How Work Relationships Boost Employee Engagement
Employee happiness and satisfaction is what most organisations strive for. This is only because they know what it’ll mean in return; they’ll receive peaking performance levels through productivity. That’s correct. This understanding isn’t wrong, but what we should really think about is how do we get this employee happiness and satisfaction to take place?
Let’s evaluate Alan who is a consultant at company A as an example. What makes him happy at work is that he’s making his dream career a reality by doing the work he’s passionate about. However, there are times where he feels unhappy and usually it’s because he feels alone. He hates Friday afternoons where everyone gathers for beers as a means to celebrate the end of the week. Whilst everyone immerses in conversation amongst each other about topic Z, Alan never joins in as he tends to sit at his desk touching up on last minute work. It’s not that he can’t communicate, but it’s because he doesn’t get along with his colleagues. Over time, Alan’s feeling of loneliness affects his work as he stops showing up and begins taking more sick leave. This is a problem for Alan’s company, as his productivity is affected.
What we can draw from Alan’s situation is that he feels disengaged from work. Why he feels disengaged is because he has no connection with his colleagues. It’s important for him to connect with his colleagues in order to look forward to spending time with them whilst doing work. A sense of belonging is created from that which will make Alan feel happy and satisfied. As a result, he’ll start generating more productivity fixing and driving that performance level. With the use of Alan’s story, we realise that work relationships are an important element and tool to keeping employees happy, satisfied and hence engaged.
Why you should support work relationships
Now that we know happy employees means hardworking employees, there are several more underlying reasons why great leaders should promote creating a culture of family and support. A few that come to mind include:
- An Increase in Productivity – Like we analysed earlier, happy employees means hard working employees. Feeling happy and satisfied enough to feel consistently engaged at work, will mean working productively. Now we all know that’s a good thing for achieving objectives!
- High Talent Retention Rates – You’ll see that the need and want to come and stay at work will stem from providing your employees a gateway to happiness. This happiness is essentially from being able to work with other individuals seen as friends.
- Better Teamwork – Getting along with your colleagues will only make teamwork easier. Ideas are able to be expressed better and views can be understood from a personal level. Miscommunication is limited and the task gets done with ease.
- Improved Employee Psychological Wellbeing – What is meant by this is the fact that a sense of belonging is evoked from forming work relationships. When you’ve enabled a sense of belonging to take shape, you satisfy a social need in the workplace setting. In doing so, employee morale will boost, generating productivity.
How to create durable work relationships?
While many great leaders are on the same page with me on the importance of work relationships as a mechanism to engage employees, it’s further understood when action is taking place. A couple of ways can be implemented to secure this understanding. Adversely, these methods can arise from either the end of the employee or management of the organisation. By understanding how to form work relationships stemming from both ends, we can see that employee engagement is a two-way commitment. Despite being a two-way commitment, these methods show us that engagement emerges from relationships with colleagues.
- Be honest and willing to listen – The ability to communicate effectively will be held onto as others are more likely to immerse in conversation with you and/or share talk.
- Find a common interest – It’s a starting point to bringing a topic to talk about.
- Initiate conversations – Why wait for people to talk to you when you can ask questions or bring forth a topic of discussion on the table? It’ll involve getting out your comfort zone if you’re a little shy at first, but others will know you’re open to talking!
- Be friendly – The only way others would want to engage in conversation with you is if you’re a nice person. Try holding back any thoughts that may come across as mean and speak of things in a positive way.
- Welcome diversity – More interesting conversations are held when you have a diverse talent pool. Stories, discoveries, insights and all things worthy of talking about in a cultural perspective is what creates conversation.
- Prepare social events/bonding activities – It may include signing the whole team up to do Tough Mudder or even organise a social dinner for the whole company to attend. By doing just this, you’re fostering for interaction between employees and relationships to form.
- Know how to include – While some individuals are more introverted than others, as a leader know how to include everybody in group conversations.
- Start open conversations for all – In order to “include”, initiate a conversation that can continue by being open to input from several opinions.
Doing just the above mentioned will see that you’re fostering for a workplace where communication and interaction is embedded in its roots. You enable work relationships to form whereby you reap the benefit of productivity and higher employee retention. More importantly, you immerse in sustaining employee engagement through happiness and satisfaction.
For any future cases such as our consultant Alan brought up earlier, you as a great leader will know what mechanism can be used to fix it. We now know that as engaging employees by creating relationships with colleagues. We now also know that it can be developed from either your end or your employees’.