Hiring an employee is much more than merely bringing a new worker on board. It is also a new relationship, one that requires nurturing on the part of both members. Employers and their employees often work side-by-side on a day-to-day basis, which means that interactions must be friendly, positive, and encouraging. If not, the work environment can be unpleasant. Negative relationships between employers and their employees can quickly lead to discomfort, lost productivity, and in some cases, employee turnover. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, it’s important to make an effort to strengthen work relationships as much as possible. Positive relationships lead to increased employee satisfaction and increased productivity.

The Basics

In general, both employers and employees need to be respectful of each other. The level of closeness of an employer and her employee usually depends on the employer. Some employers choose to keep a professional distance from their employees in order to ensure that the workplace hierarchy is not confused. Other employers try to foster a more friendly relationship with their employees and see every worker as an equal member of a team, an outlook which is believed to contribute to a more positive workplace environment. Both methods have their strengths and weaknesses. In large organizations it may seem more important to maintain distance in order to preserve employee and employer roles, while in smaller organizations employees and employers might become more intimate.


Employers and their employees are essentially partners. Employers rely on their employees to fulfill the responsibilities outlined in a job description or work contract, while employees rely on their employers to support them monetarily. If this partnership is somehow broken, both parties face risks. The employer’s business may not run smoothly without her employees, while the employee will not be able to support herself without payment from her employer.

Professional Woman Using Laptop at Desk

Professional Woman Using Laptop at Desk

Building Trust

Trust between an employer and her employee isn’t built overnight. Instead, it comes with time and positive reinforcement. Both members help to build a trusting relationship in different ways. The employer takes an interest in the employee’s life, hobbies, and passions. An employer may make the effort to ask about the employee’s weekend or family and the employee can return the favor. Open and honest lines of communication help to foster a trusting relationship over time.

Monitoring Closeness

It’s important not to go too far when it comes to taking an interest in your employer or employee’s home life. Boundaries between employers and employees are meant to prevent inappropriate intimacy or conflicts of interest within the company. In most companies, employers and employees are not allowed to have romantic relationships. Overly close friendships are also often prohibited, as other employees may feel that the employer is choosing favorites.

Quick Summary

Employer-employee relationships are a crucial aspect of any work environment. Relationships that are negative can seriously harm a company’s productivity, increase employee turnover, and create an uncomfortable working environment. Relationships that are positive help to increase employee satisfaction, improve teamwork, and even increase productivity.