Social interaction, just as the name suggests, relates to the relationships created between two or more people. It involves the interactions, communications, connections and propinquity between the people within an organization. It also involves how people act with others, as well as their reaction to how other people are acting.
These interactions form the basis of social structure, but social interaction in many workplaces is unstructured and given limited importance by many top managers. Whether we like to admit it or not, far too many companies regard employees as people who should follow orders and not question. Companies forget that we all are humans with a degree of emotions and can only truly deliver on motivation and a feeling of acceptance.
Why We Need to Rethink Social Interaction in the Workplace
Social interactions in institutions build social structures and cultures. By interacting with one another, people ineluctably design the rules and systems they seek to abide by. There are different types of social interaction in an organization. Including exchange, competition, cooperation and conflict.
The exchange involves the interaction between parties as to what they expect from each other. This element is all about freely communicating one’s ideas. It also constitutes exchange between parties; it can be the exchange of goods or services.
Competition is when two or more people attempt to achieve a goal that only one can attain. It can also cause differences or a lack of cooperation in social groups. Competition is often a fight to control resources. It can be from the interior or exterior forces of an organization.
Conflict is a struggle between two or more people fighting for common interests that one can only achieve. Conflicts also arise when different parties have different opinions on something. Conflicts occur when the parties involved oppose each other in social interaction.
Are you all working towards the same goals? Cooperation is the process in which people work together to achieve shared goals. It is a social process that gets things done. No group can perform its tasks or goals without cooperation from the members in it.
All these types of social interactions have some significance in an institution. It’s through conflicts that people find suitable solutions, and it is through cooperation that things get done with ease. Firms should thus welcome interactions among their subordinates to come up with ideas quickly.
The traditional social interaction model sees management as the sole originator of change ideas while employees as mere implementers. With employees stationed to fear raising concerns, there is less development in organizations. Every human has a unique capability. Failure to give everyone a chance of expression deprives the organization at large of the opportunity to grow and us.
Regarding the staff’s working conditions, it is necessary to provide a favorable one to allow creativity and productivity. With the types of social interaction stated above, it is clear that social interaction is of great significance in the workplace. Here is why.
Increased Engagement and Loyalty
When employers and management regard employees’ opinions, the staff feels a sense of belonging and thus is motivated to give the best efforts. This sense of belonging allows them to share a firm’s goals with the management easily and therefore work towards achieving them. It is also easier for them to identify missteps and report to their supervisors for their betterment. They can also easily contribute innovative ideas to improve the firm.
According to Forbes, employees with social connections at work tend to be more engaged and loyal. Quality work relationships help build a strong company culture that emphasizes respect, loyalty, and trust. It provides a sense of cohesion essential for cultivating creativity, teamwork, and collaboration.
What could be more enticing than a lively working environment? Interactions among stakeholders allow people to freely express themselves not only in a formal manner but also on personal issues. It provides support and guidance in all aspects of life. When one is content with everything revolving around their lives, being able to share life with their colleagues, then they will be happy for most of their time. A happy mood encourages healthy living and, thus, productivity. When clients walk in a comfortable environment, they will be compelled to conduct transactions with your organization.
Social solid connections result in happiness and content among employees. It is no doubt that when one is happy, it boosts psychological well-being. According to Mayo Clinic, adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure, and an unhealthy body mass index. Also, older adults with a rich social life and quality relationships are likely to live a longer life than those with fewer social connections. Healthy employees have higher levels of work performance.
Research by South University shows that having a more robust support network or stronger community bonds fosters emotional and physical health, an essential component of adult life.
Knowledge and Productivity Spillover
With social connections, the trained and more experienced employees can pass knowledge to the untrained and the less experienced personnel. With this attitude and cultivated culture, there is no doubt that there will be high productivity in the workplace. This structure could work out well when working in groups where seniors would nurture juniors. Employees will tend to grow fast, too, in such a setup.
Also, peer relationships between co-workers with no formal authority over one another act as an essential source of information and emotional support. Everyone can be on the same page with such interactions.
Efficiency and Effectiveness
The above four benefits fuel efficiency and effectiveness. Efficiency in an organization is the ability to utilize minimum resources to achieve organizational goals. When employees are happy, and when they feel motivated to work harder, business owners will have to cut the costs of machines, freelancers and hiring more employees. At the same time, the organization will be productive. You will have cut down costs and yield ample profits.
Effectiveness means quality output; to accomplish something adequately, producing the intended or expected results. When employees are motivated, there is no doubt they will do anything within their capabilities to create or to deliver sufficiently.
It is essential to create a workplace culture that encourages social interaction and helps employees connect. Culture will help employees establish relationships without feeling as if they are overstepping boundaries. A firm bound by traditional leadership methods needs to rethink its ways and encourage social interactions.
You can influence social connections by:
Creating a Social Spot Colleagues could agree on a social spot off work, during breaks, or sometime during the weekday to engage.
Celebrations It would help if the management organized celebrations to mark a stride or for work well done. It is during such occasions that we get to interact with our colleagues easily. These celebrations could be anniversaries, celebrating an innovation, or award ceremonies.
Inspire Positivity The human resource management team could again influence positivity among employees often. Co-workers could also do the same, inspiring each other. Encouraging each other is a method of social connection.
Encourage Team Building Team building is where a company engages its workforce in outdoor activities. The significance of these outdoor activities is to allow a change of environment, to take time off work off the pressure to boost productivity. It also helps many re-strategize and gather energy to get back to work. It may also influence creativity.
Connect departments Specialization is excellent, and it undoubtedly boosts productivity in individual parts of an organization. It is, however, helpful for the top management to consider connecting departments to allow social interaction. Social interactions, in turn, influence idea-sharing and interconnecting tasks to boost the output.
This post was originally published in ReadWrite on September 28, 2021