What Drives Employee Engagement? Part 4: Having an Encouraging System at Work

Posted by April

Sep 5, 2013 3:14:00 PM

Does money really buy happiness? Sure money can buy the latest in fashion, the fastest car, and the biggest house; but at the workplace, is it more important to have a higher salary or have lasting relationships based on encouragement?

From a Huffington Post article titled “Workplace Happiness Survey Finds Friends Are More Important than Salary” a Jobsite Survey found that a whopping 70 percent said it was more important to have friendships at their job.

Friends are the people you look to when you need help or encouragement in your day to day lives, so why not have the same kind of relationships in the office? It seems that creating lasting relationships would fuel productivity and allow for a culture of openness and communication, all three of which are crucial to any successful business.

Why is this? Do relationships at work really drive employee engagement? Or does it lead to distractions and lower productivity? Here are three reasons that having relationships at work are important for employee engagement and retention:

1. They encourage good behavior.

Friendships are relationships forged between two people. More likely than not, friends are those people in your lives that push you to do your best and encourage to exceed expectations. This type of relationship in a workplace therefore, leads to higher productivity and better results. Higher productivity and better results are known as “good behavior.” These are the kind of behaviors supervisors would support because a collaborative team (built with deep relationships among colleagues) yields higher results more so than a team that is constantly at each others’ throats, bickering about processes or guidelines.

The US News and World Report provides some interesting tips on friendships in the workplace, one of which is to use the friendship’s benefits to your advantage. Working with a friend provides motivation, inspiration, and encouragement to meet and attain goals. When you work well with someone, higher productivity is one result. Forging lasting relationships and fostering an environment of friendship leads to good work behaviors and in turn, keeps employees engaged in the office.

2. They improve workplace morale.

In order to have employees that are excited about their job, having a positive morale among the office is crucial. What better way to increase morale than by working in an encouraging environment? When colleagues become closer with their peers, they are likely to encourage and support their efforts. This shows workers that they are respected in the company and that their work is valued among the office. This is important to the overall morale of a company.

A survey conducted by Regus, a multinational corporation that focuses on providing flexible working spaces and arrangements for an assortment of clients, found that 61 percent of surveyed workers said being respectful was the most pertinent thing for having a good business environment (The Economic Times, “Respect for Colleagues Key to Creating Happy Work Atmosphere: Survey”).

Therefore, having respect for your colleagues will not only improve morale, but it will help to create a happy, encouraging workplace.

3. They create a culture where employees feel like they fit in.

A company where employees feel like they fit in is vital to employee engagement. Whether it be through forging relationships with colleagues or having a general respect for those they interact with, fitting in is important. No one wants to go to an office where they feel ostracized from their work group. Those are negative feelings that can be depressing and cause friction among employees. Instead, harbor an environment that is positive and encouraging. It allows employees to feel as if they are meant to be with the company and their colleagues. They feel like a good fit in the workplace.

A Forbes article, “Debunking the ‘No Friends at Work’ Rule: Why Friend-Friendly Workplaces are the Future,” references a survey of over 2,000 employees that stated a big reason people decided to stay with their current jobs was because of “good relationships with co-workers.”

This statistic illustrates the importance of creating a company culture where all employees feel like they fit in. With a collaborative work environment that is exploding with encouragement, respect, and lasting relationships, employee engagement will be at a high and productivity will yield better results.

Topics: Leadership, Employee Engagement, Employee Recruitment and Retention, Talent Management