We are working from home, from the office, on zoom and multiple other platforms. And, we know that relationships are the single greatest contributor to workplace well being. Both the Gallup Research study and the Myers-Briggs study point to the fact that friendship and relationships are one of the biggest motivators for employee engagement, happiness, retention and health. The question is…how do we form friendships now? how do we form friendships in the evolving ways we do work?
Shasta Nelson wrote The Business of Friendship to explore these very questions. The book was published in 2020, prepandemic, yet the data is compelling and deserves our collective pause and reflection. Nelson and others are reporting on the trends of friendship and lack of friendship in the workplace.
The British Minister of Loneliness is researching how loneliness affects business costs. They are researching loneliness in the workplace and the associated health costs, productivity shifts and turnover trends. They have conservatively estimated that lonely workers are costing employers upward of $3.5 billion. Nelson reports that their conclusions are a call to action to be both reactive and preventive to prevent loneliness of employees.
New technology allows us to work remotely and there has been much written on the debate between hybrid, remote, and in-person work. Perhaps, what we also need to consider is how do we build a culture of friendship in these new modalities of work? Zoom is great for transactional work. Yet, how do people form those relationships that results in a “best friend at work”, a primary indicator of engagement and retention in the workplace
People with a best friend at work are 43 % more likely to have received recognition for their work in the last 7 days. In additions, 35% more likely to report coworker commitment to quality. In fact, some people report 50% more engagement when they have a best friend at work. (Gallup).
In the current Tsunami Turnover, 52% of people plan on looking for new jobs in 2021. We also know that having deep friendships at work is a strong indicator of retention. Nelson found that 60% of people report their employer does not foster friendship at work. If we focus on friendship building can we increase retention in 2021?
The number one reason people state for staying at their job is “a good relationship with my colleagues.” Workhuman found that enjoying the people we work with is a greater motivator than compensation. We stay at our current jobs because we have friends.
Think about it….
Friendship at Work= Retention, Engagement, Well Being, Collaboration, and connection that fights the epidemic of loneliness.
What do we as leaders want to do about creating friendship in our new work environments? It’s not just about getting the job done. It’s about developing, nurturing and enhancing connections.
What’s one step you can take this week to champion friendships at work? Perhaps if you work virtually- try a walking meeting every other week. Or if you work in person- take a lunch break together and tell a story about one of your best friends. We need to get personal, connect, understand, laugh, cry and be together.
Our humanity is calling us to connect.
What is your number one step this week to form a friendship at work? Let’s think together.