by Mark Harbeke
Is the number of BFFs (Best Friends Forever) a company creates among its workforce from effective employee engagement activities directly tied to the number of highly engaged employees it has (which affects everything from retention to productivity)?
That's my takeaway from reading Catherine Mattice's synthesis of employee engagement research on "High-Quality Connections" by Jane Dutton and Emily Heaphy on the No Workplace Bullies blog. Mattice writes that "People who have a best friend at work are more highly engaged and significantly more likely to engage their customers."
Maybe Winning Workplaces' Top Small Workplaces are hip to the same academic findings. A trend of our winning organizations is that they use their small size to their advantage by creating a work environment and team building activities that they actively bill as "family friendly."
Now, I'm not saying that just creating the conditions for a "work family" means that teams are hanging out at the local watering hole three times a week. But we've seen that doing so increases the likelihood for a scenario like this to play out – and that, in turn, increases innovation because casual conversations drift into "shop talk."