As a business owner or a hiring manager, you probably know that a happy employee equals a productive employee.  The negative impacts on a business and its bottom line due to unhappy employees can be felt for a long time and are often hard to overcome.  Employee engagement is something that every business tries to improve.

What you may not know is that recent studies have indicated that positive employee engagement stems from friendships they acquire at the workplace.  More than 70% of employees admit to being happier in their jobs because they have a friend at work.  So now the question remains – how can you foster friendships in the workplace to increase employee satisfaction and engagement?

While you cannot force employees to become friends, there are ways in which you can foster an environment that allows and supports these personal connections.  It is all a part of building your company culture!  Here are a few suggestions to create an atmosphere where your culture and values promote and support friendships at work:

  • Create a culture of support within your company. Employees feel more connected and offer support to others, which cultivate friendships, when the overall goal is to provide support to others.  Allow the success of your employees to be shared openly and allow your employees to share their knowledge with others.
  • Provide a fun atmosphere! Offer ways, outside of the office, for your employees and their families to connect.  This could be a movie day for the entire office, a trip to an entertainment center, or a “fun day” at the office where lunch is catered.  Take the time to provide opportunities to for your employees to connect personally.
  • Hold companywide gatherings or meetings several times a year. Many companies have found holding these gatherings offsite are most productive and foster many friendships.  Consider holding small group conversations regarding company goals and developing new strategies to accomplish those goals – only mix up the groups.  Most employees do not get the chance to engage with other departments and people within the company and this is a great opportunity to do so.

Businesses that have fostered and prioritized their social interaction within the company have seen higher employee satisfaction, increased employee retention, and overall happier employees.  Consider fostering those friendships at work and watch your employee engagement increase!

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