You can get a whole lot more work done -- and do it far more efficiently -- when you work with a group. However, for this concept to have any practical application, you have to get along with your coworkers. You don’t have to be BFFs, but you need to be amicable on both a professional and personal level. Workplace relations directly affect productivity, making it a matter of critical importance.
Most workers are motivated by a much more complex set of needs and desires than just a paycheck. The character and quality of human relations at a company inevitably has an impact on how employees view their jobs and engage with fellow coworkers. For example, if you work in an environment where management is ruthless and domineering, you can't really expect employees to take much pride in their work, especially when they believe the only motivation at work is profit. When management is supportive, observant, and conscious of employee needs, there's a much better chance of having a workforce that shows pride in what they produce and wants to please the boss. This kind of motivation is typically infectious, instilling a sense of pride in everyone.
The general atmosphere at a company, the attitude of management and the social groups that workers form, directly affect employee performance. When coworkers can’t relate or build friendships at work, the company as a whole can become rigid and mechanical since people are unwilling to communicate or go much beyond their basic responsibilities. On the other hand, when the staff feels connected and united, problem solving and innovation flourish. The unity and common purpose established through good relations allow a company to function like a well-oiled machine.
When there's an atmosphere of trust and loyalty developed through healthy bonding and interactions based on social needs, there's a better chance that a company will meet the individual needs of employees. Workers are more likely to keep a job they believe is meaningful and offers opportunities to learn, advance and bond with co-workers. A feeling of understanding in the workplace also allows workers to feel comfortable addressing any issues that might arise. When employees are loyal to the company, they want to stick around and develop their skills more effectively. Retention rates can soar when you have a group of happy campers.
It's generally counter-productive to have supervisors and managers simply observing employees and barking orders. This kind of micromanagement wastes time and contributes to an environment of mutual suspicion. When workers feel they are part of something worthwhile and in sync with their fellow workers, they will catch and fix problems on their own. Instead of taking shortcuts until they get caught, workers are more likely to ask for advice from, and offer it to, one another, encouraging the best possible outcomes through positive attitudes rather than fears of reprisal.
- Heritage Institute: Workplace Human Relations
- Human Relations and You: Increasing Productivity
- Human Relations: Principles and Practices
- University of Wisconsin Center for Community and Economic Development: How Much Does Your Employee Turnover Cost
- Management Study Guide: Importance of Interpersonal Relationships at Workplace
Linda Ray is an award-winning journalist with more than 20 years reporting experience. She's covered business for newspapers and magazines, including the "Greenville News," "Success Magazine" and "American City Business Journals." Ray holds a journalism degree and teaches writing, career development and an FDIC course called "Money Smart."