Office Buddies: 8 Ways You Can Bond with Your Employees

If you’ve ever seen an episode of The Office, then you probably know that, as a boss, bonding with your employees can be…well, tricky business.

But the thing is, studies have shown that employees who are thoroughly engaged with their work environment–their tasks, their coworkers, their boss–are actually far more effective overall!

So if you’re a boss looking to bond with your employees, or hoping to find ways to encourage general employee bonding, check out these 8 awesome tips!

1. Treat them like Equals

As the boss, it can be easy to let your authority go to your head. The problem is, when employees begin to feel inferior, they tend to lose trust in their boss, and they lose their excitement for the work they’re doing.

In the case of nearly every office or other workplaces, the company’s day-to-day functioning simply wouldn’t happen without its employees. Show your employees that you understand this fact and that your own authority doesn’t make them inferior workers.

Do your best to treat each and every employee as though they hold the same authority and seniority as you do as a boss. Treat your employees as equals and watch their respect for you blossom. (Sometimes it helps to take this tip a step outside of the workplace! Learn more.)

2. Get to Know Them

When it comes to office relationships, it is, of course, important to remain professional. But this fact doesn’t mean you can’t get to know your employees and who they are as people.

For most, the job they do at work is only a fraction of their identity. If you’re hoping to bond with your employees, take the time to understand more sides of them. Demonstrate your interest in the other facets of their lives, and let them know that you value each employee as a person–not just as an accountant, a sales rep, an HR professional, and so on.

Taking the time to establish real, human relationships with your employees can help build empathy and trust, making the tougher aspects of your jobs easier to bear,

3. Let them Show You How to do their Job

You’ve seen all those crazy episodes of Undercover Boss, right? When the boss learns about all the things that’ve been going on without her knowledge? When she comes to realize what awesome employees she’s had?

You don’t need to don a crazy disguise (although we get it if you want to), but take the time to sit down with each department in your office. Chances are, as a boss, you aren’t an expert in every department throughout your company. So sit back and let your employees teach you more about what they do.

Showing your willingness to learn and understand more about what each department in your office accomplishes on a daily basis will show employees that you’re really, truly committed to the work your company does. It’ll show them that you care enough to learn how to help them in any way possible.

4. Ask What they Need

Taking the time to get to know your employees and the work they do may help give you some insight as to what it is your employees need in order for them to do their best possible work. It may give you an idea as to what your employees really deserve that they aren’t getting just yet.

Take your goal of getting to know your employees and the work they do one step further–ask your employees what they need in order to help them do their job better, more easily, and with more excitement.

Many employees are used to working with bosses who only listen to what workers need once those workers have been moved to the point of complaining about the situation.

Coming right out and asking employees about their needs shows initiative and empathy on your part–something that’ll help them to trust you further in every aspect of business as you move forward.

5. Dress Like they Do

This tip may seem small or trivial, but it can make a big impact on office culture.

As a boss, it can be easy to build barriers between employees and yourself through the ways in which you dress, respectively. Some of it does, of course, depend on the industry in which you work–but if you notice an obvious difference between the ways you dress as a boss and the ways your employees dress, it may be time for a wardrobe shift.

If you come to work each day in a full suit and tie, but your employees mostly stick to polos and khakis, think about ditching the tie and the jacket. There’s an obvious pressure, as a boss, to appear as professional as possible in the workplace, but when it comes to dressing, it should never feel as though your outfits are trying to outdo those of your employees.

Dressing more like your employees do can help further the idea that, while you’re an authority figure, you aren’t better than they are.

6. Return their Messages

There are few things better than sending an email and receiving a prompt, thorough response. Chances are, your employees feel the same way.

Take care to reply to your employees’ messages in as prompt a manner as possible. It’s taken them plenty of time and thought to write their message out to you; return the courtesy to show them that you appreciate their message.

Some days, you might receive a sizable influx of messages, but that shouldn’t mean you stop replying to emails–especially the ones from your employees. Stay on top of your messages, replying to each one right after you open it.

7. Be Honest

One of the many extremely important ways to build trust with your employees is to establish yourself as a transparent and trustworthy boss. Being honest is crucial to any relationship, and this truth extends to the workplace.

While there are some things that, for one reason or another, must remain private, do your best to be forthcoming and honest with your employees whenever possible. Consider sharing a few (appropriate!) personal truths. Always share relevant information with your employees as soon as possible.

Showing your efforts to remain open and honest with your employees will not only further establish empathy between you, but it’ll encourage open communication and honesty from them, as well.

8. Ask What You Could do Better

Another major way to show your employees how much you care about them and about the workplace as a whole is to ask them one simple, direct question: What could I be doing better?

Showing that you’re open to constructive criticism and the possibility of improving in your own job will help you bond with your employees in a number of ways. It shows them that you value their opinions and that you’re dedicated to their best interest.

Establishing an open, honest dialogue about the ways in which your office is currently functioning can be a great way to bond with your employees through a natural flow of discussion and through your extended respect for their opinions.

Want More on Employee Bonding?

As a boss, many of the moves you take to encourage connections and employee bonding can prove extremely important to the function of your office overall.

If you’re looking for more ways in which you can encourage bonding and teamwork in your workplace, check out our page!