What does relationship building really mean?

We hear a lot during the pandemic about how you can’t replace meeting people for real and developing relationships.

We believe that to be true – but what do we mean when we all talk about relationship-building and how well we are connected?

At Walmsley Wilkinson, we believe in kindness, courtesy and talking to people as people; we have something called the Walmsley Wilkinson Way. That means fully understanding those that require our services and treating everyone with warmth and professionalism. We are all different with different needs and different styles in business, so listening, understanding and regularly communicating is the key.

When it comes to people, it’s about being authentic. Being yourself and being honest with people. The time, commitment and attention to listening in a person-to-person meeting can’t be replaced by video calls no matter how much we may think we’re still ‘meeting’ with someone across a screen.

Being authentic means being real and revealing features about yourself in both business and as a person with a real life. Sharing a weekend walk or a special moment with family and friends, a special celebration or an achievement you’re proud of. Equally, the sharing will very often be reciprocated.

The danger is that we have all slipped into the trap of virtual meetings. Business carries on because it simply has to find a way, but at what cost?

Research conducted by Microsoft into the effects of the pandemic on networks found that people consistently reported feeling disconnected, with a clear trend emerging where the shift to remote working is shrinking people’s networks. It also found that internally, business suffers if relationships aren’t nurtured and it has a direct impact on productivity and innovation. 

If we’re not careful, we’re in danger of leaving behind our most valuable commodity, human interaction, the dynamic of meeting someone and developing understanding and trust. We have built relationships with some of our clients over many years, even before we started our business. It doesn’t happen overnight but when it does and that bond is shared, it’s business fairydust.

People buy from people, and in the world of recruitment at executive and director level that has never been more true.

Even when someone hasn’t secured the role they were striving for, they thank us because we care. They get the experience of working with Walmsley Wilkinson as a partner, and they feel and understand it. We cannot compromise some things despite the challenging times we are in and we will always find a way to get close to our clients as fellow human beings. Simple, but nothing more important.