Positive peer relationships are one of the most valuable things you can cultivate in the work environment. Here's why:
Less than a third of employees without friends at work are highly engaged. This is in stark contrast to the 69 percent of employees with multiple friends at work who remain highly engaged.
With an employee's engagement level affecting nearly every aspect of their work, it's crucial to ensure your organization provides an environment that promotes and encourages the development of strong peer relationships in the workplace.
We recently shared some of the top reasons friendships at work are so important, and some easy ways to inspire camaraderie and help employees build excellent peer relationships:
Peer relationships help increase loyalty.
This might be hard to take: your employees aren't loyal to your company — but they are loyal to the people that built it, and those who keep it running. Employees with strong bonds of camaraderie are more likely to remain loyal to their team, and stay longer as a result.
Implementing peer recognition makes it easy for employees to celebrate achievements together, and see firsthand how their work and dedication to the team benefit everyone as a whole.
Work friendships increase job satisfaction.
The satisfaction of a job well done provides its own intrinsic motivation, but employees with friends at work who regularly celebrate their contributions and accomplishments are more likely to love their job, and even more likely to love the company they work for.
Make it easy for members of your team to share the things they love about their job and their colleagues. Encourage and model this kind of interaction to help build stronger bonds within your organization.
Friends provide a built-in support network.
In addition to being there to celebrate the good times, friends at work offer a priceless support system when things get tough. Sixty-one percent of employees mentioned support from their colleagues at work was instrumental in helping them through life's challenges.
It's important to identify and praise members of your team who regularly offer their support to others. These people are bringing an incalculable value to your organization, and it's important to let them know that.
Peer recognition is a powerful motivator.
We're all familiar with the strength of peer influence, but many fail to consider the potential for peer pressure to act as a positive motivational force in the workplace.
The TINYpulse Employee Engagement and Organizational Culture Report found that 58 percent of the happiest employees will recognize and encourage their peers' success when given tools to make it easy. That recognition provides positive peer influence, and solidifies the notion that good work is valued by everyone in the company.
Make sure you're providing an easy way for your team to recognize and celebrate one another's contributions. These interactions build a stronger team, and help motivate employees to continue doing their best work.
Although it's impossible to force your employees to forge friendships, you can implement strategies that will make it very difficult not to. Start by establishing a culture of appreciation and recognition. It's also helpful to design spaces that encourage collaboration, encourage cross-functional team projects, and introduce effective team building activities.
Take these first few steps — get the ball rolling, and you'll be surprised how far it takes you. Need some extra inspiration?
Globoforce's fall 2014 MoodTracker Report.