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Fostering a Better Workplace Culture for Your Startup


Do you have a best friend at work? I discovered Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, in Reed Albrgotti’s article in the “WSJ” on millennial’s and their opinion of a “BOSS”. Albrgotti referenced Sheryl Sandburg’s hiring of Buckingham to evaluate the top executives at Facebook. Not knowing much about Buckingham, I purchased one of his books, “First: Break all The Rules: What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently”. Here is where I discovered the importance of Workplace Friends (WPF). One of the top questions Buckingham and Coffman want us to ask our employees as Human Resources professionals is, “Do you have a best friend at work?”

And their question, “Do you have a best friend at work” – might be the single most important question you ask your employees tomorrow.

Workplace Friends (WPF) are in the numbers

In every job that I have had, I have also had a friend at work. Every time I needed someone to brainstorm with or needed someone to empathize with me, I would talk to my “WPF”.

JungHoon Lee and Chihyong Ok study hospitality management at Kansas State University, published an abstract on Workplace Friends. When we look at the numbers, they are clear indicators we could all use more friends at work.

  • 51% of employees with Workplace Friends worked with passion and feel a profound connection to the company

  • 75% of employees with Workplace Friends planned to be with the company for another year

Without a clear employee friendship framework in place for our leadership and human resources team, we are creating disgruntled employees. Joseph Folkman’s study of 160 thousand employees provided a great amount of insight into why people ended up in a bad place. One point to consider from his piece in Harvard Business Review, we must find a better way to communicate with our employees and peers to build a better workplace relationship. He bulleted the following:

  • Keep me in the loop. Communication is fundamentally a management function, so this responsibility rests squarely with the managers. Great communicators do three things well. First, they share information and keep everyone well informed. Second, they ask good questions, inviting the opinions and views from others — all others. Third, they listen. And not just to the people they like.

How do I formalize an Employee Friendship Program (EFP)?

Our team at Productio has extensive experience in establishing a simple and practical approach to creating an organization that is responsive and collaborative. We pride ourselves on connecting people “Day 1” to make sure that employees are able to do their jobs and feel accomplished and connected to their peers.

If you want to create tenure with your workforce, and build a Workplace Friend Agreement Framework for your organization, you might be closer than you think.

Connect with us today to discuss our approaches. I appreciate feedback and welcome stories and comments on people who have started focusing on building a responsive and collaborative startup.


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