their supervisors and get timely responses will feel undervalued and unappreciated, leading to low morale. In addition, workplace errors are more likely to occur when employees cannot get clarity on roles and projects.

6 ways to improve poor relations with manager

Ensuring employees and their managers have a good relationship starts from the beginning through the hiring process and should be monitored continually to ensure happiness and long-term retention. Here are 8 ways you can foster and improve employee relations: 

1. Hire the proper managers for each role:
    • Ensure you hire managers with experience managing remote employees because there are nuances to remote vs. in-person workforces. 
    • Ensure that the managers you hire align with the same values as your organization.
    • Evaluate managers early on and frequently to give feedback for improvement.


2. Have a monitoring system in place for supervisors to evaluate employees that is the same for each employee and is transparent:

    • Assess employees regularly, quarterly, or every six months.
    • Supervisors must be objective in their assessments. 
    • Reward employees for their achievements and celebrate their success.  


3. Managers must be consistent with managing each employee and be aware of favoritism so they can take corrective action if needed.

    • As a company, put a process in place for employees to reach out and seek support if they run into issues with favoritism.
    • Managers must know their bias weaknesses, so they can monitor and keep them in check. 


4. Managers must be aware of interpersonal issues and be willing to get involved and help seek solutions. 

    • It is common for there to be conflict in any position between employees but especially in remote settings where face-to-face interactions are not readily available. 
    • Managers should aid in conflict resolution and involve employees throughout this process so they feel heard and valued.


5. Managers must be optimistic.

    • People don't like being around negative people who bring them down; the same goes for a supervisor. When things go wrong, supervisors should take responsibility for their part and work with employees to find solutions. 

6. Managers should help employees grow their confidence and feel trusted.

    • Managers should seek to highlight the good in their employees and build them up rather than focusing on negative qualities and instances. Mistakes must be thought of as teaching moments rather than moments to punish. 

Improve damaged employee relations and increase employee retention today!

Ensure you hire excellent managers from the get-go whose values align with your company and continually evaluate their effectiveness. It is best to have a monitoring and assessment system that rewards, incentivizes, and empowers employees. This will allow them to feel involved and valued. 

To avoid issues, managers must be consistent with how each employee is managed and avoid bias. As a leader, be aware of interpersonal issues and help seek solutions. Strive to maintain a positive atmosphere that builds up employees and helps them succeed in their desired roles.


Hiring a developer? Onboard them the right way with our free checklist!