Why Hiring Potential Friends Is Smart Business

June 30, 2015

Organizations need to recognize the vital role that employee friendships play in boosting productive, can-do attitudes in the workforce. Fostering a work culture that promotes camaraderie and hiring new employees who fit your culture – new potential work friends – is simply smart business.


The Psychology of Work Friendships

People have natural tendency to be social and interact with people around them, so it is only natural that coworkers, who spend so much time with each other, sometimes develop a bond that is more like friendship than mere work acquaintance.

The interrelationship matures and gets stronger with time, as trust grows between friends. In the workplace, friends and acquaintances approach collaboration differently. These differences can be observed by the behaviors and attitudes each workgroup carries out to complete their assignment.

In most cases, friends outperform acquaintances on tasks needed to complete assignments because:

  • Commitment to the shared goal and each other is higher
  • Friends trust each other's insights and advice
  • Communication overall is smoother and easier
  • Friends provide positive encouragement
  • Trust environment enables group members to evaluate ideas more critically
  • Friends are more accepting of constructive criticism

On the other hand, acquaintances, who have less inherent trust in each other, exhibit these behaviors:

  • They try to solve problems on their own
  • They don't trust outside help
  • Are often less likely to offer advice
  • Are often less likely to accept constructive criticism

In other words, their lack of connection with other work members makes it more challenging to complete tasks successfully and at the highest, most innovative performance levels.

Simply put, work friendships don't just make collaborating more fun or easier, but they also transform the way in which colleagues interact with and support each other throughout the process.

Motivation to Go the Extra Mile

Friendships at work are contagious. They motivate other people who are less collaborative and create an overall culture of trust and loyalty. The friendship group loyalty then results in a shared commitment to and discipline toward the goals.

Create a Culture of Camaraderie

A positive workplace culture that encourages friendships and collaboration doesn't happen overnight or just because the right people happen to work at the same place. It's built from the ground up and begins with the hiring process.

As a hiring manager, you must establish some guidelines for your hiring team to enhance your employee's work life cycle. Some of the guidelines may include:

  • Mine the interview: Ask questions that identify candidates who aren't just high performers but who can work collaboratively and engage openly with their peers.
  • Hire for attitude: An employee with a great attitude gets people focusing on the right behaviors, which ultimately leads to better business results and overall employee satisfaction.
  • Create a mentorship program: Partner employees with each other and not just at the supervisor-employee level. Peer mentoring is important to an individual's career experience and profession.
  • Let employees recognize their peers: Peer-to-peer recognition also works to create engaged, loyal employees who are there to support each other. Give employees the tools to recognize their peers for good work.
  • Set clear expectations but don't set boundaries: Teams need direction and an understanding of what's expected of them on the job, but they may not benefit from rules that separate personal from professional.

Encourage a friendly organizational culture by hiring people who will "gel" together, both on a personal level and in their professional dealings with each other. Your employees and your bottom line will thank you.

Contact us to learn more about how OESuite® can enable your workforce.