Do you have a best friend at work?
If a certain trusted colleague comes to mind, according to Gallup researchers, you're likely a high-performing, engaged employee.
Gallup’s Q12 Employee Engagement survey, a series of 12 questions that were developed by studying over 2.7 million workers across 10,000+ organizations, reports that employees who have a best friend at work are more likely to be on a successful team.
“Organizations that have more best friends at work have a different kind of environment where people trust each other,” explains Gallup’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Jim Harter. “They’re more likely to share information, they’re more likely to have informal creative discussions about how the organization can get better.”
On a deeper level, there are fascinating reasons why close-knit teams are high performers. As humans, we’re hard-wired to seek out and nourish relationships with others. Building community and connection is deeply embedded in our DNA.
“Part of being a human is to strive for high social well-being,” continues Harter. “When we were studying successful teams, one of the differentiators was the glue of the team, how people felt about their coworkers from an emotional standpoint and how well they got to know each other.”
Having a best friend is just one out of Gallup’s 12 markers of employee engagement. Other questions include whether employees know what is expected of them at work, if their opinion seems to matter in the workplace, if the mission or purpose of their organization makes them feel their job is important, and more.
How to foster friendship at your company
Luckily, fostering work friendships on your team is one of the easiest ways to boost employee engagement. Regardless of whether your workforce is located in an office or remote, providing opportunities for employees to gather and connect with each other is a top way to encourage friendships.
We at Visit.org believe that the most meaningful connections occur when employees can pair purpose with gatherings. The friendship magic happens when teams participate in a shared experience that makes a powerful social impact in their community.
Rather than host yet another happy hour at a bar, which can alienate employees who don’t drink, are introverts, or who work in a remote location, try instead to plan fun, unique team-building, educational, or volunteering experiences that support a local nonprofit.
Work best friends aren’t the silver bullet to employee engagement. But when paired with meaningful work, growth and professional development, and proficient management, a work best friend can be a powerful predictor of successful teams in your organization. Cultivating such interpersonal relationships can be a boon to your company’s culture, retention rates, and productivity.
Learn how Visit.org can help improve your company’s employee engagement with social impact experiences. Schedule a demo with the Visit.org team.