Fun At WorkEver since joining as an advisor at Workbond, I have been reflecting on joy at work. One of the best retention strategies is creating deep and critical friendships at work, which become vital to so many people.

Often in a strong culture, when you ask employees to name the things they like most about work, a common answer is, “I love the people I work with.” Based on hundreds of exit interviews I participated in as an HR professional, there is a pattern which proves that staff stayed longer because of the deep personal relationships they had with members of their department and in the company.

Many organizations encourage bonding through company and department-wide events, happy hours, and other great activities. But this isn’t always enough. One missing piece in the bonding approach, and the reason I said “Yes” to being an Advisor to Workbond, is the personal hobby connection employees can build with each other at work, regardless of title. Hiking, book club, wine tasting, or other fun and interesting hobbies with peers at work creates deeper connections and friendships that lead to more joy at work.

To borrow from the work of Yuval Noah Harari in his book, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, people feel isolated and alienated when they feel like they belong to an intimidating community. Connecting fun and hobbies at work puts organizations closer to the business of community-building. Too many apps offer online connecting rather than offline activities. When mutual interests are physically shared, people get to know each other as a whole instead of a person of opinions. It’s a way to connect with people based on what we have in common, which makes it easier to dialogue on what we disagree on.

Whether this bonding occurs through Workbond or through another means, build the network up one group at a time. It is one powerful and easy way to build a culture that furthers trust and builds relationships.

Let me know what you think. Feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] or email Amir Palmen, the Founder of, at [email protected]

Russ Elliot is the founder, chief consultant and executive coach of the Conscious Culture Group®, a culture consulting and executive coaching company focused on creating unique intentional cultures that are great places to work. The Conscious Culture Group® builds a bridge between the leadership’s vision and the employee experience through customized solutions. Russ serves as a consultant, executive coach, educator, trainer and speaker.

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