We all probably have a friend at work, but would we go so far as to say a "best" friend? First of all, we're conditioned to maintain a mild distance between ourselves and our co-workers so that work is work and play is play. Second, best friends are not exactly easy to come by. Best means best, after all.
All that said, Gallup stands firm: it's the superiority of "best" versus just "good" or "close" that makes all the difference. Better performance, higher quality of work, greater levels of trust and loyalty, and increased resilience during times of stress and change are all linked to this one element.
While forming bonds is an organic process that is best left to nature, there are still a few things you can do to foster some healthy relationship-building in your workplace.
You can start at the beginning, with your recruiting. When you bring on new employees, considering their fit with the group they're joining is critical. If you can't envision them as part of your current ecosystem, it will benefit everyone involved to keep looking until you find the ones who will complete the puzzle.
It also helps to allow, and even encourage, socializing. When you see your team members congregating, don't worry that they should get back to work; instead, smile knowing that they're forming relationships that will pay off in the future. Environments where employees are free to chat, laugh, and share—even on the clock—are the ones most conducive to friendship making. And, as we've learned, they are also the ones that are the most productive.
Throwing out a challenge can also bring people together. Pairing team members on short brainstorms or longer term projects stimulates collaboration, a sense of connectedness, and unity toward a common goal. If they're in it together, they'll come out of it stronger.
AND, THEY'LL BUILD A STRONGER COMMITMENT TOWARD ONE-ANOTHER AND YOUR ORGANIZATION.
Our People are Talking
"Going to lunch with Kim is hands down the highlight of my week!
We could use that time to talk shop, but we'd rather just have a few laughs.
It's our time to decompress and breathe. And laugh. We do a lot of laughing!"
-Brenda, Inbound Sales Manager at Baudville