What Do You Know About Your Team Members?
Okay. Suppose you are not very social at work. You don’t naturally seek the company of others. You are there to get your work done quickly and then head home. You are not curious about the other members of your team, and, in fact, you know very little about them. You have never understood how or why to increase employee engagement with strong relationships.

It has never seemed important, and you are reluctant to pry. But your manager is telling you that, as a result of your “loner” status, the quality of your work is suffering and that you cannot continue to be on the team unless you work toward being more of a team player.

Why Relationships at Work Matter
Building a strong interpersonal communications framework is necessary for sustained success as a team.  When you can collaborate more as a team, you can move forward purposefully in the same, agreed-upon direction and take meaningful engagement actions together.

Not only is it common sense that more collaborative teams are more effective; there is data that show how engaged teams – those with strong relationships to each other and to their work – directly affect business outcomes. You can think of employee engagement as the strength of the mental and emotional connection employees feel toward their colleagues and their places of work.

From our annual employee engagement surveys with nearly 5,000 organizations, we know that engaged workforces outperform their unengaged counterparts.  Indeed, employee engagement should very much matter to those who want their business to succeed. Higher levels of employee engagement correlate to 18% greater productivity, 12% higher customer satisfaction, and 51% less voluntary turnover.  

The Goal
Whether you are a team member who has difficulty reaching out or a manager who recognizes that your team is suffering from a lack of trust, mutual respect, and discomfort with diversity, you need to build more rapport on the team.

Some Tips to Increase Employee Engagement with Strong Relationships
Here are some tips on how to foster stronger relationships at work.

  • Get to Know People as Individuals
    Think about what is interesting about them and try to understand their life and work experiences.

  • Recognize and Respect the Value of Diversity
    With multiple perspectives, the team can reap a variety of new ideas and approaches that can lead to unanticipatedly positive outcomes.

  • Be Helpful
    Be ready to help a colleague when you see they are overwhelmed, stressed, or stuck.

  • Do What You Say You Are Going to Do
    Accountability at work Deliver on your commitments – always.

  • Be Humble
    Acknowledge and learn from your mistakes. A little humility goes a long way.

  • Spend Time
    Plan a pizza lunch, set aside 10 minutes each team meeting for “Good News,” or treat a colleague to coffee. These are all opportunities to get to know each other more personally in a relaxed, non-threatening way.

The Bottom Line
Strengthen the relationships on your team to increase employees’ engagement in the team’s common goal and their commitment to reaching that goal together. You have everything to gain.

To learn more about how to increase team engagement and performance, download 3 Must-Have Ingredients of High Performing Teams for New Managers


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