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Article -> Relationships Increase Employee Engagement

Date Added: May 2015

A common employee engagement question is, “Do I have a best friend at work?” This is said to be a major factor for employee engagement. A different question is, “How deep are my work relationships?”

Having relationships with co-workers may seem odd. Why should we care? What is the definition of a relationship? How deep does it need to be? Let’s review each.

We spend 40+ hours weekly with co-workers; more time than with our own families. While I cannot recall ever having a best friend at work, it is important to have relationships with co-workers because we interact with them daily. They are important to our successes and failures.

The definition of relationships varies greatly. The more I reflect on relationships, the definition continues to become clearer. Having a relationship with others relates to caring for them, helping them succeed, being there in times of need, and going out of our way for them.

The depth of the relationship may not be known until it is truly necessary. I have discovered that depth is born from co-worker’s facing adversity. How do we react when adversity occurs to a co-worker?

In the past month, a co-worker’s pregnant daughter was rushed to the emergency room with possible loss of her child and another co-worker’s husband had a massive heart attack and was in a drug-induced coma. In addition, a friend’s co-worker’s husband died unexpectedly.

While none of these are best friends, the importance and depth of relationships become more prevalent. These are both co-workers and friends. People we care about and hope that if we ever face these unpleasant situations, they would be there for us.

We cry with them, hug them, think of them and pray for them. All uncommon items we typically do with co-workers; yet in each instance of adversity, this occurred. These are the essence of deep relationships with co-workers, with friends. Co-workers are family – not necessarily best friends.

Are we treating our co-workers as family? Do we truly care for them? Do we have deep relationships with them? These are items we should focus to increase employee engagement.

David Yeghiaian is committed to leading people on a life-changing journey to being great leaders. Reach him at

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