Workplace Camaraderie: The Secret Engagement Weapon

by Debbie Lamb, Sterling Talent Solutions

In 2017, workplace culture has never been more important. Cultural fit has been proven to have a huge impact on a business’s bottom line. A good culture brings higher employee engagement, better retention, and more productive employees. A poor corporate culture brings high attrition rates, expensive recruiting costs, and more time that roles are unfilled or filled by new and not-yet-productive employees. However, there is more to workplace culture than free beverages and beanbag chairs in the lobby. Great chemistry between employees is key to a culture of teamwork and productivity. A workplace culture of camaraderie is what HR should be striving for to maximize employee engagement.

Workplace Camaraderie

Candidates and new employees are looking closely at an employer’s culture when job hunting. They are also looking for a sense of belonging with their co-workers. The saying, “People don’t quit jobs, they quit bosses” has a positive corollary: people who stay in jobs, stay for their co-workers. Exceptional corporate culture occurs when employers value team members and employees feel they play an important role in the company’s success. Every employee within the organization has a job to do, working toward common goals that are typically based on business targets and profitability markers. A successful company can’t be achieved alone, and it’s the recognition of that fact by all parties that create a positive, productive environment.

One way to build a positive environment is having a happy and engaged workforce. Companies that have a highly-engaged workforce realize a 41% reduction in absenteeism and 17% increase in productivity. Employees like to feel that their work is meaningful to the company and they are contributing to the business’s mission and goals. Creating a strong team is just one part of building that happiness at work. Gallup’s 2016 State of the American Workplace found “when employees possess a deep sense of affiliation with their team members, they are driven to take positive actions that benefit the business — actions they may not otherwise even consider. The best employers recognize that people want to build meaningful friendships and that company loyalty is built on such relationships.” Friendships at work also lead to strong personal and professional support groups and can also help boost an employee’s spirit and appreciation.

How to Build Workplace Camaraderie

The Harvard Business Review found, “Some companies — among them Google, DaVita, Dropbox, and Southwest — have built reputations for fostering comradeship at work. The leaders of an organization should be leaders in creating a sense of comradeship in their companies. That is, companies can and should create and value camaraderie as a competitive advantage for recruiting top employees, retaining employees, and improving engagement, creativity, and productivity.” Workplace friendships can be very powerful for organizations because friendly conversations can positively develop into innovation discussions to help the team and ultimately the company thrive.

Workplace camaraderie is an important environmental necessity within a company. Yet when a team of people grows together, enjoy each other’s company, and support each other’s strengths, it can only grow stronger. To help build workplace camaraderie, employers can:

  • Create a Company Culture that is Open to Relationship Building: An employee who is a good culture fit believes in the company’s mission, upholds its values, meshes well with team members and possesses a work ethic that’s aligned with the expectations of the company. When employees feel at ease and in the workplace, your employees will be more likely to engage in deeper, more meaningful conversations with their coworkers.
  • Set Up Socializing Time: Get the team together for socializing events that does not disrupt work and encourage people to share stories about themselves. One such event is taking the team out to lunch, not a working lunch, but a chance to enjoy a good meal and getting to know one another outside of the workplace.
  • Encourage Group Participation in Projects: Have the team work together on projects. As part of an employee 30/60/90 day onboarding program, getting a new hire involved with a team project will encourage employee engagement. Teamwork means helping each other by together to achieve the same goal, which is the success of the company.

Workplace Camaraderie Enhances the Candidate Experience

When a company provides a positive work environment, values employees and provides benefits that underscore that, they’re positioned to recruit the best and brightest. HR teams should recruit for cultural fit for the organization, but also for the fit within a team. Include future co-workers in the interview process for qualified candidates and make sure they are as enthusiastic about the new person as the hiring manager or HR. Maximize the employee referral program where the best fits will come from friends and former co-workers of your current successful team.  New employees can be taught new skills, but they can’t be taught camaraderie.

Employee engagement starts before the new hire’s first day. Companies with highly engaged workers have higher rates of customer satisfaction and fewer errors. Learn more about how Sterling Talent Solutions can empower your HR department to provide a superior candidate experience with engaging hiring solutions from offer to onboard. You can learn more about onboarding best practices in the HR’s Guide to Onboarding: From Decision to Day One and Beyond by downloading a copy today.

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