of respondents share strong relationships with more than one colleague
of employers think it is healthy to have office friendships
Engaged employees are more likely to have a positive impact on the organisation’s growth, with recent studies identifying workplace friendships as a primary driver of employee engagement.
According to a survey conducted by a recruitment agency, over 48% of business professionals have strong relationships with more than one colleague. 70% of employers also believe it is healthy for employees to have someone in the company they can bond with or confide in.
While some prefer to keep friendships separate from work, bonds between employees can be valuable to both the individual and company in three significant ways:
1. Workplace friendships improve talent retention
Talent retention remains a global challenge as labour markets grow increasingly competitive. What can companies do to keep their employees on the job? Cultivating workplace friendships is the potential answer.
A global study on future workplace trends found that:
of workers would be more inclined to stay with their employer longer if they had more friends at work.
This sentiment resonates across employees of all age groups.
Gen Z and Millennials, in particular, believe strongly that positive connections had a direct impact on their desire to stay with an organisation.
2. Work buddies strengthen employee engagement
Peers are one of the top drivers of employee engagement, making it more likely for them to turn to each other when faced with a challenge, according to a HR study. HR and business managers can implement a formal “work buddy” system to empower employees to better support each other in the workplace. Here’s how you can start:
- Ensure each employee is assigned to a work buddy
- Outline the responsibilities of a work buddy, such as providing onboarding guidance on work processes or sharing insights on the workplace culture
- Reward work buddies formally during performance appraisals or through gestures of appreciation
3. A happy workforce is a productive workforce
Happy employees are 20% more productive than unhappy employees.
Happy salespeople perform 37% better than unhappy employees.
Work friendships contribute significantly to happiness at work, which leads to increased productivity. A study on the link between happiness and productivity found that happy employees are up to 20% more productive than unhappy employees. Happy salespeople were even able to raise their performance by 37%.
Cultivating workplace friendships provides the necessary conditions to encourage stronger collaboration and maximise the potential of your workforce. To create such an environment, organisations can set aside informal meeting spaces for employees to get together during their coffee breaks or convene for work discussions.
Strive to maintain balance
As you set out to build closer social rapport between employees, have guidelines to ensure a healthy balance between professionalism and harmony:
- Establish clear boundaries for social interactions to minimise misunderstandings and avoid conflict of interests
- Ensure a level of professionalism and etiquette in the workplace, with clear guidelines each employee should adhere to
- Encourage collaboration between diverse teams and individuals to foster camaraderie instead of cliques
At the end of the day, people are a company’s greatest asset. The quality of their interpersonal relationships matters—the better balanced the relationships, the better your organisation functions. Workplace friendships can definitely be beneficial, and everyone in your company plays a part in fostering a friendly, positive environment.