INTHEBLACK November 2023 - Magazine - Page 50
The perks of
Whether you are a social butterfly or consider chit-chat a
necessary evil, social connections with colleagues can help
you to build relationships – and clinch that promotion.
Words Emma Foster
WHILE THE WHOLESALE SHIFT TO HYBRID
work has had many benefits, it has also reduced
everyday social interactions between colleagues.
There are fewer opportunities for casual corridor
chats, grabbing a coffee or a bite to eat, or
attending after-work events.
However, it is these small social acts, on top
of career performance, that can be essential to
career progress, says workplace psychologist
Dr Amanda Gordon.
“If you’re not socialising, you’re not going to
grow as a person. That’s going to impact your
career,” says Gordon, who is the founder of
Armchair Psychology and past president of the
Australian Psychological Society.
When people make personal workplace
connections, they are no longer “just a face on a
video call or a photo in the staff directory”, Gordon
adds. People are more likely to support a colleague’s
professional growth if they know them personally.
“While you might hear of a promotion or project
that interests you, it’s often your connections with
people that will make the difference.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Casual conversations with colleagues can spark
new ideas and help with problem-solving. They
can be a source of support and encouragement.
Getting to know a colleague with diverse
50 INTHEBLACK November 2023
experience can also broaden a person’s
perspective and help them see the
It can also make work “a whole lot more
enjoyable”. It can improve motivation,
productivity and career satisfaction, says
Dr Amantha Imber, founder of behavioural
change consultancy Inventium and host of the
How I Work podcast.
“We know that feeling connected to
others and having strong bonds with people
you work with is one of the biggest drivers
of motivation and feeling engaged with a
workplace,” Imber says.
A study by global professional association
the Academy of Management supports this.
It has found that seemingly inconsequential
social conversations can be “uplifting” and
enhance an employee’s wellbeing.
Meanwhile, workplace analytics consultancy
Gallup has repeatedly shown that developing
workplace friendships is key to employee
engagement and job success, and strongly
linked to staff retention.
“The quality of relationships among work
colleagues is certainly a key factor in an
employee’s ‘stickiness’. Socialisation is really
important for the individual, but also for
managers to encourage it,” Imber says.