Work Friendships: They Improve Productivity and Job Satisfaction

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Following on my post yesterday (What Do Workers Everywhere Want Most? To Be Valued and Appreciated) about global employee research showing that “appreciation for my work” is the most important job aspect for employees, I wanted to share the findings of the Globoforce 2014 UK and Ireland Workforce Mood Tracker survey.

The findings are consistent with what we see in the U.S., with employees highly valuing relationships at work but feeling unsupported by the organization in building those relationships more deeply.

This year’s survey shows that organizations would benefit greatly from celebrating their employees’ dedication to the company, as well as the strong bonds people form while at work.

While many may claim that they do not have friends at work, perhaps if they were given the opportunity to see the impact they have made on their colleagues, their opinion would differ.

Work relationships: Critical to quality of work and life

  • Some 83 percent of UK and Irish employees believe their work relationships are important to their quality of life, yet almost half (45 percent) have no colleagues they consider to be real friends
  • A third (33 percent) of survey respondents do not think their company culture allows them to easily build lasting relationships with co-workers, despite 43 percent of them spending between 31 and 50 hours per week with colleagues.
  • A quarter (24 percent) of those with friends at work say they intend to stay with their current company for as long as possible, compared with just 16 percent of those without friends at work.

How to increase the impact of friendships at work

  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of UK and Irish employees say they would feel good if their colleagues acknowledged their first year anniversary at their company
  • Some 17 percent say shared memories and kind words from co-workers would be the most meaningful way to celebrate their one-year milestone.
  • While 67 percent would like the opportunity to congratulate or share stories and memories on their colleagues’ anniversaries, 62 percent of organizations have no program in place to acknowledge such events.

Social recognition: key to increasing productivity

  • 86 percent said they would work harder if their efforts were better recognized and appreciated
  • While 61 percent feel they are appreciated, 43 percent are not satisfied with the level of recognition they receive.

Adding a social element to recognition encourages interaction and friendships amongst colleagues. It deepens friendships, bonds people together, and provides the foundations for building trust and stronger relationships. The end result is increased engagement and a stronger company culture.

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How deep are your relationships at work? Does your company culture support the formation good, positive relationships?

How do these relationships affect your attitude toward your work, your colleagues and your company?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.

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