Promoting connection is likely not part of your organization’s mission statement, but much research has proven that your organization would benefit if connection was an integral part of your culture. According to a recent study by Blueboard, 95% of HR Leaders agreed that human connection in the workplace is critical for talent attraction and talent retention. Furthermore, employees wholeheartedly agreed, with 77% stating that they want to work for an organization where they feel connected to both the organization’s purpose and people.
Fundamentally, humans are social creatures, and as such, are fulfilled by connection with others. And given that we spend roughly a third of our lives at work, it is an important place to nurture relationships. Why? Well, Dr. Brene’ Brown describes it like this:
“Connection is the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
So, what can you do to build a strong culture of connection?
Here are four helpful tips:
1. Be Intentional.
“Isaac Stern, the virtuoso violinist, said ‘Music is what happens between the notes.’ Trust is the same, it is what happens between the meetings.”
– Simon Sinek
Right now, roughly 75% of all organizations are using a hybrid model between remote and on-site office work. As such, happenstance conversations are no longer the norm. Thus, if your leaders are going to build connection, leaders need to give assurance that taking a break from work to connect with others personally, is not only acceptable, but highly encouraged.
2. Create Psychological Safety.
In order for people to be honest when sharing their opinion on a project or initiative, or for employees to suggest a wildly innovative idea for consideration, they need solid assurance that it is safe to do so. Simply put, they need to be sure that they will not be immediately rejected outright. This is psychological safety.
Building connection with others can feel like a risky proposition for some. If your employees are going to feel comfortable connecting themselves to their peers, leaders need to be role models for illuminating the positive results of healthy risk-taking, which is efficiently achieved by cultivating a psychologically safe work environment.
3. Invest In People Skills
Providing your team members with the skills to connect and relate with others helps them be more confident and effective in their roles as communicators, collaborators, and problem-solvers. It adds one more champion to the culture of your team.
4. Have Fun
What better way of encouraging connection in the workplace than encouraging fun! I have done much blogging about Fun being the secret, and often overlooked, driver of employee engagement. Leverage it! By doing so, not only will you see connection flourish among team members, you will gain the added benefit of lower turnover, since fun solidly extinguishes the number one reason for employee resignation, that being job stress. It is no accident that my email signature line says “Have Fun.” I sincerely hope that you and your team members do!