New research shows that when it comes to the value placed on social relationships at work, men outpace women.

A new finding from Holleran’s proprietary National Benchmark show that employees who report having friends at work are twice as likely to be highly satisfied with their job (62%), compared to employees who disagree with the statement (28%). Yet, the importance of having friends at work is not revolutionary. Having friends at work can increase productivity, decrease risk, and increase employee engagement.

Argentum reports that 80% of senior living employees are female, which knowing that women tend to be more socially driven, and the senior living workforce is predominantly female, this begs the question, are male employees less interested in the social aspects of their job or having friends at work? Is the large sampling of women skewing the research?

Holleran’s data report an emphatic, no! In fact, males rate the Holleran survey statement, “I have friends at work,” more highly than their female counterparts!

One way to increase friendships and social relationships at work can be accomplished by pairing new hires with seasoned employees. “Introducing this type of relationship during the onboarding process establishes the feeling that friendships are an accepted and expected part of your organizational culture,” says Jon Forry, Research Analyst for Holleran. “Starting a new job, knowing you already have one social connection, causes an immediate feeling of camaraderie and commitment to the organization.”  

Incorporating short social activities at the beginning of meetings provides the opportunity for different members of the team to get to know one another, outside of their typical roles within your organization. Icebreakers are a great way to accomplish this when time is limited.

Leaders should model healthy friendships and set an example that employees can follow. “Leaders set the organizational culture, which front-line employees will embrace, if given the autonomy to do so,” says Holleran President, Nikki Rineer.

This new finding defies traditional assumptions. Forming and maintaining relationships is an integral part of engagement and satisfaction for everyone at all levels of an organization. Leaders who focus on best practices in supporting relationships for all employees, will be one-step closer to creating a highly engaged culture with satisfied employees.