Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Keys to Improving Employee Relationships and Productivity

Did you know that 75 percent of employees who have a best friend at work say they’re able to take on anything, compared to 58 percent of those who don’t? And according to Harvard Business, “People who have a ‘best friend at work’ are more likely to be happier, healthier, and seven times more likely to be engaged in their jobs.”*

Lifelong friendships are often developed within a confidential peer roundtable setting, and it’s no wonder why. When certain principles of trust and candor are followed, and experiences are shared as part of a “no advice” protocol, nothing is off limits. It’s not uncommon to hear, “I’m closer to this group than I am my best friends.”

For Mo Fathelbab, founder of Forum Resources Network, this news was unsettling.

“So, initially, that really warmed my heart,” he told the VACEOs Quarterly Luncheon audience on January 24. “But then it started bothering me, because the reason we have these roundtables is not so that we would have better relationships than we have in the rest of your life. It’s so that the roundtables can help you be a better person in the rest of your life.”

Fathelbab is often called in to train and coach VACEOs Roundtable members on how to get the most out of their roundtable experience. In fact, his book Forum: The Secret Advantage of Successful Leaders is required reading for all new members.

“Having friends at work has profound impact on productivity, happiness and company culture,” says Fathelbab. At the luncheon event, Mo introduced his new book, The Friendship Advantage: 7 Keys to Building Relationships that Transform Corporate Culture and Drive Productivity. The content features guiding principles to help you be a better person and leader, and viable ways to help you strengthen employee bonds in your organization.


For business owners, The Friendship Advantage promises to help them strengthen the bonds that improve employee productivity, happiness and well-being, as well as boost bottom lines through higher retention rates and a richer company culture.

But it’s not easy work being vulnerable and free of judgment, as we learned during Mo’s highly interactive presentation. After one exercise, attendees declared it felt “cathartic” and “fulfilling” to open themselves up so completely to an unknown person at their table. They felt “human” and “real.”

Now, imagine the possibilities.

Seven Key Principles to Building Relationships*

  1. Judgment Free
  2. Mischievous Fun
  3. Vulnerability
  4. Reliability
  5. Shared Purpose and Values
  6. Sharing and Generosity
  7. Kind Truth 

*Source: Mo Fathelbab Presentation, “The Friendship Advantage;” January 24, 2019; VACEOs Quarterly Luncheon.


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