organization. People are comfortable with each other, so they get
up to speed faster and are more powerful as teams.”
BENEFITS TO THE BOTTOM LINE
According to Wetherow, there’s a strong correlation between highperforming
organizations and high-trust organizations.
“Building on this trust is one of the best investments a company
can make,” she said. “It leads to lower turnover, greater innovation
(when people feel safe to take risks) and higher productivity
(when competition amongst employees is replaced with collaboration).
There is a bottom line advantage for companies that can
successfully nurture these relationships.”
In fact, Great Place to Work Canada research indicates that
publicly traded 100 Best Companies consistently outperform major
stock indices by a factor of two and they enjoy 65 per cent less
turnover, among other benefits.
WHAT CAN LEADERS DO TO FOSTER
Wetherow says camaraderie is about creating a space that nurtures
the development of high-trust relationships. She offers a series of
specific steps HR leaders can take to help accomplish that.
HIRE FOR CULTURAL FIT
In the Best Companies, leaders hire for cultural fit first.
“This doesn’t mean you’re looking for a homogenous group of
people. Diversity is essential for innovation and should be pursued
in hiring, but not when it comes to shared values,” said Wetherow.
Habanero invests up to 20 hours per hire in a recruitment
process that includes a series of fit interviews followed by an opportunity
for candidates to interact with the team they may join.
WELCOME NEW HIRES WARMLY
If you want to foster an emotional connection to the company’s
deeper purpose, a great opportunity is at the outset.
“The onboarding process offers a unique and fleeting
moment for management to tell their story and inspire
feelings of pride and camaraderie. Use this time to help newcomers
understand the higher purpose of their daily contributions.
Coordinate and support activities that will allow these employees
to connect socially and know they are truly welcome,”
CELEBRATE IMPORTANT EVENTS
A birthday cake in the conference room is a nice gesture, but
honouring important milestones in an employee or team’s evolution
is an ingrained part of a well-connected company’s culture.
Investing time, space and resources to celebrate occasions such as
the completion of a project, an employee’s recent marathon or other
moments of personal and corporate significance nurture those
emotional connections and help employees feel valued.
LISTEN TO EMPLOYEES
When employees feel comfortable bringing their whole selves
to work, including their passions and occasionally their problems,
a feeling of wellbeing and a support network is part of
“I BELIEVE THERE IS HUGE STRATEGIC
POTENTIAL IN THE IDEA OF CAMARADERIE.
IT’S A BIT OF A SLEEPING GIANT IN OUR
ORGANIZATIONS – A LIVING, BREATHING
ELEMENT THAT CAN HAVE A HUGE
IMPACT IF IT CAN BE NOURISHED AND
BROUGHT TO LIFE IN THE RIGHT WAYS.”
– STEVEN FITZGERALD, HABANERO CONSULTING GROUP
their day. While some leaders may be concerned about distractions
and disruptions, evidence shows that employees who feel
well supported and understood are better able to be productive,
attentive and motivated to focus on their work – and not
let their colleagues down.
THANK YOUR EMPLOYEES
Gratitude goes a long way, says Wetherow. When you show
respect and appreciation for team members, they will notice and
“Use the word ‘we’ to describe accomplishments. Say thanks and
be generous, frequent and warm with your praise of the team,”
Not only will employees feel appreciated and important, they
will understand that gratitude is part of the company culture and
feel compelled to practise it accordingly.
ENCOURAGE AND REWARD COOPERATION
In today’s workplace, collaboration is a huge advantage. Not only does
it harness the brainpower of a group, it also removes competition,
which often leads to unhealthy motivations and attitudes
“Together, a team can deliver far more than the sum of their
individual efforts,” said Wetherow. “If employees feel like they
can work together to create something larger, you’ll have higher
productivity, risk taking and innovation. If I feel safe in my work
group, I’m more likely to step outside my comfort zone and do
more to achieve more.”
In “The Great Workplace: How to Build It, How to Keep it,
and Why It Matters,” Great Place to Work consultants Dr.
Michael Burchell and Dr. Jennifer Robin enumerate the benefits
“When employees feel a sense of camaraderie with their coworkers,
they feel as energized by their work environment as
they do by their non-work environment. They bring all of their
skills to the table, and they readily help each other accomplish
“Any ancillary worries about family issues impacting the
work environment or difficult decisions and conversations
are lessened because people are in a supportive environment,
and this allows even greater productivity. When productivity
ends with a celebration, it builds even stronger ties, and the cycle
begins again.” n
48 ❚ MAY/JUNE 2016 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL