It’s more challenging than ever to retain employees. We know, however, that having friendships at work is one of the biggest drivers of retention. In fact, a study done by Officevibe revealed that 70 percent of employees said friendships at work are the most crucial element to a happy working life.
Companies can increase retention and long-term satisfaction by training employees on how to build their networks and find friendships within the organization. Here are five reasons why building meaningful relationships with colleagues is important:
Builds Excitement About Returning to the Office
Anxiety about returning to the office is transformed into excitement if colleagues get to see people they know, like, and trust. Networking leads to these feelings of connection with others. Whether it’s reuniting with a peer you haven’t seen in person for more than a year or attending a “welcome back” speed networking lunch, the proposition of being in the office becomes something to look forward to.
Try this: Host a virtual workshop about networking best practices and give participants the opportunity to put it into action at a networking lunch or event.
Integrates New Hires Into Your Organization
Help employees who started at your company during the pandemic feel connected to their colleagues. By creating opportunities for them to establish relationships with mentors and people who perform similar work, they’ll feel invested in staying at your organization because of the support network they’ve built.
Try this: If you have a mentorship program, conduct a training about how to maximize the mentorship relationship by providing frameworks for making introductions and action items for continued connection.
Encourages Connection in a Hybrid or Virtual Environment
Creating environments for employees to build relationships requires intention and creativity in a virtual or hybrid environment. Networking workshops create a forum for relationship-building and give employees the tools they need to get to know their colleagues. By using breakout rooms and discussion prompts, participants make progress in developing their professional networks in real time.
Try this: Host a series of virtual workshops with people from different areas of the organization. Use heavy breakout discussions so participants can lay the foundation of long-term relationships.
Boosts Employee Retention
Two-thirds of participants in a recent study said they would be more inclined to stay at their company longer if they had more friends. Having friends at work is especially important to millennials, who often view their colleagues to be family. If people know how to build relationships and are empowered to do so, they’re less likely to quit for another offer that comes their way.
Equips Everyone (Even Introverts) With the Tools to Thrive
Networking isn’t intuitive for everyone. In fact, a study by Eleview Consulting found that the primary reason people don’t network is because they feel awkward or uncomfortable doing so. Given that the same study found that 80 percent of employees feel that networking is essential to their success, there’s a clear opportunity to give employees the tools and skills to build relationships with their colleagues.
Try this: Provide a range of ways colleagues can get to know one another. After a group workshop, encourage people to meet one-on-one so they can have more meaningful conversations and establish more trusted relationships.
You’ll shield yourself, and your company, from the impacts of The Great Resignation by adding networking to your current training program.
Original published in td.org by Elise Gelwicks, CEO of Eleview Consulting, on November 3, 2021 and can be seen at https://www.td.org/atd-blog/5-reasons-why-networking-training-is-the-antidote-to-the-great-resignation.