We are social animals and the need to bond with other individuals is hard-wired in our DNA. With our family, our friends or with our colleagues, we build relationships that define how we feel, how we live, and how we work. Loneliness and disconnection lead to anxiety and depression, and even to identity crises, as the feedback we receive from others is crucial for our sense of self-awareness.
Let’s face it! Despite all the troubles of our social relationships, it’s impossible to disregard the importance of meaningful connections for our mental health and our personal development. Moreover, in our professional life, disconnection makes us lose the sense of purpose, be less productive and less engaged.
That is why building a connection culture at the workplace is a key factor to boost employees’ engagement and productivity. According to Connection Culture Group, “culture is a positive bond based on shared identity, empathy, and understanding that moves individuals toward group-centered membership”. Disconnection appears when positive bonds are not strong enough or they do not exist.
Feeling connected can boost employee engagement
So, bear in mind that meaningful connection is a superpower for both employees and companies and it should be cultivated by leaders who want to help employees thrive.
Connection makes employees happier and more productive
The sense of belonging and acceptance that comes with meaningful connections will make employees happier, more confident and more productive. We work better when we know there is someone who can help us in difficult times, and we feel fulfilled when we can help our colleagues.
Connection makes people more resilient to stress
Whether we like it or not, stress is part of our lives and it affects our health, our mood and the way we respond to daily challenges. Being part of a group helps us cope with stressful situations, as we know there is always someone who will listen and give a helping hand.
Connection boosts strategic engagement
Employees who are connected with their colleagues feel that they are part of a bigger story. It’s not only about the money and the personal gains, but it’s also about the people around you, the acceptance, the sharing, and the common good. If the company is successful, it’s your success as well.
Connection improves decision-making
You know what they say: “great minds think alike”. But great minds who think together will change the world. People who feel connected with their colleagues involve them in decision-making processes, accept different perspectives and in the long run will make the right choices for the company.
Connection increases innovation
The biggest enemy of innovation is fear. Fear of taking risks, of losing face, fear of rejection. A leader that creates a connection culture in a company will offer innovators the proper environment to share their ideas, put them in practice, and deal with possible failure.
Build a connection culture by using the 3 Vs
Disconnection, on the other hand, is a powerful stressor, which makes employees underperform or perform poorly, it leads to relational problems and disengagement. Make sure, as a leader, that you create a connection culture in your company, by using the three Vs: vision, values, and voice.
First of all, a common vision will connect all employees and will give them a sense of purpose. When you work for a common goal, you feel more engaged with your work and more connected with all those around you. Inspire people, let them innovate, share ideas, take risks and they will feel they are an important part of the story.
Common values, like integrity, respect, diversity, teamwork, etc. will shape the conceptual framework of the professional environment and will inspire people to do their best. If integrity and respect create an environment that makes employees understand that they are working for a good purpose, diversity and teamwork will make everyone feel included and appreciated.
Last but not least, give people a voice! Create a safe space in which people’s ideas, bold as they may be, are listened, analysed, and – if useful – implemented. Acknowledge good ideas, cherish innovative thinkers and everyone will be a winner.
All in all
Remember the words of John Lennon: “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” Create a connection culture so that people can dream together and make those dreams reality.
Veronica is a multilingual trainer of trainers. She has years of experience working with adult learners, both in Higher Education and in the business sector.