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More than anything, human beings strive to form meaningful relationships with those around them. Having those meaningful relationships creates an idea of belonging to something. This can be extremely important in the workplace, especially since research shows that people in the workforce spend more overall time with their coworkers than they do with their own families. Just like with a sports team, having a meaningful relationship with your employees encourages them to want to work harder, or to help their peers out more often. It’s also important that not only do employees form meaningful relationships with one another but that managers are able to do it with their employees as well. By forming meaningful relationships with their team they can develop a better understanding of what makes each employee tick, the goals they’re striving for in their career and in life, and how to approach each situation in a way that works best for that employee. Here are a few ways managers can begin to form meaningful relationships with their team.

Be Authentic, Informal, and Frequent with Communication

When trying to form a relationship with your employees, it’s important that you don’t always come off as only their boss. You’re human, just like them, and it can be easy for employees to forget that. In order to ensure your employees don’t see you as a robot, make an attempt to truly get to know them. Engage in casual conversation with them by asking them how their weekend was or seeing if you have similar interests. Make sure this is something you do often as well, as only doing it once in a blue moon may throw employees off guard. Trust levels between managers and employees will grow more when employees see the human side of you, making it easier to form a relationship with them.

Reach Out To New Hire/Team Members

When a new employee joins the office, or your team gets a new team member out of an existing employee, it’s imperative you begin the relationship-building phase right away. You don’t need to necessarily wait until they’ve actually joined the team other. Once things are finalized and you know they’ll be joining, reach out in an informal manner. Some managers or team members will send welcome emails to new hires before they join, or they may choose to invite a new incoming team member to a team lunch. This is a great way to introduce them to their managers and other new team members in an informal setting.

Celebrate Employee Milestones

Managers can also form relationships by celebrating the milestones of their employees, both in and out of work. If someone is having a baby or got an award, be sure to get the team together to celebrate it. This can help employees be their whole selves in the workplace and give them the sense that they can share their personal lives with people who care, fostering an overall greater feeling of inclusion. The people you work with often come from all walks of life and it’s important to recognize that.