Employee Retention: One Not-So-Secret Ingredient to Keeping Your People.
I recently participated in an eBook project by answering the question: “What makes you happy at work?” When I received a link to the final product, I immediately clicked on it to see what everyone else had to say. And, I sent it to our HR Manager, because I knew she’d be interested, too. And, she was.
I don’t think either of us was surprised at the consensus that was building as we moved from one slide to the next. But, it did reinforce what we already had strong beliefs about: that for the majority of people, colleagues are the key to workplace happiness. In fact, about 60% of responses specifically mentioned positive relationships with their teammates as a driving factor.
As she (our HR Manager) concluded:
“People do make the difference. That’s another reason why hiring for cultural fit is as important as hiring for skill.”
I couldn’t agree more. And, I would add that hiring for cultural fit is not only the way to get the right people in the door; it’s a way to keep them long term. How does friendship at work lead to retention? It comes down to these elements:
It Raises Morale. This may be the duh statement of the year, but it’s so obvious that a lot of people don’t realize just how impactful friendship really is. (Or, how significant the difference is when it’s absent.) Simply put: being around people who make you happy will make you happy. And, most happy people aren’t looking to get away from a good thing.
It Creates Mutual Goals & a Common Purpose. Workplace friendships lead to better collaborations and more successful results from those collaborations. As a rule, friends are less likely to disappoint or abandon each other. A team of friends will take pride in (and bond over) what they’ve built together. Try to break that up.
It Increases Competence & Confidence. Friends help each other and encourage each other. At work, having a person or a group of people who have your back and want you to excel (and who will help you get there) has strong appeal. Your employees won’t leave for the unknown, with so much known positivity to rely on.
It Creates a Support Network During Challenging Times. Though this is somewhat related to the last point, it’s different in that people behave differently under pressure than they do when everything is running smoothly. Having a trusted sounding board for frustrations is an invaluable resource for getting through tough times. Without it, there’s a greater chance of throwing in the towel.
True story! I know because I’ve experienced it all first hand. Friends at work really can make the difference when it comes to staying or going.
So, what can you do about it? How can you encourage these important relationships?
Hire for cultural fit. Which goes back to that initial point made by our HR Manager. When you’re interviewing new hires, make sure to involve their future team in the process. Pay attention to the interpersonal dynamics. Ask yourself if there’s a natural connection or not. If you can feel the good vibes, you can expect similar interactions when they get on board.
Implement peer-to-peer recognition. Peer recognition is a proven team builder. It fosters mutual respect among all employees, and it promotes a culture of appreciation that everyone can participate in.
Host company-wide events. Send out the invites, provide food and beverages, and sit back and watch the relationships form. Because they’re naturally relaxed and social, picnics, year-end parties, and other events are the perfect environments for cultivating friendships.
Celebrate life moments. A birthday, an anniversary, a wedding, or a new baby? All reasons to break out the balloons and streamers—and gather everyone to give their well wishes. These kinds of personal activities remind everyone that there’s more going on in our lives than just work—and they also provide another social outlet.
Sound like a lot? It’s not if you have expert help from RecogNation. Talk to us about how you can create meaningful experiences that build friendships and increase retention. Call us today at 888.919.7600.
Oh, and back to that eBook. Want to know how I responded? You can read my answer here.
About the Author:
Allison has been a professional writer since 2002, with experience working in a variety of business environments dating back to 1993. Her breadth of knowledge comes from time spent on both the manager and employee sides, as well as her years immersed in the employee recognition industry. As a writer, she insists on the Oxford comma, loves to un-dangle dangling participles, and often indulges in the subjunctive mood. True story.