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Workplace Culture: Building Meaningful Relationships at the Office

My father instilled in me an organic sense of compassion when it comes to getting along with other people. He led by example through his involvement with the community, and I grew up emulating those values. My father’s welcoming attitude also showed me the importance of treating everyone with respect.

Today, as the leader of my own business, I like to personally meet and get to know everyone who works for the company. Growing teams and individuals should become a part of every company’s core values and employees at all levels should feel like they have a voice. Every single job in a company makes an impact, and too often people lack an appreciation of just how important each position is to the overall success or failure of a business.

Knowing your employees helps to understand their needs and expectations from the organization, and it can play a role in motivating them to deliver their best work. Building solid relationships at work also leads to a healthy work culture, one that allows employees to be more innovative and creative. What's more, good relationships give us the freedom to focus on opportunities rather than spending our time and energy solving problems that are often associated with a negative workplace culture.

There are several characteristics that make up healthy working relationships: trust, open communication, mindfulness and mutual respect, among others. Building trust is important because it allows employees to be open and honest in their dialog without fear of speaking up.

Communication, especially in today’s technology-driven climate, is essential because a well-functioning internal communications system can motivate employees to work toward common goals and keep them apprised of any changes.

Mindfulness means taking responsibility for your actions and words; for example, providing constructive criticism rather than nitpicking, maintaining a positive tone, and keeping negative emotions at bay. And mutual respect can be interpreted as valuing the opinions and ideas of your colleagues, even if they differ from your own.

Employees want to understand their goals, know the plans for getting there, and be confident about the value of their contributions toward those plans. This is especially true for millennials and Gen Z, who thrive on interaction and feedback.

73 percent of employees who say they work at a “purpose-driven” company are engaged, compared to just 23 percent of those who don’t. What that says to me is, people want a career in which they feel that they matter. That’s why it is essential for company leaders to build solid relationships with their staff, and to establish systems within the organization that reflect a meaningful purpose.