Friends & simcha: a simple start to restore workplace culture
Over the last month I’ve spoken to a wide range of businesses and without exception they’ve all mentioned that their employee resignation rate is off the charts right now.
One leader explained one of the challenges of stemming this tide, sharing that one quitter had said ‘when we were in the office every day there was this incredible culture that I loved feeling part of. Now it just feels like my job, and I found another one that pays more’.
Shout out to anyone getting paid what they are worth, but it does beg the question how can our firms keep a special feeling when we don’t see each other as much.
But Gallup are in no doubt about the reason they ask it:
‘Our research has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job’.
In the research having a best friend at work can more than double a worker’s engagement.
One of the things that helps forge these friendships is a sense of shared experience. Things we do with other people just feel more significant.
‘simcha, by contrast, is not a private emotion. It means happiness shared. It is a social state, a predicate of “we,” not “I.” There is no such thing as feeling simcha alone’.
It feels aligned with a fabulous email last week from reader Peter Cosgrove
about the last newsletter. He cited the writer Douglas Rushkoff
We are making everything ultra efficient. How many steps you take, how quick we get things done, for instance video conferencing vs face to face meetings. However good a video call is you really cannot see if their irises are opening and they don’t allow us to establish real rapport. All of the things that we’ve done to establish rapport that we’ve developed over hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, they don’t work, you can’t see if someone’s breath is syncing up with yours. So the mirror neurons never fire, the oxytocin never goes through your body, you never have that experience of bonding with the other human being. And instead, you’re left like, “Well, they agreed with me, but did they really, did they really get me?” And we don’t blame the technology for that lack of fidelity. We blame the other person.
It feels like he’s describing a life robbed of simcha. If we’re experiencing a version of work without friends and without the joy of shared experience then it’s no surprise that colleagues might ask themselves if they couldn’t improve their situation by doing the same job for another firm.
Bosses wanting to stem the tide of resignations might ask themselves what they could do to get their teams to dial up the simcha with old desk buddies this autumn.
Why not share this with your best friend to show you miss them?