Do you have a best friend at work? And if you’re the boss, do you think most of your employees would be able to name a co-worker they consider a close friend?
Surveys carried out in the US show the following findings:

  1. 84% of respondents said a job can’t truly be great unless they have great co-workers.
  2. 67% said they have at least one co-worker who they consider a close
  3. Those who said they have close friends at work are more than twice
    as likely to also say they look forward to going to work than colleagues who don’t.
  4. 41 % said they’d left a job because they didn’t like the culture.
  5. 36 % said they’d take a pay cut for a more ideal workplace culture. wrote in January 2018 that their research had repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job.
When employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business — actions they may not otherwise even consider if they did not have strong relationships with their co-workers.

Yale University professors Emma Seppälä and Marissa King wrote in Harvard Business Review in August 2017: “People who have a best friend at work are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job. What’s more, employees who report having friends at work have higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who do not.”

It is interesting to look at that last item above (no. 5) about what would prompt employees to take a pay cut: a workplace that better approaches their ideal, which seems to include more friendships.

It suggests that fostering a culture where employees truly feel like they are working in a culture among friends, might get the kind of loyalty money cannot buy.

Organizations can and should be focusing on how they can build a culture of friendship and inclusion. It is not about forcing employees to be friends. Rather, it’s to create a culture where friendships can naturally develop.

Here are three ideas for fostering and supporting friendships within organisations:

  1. Promote open communication;
  2. Encourage people to get to know one another;
  3. Support social activities.

Would you give it a try?