With a majority of the workforce putting in at least 40 hours per week, you are probably spending a lot of time with your coworkers. Developing and strengthening workplace relationships with those colleagues is often one of the most important factors that influences job satisfaction and fulfillment.
According to Harvard Business Review, the benefits of strong workplace relationships include increased employee retention and engagement, reduced burnout, increased innovation, and improved employee and organizational performance. With the benefits of strong work relationships so plentiful, we can all use an occasional refresher on how to create new relationships, maintain existing ones, and build connection and trust with others.
Here are 5 of our favorite ways to strengthen your workplace relationships:
Fine-tune your communication skills. The best relationships — in the workplace or otherwise — are built around good communication. In your professional life, the way you write an email, lead projects, and speak up in meetings create your image and reputation as a colleague. Taking some time to self-reflect on your own communication style and talking to colleagues about their own creates a healthy foundation for both of you to communicate effectively and efficiently.
Give — and receive — feedback positively. “Feedback” can sometimes feel like a dirty word in a professional setting based on the organizational culture or the individual doling it out. In reality, good feedback should reward positive work and gently suggest areas of improvement. When giving feedback to a colleague with suggestions, focus on realistic improvements that are transparent and respectful. When receiving negative feedback, remember that the suggestions aren’t personal and you’re all on the same team of making your organization as effective as possible.
Spend quality time with colleagues and clients. When you know your colleagues and clients on a more personal level, you create a greater sense of camaraderie and build trust. Take a moment occasionally to set work aside and talk about hobbies, families, or anything else that helps you to get to know what’s important to each of you.
Employ active listening. Being engaged in your conversations with colleagues and clients helps to build trust and broaden your perspective. A bonus to this more active listening is the ability to pick up on nuance in your conversations to create stronger connections. You’re likely to pick up on bits of information that make awesome opportunities to employ the next tip.
Show gratitude and appreciation. We say it all the time at Thnks — people like to work with people they like, and everyone likes to feel appreciated. Taking the time to connect with a colleague with a thoughtful, personalized gesture of gratitude is one of the best ways to strengthen your relationship. Thnks makes it easy with tons of options like the classic “Thnks a Latte” or their favorite lunch from Grubhub.