Our HR Assistant Simon Underwood shares his top tips on how to build positive relationships with both colleagues and clients.
By Simon Underwood
“Can you do an offer letter for Rod.” asks Laura. “Can you do a contract for Jane” asks Tim “Put together a briefing note for Freddy” asks Claire.
This is an example of my first few weeks as a HR Assistant with HR180. Doing lots of important paperwork for people who I hadn’t even met yet. As I worked though my daily task list I began to wonder, Rod seems pretty abrupt in his emails, is he always in a bad mood? Jane sounds nice over the phone I bet she’s nice to work with. Why do Freddy’s emails not make sense?
Then the fun really began. Over the next few weeks I got to visit some of our clients and put names to faces, personalities to emails. I now understood the full picture, I knew why the emails were written the way they were, people were busy, people were still learning English having just moved to the UK, some people are just naturally more charismatic.
I could see how the companies were structured. Why it was important that the right type of people were employed to work in certain teams and where issues could occur. This is where the ‘real HR’ happens, learning about the people, what makes them tick, what upsets them, and how can we fix it.
Building relationships through face-to-face meeting is a vital part of the service we provide. Here are my top tips on building great relationships with your team.
Being open and honest is a great start to any working relationship as it immediately lays all your cards on the table and allows the team to have a clear picture of what you want and why you want it. Plus, asking for help is a great way of showing you respect and trust another team member.
If you see a problem you can fix don’t wait for it to become a big issue, step in and fix it! Showing initiative and enthusiasm will help you build trust within your team.
I used to have a team member who would often come into my office and ask if I was alright. I knew they weren’t really asking about me, but were upset about something and wanted me to ask how they were. It’s important to read between the lines and identify what people are really saying and that sometimes people just need to vent.
Be aware of your own personality. I’m a naturally outgoing person, who is loud and confident. I need to be aware though, that this can appear brash and could drive more introverted people into their shell. Learn to tailor your personality to the scenario. For example when interviewing, be confident in the asking, but know to stay quiet for the answer. Use your outgoing charismatic side to break the ice and put people at ease. Know when to be serious and when to laugh and if you must be a comedian know your audience!
Do something nice for someone. Not because you’ve be told to or it’s their birthday. Do it unexpectedly, this will show kindness that over time will be reciprocated.
My two main weaknesses are that I’m forgetful and tell bad jokes. Never be afraid to say sorry or admit your mistakes. Understand your failings and try to flag up when you may be about to repeat your behaviour. Learn from your errors, hold your hands up when you’re in the wrong. Be ready to fix the mistake and move on.
To build trust takes time so start with small steps. Start by making someone a cup of tea using the right tea bag and go from there. Before you know it you’ll have built a trusting relationship and be working on big projects together.
If you’d like any more advice or support on building your work relationships, give us a call at HR180 on 0113 287 8150 or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.