It’s fair to say for the vast majority of workers since time immemorial, that work has been an unpleasant necessity. Just something that has to be done to earn an income for life’s essentials.
Yet whilst making money will always be an integral part of the work experience, new research would imply that this factor is no longer the primary source of motivation for employees across the UK.
According to recently gathered data from employee engagement firm Wildgoose, participants from 120 diverse firms across the UK prioritised friendship at work as being more important than the scale of their salary.
Nearly 61% of those surveyed responded in this manner, when asked which of the aforementioned two factors was more important at work.
Whilst selecting either factor would be equally valid, this is significant from a human resources perspective as it opens a whole new range of avenues for businesses to motivate their workforce.
Simple payment is no longer sufficient to get the best out of staff who need their social side catered to in order to maximise morale and therefore productivity, output, and results.
The Study’s Results
Also of note is the demographic breakdown of this study, which provides further insight into how various types of worker will respond to such motivational efforts.
A staggering 81% of female workers prioritised workplace friendship over salary, yet 45% of their male equivalents opted for the financial reward.
Does this mean that men on the whole are more money-orientated? Or perhaps women by and large tend to be more social?
There are a great many factors that may have led to these results, but for business owners with employees largely of a certain gender, these findings could prove very useful indeed.
Of everyone participating in the survey though, 57% believed that having a best friend at work made day-to-day operations more enjoyable and helped stimulate the generation of creative ideas. A separate 24% though found such socialising to be a distraction, which again highlights the personal nature of each set of responses.
11% of those asked overall do not at present consider themselves to have a best friend at work, a sizable figure whose abilities it seems could be harnessed even further with some investment in team-building activities.
Digging down further it was perhaps unsurprising to not that 85% of senior business figures prioritised their salary whereas 70% of more junior workers opted to choose happiness over the financial reward for their efforts.
Age-wise, every grouping polled prioritised socialising as their selection but it should be noted that a sizable 30% of 26-34 year olds stated that work came before relationships. This was higher than any other age group and doesn’t really come as a shock being the age at which the majority will be looking to take their career to new heights.
Unsurprisingly as well, staff in smaller companies of less than ten people had a smaller chance of having a workplace best friend due to the lack of opportunities to acquire one. This 26% was rather higher than the 12% of those at larger companies and is certainly something for these small firms to work on if possible, with 69% of those in such small firms also displaying their support for social factors over monetary goals.
The main takeaway from this survey is that there can be no question as to the importance of human interaction at work.
Employees in any sort of enterprise are not drones or automatons programmed to repeat a task over and over again, they need to have their emotional needs taken care of especially when we consider the sheer amount of time we all spend at work.
No business will retain staff for very long if this aspect of their role remains unfulfilled as money can be had anywhere for those with the ability to earn it.
This two way street requires employers to commit and invest in their workforce to let them know that they are valued and its only by treating them as individuals entitled to the small things that make them happy will they cultivate a business culture of positivity and co-operation for a greater goal.
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