Your business is nothing without your staff. If they don’t get along, productivity will ultimately suffer as a result. Here are some ways you can build staff relationships and maintain harmony in the workplace.
Let them talk it out
If members of your workforce have a problem with each other, you need to nip it in the bud as quickly as possible.
But don’t assume you know what’s going on based on Chinese whispers you’ve heard around the office. It’s up to you to identify the cause of the friction, so sit down with them face-to-face and talk things over.
Let them give their side of the story and discuss how they feel. Once they’ve had their say, ask each of them to offer ideas on how the situation could be resolved and how all parties could move forward peacefully.
Teach them how to communicate
But talking out a situation isn’t enough for some employees. In such cases, you must make it a priority to teach them how to communicate, so try things like communication and problem solving training.
These courses, which can be done inside or outside the office, teach employees how to effectively articulate their thoughts and emotions in a non-threatening way while working as a team towards a common goal.
Techniques learned here will help them to diffuse conflicts in the workplace before they have chance to blow up.
Lead by example
Your employees will look to you as an example of how to conduct themselves in the office, much like young children copy their parents when it comes to behaviour. You therefore need to lead by example.
A culture of respectful communication begins at the top of a company and filters down, so make sure you – and other top dogs at your business – speak to your staff in an honest and respectful manner.
When you’re open and honest with your workforce, employees are more likely to follow suit with each other. The end product is an environment that values integrity and promotes healthy communication.
Introduce ‘cool off’ periods
If unfortunately a bust up has occurred, you need to resolve it as quickly as possible in a bid to minimise the impact.
Giving those involved time to cool off before they work together again is a good idea, so don’t be afraid to intervene by reorganising project teams to split them up, either temporarily or permanently.
You could go one step further and introduce ‘cool off’ periods to defuse tension. This involves feuding employees staying at home for one or two days – or longer, it’s entirely up to you – rather than coming into the office.
Organise team building days
Team building days are a great way of bringing employees closer together and promoting a sense of unity.
Taking workers out of the office environment, whether it’s an evening at the local bowling alley or day of paintballing, helps break down political and personal barriers in the group, so it’s well worth the money.
Staff can forget about work for a few hours and have fun. In terms of a morale boast, nothing else comes close. Be brave and put people who don’t get along on the same team. That’s the whole point of team building days.