Did you know. . .
that best friends are good for business? When asked to respond to the Q12 survey item that states â€œI have a best friend at work,â€? many of us hesitate because we count close friends from childhood or our spouse or partner as our best friend. Still, 29% of survey respondents do say that they have a best friend at work. And according to Del Jones of USA Today, mounting research indicates that the word "best" makes the difference.
Whether business is booming or â€œbusting,â€? friendship at work helps you through it all. Call it trust or call it friendship, a close support network on the job helps to create employees who are eager to come to work and who are "engaged." That said, most companies are still at loose ends as to what to do about it. Companies canâ€™t force employees to be friends, and Mr. Jones acknowledges that the thought of â€œgroup-hug Tuesdaysâ€? might â€œsend[ ] chills down managers' spines.â€?
The Gallup Organization has surveyed 5 million workers over 35 years searching for what magic makes employees feel engaged. Mr. Jones points out that much of what Gallup has found is not surprising, but that what they have uncovered about best friends stands out as novel. Consider the following:
â€¢ Among the 30% of respondents who strongly agree that they have a best friend at work, 56% of them are considered to be engaged.
â€¢ Among the other 70% (those who do not strongly agree that they have a best friend at work), a mere 8% are engaged, and 29% are actively disengaged.
A separate study of 161 employees of an unnamed large telecommunications company found that workers who do favors for each other are more productive than those who focus strictly on their own jobs (with the proviso that the favors must be a two-way street!).
â€œThe business world is cutthroat,â€? says one advertising firm employee, â€œand too many co-workers enjoy watching you flounder â€” especially when a promotion is on the line.â€? On the other hand, a best friend is someone who wants you to succeed. "A best friend has my back," says Marcus Buckingham, co-author of best sellers First, Break All the Rules and Now, Discover Your Strengths. Regardless of how "best friend" is defined, survey data clearly demonstrates that those who say they have at least one [best friend] at work are far more likely to be engaged.
Still skeptical about the value of a best friend at work? The wife of one Gallup employee (who said she had many good friends but until recently had no best friends at work) decided to test the theory. When a former acquaintance joined her company, she made an effort to develop a â€œbest friendship.â€œ Only when she succeeded did it become clear the importance of a workplace best friend.
Companies are beginning to realize that best friends are, indeed, good for business; do your part to create a work environment where you and your coworkers can get a glimpse into each otherâ€™s values and interests, and watch what happens
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