Harnessing the Power of Friendships at Work: A Call to Action for People Managers

Nicole Bello, Group VP at UKG, shares insightful tips for nurturing strong relationships among team members, fostering an inclusive and productive work environment.

1 min read

Key Takeaways:

  • Strong workplace relationships are integral to employee happiness and engagement.
  • New hires should be adequately supported from the beginning to promote a welcoming and collaborative environment.
  • Providing a platform for every question and regular check-ins can boost new hires’ confidence and foster one-on-one connections.
  • Collaboration among entire teams is crucial to establishing a sense of community and a healthy workplace.
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) can play a pivotal role in promoting diversity and creating a sense of belonging.

The People Factor in Business

Despite significant challenges, including economic turbulence, climate crisis, and social isolation due to the pandemic, one factor remains at the heart of all businesses: people. The engagement, happiness, and sense of belonging among employees are vital for a thriving team. On this International Day of Friendship, people managers need to refocus on how they can facilitate relationship building within their teams.

Promoting Positive Relationships Amid Adversity

During difficult times, fostering positive relationships can significantly contribute to an employee’s happiness and engagement with their job. Nicole Bello, Group Vice President, SMB and Channel, EMEA at UKG, shares four critical tips for cultivating healthy and productive relationships among employees:

  1. Welcoming New Hires Right: The initial impression a company leaves on a new hire sets the tone for their entire tenure. A simple gesture, such as a welcome gift—whether a DIY item or branded merchandise—can make a significant impact, transforming a new starter’s first few weeks from forgettable to memorable.
  2. Creating a Safe Space for Questions: Assigning a buddy to new hires, ideally a seasoned team member, can provide reassurance and encourage collaboration from the outset. Regular check-ins and opportunities to ask questions can send a strong welcoming message while helping to foster one-on-one connections.
  3. Harnessing the Power of Teamwork: There are many benefits to regularly convening whole teams, regardless of whether they’re in a physical office. Inviting everyone’s ideas promotes a healthy and functional workplace and can help foster community at work.
  4. Promoting Diversity through Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): ERGs connect team members who share common attributes or interests. These groups encourage diversity of participation and perspectives, offering professional development and mentoring while enabling the sharing of ideas. Managers can support these groups with individual budgets, planning, and metrics to ensure their growth and success.
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At a time when the challenges are numerous and the workforce is still recovering from the impacts of social isolation, fostering social connections at work is more critical than ever. It is time for people managers to revisit their strategies and consider new ways of facilitating relationship-building among their teams. A conducive work environment, marked by strong interpersonal relationships and a sense of belonging, is a powerful driver of happiness and engagement. It’s about time we give it the importance it deserves.

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