3 Ways to Improve Collaboration, Teamwork, and Friendship

At first glance, a workplace friendship can seem trivial — something nice to have distinct from traditional organizational objectives like productivity, efficiency, and profitability.

At ProVantage, nothing could be further from the truth. Meaningful workplace connections can drive teams to maximize their potential.

Employees with close connections at work are more productive, creative, and collaborative. They also report being more satisfied with their job, are less susceptible to burnout, and are less likely to leave their organization to pursue another role.

We want all our employees to enjoy the work they do, as well as enjoy the company of their teammates. One of our company’s Core Values — We Before Me — states, “Great results are achieved by working together with collaboration and cooperation.”

We have seen the results of positive team chemistry speak for themselves time and again, and we hope this trend will continue for all of our teams working in the field.

We want to share three evidence-based strategies you can use to help grow workplace friendships and connections.

Use commonalities to spark a friendship

One of the strongest drivers of friendship is similarity. The more workers have in common with one another, whether it’s a favorite TV show, weekend hobby, or even the same birthday, the more likely they are to click.

Managers can leverage this insight by making it easier for employees to identify commonalities. Onboarding offers the perfect opportunity. Use the onboarding process to uncover a few colorful details about their interests and mention them in your welcome message.

Introducing new team members through their interests humanizes them and empowers existing team members to find commonalities over which they can bond. Asking about personal interests shows new hires that you care about them and value their individuality.


Designing an introduction that helps encourage friendship will help an organization stand out and pave the way for more effective collaboration.

Highlight shared goals


It’s easy to assume that employees reporting to the same manager will naturally view themselves as a team. Yet that’s not always the case. A crucial aspect of leading teams is ensuring that employees view their colleagues as both co-workers and teammates.

Working together toward a common goal supports the development of friendships. Workers who view their colleagues as essential to their success build closer friendships, have fewer disagreements and view their work as more meaningful.

When we don’t feel like our objectives align with our colleagues, we witness the emergence of cliques, silos, and conflicts.

Shared goals can offer valuable opportunities to build a team mentality, even when collaboration is limited. 

For example, managers can draw attention to ways a project may require a team effort. Doing so can be as simple as highlighting an important collaboration or publicly thanking an individual whose contributions are vital to a team’s success but are easy to overlook.

Shared goals can foster team-building outside the office. A well-designed social activity can do more than deliver a fun experience. It can present the conditions that empower colleagues to work shoulder-to-shoulder toward a common goal.

Turn tension into connection

Workplace disagreements can often erupt when people experience an absence of relatedness. Those who feel less connected are also more likely to feel undervalued, unappreciated, or perceive a lack of respect.

But disagreements can offer a lot of value if you navigate them correctly. Workplace disagreements can yield more creative solutions, better decision-making, and higher performance.

The best leaders do more than defuse conflict — they use relationship-building statements to turn tense moments into opportunities for deeper connections. These can take the form of recommitting to the partnership (“I bet we can figure this out.”), acknowledging your partner’s contributions (“You put a lot of work into this.”), or valuing their expertise (“I’ve always appreciated your insight into clients like this.”).


Properly used relationship-building statements can do much more than put out relationship fires. They are a vital conversational tool for fostering collaboration, expressing appreciation, and ensuring that contributors feel valued.

Feeling connected to our colleagues elevates productivity, reduces turnover, and fosters better teamwork. It’s a powerful and underutilized tool for creating high-performing teams.

By utilizing insights from the science of close connections to promote bonding, teamwork, and productive collaborations, any team can be fueled to elevate performance.

To learn more about ProVantage Corporate Solutions, check out our other blogs at the link below!

Originally written by Ron Friedman, Ph. D.


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