People work with others to achieve common goals. Whether the organization is for profit, or non-profit – we typically accomplish more through the interaction with and assistance from other people.
The quality of human relationships (and coworker relationships) allows some teams to be amazingly productive with only a few people and a marginal infrastructure – while other teams are lethargic, despite having an extensive infrastructure, financial resources, and large teams.
Benefits: Good coworker relationships reduce turnover and increase productivity. Organizations that maintain constructive interpersonal relationships benefit financially as well as culturally.
Resolve Problems Early: Disagreements seem to be more disruptive, faster, and remain damaging longer than one might expect. Problem: resolving “people problems” at work is time consuming and frustrating.
Related Employee Surveys
Organizational Assessment Survey – These employee surveys cover all aspects of employee life including coworker relationships. Through careful analysis, NBRI can provide your organization with specific actionable items that can combat any potential coworker relationship issues.
View all Employee Surveys by NBRI.
Strategy: Managing the following five factors can help immunize your organization against reoccurring, disabling problems between people at work.
Possibly the most common correlate of conflict is limited resources. Do you have so few photocopiers that people consistently stand in line? Have too few parking spaces? Printers? Not enough budget? In general, if you put your managers or employees into a situation where they are forced to compete for resources, expect to see increased conflict.
Hint: Look for “bottle necks” and sources of conflict, and solve them. Often it is not that you don’t have enough resources, it is that those resources are not used efficiently. Frequently, there are cost-effective, creative solutions that are satisfying to everyone.
Enhance coworker relationships by eliminating unnecessary zero-sum games. A zero-sum game occurs when you create a situation where to the extent that one person wins, others must lose. If you have one open position and multiple people compete for that position, you have a zero-sum game. Zero-sum games reduce communication, cooperation, and teamwork among the competing parties. These competing parties can be people, departments, or divisions. Thus, the disruption can occur on a very large scale.
Reality: Many zero-sum games are unavoidable; e.g., you can’t hire all applicants for a single position.
Alternative: Identify and redefine your unnecessary zero-sum games through the use of an employee survey or other fact finding tool. Is it that you only want to award the “top” salesperson – or is it better to award every sales person who exceeds their goals by twenty percent? Which is better for the company? Which is likely to produce more cooperation, more teamwork, and better customer service?
Tip: Examine your reward and recognition structure if you have a group of people with a history of low teamwork. People will adopt more aggressive relationships to obtain that reward or recognition if you are rewarding individual achievement. You have created a zero-sum game. This is not to say that zero-sum games are all bad – just make sure that you are not unnecessarily creating zero-sum games. These may be doing more damage than good.