The Relationship-Centered Workforce has arrived. And now what?

Mart Rovers, President, INTERPROM
Mart Rovers, President, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>INTERPROM</a>

Mart Rovers, President, INTERPROM

Money still matters. But not by much. This was Holly Regan's conclusion of a research study that she published in 2017. You had four years to respond. Did you? I hope you did. And that your relationship-centered workforce that has arrived has found a place to stay.

What has changed?

What are the generations entering the workforce looking for these days? Besides salary and benefits? Some of Holly's excerpts of her article are:

• Have a strong team and co-workers

• Do meaningful work and something that is rewarding

• Work in a positive, pleasant, and friendly work environment

• Have a company culture that is challenging and dynamic

• Have a passion for what I do and love my job

Obviously, some of you would agree with this list. And would be able to relate to these priorities. No matter how many years ago you entered the workforce.

You may also remember that day when your priority list was more like this:

• Compensation

• Career and professional success

• Convenience of the work location and a corner office

I am not implying that your list from the past was wrong. Let us agree on that it has grown and shifted a bit.

And now what?

Let us assume that you are aware of these changes. How do you best respond? And establish a place to stay for the relationship-centered workforce. The short answer is that you pay attention to changing the culture in your organization. That is easier said than done of course.

What is the best organizational culture to pursue? A culture that is centered around relationships. Business relationships to be precise.

Have a strong team and co-workers

Think about it. And revisit the earlier list of what your team members value a lot more these days. It is all about developing, nurturing, and advancing business relationships. The new meaning of the DNA acronym as it was put forward by the BRM Institute in BRM DNA®.

Not a surprise, given how easy it is today to connect with others. A strong team is a team that networks. That socializes. That builds trust by doing so.

Do meaningful work and something that is rewarding

Your team member wants to know his or her contribution to the success of the organization. It is that sense of belonging. Heck, some ISO standards actually make it a requirement that leadership ensures that employees are aware of this. ISO/IEC 20000 is an example of this.

Lindsey Horton, a copywriter for organizations such a the BRM Institute, published an article recently called "Cultivating Powerful Relationships: Lead with Purpose". The key word here is the word "purpose". And the key takeaway is the importance of the alignment between your organization's purpose and the individual purpose of your employee. Today's workforce is more aware than ever what their personal purpose is. What is the purpose of your organization they can align with?

Work in a positive, pleasant, and friendly work environment

In her recent article in Chief Executive, Mary Bilbrey, the is Global Chief Human Resources Officer for JLLA, writes about the human-centric workplace. She states that many employees are craving the face-to-face collaboration. As well as they miss most the human interaction and socialization during the days of COVID and while working from home.

After all, we are social beings. Right? So who in your organization is designated to focus on these business relationships. And to build trust-based relationships. A recent study by The Hackett Group confirms this need for such designated role and responsibility. Often referred to as business relationship managers, or BRMs. This nicely segues into my next point.

Have a company culture that is challenging and dynamic

In this article of The Hackett Group that I was referring to, The 2021 IT Workforce Needs Relationship Builders, Richard Pastore of The Hackett Group, observes the need for IT to maintain or form strategic relationships with business stakeholders. As well as what will happen to IT’s existing culture and what are the efforts to transform it?

In his conclusion he states that the future IT workforce needs more effective relationship builders. Data shows that IT organizations that report a small or no shortage of relationship skills are 70% more likely to achieve remote-worker effectiveness. While this research was IT-focused, I am sure that we all can relate to this data being relevant outside of IT.

Just as I challenged you on what is the purpose of your organization, I can ask you again. What is the culture that you are pursuing in your organization? After all, the late Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, taught us "Get the culture right, and everything else just falls into place.

Have a passion for what I do and love my job

Speaking of Tony Hsieh, he also once said: "The best businesses are really the ones that can combine passion, profits, and purpose." Combining purpose and passion is what also Danielle-Yvonne Dizes at The Spiritual Concierge, recommends in her article "Find Your Purpose: Consider Your Passions and Take Action". In other words, know what you are passionate about. It will lead you to your purpose. Whether for you personally. Or for your organization. And that in turn leads to profits.

So ask yourself. What are you passionate about? In his article "9 Things Passionate People Do Differently", Dr. Travis Bradberry of TalentSmart, states that:

1. Passionate people are obsessed

2. They don’t waste time

3. They are optimistic

4. Passionate people are early risers

5. They are willing to take big risks

6. They only have one speed—full tilt

7. Passionate people talk about their passions all the time

8. They are highly excitable

Seems like a crowd that get things done and most likely has fun in the process of doing so.

The Relationship-Centered Workforce and the BRM

In 2020, the BRM Institute introduced the concept of the relationship-centered organization.

The phrase "relationship-centered" and its importance is not new. In 2018, Dale Haley wrote about the relationship-centered model. A useful model that is being used by highly effective organizations that manage multiple external business relationships simultaneously. And in 2006, by J Gen, who published an article about the importance of relationship-centered care in Organizational Dimensions of Relationship-Centered Care. Just to mention a few examples.

The relationship-centered organization of the BRM Institute is comprised of several critical concepts. For instance:

• The Theory of Relationshipism

• The Relationship-Centered Organization System which consists of:

o The pillars of purpose

o The BRM DNA®

o Archetypes of excellent partnering mindsets

o Knowledge-Sharing

Ultimately, what all this boils down to is maturing business relationships. Ideally with the help of BRMs. Leading to strategic partnerships per the business relationship maturity model of the BRM Institute as depicted below.

Source: BRM Institute - Business Relationship Maturity Model

Or, leading to the peer maturity level business relationships as introduced by The Hackett Group in Modernizing IT’s Business Relationship Manager Role as depicted below.

Source: The Hackett Group - Modernizing IT’s Business Relationship Manager Role

Taking Care of the Relationship-Centered Workforce

Today's relationship-centered workforce benefits from a relationship-centered organization That is their place to stay. Having BRMs on your team to lay the foundation for this and assist with stablishing it, is preferable.

The changing workforce that is relationship-centered is best served with:

• A purpose-driven organization

• A relationship-centered organizational culture

• A business relationship management discipline and capability in your organization

Obviously, each of these will require active commitment from your organization's leadership team. As with any organizational transformation, it starts at the top. In conclusion, when you build the relationship-centered organization, the relationship-centered workforce will come and has a place to stay.