Employers, listen up: It’s a candidate’s market now. The reality of the job market is that there are 11 million open positions in every job category right now. This means employers must not only create a great candidate experience, they must also build the kind of work environment where employees feel supported and nurtured. Building strong relationships with your employees profoundly impacts employee retention these days.

Here’s how to do it well:

Benefits of Building Strong Employee Relationships

Humans are social creatures. This means the relationships they build matter. Given that we spend most of our time at work, employers should pay attention to the kind of environment they’re building so that it fosters relationship building between employees and between supervisors and their staff. Employees that have good relationships at work are happier and more productive, according to Gallup. Interestingly, this also includes your managers, who, after all, are people first.

The trick for employers is that they must create an open environment where co-workers are at ease and comfortable enough to be themselves. Good work environments allow the freedom to share ideas and voice opinions that can lead to real innovation and increased productivity. What makes for the kind of work environment where employee relationships thrive?

We believe it includes:

  • Trust between team members and the employer. Having trust means the employee recognizes that the company and their supervisor have their best interests at heart. It’s an environment driven not solely by profit margins but instead puts people first. You don’t have to waste energy watching your own back, but can trust the coworker beside you to do it for you.
  • Mutual respect between employees and management. This means you value the input of your coworkers and supervisors. Everyone understands the reasoning behind why decisions were made, in part, because everyone has a hand in setting the course of the organization. There are rules that dictate good behavior between individuals and teams and the company’s mission, vision, and values include the idea of respecting each other.
  • Self-aware companies create great work environments where individual accountability is a part of the culture. It recognizes conflict and addresses it in a positive way. But it also provides employees and managers with the tools they need to own their work and the mission.
  • Open communication is absolutely crucial to building employee relationships. The better you can communicate with your workforce the more you can connect with them. Managers and leadership must be as transparent as possible in their communications with team members. It’s the opposite of a dictatorial leadership style where commandments come down from on high and everyone is expected to scurry around fulfilling them. Instead, leadership and supervisors engage employees in the success and challenges of the organization, which in turn helps even front-line workers understand the “why” behind the work.


Today, your employees are looking for a connection with your company and the work that they do. Building and maintaining strong working relationships is an important part of attracting new talent and retaining your existing workforce.


IES is proud of the human connections we’ve built with both candidates and employers. If you’re looking for a staffing partner that is experienced at building bridges between top talent and your company, we can help.


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