- January 20, 2023
- Posted by: Content Team
- Category: Blog
Promoting a sense of belonging and connection among employees is crucial for companies to retain their workforce and boost productivity. However, it’s important to strike a balance between fostering professional relationships and allowing time for employees to nurture their personal relationships. Going too far in promoting connection at work can lead to corporate dysfunction and toxicity.
It’s important to draw a clear line between work and life, to ensure the well-being of both employees and the company. Studies have shown that employees who feel a sense of belonging are 50% less likely to leave their jobs than those who feel excluded. Employers need to be mindful of the importance of social connections and make sure to provide a sense of purpose and well-being for their employees.
Why are workplace relationships important?
The importance of fostering and nurturing professional relationships in the workplace cannot be overstated. Research has shown that when employees feel connected and a sense of belonging to their co-workers, it leads to increased productivity and a lower likelihood of turnover. However, it’s important for companies to strike a balance and not place too much emphasis on professional relationships at the expense of personal ones, as this can lead to a toxic work environment.
Employers should also be mindful of not blurring the lines between work and personal life, as this can lead to corporate dysfunction and toxicity for both employees and the company. By fostering a culture of connection and belonging, while also respecting personal boundaries, companies can create a positive and productive work environment for all.
4 tips for developing healthy relationships in your organization
As long as you respect the time and privacy of your employees, you can have an engaged and successful team. Beyond that, there are a few concrete steps leaders can take to foster healthy relationships among employees in the workplace!
Focus on health
One strategy for promoting healthy habits among your team is to prioritize health and wellness as a central value for the organization. This encompasses both physical and mental well-being. To support this initiative, consider offering a comprehensive benefits package that encourages employees to engage in regular health-promoting activities outside of the workplace, such as gym memberships or other wellness-related perks. Encouraging employees to form workout groups and participate in friendly fitness competitions can further foster camaraderie and team building. This approach has multiple benefits, including:
- Providing opportunities for employees to connect and build relationships through shared interests and activities.
- Reducing stress and promoting overall happiness and productivity in the workplace.
- Encouraging employees to engage in healthy activities outside of work, which can have a positive impact on overall health and well-being.
Preserve your culture by leading
The culture of a workplace can significantly affect the interactions and relationships among colleagues. If the environment is competitive and aggressive, it can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness among employees. However, if the culture promotes open communication, trust, and collaboration, it can foster strong connections and relationships among team members. To cultivate this type of culture, it’s important for leaders to lead by example and model positive relationships for their team.
For instance, by participating in regular coffee chats with your executive colleagues or sharing helpful resources with your team, you can demonstrate how to build meaningful connections while maintaining professional boundaries.
Avoid referring to your team as “family”
In recent years, it has become popular for companies to refer to their employees as “family” in an effort to foster a sense of belonging and loyalty. However, with more employees working from home and the lines between work and personal time becoming increasingly blurred, it’s important to be cautious about using this terminology. Describing your organization as a family can lead employees to form unhealthy relationships with their colleagues and it’s best to avoid this language altogether.
Give employees time and space to build their own relationships
Instead of pushing or pressuring employees to develop relationships at work, take a step back and provide them with the time and space to do so organically. This approach allows for a sense of belonging to develop naturally, without the pressure or expectation that all coworkers should be like a close-knit family. Some ways to create space for this to happen include:
- Extending lunch breaks to give employees the chance to grab a bite and interact with their colleagues, whether it’s virtual or in person.
- Implementing an open office plan that increases opportunities for interaction among employees.
- Facilitating casual conversations and discussions during the workday, such as at the beginning or end of meetings.
By providing space for natural connections to form, the relationships that do develop are likely to be more genuine and meaningful. The key is to give employees the freedom to form their own relationships in their own way.
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