How many of us get to choose the people that we work with? Very few of us I’m sure. We entrust our recruitment team to find and select the ‘right’ people who epitomise the organisations values and who will ‘fit’ well with others in the company. The pressure to get it right is high. Why? Those we work closely with greatly influence our outlook at work and can make or break how we feel each day when we walk through the company door. To create a high performing, happy and innovative culture where employees are eager to perform it is imperative to generate a working environment where great relations are developed and nurtured. The contrary results in poor retention rates and an overworked HR team who can’t get their employment ads online fast enough! Yikes!!!

Fostering positive working relationships is as much about effort as it is about attitude – for both individual staff members and the company. For the business owner who understands how to facilitate positive working relationships, there are many benefits.

Teamwork is improved. And people who know each other well tend to work well together. Their ability to get along will see them more willing to collaborate on a project, generating more innovative and efficient outcomes. When team members become friendly, they look forward to working alongside one another. The fun factor rises and employee morale is positively influenced. And trusting that there isn’t too much timewasting banter going on, productivity increases too.

Encouraging good working relationships can be achieved both formally and informally. A BBQ lunch or workplace activities to raise funds for a charity creates a social atmosphere for employees to get to know each other on a personal level. This allows workers to find common ground outside of their work responsibilities. The astute manager will recognise that when working closely together to achieve a common goal, it is important that team members understand their performance expectations and the importance of their role in achieving the objectives. If this can be done well,  a manager will have a better, more respectful working relationship with their staff, and their staff will feel they are making a difference in delivering on the organisation’s product or service offering. And of course, when we succeed together, we reap the rewards together. And success breeds a thirst for more triumphs.

There are several key characteristics that are prominent in every great working relationship; trust, effective communication and listening, mutual respect, a diversity of views and an environment where everyone’s views can be comfortably expressed and accepted. And if you’re thinking that is up to your organisation’s leaders to foster such an environment, then you are very much mistaken. It is everyone’s responsibility! When the new girl is sitting alone in the lunch room, introduce yourself and discover what you have in common. If you’re on the ground each day speaking with suppliers, it’s your responsibility to recognise the key stakeholders and develop long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with them. Great working relationships don’t simply exist within the bounds of your organisation, they extend to your customers, suppliers and clients too.

Generating an environment where employees naturally try harder to grow and advance the company can be influenced by the organisation’s ability to communicate and incite a shared vision. When a company is able to clearly converse their purpose and value, they will attract likeminded candidates who intrinsically feel a connection to the business and will strive to improve it. And when employees form a bond with their employer, retention rates increase.

Some relationships are not natural and will require a concerted effort. Finding a way to break the ice can be dependent upon one party making the first move by inviting the other to lunch. A neutral environment in a social setting can open up a conversation and allow two people to focus on finding a mutual interest rather than putting their energy into focusing on their differences.

Teamwork is the foundation to a successful business. And assembling a team that drives success will be dependent on your recruitment team’s ability to identify and hire quality applicants who can develop strong relationships within, and with your networks. Strong communication of what is expected generates a culture that motivates dedicated commitment and collaboration. Once you have achieved a strong platform for success, you will energise a resourceful and innovative workplace that will naturally take your organisation to the next level…and we all want to prosper now don’t we?

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