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  • Writer's pictureEdwin and George

So, you want to keep your staff?

Recent research by the Gallup organisation puts the statement:

  • ‘I have a best friend at work’

as one of the best indicators if a person will stay in their job.

I recently wrote a LinkedIn post about the great team spirit and culture that we have at EGM, writing:

‘It’s something you can feel belonging to and refreshing to know that you’re not just a number in a report read by a CEO in a different state or country. We get to be part of people’s professional and personal journeys. It’s exciting, heart-warming.’

We have very little attrition (touch wood) – and great friendships across the company.

When you have a close friend (or friends) at work, it builds resilience.

You have someone to trust, to celebrate your successes with, to have a gossip with and have a laugh. You have someone to argue with about who should have won the rugby at the weekend.

Some will argue that the pandemic hasn’t made things any easier.

With remote working we are missing the chance to chat in the office kitchen or the trip to the pub at the end of the day.

However, I suspect that all the pandemic did was accelerate a trend that was happening anyway.

Forbes magazine reported in June 2022 that:

According to a new study, people want more friends at work, and more than half (53%) would even trade some compensation for more meaningful relationships with colleagues.

Forty-three percent believe their company should be doing more to promote workplace connections.’

But that’s just the beginning. The analysis found:

  • 61% don’t socialize with their co-workers outside of work

  • 53% don’t look forward to work because of co-workers

  • 44% don’t have a true friend at work

  • 43% don’t feel a sense of connection to co-workers

  • 38% don’t trust their co-workers

  • 22% don’t have even one friend at work.

And its not just the absence of human connection – it’s the quality, as well.

It can exact a high price across multiple areas: mental and physical health, job performance, stress management and of course, talent retention.

Workers who reported lower levels of connection at work have a 313% stronger intention to quit, a 176% higher chance of job searching, and a 39% higher quit rate than their more connected counterparts.

This is a big problem – and it is hitting our youngest employees the hardest.

In a recent study, the young – people between 16 – 30 - are recording levels of loneliness that surpass even those of the elderly.

Companies have a part to play – to think through ideas that can help alleviate the problems.

  • How do we give (particularly younger employees) the chance to build quality connections and friendships in the current work environment?

  • How can we make our leaders more responsive to these issues (it emphasizes the need, in the post pandemic world for a much more emotionally intelligent leadership style promoting words like ‘empathy’ and ‘connection.’)

Best take this issue seriously. Because if people (particularly youngsters) don’t have friends at work they are more likely to ‘fly the nest.’

We should stop having all those pointless meetings – and spend more time building friendships at work.

And remember:

People are our greatest asset.

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