If your employees have a friend at work, they’ll be more motivated and productive. Employees with friends at work are 37% more likely to report that someone at work encourages their growth and 21% more likely to report that they can do what they do best every day. They are also more likely to report that their company’s mission makes them feel that their job is important, so they’re more likely to be fully engaged.
Work friendships are crucial for improving employee loyalty and engagement. You can’t force your employees to become friends, though. So, how do you encourage friendships at work?
Use the Buddy System
When you hire a new employee, pair them up with a buddy during onboarding. A buddy will be able to show your new employee the ropes. Choose buddies who are outgoing and friendly so they can introduce your new employee to lots of people around the office. Your new employee will automatically feel like part of the team and will have a friend to turn to.
Host Team Lunches
Everyone loves to eat. Bring lunch for your whole team once a month or host a regular potluck. When everyone sits down for lunch together, they’ll talk about non-work topics and friendships will start to form.
Hold Offsite Meetings
When you hold meetings at your office, you probably stick strictly to business. Every now and then, take your meetings offsite. Offsite meetings offer plenty of time to get work done, while also leaving time for just hanging out and having fun.
Getting active together encourages comradery. Start a wellness program where teams compete against each other. This will encourage your employees to get together during lunch or after work to go walking or go to the gym.
You can also put together monthly outings to encourage your whole office to get together after work to get active. One month you could go bowling, then the next go rock climbing. Put together a group of employees to organize the monthly outings, so they spend even more time having fun and getting to know each other.
Team building games, like “Two Truths and a Lie” or “Circle of Questions,” get people talking to each other. Before your employees know it, they’ll learn what they have in common and will start talking more outside of team building games.
The best way to encourage workplace friendships is to model them yourself. Take a real interest in your employees and get to know them. Your employees will follow your example.