The experience of joining a new organisation is always a heady one. It takes a lot of effort to adapt to the new surroundings, culture and people.
But this induction process becomes a whole lot easier if one has a familiar face to watch out for in the crowd. Such a support system allows a new employee to gel faster, take on responsibilities and work better in teams. There can be downsides as well, and it is important for managers to promote the positive aspects of the situation. Ashish Chattoraj, country HR manager, Freescale Semiconductor India Pvt Ltd, tells us how referral-based recruitment and other channels often lead to friends and relatives working together in the same organisation, “This approach is useful as the employee referring anyone is well acquainted with requisites on both the sides, the organisation’s work culture and understands the role as well as the individual’s aptitude for the profile. It is a very cost efficient way of hiring. The benefit of this is not restricted to the organisation and the individual who is referred; the advantages also get extended to the referrers in the form of
How do friends working together affect these people’s productivity? SJ Raj, senior VP HR, Newgen, answers, “The pros of having a friend or a relative are that you have known them for a long time and you know their strengths and weaknesses. The arguments are productive and fruitful, the requisite supervision is less and the level of trust is high. Understanding amongst these individuals is high, leading to fulfilment of expectations. On the other hand, the cons of working with a friend or a relative can also be many. The sense of competition might create a negative environment which can ruin the productivity. Giving a positive or a negative feedback can be very difficult as others might misinterpret the feedback. Arguments can turn into conflicts which can have a negative impact on productivity. A difference in salaries at the same level can ruin their personal relations, which can affect their professional life.”
Nishit Sood, MD, YOMA Multinational Solutions LLP , explains how this influences the productivity of the people around them, “Generally , in a scenario where friends work together, productivity does not improve in the long run. It shortens the life cycle to establish an informal relationship between line managers and the subordinates. An already established comfort and trust between senior managers and newly recruited employees often results in a casual workable approach.”
The work environment can also be changed by the presence of such familiar bonds. Jojo Mathews, director HR, Concentrix India and UAE, elaborates, “Friends working together often leads to higher work satisfaction; this comes from a strong connection to the organisation that gets built while co-working with friends acquaintances. Though there are opportunities for gossip, we have not observed any increase because of the large number of referrals that we have. In fact, because they are associated socially, the opportunity for office gossip would be less as their common interests drive the interactions.”
Kevin Freitas, global head of Recruiting and Rewards at InMobi, explains what can be done to ensure that the negative aspects are minimised, “Culture is a dynamic aspect of a company which affects every part of the organisation. It is important to nurture a culture that promotes development through honest conversations. This trounces any conflict of interest that could arise out of the ties that employees may share prior to joining the company. The challenge is to use culture to promote the best of what the organisation and its people can be.”
Thus, working together with friends and family can be quite a fun experience, where the employees perform better by cashing upon their good bonds.
Article published on The Times of India magazine.
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