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The Power of Coworkers for Employee Engagement

August 20, 2010

In my final year of high school, I was convinced that going into science. Early in the year, I was deeply engaged and was receiving high marks. Also I had I had several close friends in the class. As the year progressed my marks and interest began to dip. The reason was that friends began to disappear as university acceptances started to arrive. As a result the class became boring and I found it difficult to find my motivation.

I’ve discovered that this issue of close co-workers is crucial to my engagement even if the actual work is not engaging. A Gallup study showed that people who reported having a best friend at work were 27% more likely to feel they are important in the company’s success, 27% more likely to report that their opinions matter at work and 21% more likely to feel they can do their best every day.

Several companies have succeeded because they promote a culture of friendship among coworkers. Zappos and Tec Laboratories are companies that have focused on strengthening employee relationships. Zappos for instance requires employees to type in the name of a randomly selected photo of a coworker when they log into their computers. At Tec Laboratories, the company shuts down for 3 hours a month so that employees can complement each other. These sessions have been known to grow emotional and create strong relationships among coworkers. These companies have been successful in engaging their employees because the culture that they have been able to create fosters friendships among co-workers.

In the past, employees may have been engaged by other incentives. For my generation, Gen Y, having a close relationship with coworkers plays an even more important role for our engagement at work.

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