While the value of employee relationships are not recorded on the balance sheet, they do offer compelling returns for the companies that support it.
Relationship capital is the intangible value of all the relationships an organization has. And, while many companies devote significant resources to maximizing the relationships they have with external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and strategic partners, they often underserve (or ignore altogether) the business benefits that come from nurturing “internal” relationships.
Smart companies know that positive employee connections create a more harmonious atmosphere. Across those workplaces employees are more confident and productive; they take on increased responsibilities and are more effective in their work. They are more satisfied and feel more connected to their colleagues. As a result, they stay longer and grow with the company over time.
Social recognition can help unlock and sustain the relationship capital that exists within your workplace. Here’s how.
1/ It builds trust
Executives would agree that trust is one of their most valuable corporate assets. But then again, they would probably be thinking more so about the confidence external stakeholders have with the brand than the trust levels that exist between their own managers and employees.
How important is trust in the workplace? The Great Place to Work Institute which produces the 100 Best Companies to Work For list says that “trust between managers and employees is “the defining characteristic of the very best workplaces.”
Recognition builds trust across your employee base. Appreciation up, down, and across the organizational structure fortifies trust between internal stakeholders. Both manager-to-employee and peer-to-peer recognition activities help to unlock the relationship capital within your workforce. When people recognize one another, trust develops and the door to building better relationships opens with it.
2/ It helps form friendships
Why are bonds within the workplace important? Gallup says that close friendships on the job can boost employee satisfaction by 50% and that people who have a “best friend” at work are 7 times more likely to engage fully.
Friendships also have a practical benefit. They increase the free flow of information between workers. We are not talking about office gossip here. We’re speaking about the type of actionable insight that can help individuals do their jobs better.
Informal information exchange is an essential element in the employee growth process. It helps employees expand their capabilities and take full advantage of new opportunities. It’s what helps people (and your business) perform at peak levels and it occurs when workers are more at ease with one another. It’s evident when one worker is more comfortable asking another for advice. And when friendships are mutual, employees are also going to be more proactive in offering their thoughts and ideas as well.
3/ It sustains connections
Trust and friendships within the workplace lead to happiness. They nurture an essential part of an organization’s’ culture. But any cultural attribute can fade if it is not supported. To sustain a business environment that maximizes its internal relationship capital, leaders need to attend to the emotional side of the workforce. They need to provide the mechanisms that create a shared sense of purpose and motivation.
Recognition keeps organizations connected. Fifty percent of employees believe being thanked by a manager not only improved their relationships with them, it built stronger levels of trust. On the peer-to-peer side, 58% of employees will recognize their colleague’s efforts and accomplishments when they are given the tools to do so.
Social recognition builds trust and maximizes friendships. In short, it unlocks and sustains a valuable asset that should not be underestimated—your “internal” relationship capital.