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The power of friendship - is it enough to ensure business continuity and growth in a disrupted global tech environment?

The effect of positive friendships between coworkers within workplaces cannot be denied. Recent research indicates that work friendships can account for a large proportion of a workforce's productivity:

  • “66% of British workers say having a friend increases job satisfaction. Over half (57%) of UK employees also say that having a “best friend” at work makes their job more enjoyable, increasing their productivity and creativity”.
  • “46% of professionals around the world believe having work friends enhances their overall happiness”.

But do these sorts of friendships work across B2B relationships, such as a vendor’s relationship with a client?

Friendships and resourcing.

Resourcing is the business of trust - and that trust is more than likely guaranteed if an emotional bond is created between vendor and client.

This not only improves communication between parties, but the positive advocacy created between vendor and client feeds into the evolving sourcing and hiring processes too, bleeding into candidate communications and generating genuine inspiration and interest in advertised jobs.

In the case of resourcing services and third-party workforce support, how effective are friendships and professional bonds in securing talent, guaranteeing positive workflows and improving business processes and outcomes through sourcing the right people for an enterprise?

As we discuss below, our roundtable panel flew the flag for trust and sustainable relationship building above all else when considering resourcing, offshoring, and remote project management.

Sharing the workload.

As we’ve pointed out in other roundtable blogs, Kefirah Kang, Director of Professional Services at Finexos has a unique workflow management strategy she adheres to when running in-country teams and offshore teams. This system helps build more complete project oversight and a sense of shared project demand - her “adapted collaboration model”.

This model hinges around UK-based implementation teams and offshore project build teams flipping responsibilities for certain tasks during the project lifecycle. Naturally, this sort of shared burden - even if the burden is creative and inspiring - builds the sort of workplace friendships and shared working respect that generates brand loyalty and project advocacy.

And the psychology behind it is simple - every member of the team feels more connected to the project, more involved in its creation, and more aware of what other team members are doing, even half a world away. Genuine workplace friendships are built from these trusted patterns of workflow responsibilities.

In effect, this kind of project management takes the best parts of psychologically safe working environments and transports them into a nearshore and offshore staffing context.

Handling bumps in the road.

Kirk Winstanley, COO of BankiFi neatly summarised the value of a professional friendship when he said “the measure of a friendship is how to deal with bumps in the road. Both sides of a relationship will have bumps in the road, so it’s how both sides deal with that”.

This points to a foundational level of respect and support - understanding that any technical burden can be shared - that tech companies who connect to third parties like BrightBox need to have to make their partnership work.

Kirk, Ben Nadel (Co-Founder of Woodhurst/Shift/Credit Canary) and Neville Roberts (Founder and CEO of Planixs) all segue into risk mitigation as the natural end-point of handling operational “bumps” and, quite seamlessly, compartmentalise risks as opportunities - ones, we’re led to believe, are only considered as such when vendor partnerships are trusted.

This sort of organisational resilience, based around mutual goal setting and risk mitigation - which, in the context of the pandemic and the ongoing staff shortages within the tech space - is infinitely valuable for enterprises finding their way through our disrupted new normal.

Vendor Vs Partner.

Kefirah Kang highlights that one of the key differentiators in building tangible, effective vendor partnerships is focusing on the differences, in her mind, between vendor and partner.

“How do you source your strategic delivery partner? You can position them as your vendor, or you can position them as your partner. The difference is this: if you ask your vendor to watch your house while you’re on vacation, and your house burns down, your vendor will stand, watch it burn, and will tell you “I did what you required - I watched your house”. A partner will do everything they can to help you save your house”.

Reducing biases.

Good work friends should, ideally, be able to hold your actions up to the light and tell you when your work isn’t up to scratch.

During our roundtable, both Ben and Neville mentioned how vendor biases - specifically in relation to third-party offshore teams “not being near the client” - were actually reductive, and that perhaps the most effective way of meeting project demands was to integrate off and nearshore teams with the client, letting them build their own relationships and generate their own ideas of how projects should flow.

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In summary, our roundtable once again showed us that beyond the high-pressure meatgrinder of tech recruitment, friendships and trusted partnerships are inordinately powerful tools of brand advocacy and team building - and that curating true partnerships, especially in business-critical human capital functionalities, should be a high priority.


Resources:

https://hrnews.co.uk/work-friends-makes-us-more-productive-according-to-research/

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/11/friends-relationships-work-productivity-career/

https://slack.com/blog/collaboration/psychological-safety-building-trust-teams#:~:text=Amy%20Edmondson%2C%20a%20Harvard%20Business,and%20learning%20from%20mistakes%20is

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2022/03/23/recruitment-and-retention-in-the-third-year-of-the-pandemic-require-communication-and-compromise/

https://www.sherweb.com/blog/partner/the-tech-worker-shortage/

An approach to sourcing technology resource: onshore, nearshore and offshore

Supporting tech organisations, tech leaders and hiring teams a new way of working in a post-Covid environment.

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