Friendship has no biological purpose, no economic status, no evolutionary meaning. But a new friend can reintroduce a woman to herself, allowing her to look at herself with a new pair of eyes and a new mindset … Flaws can be recast as strengths, self-doubts lifted by acceptance … Friends are more likely than family to encourage change.
— Ellen Goodman, Patricia O’Brien
Friends are important. They matter.
Especially at work.
If you have a best friend at work, you are seven times more likely to be engaged at work than those of us who don’t, according to a research study by Tom Rath and his team at The Gallup Organization.
The study revealed that employees who report having a best friend at work were:
- 43% more likely to report having received praise or recognition for their work in the last seven days.
- 37% more likely to report that someone at work encourages their development.
- 35% more likely to report coworker commitment to quality.
- 28% more likely to report that in the last six months, someone at work has talked to them about their progress.
- 27% more likely to report that the mission of their company makes them feel their job is important.
- 27% more likely to report that their opinions seem to count at work.
- 21% more likely to report that at work, they have the opportunity to do what they do best every day.
It’s no surprise, then, that “I have a best friend at work” is one of twelve traits of highly productive work groups. Employees’ relationships is pretty important to engagement, retention, and loyalty; friends at work help with the stress and challenge that come with change.
So, while they might not have a biological or evolutionary purpose, friendships at work are good for business.
You and I both know there are exceptions. Sometimes, friends complicate things. Friends “unfriending” isn’t pretty. The work group suffers, and the work suffers.
But, for the most part, employees having a best friend or two at work is a very good thing, all around.
But you know what may not be a very good thing?