Why friendship is good for business

How social is your workplace? Research shows that friendship is good for business. Here are three reasons why building a friend-culture will benefit your staff, and the bottom-line.

1. Increased engagement

A 2012 workplace study by Gallup found that employees who have a best friend in the office are seven times more likely to be engaged in their work. In addition, 50% of employees who work with a bestie identify themselves as having a strong connection to their company – a number that drops to just 10% when employees keep their relationships purely professional.

Employee engagement is key to business success. Boost friendships within your team and watch that engagement score rise.

2. Increased retention

Friendship is also good for retention. Gallup finds that employees who can say, "I have a best friend at work,” are more likely to stay put. In fact, turnover rates sit at 18% less per year for those employees who identify as having strong friendships within the workplace.

A 2013 study of Australian businesses from the Australian Institute of Management reinforces this sentiment. The study of more than 2000 organisations found that 67% of employees who plan to stay in their current job nominated a 'good relationship with co-workers’ as their primary reason for staying.

In fact, relationships ranked a good 20% higher than salary as the major motivation for Australians to come to work each day.

3. Increased productivity

Friends can make each other more productive, too. Ongoing research by Gallup concludes that friendship is one of the 12 traits of highly-productive workgroups. Research conducted by the London School Of Economics also highlights the link between friendship and workplace productivity, finding that the average employee is at least 10% more productive when working alongside an industrious buddy.

It’s what workforce intelligence company Evolv has coined ‘the friendship effect'. The positive effects of friendship on engagement, retention and productivity are clear. Build a team where people are loyal to each other, and your workers are likely to stay longer, work harder and remain loyal to your company.

While SEEK partners with trusted contributors to bring you the latest insight and advice, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
  • About the author
  • Other posts

About the author

Lorena Healey

Lorena Healey Consulting


Lorena Healey is an independent business consultant, specialising in culture alignment, employee engagement and leadership development. Prior to starting her own business, Lorena worked at SEEK from 2006 to 2014 in areas of organisational design,...

Other posts