Tips for Improving Your Relationship With Your Employer

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 9, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employers often expect employees to create productive and positive relationships in the workplace. In addition to creating a healthier work environment, building strategic relationships can aid career advancement. Understanding how to develop a productive relationship with your employer can help you enjoy your job and advance in your career faster. In this article, we discuss what it means to have a relationship with your employer, outline its benefits, explore characteristics of a healthy employer-employee relationship, and provide tips for improving yours.

Meaning of relationship with your employer

Having a relationship with your employer means that you have gotten to know them on a more personal level. You both show each other respect and can have productive conversations. As you and your employer may work closely together, you may eventually get to know their working style and how they operate. Making an effort to learn about their role in the company and their life outside of work can help you two grow closer. This can ultimately lead to better collaboration between you and your employer.

Benefits of a good employer-employee relationship

Here are some benefits you can derive from relating well with your employer:

  • Access to mentorship: Building rapport with your employer can create the opportunity for you to request their mentorship. This gives you access to their industry knowledge, insight, and support.

  • Healthy work environment: A healthy relationship with your employer can make your job more rewarding and comfortable. This creates a healthier work environment, improving productivity.

  • Access to guidance, support, and career advancement opportunities: When your employer has a personal relationship with you, they're more likely to offer assistance and recommend you for opportunities. This can help you develop relevant skills and advance your career.

  • Reduced conflict: A healthy relationship with your employer allows you to resolve any differences amicably. This helps reduce conflict and ensure that you can resolve them productively if they arise.

Related: How to Build a Successful Mentor Relationship in Five Steps

Features of a healthy employer-employee relationship

Here are some characteristics that healthy employer-employee relationships often have:

Mutual respect

One of the defining characteristics of a healthy employer-employee relationship is mutual respect. It's important that employers give their employees honest feedback about their performance. Similarly, it's important that they can give instructions and expect strict compliance from employees. While the employer is the authority figure, it's equally important that they respect their employees' time, boundaries, contributions, and needs.

Trust

Healthy employer-employee relationships involve trust from both parties. When an employer has a healthy relationship with their employees, they can trust them to deliver quality work. Additionally, they expect their employees to work without excuses and conduct themselves in an appropriate manner. Likewise, employees who have a healthy relationship with their employers trust them to represent their interests. They also trust their employer to create a safe, fair, and inclusive workplace for everyone.

Related: The 6 Types of Work Environments

Interdependence

A healthy employer-employee relationship requires that both parties value the other's contribution. It's important that an employer recognizes the value of their employees and makes efforts to retain them. Likewise, it's important that employees acknowledge their employer's efforts to create a safe and enabling work environment. When both parties believe they derive value from each other, they're likely to have more respectful interactions.

Gratitude

A healthy employer-employee relationship requires gratitude. It's important that employers appreciate their employees' efforts and provide adequate compensation. Likewise, it's important that employees show gratitude for their employer's guidance and support. When both sides show gratitude, they're more likely to respect each other's efforts and develop a cordial relationship.

Empathy

Healthy employer-employee relationships require empathy on both sides. This is the ability to understand someone's situation and emotions and act accordingly. For example, employers can show empathy in healthy work environments when their employees express confusion or lack of motivation. Likewise, employees can empathize with an employer who's frustrated, under pressure, or unsure of handling a situation. With empathy, employers and employees can complement and assist each other.

Conflict management

Another indicator of a healthy employer-employee relationship is how they handle conflicts. Where there's a healthy relationship, both parties focus on resolving relationships productively. In some respects, the presence of conflict can be a sign of a healthy relationship as it shows the openness to share conflicting opinions. Good employers know how to navigate such conflicts and achieve lasting resolutions.

Effective communication

Where there's a healthy employer-employee relationship, there's likely to be open and effective communication. Employers can give their employees honest feedback on their work without fear of offending anyone. Similarly, employees can express their concerns over any issues with working conditions or the office. Effective communication helps promote collaboration and improve productivity.

Constructive criticism

Constructive criticism is giving someone feedback on their work to help them improve. It's the opposite of destructive criticism, which is derogatory feedback. Where there's a healthy employer-employee relationship, both parties can help the other improve with honest and well-intentioned criticism.

Related: 12 Tips for How To Show Respect in the Workplace

Tips for improving your employer-employee relationship

Here are some tips you can follow for a better employer-employee relationship:

Perform your duties diligently

The first step to building a cordial relationship is gaining their respect. To do that, it's crucial that you present yourself as a competent and reliable employee by performing your duties diligently. Ensure you complete all tasks thoroughly and meet deadlines. It's equally important to ensure you're punctual to work and you collaborate well with other colleagues. When an employer notices your impressive performance, it becomes easier for you to build a rapport with them.

Be respectful

To develop a meaningful and cordial relationship with someone, it's important that you respect them. Showing respect makes people feel safe around you, encouraging them to be more open. This is particularly important because your employer is in a position of authority. You can show respect for your employer by listening when they talk, taking their feedback seriously, and following their instructions. Additionally, it's important that you seek permission where necessary.

Participate in work events

Work events are a great opportunity to meet your employer in an informal setting. It also demonstrates that you have an active social life and are fun. To develop a good relationship, try to attend work events regularly. In addition to giving you time to speak to them personally, attending work events can also be a way to show respect for your employer. If you have the time, you can also volunteer to plan these events, allowing you to work closely with your employer and build a good relationship.

Related: 13 Fun Icebreaker Games to Use During Meetings

Be positive

Exuding positivity is an effective method to get people to like you. When you develop a positive attitude, you're likely to be more energetic and productive at work. It also affects your interaction with others, making you more exciting and helpful. Your employer may notice this trait in you, making it easier to build a cordial relationship with them. You can show positivity by trying to smile regularly at the workplace, limiting your complaints, and ensuring you're always providing solutions to problems. Try to be friendly with your colleagues and interact with them regularly.

Improve your skills

Another way to impress your employer is by constantly improving your skills. This makes you a more valuable asset to the company and can help you gain the respect and admiration of your employer. Ensure you're committed to your career development. You may pursue certification programs or advanced degrees to gain more knowledge in your field. In addition, improving your skills also gives you access to more lucrative career opportunities, making it a win-win approach. Finally, try to ensure you inform your employer of any skill improvements to demonstrate your competence.

Request feedback

Requesting feedback is a way to show that you respect your employer's opinion. You can ask for feedback after completing a project or task. While doing so, ensure you listen attentively and take notes. Remember to clarify any vague areas and ask questions about how you can improve your performance. Most importantly, ensure you implement all your employer's corrections. When your employer notices that you take their contribution seriously, they're more likely to become more cordial with you.

Set healthy work boundaries

Many people fear that setting and enforcing boundaries can damage their relationships with others. Communicating your boundaries early and respectfully sets the tone for a mutually respectful relationship. When your employer understands your likes and dislikes, there's a lower chance of conflict between you, leaving an opportunity for more positive interactions. Your boundaries can regard almost anything. For example, you can clarify that you don't respond to work e-mails during certain hours.

Related: How to Prioritize Work Tasks

Show gratitude

Showing gratitude is an effective approach to building your relationship with others. It communicates respect and makes people feel seen, usually improving their attitude towards you. You can show gratitude for several gestures, like support, guidance, recommendations for career opportunities, a reference, or detailed feedback on a project. It's usually best to thank people in person. Still, if your manager is unavailable or you work remotely, you can send a message of gratitude via text or e-mail. Ensure you include why you're thanking them and the impact their actions had on you.

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