How to Foster Productive Relationships in the Workplace Without Crossing the Lie

It’s a typical Friday afternoon and yet another employee has turned in their two weeks’ notice. It’s the fourth employee this week and you’re still not sure of the reason behind the subtle mutiny you have on your hands. Well, the truth is that there could be a number of reasons why employees are leaving the company; from unfavorable work conditions to low pay.

However, there’s one major suspect that you may not have considered just yet: a lack of positive workplace relationships.

A research posted by Totaljobs revealed that up to 49% of workers claim that they have quit their jobs after their relationship with bosses turned sour. This study also revealed that up to 59% of workers never socialize with their managers both during and after work hours.

In fact, further studies have shown that personal connections with coworkers, managers and even customers can lead to increased employee engagement and performance.

This means that when it comes to the corporate workplace, it is essential to prioritize healthy relationships among employees. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of healthy workplace relationships and how to promote them. So read on to find out more.

What are the Advantages of Workplace Relationships?

Some of the perks that come with promoting and fostering healthy relationships in the workplace include:

Increased employee productivity

You’ve heard of “happy wife, happy life.” Now, it’s time for “happy employee, happy company.”

It’s pretty common to witness employees’ productivity levels dropping now and then. You may find your workers turning in shoddy reports and constantly missing deadlines. However, promoting fun relationships in the workplace can change all of that in an instant. Companies that foster healthy co-worker relationships tend to create a more positive environment for employees and managers alike. In a happy environment, workers tend to put in maximum effort towards helping the company grow.

Remember: the happier your employees are, the more productive they will become.

Higher employee retention rates

As stated earlier, a large number of employees tend to leave workplaces that seem toxic or strained. However, when interpersonal relationships exist at work, employees will naturally feel more connected to the company. This is because the quality friendships they have built serve to remind them of what they’d have to leave behind when they leave the company. As such, they’ll be less likely to turn in their resignation.

However, it should be noted that fostering interpersonal relationships at work does not compensate for low pay or poor management. If you do not provide satisfactory working conditions, including clean laptops and other devices for employees, they will walk out the door irrespective of interpersonal relationships.

Improved teamwork and collaboration

Picture this scenario: you’ve asked two employees to work on a project together. However, they’ve never had any prior exchange before other than the customary “good morning” in the elevator. How well do you think the project will pan out?

On the one hand, there’s a huge chance that they will be able to piece together a last-minute relationship that would enable them to work well together. On the other hand, there’s also a possibility that the atmosphere will be strained, leading to unimpressive results.

When co-workers know, like, and respect each other, they’ll be more willing to collaborate on meaningful projects and assignments. Consequently, they’ll be able to churn out better results from collaborative tasks.

Lower stress levels for managers

Most managers face alarmingly high levels of stress. From trying to supervise ongoing projects to handling client-employee conflicts, there’s just so much the average manager has to do in one day. However, managers experience significantly less stress when they have great relationships with employees. When employees better understand managers and their challenges, they can help solve problems and churn out better output, thereby reducing the need for micromanagement and constant supervision.

Employees get to solve conflicts easier

Workplace conflict is almost inevitable. Regardless of how long you've worked in the company, there's a big chance that you'll find yourself exchanging snarky emails with a coworker at some point in your career. However, strong relationships in the workplace help to reduce these unpleasant interactions to a bare minimum.

And even when they do occur, employees will be able to handle the conflict better in a respectful, diplomatic way.

How to Improve Workplace Relationships

Let’s face it: promoting a stress-free environment where employees get along with minimal conflict sounds like a fairytale scene. However, there are several steps that managers and bosses can take to cultivate and encourage amicable relationships in the workplace:

Invest heavily in face-to-face interaction

Thanks to digital technology and innovations, most companies now rely heavily on virtual staff meetings. Although this is an efficient mode of interaction amongst workers, nothing comes close to face-to-face interactions. When it comes to communication, words convey only about 7% of our message. The remaining 93% is delivered through nonverbal expressions and our tone of voice.

As such, it’s important to promote and encourage face-to-face interactions among staff members. This can be done by holding physical company-wide events to facilitate human interaction and discussions among employees.

While virtual communication still plays a significant role in the modern workplace, more face-to-face interactions can greatly improve relationships and promote a collaborative mindset.

Clearly define your employees’ roles

“I do all the work around here. Every other person just sits at their desks doing nothing all day.”

This statement and its variations play out in almost every office. The truth is that most co-worker conflicts stem from the fact that employees don’t have a clear picture of how the system is supposed to work. So that’s how you have workers missing covers, skipping tasks, and forgetting deadlines. These seemingly tiny violations can create friction in the workplace, making it unbearable for everyone.

So how do you prevent this? Well, you can clearly define employees’ roles and ensure that everyone understands what they are required to do. This will help to reduce conflict and foster a healthy, amicable environment at work.

Avoid playing favorites

You probably heard the phrase “teacher’s pet” being thrown around by high school students and middle schoolers. However, in the corporate world, the phrase “manager’s pet” exists as well. Almost every manager has a favorite employee whom they give the juiciest projects and perks. While this approach may be completely unintentional, it can have a disastrous effect on workplace relationships.

