Teamery is a coaching and consulting firm that helps teams improve their performance, build resourcefulness, and persevere in the unpredictable world of work. In this blog post, we discuss the importance of work friendships and how they can benefit both employees and the bottom line.
Human beings are wired for connection, and having friends at work is crucial for our health and happiness. According to recent data from Gallup, millions of people suffer from loneliness, with more than 300 million people globally lacking a friend they can count on whenever they need them. As we spend the equivalent of nine years at work, it makes sense that we have more opportunities to make friends at work than in any other way.
Friendships within teams increase talent retention, profitability, performance, and engagement. Work friends help us navigate through the inevitable quagmire of office politics and enable us to thrive by being the person with whom we can vent our frustration, share our successes, and support each other.
Here are some actions that teams can take to create and maintain a friendship-friendly culture:
Effective Onboarding: Ensure that a new team hire is paired up with a veteran team member to guide them through the first 90 days with the team. This is a critical step to fully integrate them with the team’s ways of working, being, and doing. Ensure that the new hire has frequent interactions with their “buddy” and the rest of the team.
Talk More, Email Less: An email will never replace real conversation. We need to talk, see, and spend time with people to build our friendships. We need to connect with each other, even if only online, with our cameras on.
Connect More: People are wired for connection - harness this social capital. Exposure to different functions within the team increases collaboration, and meeting new people creates opportunities to form friendships. Socialize more, eat together, move your workspaces closer together, encourage innovation and idea-sharing, and have fun on the job.
Friendships encourage people to trust, accept, and forgive each other – resulting in true psychological safety. When friends work together, they are more likely to build better customer relationships and get more done in less time.
At Teamery, we believe that a team culture that prioritizes and encourages work friendships is good for employees and good for the bottom line. We would love to partner with you and your team to build friendships and increase talent retention, profitability, performance, and engagement.
Source: HBR: The Power of Work Friends. John Clifton October 2022.