Monthly Archives: September 2007

Friends at work

How would you respond: “I have a best friend at work” (yes? no?)

Research by the Gallup Organization, based on surveys of 10 million people, reveals that this is one of the best predictors of an organisation’s successful performance. (Note 1)

Why is having a ‘best friend at work’ important? Friends:

  • Provide a source of emotional support and offer encouragement
  • Help reduce stress and increase health
  • Affect our biology and help lower blood pressure
  • Engender trust, which is critical for success at work
  • Provide positive, contagious energy
  • Add meaning in our lives
  • Value, tolerate, appreciate us and cheer us on
  • Are more likely to engage in sharing information, and conversing in non-threatening ways

Friends at work are vital to one’s engagement, satisfaction and motivation at work.

“When you don’t have a friend at work there is no-one to brag to, you can’t share the successes and savour the good moments.” (A client, August 2007)

Gallup’s research shows that:

  • People who have a “best friend” at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work
  • Close friendships at work boosts employee satisfaction by almost 50%
  • The quality of the friendships is the best predictor of happiness and life satisfaction
  • People with at least three close friends at work were 46% more likely to be extremely satisfied with their job and 88% more likely to be satisfied with their life

Why does it have to be a ‘best’ friend?’ Isn’t having friendships at work dangerous? “Gallup itself would have dropped the statement if not for one stubborn fact: it predicts performance. Something about a deep sense of affiliation with the people in an employee’s team drives him/her to do positive things for the business he/she otherwise would not do…..Subsequent large-scale, multi-company analyses confirmed that this question is a scientifically salient ingredient in obtaining a number of [critical] business-relevant outcomes.” (Note 2)

From the Australian Financial Review (7 August 2007)

“It may be time to revise the saying that work and private lives should not mix. A survey from the US shows that employees believe productivity improves when colleagues are also friends….63% of employees think being pals is better for business.”

From the Australian Financial Review’s Boss Magazine (May 2007)

“Research shows that employees who have a friendly relationship with the boss that doesn’t overstep the mark are usually happier and more productive.”

“The best managers encourage friendships in the workplace by creating the conditions under which such relationships thrive.” (Note 2)

Is ‘nurturing friendships’ in your strategic business plan?
In your personal development plan, where do ‘friendships’ feature?
What are you doing to be a better friend to your co-workers?
What are you doing to create an environment at work in which friendships can flourish?

Notes:

(1) The Gallup Organization developed their Q12 in the late 1990s. The Q12 comprises the twelve questions which are most powerful in explaining employees’ productive motivations on the job i.e. whether people are engaged, not engaged, or actively disengaged at work. Gallup now has 10 million sets of responses, in 41 languages across 114 countries.

(2) “12: The Elements of Great Managing” Rodd Wagner & James Harter (2006)

(3) Other sources: “Social Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman (2006), and “Vital Friends” by Tom Rath (2006)

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This article…
…aims to provide you and your teams with information for your professional and personal development. Topics are based on areas of interest raised by clients and colleagues, with material drawn from journals, books, articles and shared experiences.

© Amanda Horne Pty Ltd, September 2007