Everyone at TSheets is clear about one thing. There is a direct correlation between raises and how well you remember to refill the water in the Keurig coffee maker. People learn this on their first day. :)
In any company, every person has their quirks — little behaviors they prefer or can’t stand from their colleagues. For my co-founder, it’s touching his computer screen. If you need to show him something on his monitor, you can point, but damnit! Don’t touch the screen! I may test this every now and again. :)
Jokes and pet peeves aside, the quality of our employees’ relationships among one another and with company leaders matters. After all, the average American spends more time with their colleagues at work than with their own spouses or families. With that much togetherness, we can’t pretend the relationships are insignificant.
So how can you maximize the quality of relationships between individuals in your company? Here are a few do’s and don’ts we practice at TSheets that will put you on the right track:
DO consistently go the extra mile.
We have a fantastic team here and an all-hands atmosphere, and that’s because every single person is willing to do whatever it takes to guarantee success. No one at TSheets needs to be told to do their job, and our employees don’t leave each other hanging on projects. There’s an environment of trust among the employees when each and every individual goes the extra mile to ensure that projects are completed to perfection. It’s said that the extra mile is a lonely one – not here.
DON’T confuse the casual environment with lack of work ethic or professionalism.
We have a lot of fun at TSheets! If you spend any time in our offices, you’ll see people playing Ping-Pong, joking around, and enjoying a cold beverage on the back patio. Occasionally, new employees can mistake that laid-back casual work environment for a free pass. That’s a big mistake, and those folks quickly learn the truth. We have a lot of fun, but we hustle. Actually, we work our faces off. Relationships break down when individuals attempt to take advantage of culture.
DO be transparent with your colleagues and employer.
With as much time as we spend together, stuff comes up. Life happens. We’ve had employees with ill family members, or others going through a divorce — I’m not asking for dirty laundry, but I think it’s impossible to separate church and state completely. If you need time off or if something at home is affecting your work, I don’t need all the details, but I do expect transparency and honesty from my team.
DON’T play politics or participate in backbiting.
We don’t have many “zero tolerance” policies at TSheets, but I absolutely don’t accept office politics or backbiting. If our employees have conflicts with one another, it’s up to those people to have the maturity and trust in each each other to address the issue face to face. Period. Talking behind people’s backs is absolutely not accepted.
I also have no tolerance for politics or jockeying for positions. Self-promotion through downgrading others or jockeying for positions is just not how people get promoted at TSheets. It’s unhealthy for employee relationships and for organizations as a whole.
DO help each other succeed.
At the end of the day, your team should be just that — a team. Success is corporate, and everyone should help each other. Encouraging employees to live our culture, show a great attitude, and give their all every single day is the key to creating an environment of great relationships.
Relationship building among peer employees is important, and just as critical are the quality of relationships between company leaders and the individuals that they lead. These relationship builders are particularly important for anyone in a leadership role.
Actually, don’t manage people – at all. Ask anyone in the room with you right now, and they’ll all tell you the same thing: they hate to be managed. Projects get managed; people don’t. Plus, external accountability isn’t nearly as effective as an individual’s performance coming from an internal drive. People want to be led. The difference is critical — managers tell you what to do, leaders set expectations, give the tools necessary, and allow people to excel.
DO invest in building relationships.
Time spent developing relationships with colleagues isn’t a waste. Actually, for company leaders, it’s part of the job description. Employees need to know and understand that you know and care about who they are as a person. That you truly want them to succeed as a whole person, not just for a few work metrics. You have to earn the right to lead. Be interested in, and relentless about, your team’s development and success.
DON’T ask things of others that you’re not willing to do yourself.
Pretty straightforward, and you’ve probably heard it before — but if you wouldn’t be willing to do what you are asking of someone, you shouldn’t be asking. Considering how you would feel if the roles were reversed shows team members that you respect them and value their talent and ability to contribute.
Sounds funny, doesn’t it? But it makes a huge difference.
I have a pretty direct personality. That combined with my position as CEO can make employees feel a lot of pressure when I ask questions in meetings or hold them accountable for their work. That pressure puts me at risk for a breakdown in relationships with my team. But I’ve learned that if I remember to smile, it alleviates the intensity and reminds employees that we’re all on the same team.
Prioritizing the quality of employee relationships doesn’t just make for a better work environment — it actually has a substantial and tangible impact on an organization’s success.
The relationships we’ve built among our team, is just one of the reasons that employees at TSheets genuinely enjoy coming to work. They care about what they do and as a result they produce and expect excellence from themselves. Everyone takes ownership. They own our mission, our culture, and their work, which consistently results projects where I step back and say “wow” (so do our customers!) Who wouldn’t want to be a part of something like that?