You would probably agree that your relationships with your family, friends, or significant others are of the utmost importance. That said, if time spent is a true measure of importance, our most important relationships are with the employees who work for us. As with any relationship, your goal should be to keep these relationships out of the “dysfunctional” or “it’s complicated” categories and in the “you complete me” category. There are hundreds of articles and thousands of suggestions about how to maintain a “successful” relationship with your employees, but the simple, dynamic concept of a co-committed work relationship, if adopted by both employers and employees, will result in an optimal work place.

A co-committed work relationship is one in which employers and employees support each other in achieving each other’s goals, allowing the relationship to be the catalyst by which each party expresses their full potential and creativity. By accessing the employee’s full potential, the employer is more likely to achieve business goals and utilize the full potential of the company. At the same time, the employee is better equipped to reach her personal goals. The cohesive nature of the relationship creates more opportunity than either party could generate alone.

Ad Age cited Metric Theory’s co-committed relationships between employers and employees as a major factor in their selection of Metric Theory as the Best Place to Work for 2015. The following three steps have helped Metric Theory build a positive and productive workplace, and will help you set the foundation for sustainable, co-committed relationships that produce a happy employer and happy employees.

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This is how we keep our employees so happy. Image via Pexels

Establish and Recognize What is Important

According to the New York Times, more than 70% of employees feel disengaged at work. In addition, The Energy Project, a company that focuses on workplace fulfillment, found that half of 12,000 employees surveyed feel that they lack meaning at work. The Energy Project goes on to demonstrate that employees who derive meaning from their work are more than three times as likely to stay with their organizations – overall, this was the highest single impact of any other survey variable they tested.

Understanding what is meaningful to employees, and helping them understand what is important to the company, is the first step in establishing a sustainable relationship. Each employee has unique life intentions that lead towards overall fulfillment, and subsequently very unique goals they are looking to achieve. Creating an environment and opportunities that openly align employee goals with the goals of the company is a delicate dance rooted in trust and ongoing communication.

Open Communication and Keeping Agreements

With all relationships, trust is established over time. One way to jump-start trust is to create transparency between employers and employees, where vulnerability is encouraged and empathy is practiced. According to Forbes, it makes good business sense, and will increase the bottom line, if employers practice empathy. An HBR study showed that the top 10 companies in the 2015 Global Empathy Index increased in value more than twice as much as the bottom 10 and generated 50% more earnings. It is important to create a culture where employees can share their feelings and truly feel heard. Agreement and consensus is only possible when there is open communication and trust. Making and upholding agreements between employers and their employees is how progress is made.

100% Responsibility

Most relationships don’t work seamlessly without some ups and downs. One way to maximize the ups and minimize the downs is for each party to take 100% responsibility for their actions and their feelings. A successful work environment will discourage blame and excuse-making, while encouraging employee accountability and proactiveness. Employees who take ownership over their behavior, and take responsibility for the outcomes of their decisions, help create stronger, more action-oriented, results-driven companies.

It can take some time to build the trust needed for co-committed relationships at your workplace, but increasing transparency and empathy will lead to more satisfied and productive employees who will arrive at work every day eager to solve problems and contribute to the growth of the business. And that’s a win for any company.