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The Hidden Benefits of Happy Co-Workers (Infographic) A new study indicates that positive connections among employees spur engagement.

By Heather R. Huhman

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Take a moment to think about the most successful companies and startups. What's one thing every enterprise has in common?

It's very likely each organization has a high level of employee engagement.

While most employers want to increase employee engagement, many tend to overlook one factor: co-worker relationships. Yet, according to Globoforce's recent report, "The Effect of Work Relationships on Organizational Culture and Commitment," employees who have quality relationships with their co-workers are more likely to be engaged and happy at work.

To boost employee engagement and productivity, employers must create a culture filled with healthy co-worker relationships. Here are some ways employers can establish positive relationships in the workplace:

Related: What Do Great Leaders Discuss With Their Employees?

1. Encourage workplace friendships.

There's no doubt American workers spend more time at work than they do at home. In fact, Globoforce discovered 78 percent of people who work 30 to 50 hours a week spend more time with co-workers than with their families.

Employers should encourage workplace friendships because they will boost employee morale. For example, Globoforce discovered 73 percent of the employees surveyed have laughed together and 61 percent have cried with a co-worker. Supportive and trusting relationships help employees stay engaged and maintain a sense of belonging at a company.

Several things, in my opinion, can encourage workplace friendships: Create an office space that encourages conversation. Design an open office or provide a space for employees to hang out in their free time.

Employers can also create social events for employees. Set up bowling tournaments, a company softball team, happy hours, workshops or company retreats. These activities can bring together staff and encourage employees to interact on a personal level.

Related: How Important Your Workplace Friendships Are Depends on Your Age

2. Celebrate together.

According to Globoforce, 74 percent of the employees surveyed who hadn't celebrated accomplishments with their co-workers said they are more likely to leave their jobs.

To boost employee engagement and happiness, recognize employee accomplishments with the entire company, I advise. This will prevent employee turnover and dissatisfaction in the workplace.

When celebrating an employee's accomplishments, thank the employee before the whole department or the entire company. Host a celebration or make a company-wide announcement.

3. Create meaningful milestone events.

Milestone events such as employee anniversaries can serve as a time for employees to reflect on their accomplishments and growth. Fifty percent of the employees surveyed view work anniversaries a time of reflection, according to Globoforce.

For milestone events, I advise recognizing employees for their accomplishments and citing memorable activities they shared with the company and co-workers. Create a presentation illustrating an employee's accomplishments and highlighting some fun memories.

Related: Can You Really Measure and Shape Culture? (Infographic)

4. Make employee recognition an emotional experience.

When recognizing employees for their hard work and success, tap into their emotions.

According to the survey, 89 percent of the employees surveyed said they took more pride in their work after experiencing an anniversary event that had emotional resonance.

Employee-recognition events can become emotional experiences, I believe, if staffers are praised for their work and they are given moving awards. Remind employees of their value to the company and how much they're appreciated. These sentiments will motivate employees to keep working hard and remain loyal to the company.

What are some ways your company has created healthy co-worker relationships in the workplace?

View the infographic below prepared by Globoforce.

Foster Healthy Co-Worker Relationships (Infographic)

Heather R. Huhman

Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended

Waldorf, Md.-based Heather R. Huhman is a career expert, experienced hiring manager and president of Come Recommended, the PR solution for job search and HR tech companies. She writes about issues impacting the modern workplace.

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