You’ve probably heard this before “I hate my job, but I love the people.” Usually, that love between co-workers stems from a mutual dislike of the company, culture-crushing gossip, criticism, and suppressed complaints. Flip that around to “I love my job, and I love the people” and those friendships become a defining aspect of the workplace that keeps employees invested in the company and performing well.
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report,
“2 in 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that they have a best friend at work.”
Depending on whether your employees say they hate their jobs or love them, this can be can be an ok thing (for now), or a big miss.
If your employees feel as if they have everything they need to do their best work, understand their impact on the organization, and are provided opportunities to learn and grow, then you want to bump that number from 2 to 10. Nurturing friendships between engaged employees allows them to build meaningful connections that boost workplace happiness, find support and strength through those tough projects and late hours, and foster more open, honest, and creative communication within teams and departments.
When helping to build relationships between teammates, great managers…
Look for opportunities to get people together both inside, and outside of work.
This can be a team lunch, happy hour, coffee break, team building exercise, or event. My personal favorite team building exercise is an escape room. Coworkers can work on creativity, communication, and working together under pressure – all in a crazy fun way!
Get people to open up right off the bat.
At Click Boarding, we collect and share 3 fun facts about new employees during the onboarding process. The new hire also gets a list of 3 fun things from their team. This allows for some insight into the personal lives and interests of the team, and provides new hires and team members with things they can talk about day 1.
Provide chances to share in the little victories and big life events.
For example, our development team begins their meetings by having each person share something that’s happened in their day so far that makes them happy. This sets the mood for the meeting, and keeps team members in the loop and involved in each other’s lives.
Allow for group discussion and brainstorming on things surrounding product, services, business direction, etc.
Getting everyone together to provide feedback on how the company can improve creates a sense of purpose and comradery all while providing valuable information to the manager, department, and organization. Remember to follow up with any suggestions or ideas generated during these sessions.
Now, if your employees are less than engaged, fostering relationships may have a negative impact. Encouraging dissatisfied employees to get together with dissatisfied employees will turn into long discussions about poor working conditions, unrealistic expectations, and lack of career growth. That will eventually give your employees the extra push they needed to walk out the door. In this case, great managers will focus on building employee engagement before building friendships.
Some easy ways to boost engagement:
- Start with Expectations
- Focus on Productivity
- Allow Employees to Do their Best Work
- Give Praise
- Show You Care
- Encourage Development
- Make their Opinions Count
- Make the Mission Clear
- Focus on Quality
Once engagement rates start to increase, start finding meaningful ways to connect employees. These relationships need to be genuine. Don’t push too hard and don’t try to force people. It’s human nature to connect, so provide the chances and let your employees do the rest!
Hopefully this blog will help you tackle the tenth element of engagement. Stay tuned as we count down to number 12!