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Should You Hire Your Friends? Weighing the Workplace BFF Bonus (and Blues)

Should You Hire Your Friends? Weighing the Workplace BFF Bonus (and Blues)
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We’ve all dreamt about it. You’re buried under deadlines, stress levels are peaking, and all you can think about is having your best bud, the one who always gets your Star Wars references and knows your coffee order by heart, sitting next to you in the trenches. 

They’d be your partner in crime during brainstorming sessions, have your back during crunch time, and maybe even hold your hair back during a particularly rough spreadsheet battle. Sounds like a workplace utopia, right? Well, buckle up, because while working with friends can be fantastic, it also comes with a hefty dose of “maybe not.”

The Friend Factor: Perks and Pitfalls

Let’s be honest, friends can be the ultimate office cheerleaders. A study by Trustwave even showed that employees with close work friends reported higher levels of satisfaction and well-being. 

There’s a comfort and familiarity that comes with working alongside someone you already know and trust. You can ditch the awkward small talk and dive straight into brainstorming million-dollar ideas. They’ve likely seen you at your worst (think: karaoke night gone wrong), so there’s less fear of judgment, which can lead to a more relaxed and creative work environment. Imagine all the hilarious inside jokes that could fuel your next marketing campaign!

But here’s the catch: friendships aren’t resumes. Just because someone’s your go-to brunch buddy doesn’t guarantee they’ll be a stellar employee. In fact, an article by Forbes warns of the potential downfall of friend-based hiring. If your friend isn’t qualified for the job, it can lead to resentment from other colleagues who worked hard for the position. 

There’s also the risk of letting friendship cloud your judgment. Imagine having to give your BFF constructive criticism about their, ahem, “interesting” approach to data entry – it can be a recipe for hurt feelings and silent lunches.

Friend-tastic Fit: Making it Work

So, if the idea of working with a friend still tickles your funny bone, there are ways to navigate this tricky terrain and avoid turning your dream team into a disaster zone. First things first: ditch the emotional attachment and treat the hiring process like you would with any other candidate. 

Assess their skills and experience objectively. Do they have the technical know-how for the job? Are they a team player who thrives in a collaborative environment? If the answer is a resounding “yes,” then fantastic! But if not, don’t feel pressured to hire them out of loyalty.

Here’s the key: clear communication is your BFF in this situation. Before extending the offer, have an honest conversation with your friend about the expectations of the role and the importance of maintaining professional boundaries at work. Let them know you value the friendship, but that work performance will be evaluated just like any other employee’s. This way, there are no surprises down the line, and you can both avoid that awkward moment when you have to explain to them why their “creatively reinterpreted” expense report wasn’t approved.

The Final Friend-zone

Ultimately, the decision to hire a friend boils down to a careful evaluation of the situation. If your friend is a rockstar who brings the skills and the right attitude to the table, then go for it! But remember, prioritize qualifications over camaraderie, and set clear boundaries from the get-go. Working with friends can be a recipe for a fun and supportive work environment, but only if you approach it with a healthy dose of professionalism and a dash of caution. After all, a happy and productive team is the ultimate goal, friend or not.

However, the equation gets even more complex when you consider company culture. If your workplace thrives on a rigid hierarchy and strict protocols, then introducing a friend into the mix might disrupt the established dynamic. On the other hand, a startup environment that values innovation and a casual atmosphere might be the perfect breeding ground for a friend-powered work duo.

The bottom line? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Weigh the pros and cons carefully, consider your company culture, and most importantly, prioritize building a strong, well-rounded team – friends or not. After all, a successful team is like a well-crafted pizza: it all comes down to having the right ingredients working together in harmony. Just don’t put pineapple on it. That’s a debate for another day.

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