Happiness is a warm co-worker

How do you keep your staff happily connected with each other when you can’t control personalities in the office? Take these tips onboard

Who you work with is more significant than who you work for, a TINYpulse survey of 40,000 employees worldwide shows. Employee happiness is 23.3% more correlated to connections with co-workers than direct managers, and co-workers were the number one reason people loved their jobs, the survey discovered.

And though it’s obvious that the more friends people have at work, the higher the retention rate, how can HR help foster personal relationships? Author and speaker Barbara Glanz, who focuses on employee morale, offered HRM some practical tips:

Track staff interests It might sound creepy, but if Google and Facebook are already doing it, then you’re missing out on a world of information that could benefit you and your company. All you have to do is take note of the conversations you’re having with those around you, and begin thinking of ways to connect people based on commonalities. “Start a human-level database; find out who speaks what languages, what their hobbies are, where they went to school, what ages are their children, all kinds of things about them as human beings,” Glanz said.

Encourage support groups Try arranging events like art shows or potlucks, or set up online chat rooms for those with similar interests. They could be events set up during lunch breaks, or they could be in the form of technology used after hours. General Electric sets up online events like live webinars for people interested in human rights issues, chief diversity officer Deborah Elam told HRM America last month.

Visit every office at least once a year Skype is useful, but the platform is limited and lacks the candidness of natural office conversations. Glanz said the best way to acquire honest feedback from staff was to “manage by walking around”. “I also think it's critically important for HR to get out there and at least once a year be in the situation,” she said.

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