Fostering Healthy Workplace Relationships

They’re More Beneficial than You Might Think

You’re well aware that employees value jobs more when they enjoy good friendships at work.  In fact, one of the greatest deterrents to productivity is feeling ostracized or alienated from co-workers.  But can good work relationships really make your staff more productive?  Studies say “yes.”

Accountemps with SmartPros.com conducted a survey of 150 senior executives from 1000 of the nation’s largest companies and 519 of their full and part-time employees to see whether or not they believed that workplace friendships increase productivity.  57% of executives believed they did while 63% of employees agreed with them.

Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps, explained, “Colleagues who are friends are more likely to support one another when presented with challenges or new responsibilities, enhancing workflow and team spirit.”  He went on to say, “Supervisors can increase camaraderie by sponsoring team-building events and giving staff members the opportunity to get to know each other outside of an office setting.”

But what can you do to help employees build lasting relationships in the workplace?  Here are 5 tips to consider:

  1. Identify common goals. Just like most friendships, professional relationships develop as a result of common experiences, perceptions and aspirations.  When coworkers build relationships they look for commonality, especially in their professional goals.  Helping them identify those commonalities will position them to achieve their career objectives, providing one another with valuable support.
  2. Model respect.  In order to create a work environment that fosters respect, you must model that behavior for all your employees.   While you definitely shouldn’t allow anyone to take advantage of your good nature, you should make an effort to be friendly and polite to all your staff.  This speaks volumes of your character and will demonstrate how you expect employees to treat one another.
  3. Avoid both alienation and favoritism.  As you help build professional relationships the last thing you want to do is run a popularity contest where cliques are formed and workers find themselves either “in” or “out.”  Your objective should be to foster a work environment where everyone feels welcome and included. Remember, work relationships should always be inclusive rather than exclusive.
  4. Demonstrate responsibility. Employees lose favor quickly when letting coworkers down.  Being late, missing important meetings and failing to follow through on tasks is the way for them to win friends and influence people; it’s important that you help them accomplish this by making such expectations clear.
  5. Maintain professionalism.  When coworkers build relationships it’s common for them to feel comfortable, casual, and heaven forbid, slap-happy with each other.  While it’s great to have fun it’s not good to slack in your professionalism.  You may have to remind employees to avoid gossiping, sharing off-color jokes or forwarding inappropriate emails; it will be your job to police unprofessional behavior.

As you strive to help employees build healthy working relationships with one another, remember that as with all things professional, you must follow a few rules of workplace etiquette in order to take full advantage of those professional relationships.

Let Universal’s Motivational Speakers Inspire Greater Workplace Relations

If you’d like help builder greater unity in the workplace, invite UAC’s motivation speakers to attend a special event, conference or office retreat.  Universal Accounting Center has some exceptional presenters on staff who can motivate you and your team to excel.  With a number of individuals experienced in a variety of topics, they can help you better serve your clients, better market your practice, and better grow your wealth.  Learn more about Universal Accounting Center’s speakers and book one for your next event!

References

“Survey: Friendships Benefit Job Performance.”  26 June 2007.  SmartPros.com.