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Relationship Development Leads to Loyalty and Learning, According to Barry Labov

Relationship Development
“We’re hiring” signs are just about everywhere you turn these days.

“We’re hiring” signs are just about everywhere you turn these days.

As the labor market continues to tighten, it’s more important than ever for companies to take action and hold on to top talent. When employees view their employer as a destination rather than a stepping-stone in their career, the likelihood of them staying is much higher. The longer employees remain on the job, the more experience they acquire — a key to elevating the customer experience and improving the quality of a product or service. So, what’s the secret to driving employee loyalty? One answer is to encourage employees to build social connections with each other. Not only can this lead to greater satisfaction on the job, but it can promote learning and development as well.

According to Globoforce, 62% of employees with one to five work friends said they would reject a job offer to work somewhere else. This data supports that establishing social connections in the workplace leads to greater loyalty. If you think about it, we spend most of our time at the “office,” where that’s an actual office, a manufacturing plant, dealership, store, etc. That’s why building work relationships is so important to employee well-being and satisfaction on the job.

Another study by Gallup found that employee friendships make workers seven times more engaged at work. Greater engagement leads to greater job performance and satisfaction. Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” says, “Social connection, which is created by being here, is the greatest predictor of long-term happiness and the greatest long-term predictor of success.” A happily engaged workforce can be a powerful weapon that propels one company far above its competitors.

If you’re in any type of service industry — and many of us are in one form or another — you want productive employees who feel fulfilled on the job. They are more likely to provide the kinds of experiences that keep customers coming back. As the people on the front lines every day, your employees are the ones fulfilling your brand promise and building brand value. Ensuring they’re satisfied is an investment in your brand that delivers innumerable dividends, from greater customer loyalty to higher sales.

Another benefit of establishing social connections at work is the ability to learn from others and expand your capabilities. According to the Association for Training & Development, 90% of learning happens through personal experiences and social interactions — both inside and outside of an organization. Social learning isn’t new, but businesses are increasingly turning to this learning method. Whether it’s establishing online or in-person collaborative learning environments, encouraging learning between departments, or behavior mirroring activities, social learning has proven advantages.

When employees establish strong workplace connections, they are more likely to know who to seek out when they have questions. This knowledge sharing creates stronger bonds, helping employees feel more fulfilled as they learn themselves, as well as help others grow. According to recruiter.com, 86% of employees said they are learning what they need to know for their jobs by collaborating with others.

A work environment that promotes social connections raises employee engagement, job satisfaction, fulfillment, and loyalty. When a company has all that, they go beyond being a stepping-stone and achieve that much sought-after position as the destination for top talent. Then it’s time to take down those “we’re hiring” signs and get to the important work at hand.

BARRY LABOV, a two-time Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year and inductee into the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame, is founder, president, and CEO of LABOV Marketing Communications and Training in Fort Wayne. He has written and co-authored more than a dozen business books and is a regular columnist in business publications.

About the author

Rajesh Tamada