Maybe you're not a football fan.

Maybe you don't care that Rob Gronkowski is coming out of retirement to reunite with Tom Brady and play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

But maybe you run a business. And if so, you should pay attention.

Sports events are suspended right now, but Brady and Gronkowski are putting on a show right now--about how to recruit super-high performers to your team, regardless of other considerations.

Really, it comes down to the resounding answer that the two NFL stars have given by their actions, to what a Gallup writer calls the "most controversial" question the company asks in employee engagement research.

That question is: "Do you have a best friend at work?"

This is despite the fact that Gallup's research "has repeatedly shown a concrete link between having a best friend at work and the amount of effort employees expend in their job," the company's Annamarie Mann wrote.

Separately, Yale University professors Emma Seppala and Marissa King reached similar conclusions, writing in Harvard Business Review:  

"[P]eople who have a "best friend at work" are not only more likely to be happier and healthier, they are also seven times as likely to be engaged in their job.

What's more, employees who report having friends at work have higher levels of productivity, retention, and job satisfaction than those who don't."

Which brings back us to Brady and Gronkowski: "best friends at work."

After 20 years playing quarterback for the New England Patriots, including six Super Bowl championships, Brady left as a free agent this year and signed with Tampa Bay.

The bigger surprise is that his teammate Gronkowski, who won three of those Super Bowls with Brady but retired from the NFL two years ago, came back to play with him. 

(The Patriots traded him to the Buccaneers at his request, since they still held his rights and contract.)

These two players are incredibly productive teammates. Brady has thrown 78 touchdown passes to Gronkowski over the years, more than twice as many as his second-favorite target. 

But they're not just teammates. They're "best friends" according to media reports.

Honestly, all you have to do is look at the video that they put together on Instagram announcing their reunion to realize that this is about much more than a job for them.

Time to run it back Gronky!

A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on Apr 22, 2020 at 7:16am PDT


Neither them needs the money. (Gronkowski reportedly never spent a penny of the $54 million he made during his career up until now.)

Neither of them really has anything more to prove.

Well, Brady pretty clearly wants at least one more Super Bowl ring, and to play for a few more years. But the reunion in Tampa is about working with the people they really want to work with--again.

Think about that when you're trying to hire or recruit.

Can you do things to make your company the kind of place where people make friends for life? Or can you recruit friends of the employees and people you'd like to hire?

It might be a controversial question. But the takeaway is clear.

People want to work with close friends. Ask how you can make that happen, and you'll recruit more of the best.