Over time, other staff members may begin to resent the “workplace favorite,” thereby creating a toxic working environment for everyone involved. As such, it’s important to avoid playing favorites at work, so try to treat every employee without any obvious bias as much as possible. When evaluating workers’ performance, consider everyone’s output objectively and then reward or criticize them accordingly.

Wade into sour relationships

As stated earlier, workplace conflict is almost inevitable. Despite all efforts channeled into the promotion of healthy relationships at work, there might still be incidents where coworkers find it difficult to simply get along. As a manager or supervisor, it’s important to stay in the know when it comes to interpersonal relationships in the office.

Closely monitor the relationship dynamics between coworkers and take note of any strain or tension between employees. This way, you can easily prevent conflicts from escalating into serious issues.

But how do you help to salvage sour relationships between workers? The first tip of conflict resolution is not to take sides. Choosing a side will only foster resentment and escalate the issue further. Instead, meet with both parties to find out the root cause of the problem and proffer solutions.

For instance, if the parties in question find it hard to collaborate on certain projects, you should consider placing them on different projects to avoid friction. This way, you’ll have less strained relationships to deal with.

Spice up the workplace with a bit of fun

It’s important to constantly encourage employees to get the work done and churn out satisfactory results. However, a little fun never hurt anyone. In fact, encouraging workers to have fun at work can really help foster strong relationships in the office. But how can you do this?

For starters, you can set up regular social activities to help workers get to know each other outside of work or formal settings. These interactions can help to greatly improve relationships and boost employee productivity in the long run.

Fortunately, you don’t have to break the bank or hire an event planner to host these social activities. A simple games night can help to set the tone for a smooth future relationship. Similarly, you can host informal chats about mundane topics like Latin brides or even the weather.

Don’t compete. Collaborate

There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition now and then. However, it can also have negative consequences and effects on staff morale and self-esteem. When you constantly pit employees against each other and force them to compete, this tendency creates an unmendable divide and causes them to lose interest in their growth and progress.

So what other approach can you take in place of a competition-driven one? You can push for collaboration instead. Encourage workers to interact and practice teamwork regularly. This way, you’ll have a supportive, united staff thriving in a harmonious environment.

What to Do When Office Relationships Blossom into Romance

Sometimes, in a bid to encourage healthy working relationships between colleagues, you might end up with workers who want an actual relationship. This situation can be tricky for HR personnel and managers alike. While office romance isn’t a crime, it’s essential to set down specific policies as romantic trysts can hinder workplace productivity.

So what can you do when your workers are entangled in an office romance? Here are some tips to help you deal with the situation professionally:

Set up a suitable time to discuss the issue

Once you uncover any office tryst or romance, the first step you should take is to set up a private meeting with the parties involved. Although this approach may feel akin to being summoned to the principal’s office, it’s a necessary step that you have to take.

The meeting can take place during work hours or the lunch break. During the meeting, firmly articulate the rules and policies guiding workplace relationships. Remind them of the consequences involved if there’s a violation of those rules.

In the same vein, confirm that the relationship is purely consensual for both parties.

Stress the need for professionalism

Regardless of how the relationship ends or pans out, remind both parties that their relationship should not affect their productivity levels at work. Remember: the more professional employees are during work hours, the more efficient they will be.

Finally, remember to congratulate them and show your support towards their newly found love.

P.S: These tips are only relevant if the company doesn’t have a policy that clearly frowns upon office romance. If your company doesn’t allow romantic relationships between colleagues, you may have to nip it in the bud.

The Bottom Line

If you’re trying to promote a healthy working environment and boost productivity in the workplace, it’s essential to foster interpersonal relationships among colleagues. In today’s world, where 9-5ers spend most of their waking hours working, promoting amicable relationships at work can significantly boost employee satisfaction and improve their overall performance.

Now that you have all the tips you need to foster relationships in the workplace, we hope this guide will help you create a healthy and happy environment for your employees.

Good luck!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can workplace relationships establish a healthy working environment?

Yes, they can. However, you should equally consider other crucial factors, such as good salaries and healthy working policies.

How do you encourage introverted coworkers to socialize and build workplace relationships?

Although you can't force introverts to socialize outside their comfort zones, you can encourage them to start conversations with colleagues. At the very least, remind them of the need to be civil with coworkers even if they're not interested in socializing.

What are the best ways to rebuild a strained relationship between two aggrieved employees?

You should try out several conflict resolution measures, such as verbal communication. In situations where this approach doesn't work, you may need to try to avoid further conflict by assigning both parties to different departments or projects.

Is it advisable to encourage office romance?

No, it isn’t. However, unless the company has a policy against office romance, there isn't much you can do if two workers decide to start up a romantic relationship.
How to Foster Productive Relationships in the Workplace Without Crossing the Lie  How to Foster Productive Relationships in the Workplace Without Crossing the Lie Reviewed by Opus Web Design on October 04, 2021 Rating: 5

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