Vital friends

30 Aug

At a dinner party this weekend, which I managed to squeeze in despite the looming deadline for my final Organizational Communication paper, conversation turned to work (and organizational communication, funny enough). One of the hosts commented on how I love my job because I have the most fabulous office mate, my sweet friend C.C.

He mentioned a book titled “Vital Friends” by Tom Rath. Rath conducted a massive study about the impact of friendships. Along with several leading researchers, Rath pored through the literature, conducted several experiments, and analyzed more than 8 million interviews from The Gallup Organization’s worldwide database.

One of the main points Rath makes is that having friends at work is very beneficial to the employer — with a best friend at work, an employee is much more likely to be productive, to invest discretionary effort at work, and less likely to leave the company. Rath’s research uncovered the following main findings.

  • Without a “best friend at work,” there’s only a 1 in 12 chance you’ll feel engaged.
  • People who have a “best friend at work” are seven times more likely to be engaged in their job
  • With three good friends at work, you are 96% more likely to be engaged and extremely satisfied with your life.

 Some days I swear up and down that if C.C. left me, I’d think about moving on, so it was interesting to read about how simply having a few good friends at work can have a significant impact on employee retention, engagement, and investment of discretionary effort — all of which have direct ties to organizations’ competitive advantage.


3 Responses to “Vital friends”

  1. Emily Jane September 1, 2010 at 8:46 am #

    This sounds like a fascinating read – friendship and the psychological impacts of it is something really interesting to me, and I have to agree with you – when I was faced with taking a different (scary!) position here or going somewhere new, I chose here, and the single determining factor was the people. It was less money, higher stress, but I had friends here. Maybe just one or two. But they make ALL the difference in how it feels to be here at work 🙂

  2. Roshan September 2, 2010 at 9:16 am #

    Sounds very interesting, I would like to take a look at it. I’ve had close friends at work in the last 3 organizations that I have worked at it’s them fine people who make a crappy job/company seem so much more bearable.

  3. Kyla Roma September 4, 2010 at 8:58 am #

    I can definitely see how not having strong ties to the people at your work can make you disengaged. Having only worked with people who are much older than me & who tend to shut me out, I think that might explain some of my work history! lol

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