12 Ways Positive Social Connections in the Workplace Increases Business Success

12 Ways Positive Social Connections in the Workplace Increases Business Success

1) More Positive Emotions = More Productivity & Creativity

Whether we looked at entrepreneurial startups or large, established enterprises, the same holds true: People are more productive and creative when they have more positive emotions.

–Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, 2011.


2) Negative Emotions Have the Opposite Effect

We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings, while negative emotions have the opposite effect.

–Economist Team led by Andrew Oswald, Warwick Business School, July 2010, in “A New Happiness Equation: Worker + Happiness = Improved Productivity.”


3) Positive Workplace Interactions = Improved Employee Health

Positive social interactions at work have been shown to boost employee health, e.g. by lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and by strengthening the immune system. Happy employees also make for a more congenial workplace and improved customer service. Employees in positive moods are more willing to help peers and to provide customer service on their own accord. What’s more, compassionate, friendly, and supportive co-workers tend to build higher-quality relationships with others at work. In doing so, they boost co-workers’ productivity levels and increase coworkers’ feeling of social connection, as well as their commitment to the workplace and their levels of engagement with their job.

–Emma Seppala, “Why Compassion in Business Makes Sense,” Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, April 2013.


4) Business Success Depends on Empathetic Leaders

Business success depends on empathetic leaders who are able to adapt, build on the strengths around them, and relate to their environment.

–Jason Boyers, “Why Empathy Is the Force That Moves Business Forward,” Forbes, May 2013.


5) Happy Employees = Happy Customers and Happy Shareholders

Loyal, passionate employees bring a company as much benefit as loyal, passionate customers. They stay longer, work harder, work more creatively, and find ways to go the extra mile. They bring you more great employees. And that spreads even more happiness — happiness for employees, for customers, and for shareholders.

–Rob Markey, “Transform Your Employees into Passionate Advocates,” Harvard Business Review, January 2012.


6) The Frequency Employees Help One Another Predicts Sales Revenues

Evidence from studies led by Indiana University’s Philip Podsakoff demonstrates that the frequency with which employees help one another predicts sales revenues in pharmaceutical units and retail stores; profits, costs, and customer service in banks; creativity in consulting and engineering firms; productivity in paper mills; and revenues, operating efficiency, customer satisfaction, and performance quality in restaurants.

–Adam Grant, “Givers Take All: The Hidden Dimension of Corporate Culture,” McKinsey & Company, April 2013.


7) 5 Ways Organizational Effectiveness Is Increased When Employees Freely Contribute Their Knowledge and Skills to Others

Across these diverse contexts, organizations benefit when employees freely contribute their knowledge and skills to others. Podsakoff’s research suggests that this helping-behavior facilitates organizational effectiveness by:

  • enabling employees to solve problems and get work done faster
  • enhancing team cohesion and coordination
  • ensuring that expertise is transferred from experienced to new employees
  • reducing variability in performance when some members are overloaded or distracted
  • establishing an environment in which customers and suppliers feel that their needs are the organization’s top priority

–Adam Grant, “Givers Take All: The Hidden Dimension of Corporate Culture,” McKinsey & Company, April 2013.


8) More Cooperative Work Teams = More Accuracy in the Work Done

In a landmark study led by Michael Johnson at the University of Washington, participants worked in teams that received either cooperative or competitive incentives for completing difficult tasks. For teams receiving cooperative incentives, cash prizes went to the highest-performing team as a whole, prompting members to work together as givers. In competitive teams, cash prizes went to the highest-performing individual within each team, encouraging a taker culture. The result? The competitive teams finished their tasks faster than the cooperative teams did, but less accurately, as members withheld critical information from each other.

–Adam Grant, “Givers Take All: The Hidden Dimension of Corporate Culture,” McKinsey & Company, April 2013.


9) Diversity in the Workforce Is Necessary to Drive Innovation and Promote Creativity

A diverse and inclusive workforce is necessary to drive innovation and promote creativity – 85% of respondents agreed (48% strongly so) that diversity is crucial to gaining the perspectives and ideas that foster innovation.

–Debbie Weathers, “Forbes Insights Study Identifies Strong Link between Diverse Talent and Innovation,” Forbes Insights, July 2011.


10) Different Experiences and Different Perspectives Build the Foundation Necessary to Compete on a Global Scale

Companies have realized that diversity and inclusion are no longer separate from other parts of the business. Organizations in the survey understand that different experiences and different perspectives build the foundation necessary to compete on a global scale.

–Debbie Weathers, “Forbes Insights Study Identifies Strong Link between Diverse Talent and Innovation,” Forbes Insights, July 2011.


11) The Ability to Deal with People = the Highest Value

The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee, and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.

–John D. Rockefeller Senior, stated while setting up the Standard Oil Company.

12) Effective Engagement of Employees = Higher Productivity and Better Financial Outcomes

The most successful organizations effectively engage their employees, leading to higher productivity and better financial outcomes. …

When organizations successfully engage their customers and their employees, they experience a 240% boost in performance-related business outcomes compared with an organization with neither engaged employees nor engaged customers. …

Actively disengaged employees alone cost the U.S. between $450 billion to $550 billion each year in lost productivity, and are more likely than engaged employees to steal from their companies, negatively influence their coworkers, miss workdays, and drive customers away.

–Gallup research, “The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders.” Gallup, 2013.

Image: "Corporate Express Meeting" by Office Now.

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