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A High-Performance Culture of Friends

by Jonathan Jones

“Do you have a best friend at work?” is the most intriguing question on the Gallup Q12 employee engagement survey. Hard-nose managers don’t appreciate it because it is counterintuitive to their “work hard” logic. However, if you look at the hard data, encouraging best friends at work may be one of the most profitable strategies. Here is Gallup data from the Gallup Press book “Vital Friends: The People You Can’t Afford to Live Without”:

• Without a best friend at work, the chances of being engaged in your job are one in 12.
• With a best friend at work, you are seven times more likely to be engaged in your job.
• People with at least three close friends at work were 96% more likely to be extremely satisfied with their life.

If you have a best friend at work, you are significantly more likely to engage your customers, get more done in less time, have fun on the job, have a safe work environment, and innovate and share new ideas.

I don’t encourage a leader to encourage their employees to hire their best friends. That would be counterproductive. In creating a strong culture, there should be clear expectations for high performance and an environment to help employees reach organizational objectives. The right environment creates friends and, in time, best friends.

What can we do to encourage friends at work? Per Gallup, when managers discuss friendships with employees on a regular basis, it nearly triples the chance of employees having a best friend at work. Encourage a team environment; enhance opportunities for people to work together for a common purpose. Create workspaces for productive conversations and break areas where people can talk informally and connect. Friendship enhances a culture, and the leader must create the environment for high performance and best friends.

Jonathan Jones (Jonathan.jones@vistagechair.com or 314-608-0783) is a CEO peer group chair/coach for Vistage International.

Submitted 81 days ago
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