What Is Relationship Management In The Workplace?

Organisations in the hospitality industry, as in any other industry, should invest in effective employee relationship management. Relationship management is critical to keeping your employees motivated and engaged. Organisational leaders and HR teams can work together to build effective, positive, and productive employee relationships that foster success.

But what does effective relationship management look like? An organisation in the hospitality sector that has good employee relationships can be recognised by the two-way connections between managers, individuals, and teams. Overall, the culture will be one that is safe, interactive, and challenging in a positive way.


Why Building Trusting Relationships At Work Is Important 

There are many benefits of developing strong, positive relationships with team members. Here are some of the key reasons why all managers should invest in developing their own skills of building good work relationships:

  • Teamwork – good work relationships lead to better teamwork and a supportive culture amongst employees.
  • Motivation – in healthy work relationships the efforts of employees are recognised, leading to greater motivation and ownership of projects and tasks.
  • Reduced stress – the hospitality industry is competitive and can be a stressful place to work. Good relationships in work can help address the work-life balance, with employee’s needs being met as well as the needs of the organisation. For more insights in reducing stress in work see this article here.
  • Loyalty – there is a much-used statistic that 80% of resignations are due to “the boss” not the workplace. Great relationships in work ensure there is a focus on employee  skill and career development which builds stronger ties between the employee, the management team and the organisation.
  • Culture – Unsuccessful businesses nearly always have a negative culture, with more incidents of conflict in the workplace and negativity amongst employees. Developing relationships will lead to a culture where individuals can share their views and discuss issues in a constructive manner, reducing the need for negative HR disputes and damaging legal agendas. 
  • Engagement– great communication with employees is a prerequisite for any effective organisation. Strong relationships can only be built through effective two-way communication. Giving information, listening to feedback, explaining the rationale, and allowing challenge from employee to leader will help build an engaged workforce.

We can see how the benefits of developing positive ‘in-work’ relationships improve the culture and working environment for staff and leaders alike. This in turn will lead to improvements in general performance, quality, and customer care. The knock-on effect can have a powerful impact on, for example the brand of a hotel or restaurant, leading to a direct impact on the bottom line. This article will also provide some other perspectives on creating brand ambassadors in the workforce.


How To Manage Relationships At Work

Building strong work relationships won’t happen by chance. As a manager there are a variety of tools, techniques, and best practices that you can start immediately. Don’t wait for the organisation to implement a relationship management agenda, take control, and influence the culture around you. The following ideas and tips will help any leader improve their own relationship management:

  1. Start with recruitment – there is no better time to start than when hiring new people.  Kickstart your relationship management agenda by connecting new employees with existing team members. These human interactions can be much more productive than reading company pamphlets or watching corporate videos. 
  2. Focus on the environment – Work on creating a safe space for your team members, which will ensure they feel supported. As the leader, don’t tolerate any discrimination or negative behaviour, always ensure you nip things in the bud before they can influence the team culture. In addition make sure that you don’t ‘micromanage’ or create unrealistic expectations. Instead, look for ways to recognise the behaviours that build the culture that you want, treat employees as individuals and show respect.
  3. Two-way communication – Give your employees a voice and listen to them, genuinely listen to them. The way you communicate with peers and employees will affect the relationship. Opening up to your staff and explaining decisions as well as listening to their concerns will help build trust and nurture strong sustainable relationships.
  4. Be positive – No one, including your employees, wants to be around someone who is negative. Sure, there will be times when things are pressurised and challenging but as a leader you have a responsibility to find the positive angle in any situation. This will help others to trust you and your judgement, as long as you are not unrealistic at the same time.
  5. MBWA.  Practice techniques such as Management By Walking Around (MBWA).  This is a useful approach where you, as the leader, spend constructive time walking amongst your employees. Ask them questions about their lives and their work, be interested and supportive, but also challenge them positively.  By doing this you will get to know them better and strengthen the respect they will have for you.
  6. EQ -Develop your emotional intelligence – emotionally intelligent managers in the hospitality sector, are not only in touch with their own emotions and how they feel in any given moment, but they also recognise the emotions and feelings of others.  They are able to understand the feelings of others and sense where they are coming from in different situations. To do this well you must regulate yourself and be able to empathize well with employees even if you disagree with them. Developing your emotional intelligence is possible, but some people have more natural aptitude than others in this area. Make this a priority for both you and your teams.

How Will You Improve Your Relationship Management At Work?

As a manager and leader in the Hospitality Industry you can start today to directly influence the relationship you have with peers, bosses, and employees.  Use some of the ideas in this article and make that commitment to build effective relationships with those around you.