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How to help your staff build relationships at work

One of the best ways to help improve overall productivity is to improve the relationships between staff members.

We spent a lot of time at work, we should enjoy it as much as we can, and a huge factor in whether we do or not comes from who we work with, and the relationships we have with them.

No matter how well trained, educated, or experienced your team is, if they don’t have good working relationships there will always be problems that could otherwise be avoided.

Better work relationships lead to better teamwork, which leads to happier, more productive, more engaged staff.

Why you should help your staff have better working relationships

Improved relationships reduce friction

It’s an obvious answer, but an important one: teams with better relationships are less likely to argue, and more likely to work together on projects.

Finding common ground, respecting one another, and recognising different team member’s strengths and weaknesses is a good starting point.

Having friends at work increases overall job satisfaction

It’s not surprising that having good work relationships increases job satisfaction and motivation, as well as just overall happiness.

Almost half (47%) of people surveyed in a recent Milkround study said that the main value of having a workplace friend is the practical and emotional support they provide during work.

Good work relationships lead to better work

When everyone feels comfortable, happy, and supported at work, it has a profound impact on the quality of work produced.

Staff are more confident, feeling more able to offer new ideas, and more willing to help each other with difficult tasks.

If your staff don’t all have strong work relationships, they can always be improved.

5 ways to help your staff have better working relationships

Prioritise teamwork

The easiest way to improve your staff’s working relationships is to focus on teamwork, no matter what project or task people are working on.

Emphasise how important it is for everyone to meet deadlines so as to not let each other down or block projects, and for team members to lean on each other for support when they need it.

This helps fosters a sense of community and friendship, with everyone working together towards a shared goal.

Then when it’s time to celebrate success, individual team members will be more likely to share credit, thank others, and promote others’ good work, further reinforcing that teamwork, and cementing those good relationships.

Encourage proactivity

It’s one thing for two team members to help each other, it’s something else for one of them to go out of their way and offer to help before they’re asked.

Encouraging your team to be proactive, not just for themselves but for others, can create a ripple effect that can positively impact the entire organisation.

It’s not just about what you say, non-verbal communication matters too

While what we say is our most useful tool for making ourselves understood, human beings were picking up on body language long before we ever developed the capacity for language.

Even if everything your team is saying to each other is polite and professional, there may still be subtle (or not so subtle) body language and social queues at play.

Of course, not everyone is as perceptive or understanding of these cues, especially when working remotely.

Teaching staff to consciously recognise these non-verbal cues, understand them, and control them if they aren’t helpful can make a big difference to how a team communicates and functions.

Build trust

Once you’ve worked on communication, you can start to build trust between your staff.

When people trust each other, they will be more likely to value each other’s experience, judgement, and opinions.

Start by reinforcing that you’re all on the same team, working towards the same goal.

Break people into smaller teams or pairs for different tasks, and encourage them to collaborate on bigger projects in the future.

Encourage positivity

This last point is the simplest, but one of the best ways to foster good relationships between your team is to encourage positivity, towards work and each other.

Being around people who are constantly negative can only ever have a negative effect on the team, so building a culture of positivity can help move everyone in the right direction.

Read more about how we can help your staff communicate better, or find out about our consultancy offering, where we can help shape your workplace culture, improving relationships and wellbeing.

Posted on: 29th November 2021