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Employee Engagement

Building Relationships In The Workplace

What goes into building relationships in the workplace? Read on to understand why it is key to employee engagement.

June 26, 2020
by
Manoj Agarwal
Employee Engagement

Building Relationships In The Workplace

Building Relationships In The Workplace

An organisation comprises individuals with diverse backgrounds coming together, driven by one ambition – excelling in their tasks and contributing to the success of their organization. For either or both to see light of the day, we must acknowledge the interdependencies in the ecosystem. None of us can survive, work, or achieve any milestone in isolation as we are humans – the social beings dependent on relationships in all spheres of our lives, work being one of them. A major reason why building relationships in the workplace and nurturing co-worker relations are important.

People with work friends are seven times more likely to be engaged
Source: Gallup

The work relationships are not always by choice hence most of us may only associate with a colleague for a project or an assignment. We may naturally not feel the need to strengthen this relationship but what will happen if we do work towards sustaining it? 

For any relationship to work it takes two. So also, at work! At the very first go, naturally we tend to associate ourselves close to those with whom we find some traits or habits in common. What is important though is to look beyond this natural selection and put an effort in building and sustaining those relationships that are beneficial to you and add to you as a professional.For example – interdepartmental relationships or mentor-mentee relationship. 

Remember any relationship must be a value add for both the involved parties, in absence of which the relationship over time will become obsolete. Identify those relationships, it could take time but will be worth your effort.  Make this a part of your work habit to invest time in building work relationships as you progress in your journey within an organization. 

Why Does Building Relationships In The Workplace Matter?

Firstly, for our basic existence – our tendency to have someone with whom we can share our life and its journey. Same is true in the organization context too, in maintaining co-worker relationships. Having a culture of positive work relationships enables, 


Reasons to build workplace relationships
  1. The working atmosphere to be fun and lively – remember that first day at school, college or in your new organization. How would it be to spend a considerable amount of time everyday feeling the same. Not so much fun, isn’t it? While it is important to give undivided attention to the work and being diligent, it does not stop you from having those light moments at work. Take time to crack a joke, share fun photos, and cherish it. Empuls allows for employees to form such fun and hobby groups bringing together people of similar interests. 


Impact of having a sense of community
Source: Medium
  1. Creates a sense of belonging – it surely feels good to come to a place where we have friends or acquaintances. 
82% of the employers rated employee referral
No doubt that 82% of the employers rated employee referral as the best resource for generating ROI. Apart from this, having friends at work help enhance retention, manage work stress and creative problem solving to name a few.
  1. Sharing of knowledge within employees and teams – Knowledge once gained is a treasure forever. But it only increases if shared! Teams can collaborate on projects or a problem statement and brainstorm. Free flow of information within the organization promotes the culture of learning and allows for employee self-development
  1. High performing teams – positive relationship allows for the best of each employee to come out. We are open to feedback and learn from each other. We take pride in each other’s success and stand together in failure. This enhances the cohesion in the team and keep the team focused on end goal as against focusing on counter productive aspects of an unhealthy relationship. 
  1. Feedback sharing and receiving – an effective feedback exercise has a positive relationship in its foundation. It also makes the feedback more credible it comes from someone with whom you have a healthy work relationship. We receive it with an open mind, tend to take it positively and work for betterment. 
  1. Celebrating each other’s success – Peer to peer recognition is one of the motivators that drive excellence in our deliveries. Having your colleague or a friend at work talk about your journey to success, write an appreciation note for you on company intranet builds a culture of open recognition and promotes the idea of team spirit. 
  1. Helps in your career growth – Meeting, interacting, and learning from people of diverse background contributes in enhancing knowledge and sharpening interpersonal skills. It makes us sensitive towards personal preferences, cultural nuances and gives insight on different role that people play within the organization. As we go higher up the career ladder, our roles become more functional involving interactions with people in form of employee, clients, customers, stakeholders etc. Having good knowledge of people, their sensitivities and having good work relationship will enable effective people management and interactions.  
91% prefer a workplace where people identify and discuss issues truthfully

How to build strong, effective & positive work relationships?

  1. It starts with you – share about yourself. Reach out first. Not everyone is effective in making strong relationships but seeing your consistent approach, the other party will reciprocate. It also brings forth your approachable self and encourages others to start feely interacting with you.
  1. Support others in their endeavours – relationship is a two-way street. While you seek help from others, support others in their assignments. Offer help and guidance. Be an honest critic but in a constructive manner.
  1. Ask for help – Be open in acknowledging your shortcoming or need for help. This presents you as an honest person. It further encourages others to accept their improvement areas candidly in front of you. It shows you are open to learn and are a knowledge seeking person
  1. Thank them – Appreciation at any level of hierarchy is always welcome. It is a small gesture that goes a long way in strengthening your relationship. Acknowledging support and help received from others, promotes a culture of teamwork and collaboration. 
Peer-to-peer recognition
  1. Be in touch even if not in need – it is good to receive a call or a message which is only focused on checking on our wellbeing and the sender is not expecting anything in return. Acts like these set foundations for long term association as it shows that you are not only focused on getting your work done or ask for favours but are genuinely interested in having a healthy relationship.
  1. Invest time – building relationships take time. Do not brush off people post your one-time interaction or project completion. Take time to know people. You may need not spend hours in a day to work on it but see if you can continue with the regular greeting, thank the person for help, share credit, wish them on important occasions. 
  1. Maintain a professional approach – do not cross the line. Be respectful and respect the space of the other person. Remember your relationship is a work relationship and you may not want to come across as someone who is interfering in someone’s work and personal space
  1. Pay attention to others – communication is an important ingredient in any relationship and listening is a key element in it. It is a skill and having good listening skills can enable strengthening your work relationship to a great extent. 

Focusing on co-worker relations: Way forward

In an organizational pyramid, every single individual plays a crucial role. We all contribute our bit towards the bigger goal. We all carry knowledge and skill that can be a learning for someone else. With the scope of projects and assignments becoming global, the teams have gone global too. It is hence imperative to respect and maintain good working relationships across the length and breadth of an organization. This in turn serves to maintain good relationship with our internal and external stakeholders and our clients and customers. Having strong working relationships comes with its own perks – you can get your work prioritized, a call can get the work done and avoid that escalation you dread of. But remember the relationships must be built on the foundation on trust, honesty, integrity and with a genuine interest to have a good healthy working relationship and the benefits will follow. 

As per Gallup study, employees having strong work relationships are more engagement, produce higher-quality work and have a higher state of wellbeing.

Our engagement platform can work as a useful tool for building meaningful work relationships. Talk to us to know more.

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