Over the past two years we have listed tip after tip for building a strong business. The truth is though, a successful business really comes down to one thing: its employees, the backbone of any business. Of course there are ways you can improve productivity, communication, and efficiency of those employees, but the most important step when building a team of committed, loyal and productive employees is to foster employee bonds. In a recent study completed by Harvard Business Review, it was found that even more so than raises or promotions, employees want to feel as though their input is valuable to the company. When employees feel isolated in the company, or feel as though their work is not adding to the big picture, their work will reflect their slighted beliefs.
The study continued to show that workers are happier in their position when they have friendships with co-workers. Those that did have strong friendships at the workplace, reported that their job is more fun, worthwhile and satisfying. When Gallup took a poll of their own, they found that close work friendships boosted employee satisfaction by a staggering 50%– an important number considering employee satisfaction is one of the top retention factors. Friendship at work, according to the Harvard Business Review, can promote mutual respect, a sense of identity, admiration, and a stronger work ethic. So, that begs the question, how do you foster employee friendships in your office?
Encourage Interactions Outside the Office:
While employees have many opportunities to interact throughout the workday, if that’s the only setting they know each other in, their relationship may be stiff and formal. It is important to encourage activities outside of the office to create deeper bonds between your employees. Team bonding outings can carry a cringe-worthy connotation, so don’t force connections in a sterile, still work-related way. Instead, organize loose and spontaneous outings that your employees have the option of attending. Bowling nights, holiday parties, and after work drinks at a nearby bar, will all help foster a team of friends. While team bonding activities can be a bit trite, encouraging your employees to take advantage of various company perks together, say a gym membership, will help them build stronger bonds.
Have a “No Work Zone” at Work:
The image of a group of employees chatting around the water cooler may be a bit dated, mostly because water coolers are becoming increasingly rare, but the general idea is an important aspect to employee bonding. Whether it’s a rec room or a lounge, even a kitchen, make sure there is a dictated space for where employees can go to relax, take a break, and connect. More and more companies are installing things like ping-pong tables or chess sets, as a way to encourage friendly competition and interactions between people who may not always interact.
Mix Up The Teams:
If you have a large company, it is quite possible that some employees will never interact with each other. In order to support a more fluid and cohesive company, it is important to encourage teamwork between different departments. Don’t settle on putting the same people together for every project; instead try supporting new potential friendships by putting people who don’t normally work together, together. Make sure to look at our post on how to build the perfect work team, if you are looking for the best way to foster an effective team and strong employee bonds.
Invest In Your Employee Relationships
Employers often disregard the importance of company bonds and team building; the truth is though, investing in your employees’ relationships, is some of the best money you can spend. Not only will it help your employee retention rates, it will increase your employees’ motivation and work ethic. It is also shown to be a significant draw to future employees and a crucial part of your company culture. Set aside funds to pay for group outings to fun restaurants, or company trips to the mountains. You will find that what you get back is well worth a small up front investment.
How does your company help foster workplace bonds? Let us know by commenting below or on any of our social media sites.