Would you be comfortable asking your team members whether they have a best friend at work?
Officials at Gallup made it part of their workplace engagement survey a few years ago and got some pushback from managers who felt it was too invasive. The importance of the question, according to Gallup, is evidence of a link between having a best friend at work and improved performance, particularly among women. Women who strongly agree they have a best friend at work are more than twice as likely to be engaged (63%) compared with the women who say otherwise (29%).
Gallup’s employee engagement database shows that a mere two out of 10 U.S. employees strongly agree they have a best friend at work. By moving that ratio to six in 10, organizations could realize:
- 36% fewer safety incidents
- 7% more engaged customers
- 12% higher profit
The goal is not to manufacture friendships. Rather, Gallup suggests employers could foster friendships among coworkers by promoting open communication, collaboration and promoting participation in social activities.