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Should you be Encouraging Friendships at Work?

February 1, 2017

By: Chelsea Haley, DKI Ventures, LLC

Does your workplace support camaraderie among its team members? A joint study by management professors at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Minnesota shows that friends outperform acquaintances in work tasks. Friends are more committed, more likely to offer encouragement, and communicate more effectively with positive and constructive feedback. While you may think friendships at work can distract your employees, individuals are more productive when they feel comfortable around their colleagues. They are more likely to ask questions, solicit help, provide feedback and stay on track because if they fail, they also fail their team/friends.

Check out how employee bonds can be beneficial to your business:

  • Improved workplace productivity and performance
  • Increased employee morale
  • Decreased workplace stress
  • Minimized turnover and burnout rates

So, how you can forge positive relationships among your staff to help foster a more creative and productive work environment? Sometimes this depends on the particular work environment and business. But, here are a few tips to get started:

Welcome Each Employee

As you hire on new employees, make sure everyone gets a chance at an introduction. It is best to try to complete this within the first couple of weeks. Before you write off their first week on the job as social hour, consider how you can stay productive but still promote employee bonding.

One way to do this is to invite your new employee to company meetings. For the first five to ten minutes of the meeting, introduce the newcomer then go round-robin with each other’s names and something they like to do in their free time. The purpose is getting to know each other, so just try to refrain from speaking about business for that first bit.

Another way to encourage introductions is to hold orientations among the different departments. These can include training sessions for the newcomer, if applicable, or simply quick meetings to get to know one another and what each employee is responsible for.

Hold Weekly or Monthly Social Hours

Engage in team-building activities – trivia, ice breakers, friendly competitive sports/games – just something that gets everyone involved and working together. You can also choose to hold a company potluck or catered lunch, after work happy hour or even a fun group outing. Schedule something that provides your employees the opportunity for some casual chit-chat in between the professional business talk.

Treat Them as a Team

It’s important to recognize and acknowledge individual work, but to encourage camaraderie, treat your employees as team members. Each department is a different team of people, made up different personalities and work styles, who work together and rely on each other to achieve a common purpose. The Creatives can’t effectively execute without the Analysts, and neither can be successful without the Leader. So, as each project deadline gets met, remind yourself and your employees it’s not just the leader who deserves the credit, it’s his/her entire team, because without their teamwork it would not have been accomplished as such.

Continue following our blog as later, we will discuss the challenges and importance of promoting camaraderie among the growing trend of remote employees.