For Better Employee Retention, Foster Work Friendships

For Better Employee Retention, Foster Work Friendships

Got Friends? They Matter More Than You May Know

Friends make our brains work better. A 2010 study by Harvard graduate student Fenna Krienen indicated the brain’s frontal midline responds more positively to interactions with friends than people we don’t know. We’re happier, more connected and sharper when we have friends.


Great news, obviously, on a social level, but what does that mean in the business world?


You don’t need a Harvard study to tell you that business often gets done based on relationships. And as most people know by now, referrals are your best source of recruitment leads. It’s not a stretch to think the greater number of friends you have, the bigger your opportunities for success—and goes for your team, too. Another classic study indicated strong high school friendships impacted earnings potential.

Employee engagement statistics have shown a steady decline for years. Stress levels are on the rise. Friends at work help mitigate those trends and positively impact productivity. Employees are more likely to be invested in their job – to be committed toward company success – if they have strong friendships.


Want to help your team make friends at work? Try this:

  • Be Open – Look for opportunities to talk with employees and learn about who they are. Grab lunch or coffee with two or more of them. Give them the chance to know one another outside of the office. (This is NOT matchmaking, but team building.)
  • Be Gregarious – Talking business is good, but let your co-workers get a sense of what you’re all about on a personal level. Be a model for them to share something of themselves with their co-workers. As everyone finds out more about each other, all your relationships will grow deeper.
  • Be Supportive – Don’t make team members feels like they have to clam up whenever you appear. Sometimes co-workers simply need someone to bend a non-judgmental ear. Remember, a modest amount of chitchat isn’t a waste of time—it’s making your office a friendlier place to spend 40 hours a week.

For some people, making friends isn’t always easy. And that’s okay. What’s important is making the effort. Managers can do their part by scheduling team building exercises and events where employees have opportunities to socialize with each other. Teams with stronger personal ties are more productive, and that’s good for business.

Have team friendships made a difference in your businessa? We’d love to hear how.

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