Whether you’re charged with improving innovation, engagement or retention at your company or simply want a culture that feels more like a community, you should be thinking about Social Capital.
Margaret Heffernan explains it best in her TED Talk when she says:
Employees are the bricks of a company and social capital is the mortar that holds things together.
While many companies focus on the bricks (aka superstar employees), it’s the strong personal relationships between coworkers (aka social capital) that will save a company from collapse when it’s stressed.
Problem is, social capital doesn’t build itself and it takes time to see the results. While innovation, engagement, and retention may be at the top of your to-do list, they frequently get pushed down because. . . you don’t know where to start . . you have three new people to hire by May and . . . helping employees make friends at work can be a hard line-item to defend.
So, here’s your motivation:
Research shows that if employees have friends at work, it will increase your profits and save you a ton of money.
Trust & Communication: Friends at work feel more comfortable being honest with each other than do strangers.
Efficiency: Instead of reinventing the wheel when they run into problems, coworkers save time by tapping into each other’s experience and knowledge.
Reciprocity: Turns out, friends feel more responsible for their friends' entire working groups and the company as a whole.
Engagement & Innovation: Both occur when people communicate across departments because they better understand the company and your clients.
Retention & Recruiting: Employees feel like part of a community and encourage their friends to join them at your fantastic organization.
The good news is that little changes can go a long way. If you need some ideas to get you started, check out:
- Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk “Why It’s Time to Forget the Pecking Order at Work”
- Six Inexpensive Ways to Improve Social Capital on the Cheap
- Client Case Studies
- Use Your Wellness Program to Improve Your Company Culture
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