This past summer, I wrote a blog about the passing away of my best friend of almost 50 years. It was a difficult and painful period for me and I still think of him several times a week when something transpires that would have been a topic of our nightly discussions or typical banter.
This has been a painful period for many of you as well, as we all deal with the consequences of the pandemic and the tragedies related to centuries of social injustice.
One source of strength for me this past summer was the outpouring of love from my many, many friends in the Baldrige community, who contacted me after the blog was published. I will be forever grateful for your caring expressions. The outpouring of love led me to reflect once again on the power of friendship and resulted in my taking another look at some of the studies about the importance and impact of having friends at work. As we begin a new year, permit me to share with you some of that information and make some suggestions for 2021.
According to Gallup, among the most controversial questions in their 30 years of employee surveying and employee engagement research is their engagement survey question: "Do you have a best friend at work?" Yet, Gallup research shows a definite link between positive response to that question and the amount of effort employees put into their job. Gallup states that people want to feel worthwhile at work and having trusted confidants and supporters helps foster that feeling. They find that employees with a best friend at work are seven times as likely to be engaged in their jobs.
Gallup engagement data reveals that only two out of 10 U.S. employees strongly agree that they have a best friend at work. By moving to six in 10, Gallup states that organizations could have:
Moving from "best friend" to "close friendship with at least one co-worker," the job-hunting platform Good&Co reports that 65% of employees maintain a close friendship with at least one co-worker. They state:
How do you encourage friendships at work? Questions in the Baldrige Excellence Framework items 1.1 on Senior Leadership and 5.2 on Workforce Engagement provide several suggestions for creating a work culture where friendships can develop and thrive. High-performing organizations and their senior leaders:
I firmly believe friends help relieve pain and create hope. I believe the Baldrige extended workforce of employees and volunteers are a Baldrige family of people who support each other, as you did for me this summer. I further believe our success is because we have created a culture of inclusivity, clear communication, highly ethical behavior, appreciation and recognition, innovation, accountability, and learning.
While our collective pain of 2020 will not disappear overnight at the start of 2021, I enter the year full of admiration for your friendship and hope for the future. May we all experience peace, health, and joy in 2021! You brighten my life!
The Baldrige Excellence Framework has empowered organizations to accomplish their missions, improve results, and become more competitive. It includes the Criteria for Performance Excellence, core values and concepts, and guidelines for evaluating your processes and results.
I have long referred to the Baldrige community as the most generous community on earth. This is true even during times of personal loss and may have saved my life during some very dark years. Harry, you and your staff, and many fellow examiners were so kind to me in my grief and isolation. I cannot ever thank you enough.
Thanks for the comment Kay. We are indeed a community that behaves more like a close-knit family.
Happy New Year.
Finer words were never spoken. So true. My Baldrige moments were some of the finest of my career and it was due to the great people and dedication of those we worked with and served.