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An organization comprises individuals with diverse backgrounds coming together, driven by one ambition excelling in their tasks and contributing to the success of their organization. For either or both to see the light of the day, we must acknowledge the interdependencies in the ecosystem.

None of us can survive, work, or achieve any milestone in isolation as we are humans – the social beings dependent on relationships in all spheres of our lives, work is one of them. Words fall short to stress the importance of building relationships in the workplace and nurturing co-workers.

The work relationships are not always by choice hence most of us may only associate with a colleague for a project or an assignment. We may naturally not feel the need to strengthen this relationship but what will happen if we do work towards sustaining it?

For any relationship to work, it takes two. So also, at work! At the very first go, naturally, we tend to associate ourselves close to those with whom we find some traits or habits in common.

What is important though is to look beyond this natural selection and put an effort in building and sustaining those relationships that are beneficial to you and add to you as a professional. For example – interdepartmental relationships or mentor-mentee relationships.

Remember any relationship must be a value add for both the involved parties, in absence of which the relationship over time will become obsolete. Identify those relationships, it could take time but will be worth your effort.  Make this a part of your work habit to invest time in building work relationships as you progress in your journey within an organization.

Why building relationships at work is important?

Firstly, for our basic existence – our tendency to have someone with whom we can share our life and its journey. The same is true in the organizational context too, in maintaining co-worker relationships. Having a culture of positive work relationships enables:

1. The working atmosphere to be fun and lively

Remember that first day at school, college, or in your new organization. How would it be to spend a considerable amount of time every day feeling the same? Not so much fun, isn’t it? While it is important to give undivided attention to the work and be diligent, it does not stop you from having those light moments at work.

Take time to crack a joke, share fun photos, and cherish it. Empuls allows for employees to form such fun and hobby groups bringing together people of similar interests -stressing the importance of building relationships in the workplace.

54% of employees feel that a strong sense of community kept them at a company longer. (Source: Gusto)

2. Creates a sense of belonging

It surely feels good to come to a place where we have friends or acquaintances. No doubt that 82% of the employers rated employee referral as the best resource for generating ROI. Apart from this, having friends at work helps enhance retention, manage work stress, and creative problem solving to name a few.

3. Sharing of knowledge within employees and teams

Knowledge once gained is a treasure forever. But it only increases if shared! Teams can collaborate on projects or a problem statement and brainstorm. The free flow of information within the organization promotes the culture of learning and allows for employee self-development.

4. High performing teams

Good relationships in the workplace allow for the best of each employee to come out. We are open to feedback and learning from each other. We take pride in each other’s success and stand together in failure.

This enhances the cohesion in the team and keeps the team focused on the end goal as against focusing on counterproductive aspects of an unhealthy relationship.

5. Feedback sharing and receiving

An effective feedback exercise has a positive relationship in its foundation. It also makes the feedback more credible if it comes from someone with whom you have a healthy work relationship. We receive it with an open mind, tend to take it positively, and work for betterment.

6. Celebrating each other’s success

Peer-to-peer recognition is one of the motivators that drive excellence in our deliveries. Having your colleague or a friend at work talk about your journey to success, write an appreciation note for you on the company intranet builds a culture of open recognition and promotes the idea of team spirit.

7. Helps in your career growth

Meeting, interacting, and learning from people of diverse backgrounds contributes to enhancing knowledge and sharpening interpersonal skills. It makes us sensitive towards personal preferences, cultural nuances and gives insight into different roles that people play within the organization.

As we go higher up the career ladder, our roles become more functional involving interactions with people in the form of employees, clients, customers, stakeholders, etc. Having good knowledge of people, their sensitivities, and having good work relationships will enable effective people management and interactions.

91% prefer a workplace where people identify and discuss issues truthfully and effectively. (Source:

How to build strong, effective & positive relationships at work?

Now that we have learned why building relationships at work is important,  let’s explore how to build strong, effective & positive work relationships.

1. It starts with you

Share about yourself. Reach out first. Not everyone is effective in making strong relationships but seeing your consistent approach, the other party will reciprocate. It also brings forth your approachable self and encourages others to start feely interacting with you.

2. Support others in their endeavors

Relationships are a two-way street. While you seek help from others, support others in their assignments. Offer help and guidance. Be an honest critic but in a constructive manner.

3. Ask for help

Be open in acknowledging your shortcomings or need for help. This presents you as an honest person. It further encourages others to accept their improvement areas candidly in front of you. It shows you are open to learning and are a knowledge-seeking person.

4. Thank them

Appreciation at any level of the hierarchy is always welcome. It is a small gesture that goes a long way in strengthening your relationship. Acknowledging the support and help received from others, promotes a culture of teamwork and collaboration.

Peer to Peer Recognition 35.7% more likely to have a positive impact on financial results than manager-only recognition.‍ (Source: SHRM)

5. Be in touch even if not in need

it is good to receive a call or a message which is only focused on checking on our wellbeing and the sender is not expecting anything in return. Acts like these set foundations for the long-term association as it shows that you are not only focused on getting your work done or asking for favors but are genuinely interested in having a healthy relationship.

6. Invest time

Building relationships takes time. Do not brush off people post your one-time interaction or project completion. Take time to know people. You may not need to spend hours in a day to work on it but see if you can continue with the regular greeting, thank the person for help, share credit, and wish them on important occasions.

7. Maintain a professional approach

Do not cross the line. Be respectful and respect the space of the other person. Remember your relationship is a working relationship and you may not want to come across as someone who is interfering in someone’s work and personal space.

8. Pay attention to others

Communication is an important ingredient in any good relationship in the workplace and listening is a key element in it. It is a skill and having good listening skills can enable strengthening your work related to a great extent.

7 Best Practices for Improving Employee Relations | Empuls
Running a good organization requires employees to be comfortable with each other. So, here are some techniques and strategies for improving employee relations.

Focusing on coworker relations: The way forward

In an organizational pyramid, every single individual plays a crucial role. We all contribute our bit towards the bigger goal. We all carry knowledge and skill that can be a learning for someone else. With the scope of projects and assignments becoming global, the teams have gone global too.

It is hence imperative to respect and maintain good working relationships across the length and breadth of an organization. This in turn serves to maintain a good relationship in the workplace with our internal and external stakeholders and our clients and customers.

Having strong working relationships comes with its own perks – you can get your work prioritized, a call can get the work done, and avoid that escalation you dread. But remember the relationships must be built on the foundation of trust, honesty, integrity, and with a genuine interest to have a good healthy working relationship and the benefits will follow.

As per Gallup's study, employees having strong work relationships are more engaged, produce higher-quality work, and have a higher state of wellbeing.

Empuls as an internal communication software

Empuls, an all-in-one employee engagement platform also doubles up as a powerful internal communication software. Our engagement platform can work as a useful tool for building meaningful work relationships.  Through Empuls, employees get to connect, collaborate, voice out thoughts and opinions, unleash their creativity, and flaunt their best! The social media-like platform that enables instant reactions, likes, and comments is an add-on to keep employees engaged and excited throughout.

If you’d like to learn more about how Empuls can align, motivate, empower and engage your folks, book a demo today or start your free trial now.

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Manoj Agarwal

Manoj Agarwal LinkedIn

Manoj Agarwal is the Co-Founder and CPO at Xoxoday. He is an MBA from IIM Kozhikode comes with 14 years of experience in building companies, technology, product, marketing, & business excellence.