At Agar, we believe that the success of any business comes down to people and relationships and we’re not alone in that thought!
In an article in April 2015 about creating the perfect workplace, Geoff Colvin talks about the emphasis that Google puts on building relationships. Google provides free gourmet-quality food for its employees…and they’re also very keen on analysing data! According to Colvin, Google measures the length of the cafeteria queue to ensure people wait a while (optimally 3-4 minutes) and therefore have time to talk to each other. Staff also sit at long tables to eat, making it more likely that they’ll be next to or across from someone they don’t know. They put those long tables a little too close together which results in what staff call ‘the Google bump’ – when you push your chair back you’re likely to meet someone new!
We love the fact that Colvin goes on to share his ‘simple secret’ of great places to work describing them as ‘personal, not perkonal’ – that is, relationship-based not transactional-based.
This builds on the fact that when Levering and Moskowitz first assembled the ‘100 best companies to work for’ list they concluded that ‘the key to creating a great workplace is not a prescriptive set of employee benefits, programmes and practices but the building of high-quality relationships in the workplace’.
Potentially, relationships at work are even more important as technology takes over many of the ‘knowledge worker’ skills which are based on facts and rules. According to global forecasting firm Oxford Economics, employees who excel at human relationships are the people employers want and need – those who are good at teambuilding, collaboration and cultural sensitivity. That’s why we focus on emotional intelligence in our training.
What are you doing to cultivate relationships at work?
Dee Cooper, Director, Agar Management Consultancy