Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Separating Personal and Business Relationships

Posted on: March 1, 2011

The size of a company often determines the type of relationships its employees have with one another. While in large corporations staff from different departments sometimes don’t know each others’ names, those working in smaller firms have to communicate a lot more and often end up being friends. Does it affect their work and business? In order to find out, Kuhnke Communication has conducted a survey on how people from SMEs cope with separating personal and business relationships at work.

The survey revealed that nearly 77 percent of people employed by small and medium businesses spend time with their colleagues outside work and 37 percent of them do it on a regular basis.

A quarter of respondents said that they are friends with their colleagues. At the same time an impressive 86 percent believe that a business-focused environment would be more beneficial for their companies.

Interestingly, the situation is similar regarding relationships between senior staff and employees. 15 percent of respondents indicated that managers in their companies are friends with the staff, whilst 90 percent expressed the opinion that the most appropriate behavior of the management is to stay business focused, while retaining the ability to understand employees’ personal issues when necessary.

The survey also showed that over 60 percent of people sometimes find it difficult not to mix friendship and business relationships at work. Over half of the respondents feel that personal relationships prevent them from giving impartial feedback on their employees’ performance, with 30 percent experiencing this problem regularly.

Finally, 55 percent of respondents think that small companies struggle with separating business and friendship more than large companies do.

Following our research, Kuhnke Communication has produced tips on how not to fall into friendship mode at work.

It’s difficult to resist the temptation of becoming friends if you like somebody as a person. However, it’s important to remember that friendship at work can cause misunderstandings and irritation when your personal relationships contradict business interests. In order to avoid disappointments act in a friendly way without getting personally involved in your colleagues’ lives.

Give feedback on your employees’ work regularly, not only when they make mistakes. This will make you feel more confident when it comes to giving somebody constructive criticism. Never involve your colleagues’ personal abilities in the discussion. It’s easier to give and receive critical feedback when you know it’s about the job and not about the person.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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