Why employees need a best friend at work

by Lauren Acurantes07 Dec 2016
A recent Gallup Poll revealed that employees that had a best friend at work “were 43% more likely to report having received recognition and praise for their work”.

“There were a number of other areas where a best friend improved performance, such as being recognized for their progress, having their opinions count at work, and having the opportunity to do what they do best every day,” wrote career adviser Kaytie Zimmerman at Forbes. 

This is especially true for millennials, she said, as they continue to blur the line between their work and personal life.

She cited a Relationships @ Work study done by LinkedIn that said 46% of work professionals believe that work friends contribute greatly to their overall happiness while 67% of millennials are more likely to share personal details with their co-workers.

“Some Gen X and Boomer managers struggle with the idea that millennials want their managers to take an interest in their lives outside of work,” she said.

“You are part of their non-work life, whether you like it or not. Besides, of all the areas that millennials have transformed the workplace, isn’t this area one of the easiest to adapt to? Managers and co-workers only need to ask how their weekend was,” she added.

Apart from the support these relationships have on their productivity, Zimmerman said that it adds to how much they enjoy the work they do, with nine out of 10 saying “having fun on the job is a significant factor in picking an employer or choosing to stay”.

But they also put emphasis on the quality or sincerity of the type of ‘fun’ programmes employers introduce. Simply putting a pool table in the break room will likely not cut it, she said.

“Arranging happy hours or social events that include food and drinks are often effective at increasing fun and building relationships. The key with these to keep all generations happy is to have them at a reasonable hour,” she suggested.

Most of your millennial workers may be young and single so Friday nights may be ideal but older workers wanting to spend time with their family might find it difficult to pencil in a Friday night get-together.

A couple of solutions Zimmerman suggested is to set up an early weekend or to introduce happy hour earlier on Friday afternoons.

“However you choose to cultivate genuine relationships with all employees, know that it’s important it takes place,” she said.

“Friendly employees that have fun with their co-workers are more productive, more effective, and more likely to be loyal to the company.”

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