Employees don’t just work 40 hours a week because they want to. They come into work day after day for a mix of reasons, likely including a passion for what they do and to make the money they need to live their lives. When either of those is stagnant, however—I.E. you haven’t been able to give raises this year or employees are burnt out on a challenging project—there’s one other thing that keeps them coming back: their work friendships.

That’s just one reason why it’s important to boost employee connections at work. Learn more about the wide range of benefits along with how you can boost employee connections in your workplace.

Why It Matters

You may still be wondering: If I spend time and money training employees, mentoring them and promoting them within my organization, why do I need to spend even more on helping them build connections with one another too? The answer to that is multi-faceted, because there are a number of reasons why connecting employees is valuable to your business. Here are three of those reasons.

Employee Happiness

When you give employees a chance to connect at work, they’re more likely to become friends with one another. Friendship, it turns out, is a valuable asset for workplace happiness. A 2017 Gallup Poll found work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent, with people who work with a best friend being seven times more likely to be fully engaged with their work. In the end, this is a huge benefit to your bottom line.

Remote Collaboration

Remote employees aren’t in the office but they’re still a critical part of the business. Connecting the employees that are both in and out of the office is the best way to ensure everyone is using the number one resource they have—each other. For example, it’s easy to forget that the remote marketing employee has experience with Adobe and can quickly create that sales deck you need in just one afternoon if you aren’t given an opportunity to connect with that employee.

Friendly Competition

A little friendly competition may be just what you need to get employees to step-up and work their hardest. Yet it’s only when employees are more connected—and therefore working as a team—they they’re likely to experience that tinge of friendly competition:

“Many teams work because each person inherently wants to do to the best job, and therefore a bit of healthy competition fuels the fire. When working on your own, you don’t always challenge yourself to be the best you can be or present the most workable idea. But as part of a team, you work off the passion of others in your group to inspire change,” according to How Teamwork Inspires Productivity.

Start Connecting Employees

Connecting your employees won’t take a lot of extra time or budget. You don’t have to plan more company outings or events; instead, build connectedness into your company culture by making small changes.

  • Organize groups in three’s: Whenever you break out into teams, do so in groups of three: “Organize subdivisions and activities that are, at most, a multiple of 3. These mini-teams of 3 create a context in which each team member gets to share their point of view,” according to teamwork experts at Hubgets. When employees have the space to share their ideas within a group, they’re more likely to hear one another and be able to connect, rather than getting lost in the shuffle of a big team.
  • Celebrate wins and birthdays more often: Bring employees together more often to celebrate birthdays and big project wins. Have a birthday cake once a month to celebrate everyone who has a birthday in that month and sing happy birthday in the kitchen area. Don’t forget to get remote employees on video chat, too. Once a quarter celebrate the top three employees in the company or start an employee of the month program.
  • Install a chat program: Make it easy for employees to chat about work and otherwise by installing a chat program company-wide. Use a tool like Slack, where you can create specific channels. For example, you may have a “Twins” channel, where anyone who dresses the same that day takes a picture and sends it to the channel. Have fun with it to encourage employees to do the same. A messaging tool like this will evolve with your organization, turning into exactly what your employees want it to be.
  • Implement monthly peer reviews: Have employees review their co-workers each month with a regularly scheduled peer review. It can be as simple as: “Write one thing your co-worker did really well this month. Be Specific.” And “What is one area where your co-worker could improve next month? Be specific.” This encourages employees to praise one another, but also to work together more so they actually have something to say in their reviews.
  • Articulate shared values: Help employees connect over the work their doing by articulating and regularly reminding them of the values they share at work. Keep your mission statement ingrained in everything you do, from taking clients to managing company culture. Employees will feel united in this and therefore more connected with one another.

Boosting employee connections is a smart way to boost your bottom line. When employees are friends, they’re happier, more productive and more engaged with their work, all of which ultimately benefits your business. Use these simple ideas, or come up with new ones of your own, to help employees connect at work.

Photo Credit: parisihiltona Flickr via Compfight cc

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