Friday, November 17, 2006

Should friends matter in your business?

Here’s a Big Idea for you to think about:

People who have a "best friend" at work are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work than other employees. They also have fewer accidents, more engaged customers, and are more likely to innovate and share new ideas.

That’s the word from Tom Rath, leader of the Gallup Organization’s Workplace and Leadership Consulting Worldwide, as well as author of the No. 1 bestseller, How Full is Your Bucket?

If this is true, you have a golden opportunity to increase employee engagement and effectiveness simply by helping people in your organization communicate and connect with each other.

Rath described his theories in a new interview with, the Aurora, Ont.-based “Human Resources Portal.” (Three cheers for a Canadian company that thinks big and talks like a winner!)

Gallup has been studying friendships (among many other things) among 10 million people for more than a decade. According to its data, when people don’t have a best friend at work, there is only a one in 12 chance that they’ll be engaged at work.

When people are asked about their favorite past jobs, they are most likely to point not to a company or brand or job, but to the close friends they had there.

In case you're wondering, the research says that one-third of employees have a best friend at work. In other words, there's lots of room for improvement.

For years, employers have tried to build collegial, effective workplaces without turning them into a social club. Now it looks like those personal relationships are more important than we thought.
How are you going to build stronger interpersonal relationships in your office?

For the entire story, click here.

PS: One more Big Idea for you to think about:
When Gallup asked 700 people in Texas to name the activities they enjoy most during their day, the most popular activity was spending time with friends (yes, it ranked above time spent with spouse). And way down at the bottom of the list, below cleaning the house, was spending time with the boss.

“Pretty big disconnect there,” says Rath.

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