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When employees don’t feel a strong sense of connection to one another, companies suffer. One study showed that, when six out of 10 employees feel that they have a best friend at work, the company experiences a 36 percent reduction in safety incidents, a seven percent increase in customer engagement, and a 12 percent increase in profits.
Do those numbers appeal to you? If so, then it will likely benefit you to place a greater emphasis on fostering connection and friendship among your employees.
Connection in the workplace is essential, no matter what kind of work you do. Read on to learn more about the benefits of social interaction at work, as well as how you can increase feelings of connectedness among your employees.
We might be in a pandemic and working from home more often right now. However, that doesn’t mean that social connections don’t matter.
Your employees can still stay connected while working remotely, after all. Keep in mind, too, that they will likely return to the office eventually and, when they do so, it’ll be a more positive experience if they feel that they have strong relationships with one another.
If you need more convincing that relationships matter at work, here are some specific benefits you can experience when you make connection a priority:
When employees feel connected to their coworkers, as well as team leaders, managers, and others within the company, it’s easier for them to stay engaged while on the job. This, in turn, also helps them to be more productive and get more done.
Not only will employees do more when they feel a sense of connection at work, but their work quality will likely improve, too. Remember, more engagement leads to better outcomes across the board.
Engaged employees who have strong relationships with one another are more likely to feel satisfied with their jobs. They’re also less likely to leave the job and look for another one.
High rates of employee turnover are bad for your bottom line. Because of this, it pays (literally) to make sure employees are happy and feel connected to each other.
Okay, you’re convinced that it pays to encourage connection at work. How do you do this, though? How do you help your employees to foster friendships and develop strong relationships with one another?
The following are some practical and effective tips to try today:
You’ll have an easier time encouraging strong work relationships when you make connection and socialization a part of the company culture starting with the onboarding stage. When you bring new people on to the team, assign them a mentor.
A mentor can answer questions, provide guidance, and serve as a familiar face when new employees are learning the ropes and getting a feel for the office. Mentorship also helps new workers to get acclimated faster and start being productive sooner. It’s a win-win for everyone.
If you want your employees to socialize, you need to make it easy for them to do so. Don’t just sit back and hope that they all decide to go out on the weekend or have a virtual happy hour (in the case of remote workers) all on their own.
Perhaps you can arrange for a team lunch or for everyone to go out for drinks when the workweek is over. If you’re in charge of a virtual team, consider hosting a remote game night or another activity that everyone can participate in from the comfort of their own homes.
At the same time, your efforts don’t always have to take place on this large of a scale. A simple way to encourage socialization during the workday is to create a special chat in Slack (or another communication app) for “water cooler” conversations.
Giving people a place for off-topic discussions can ensure that people have a chance to let off some steam and connect with their colleagues, even if they’re not working in the same place.
When you make diversity, equity, and inclusion priorities at your company, you can ensure that everyone feels as though they’re part of the team and no one is left out.
One way to promote a stronger sense of connection is to do what you can to make sure your team is as diverse as possible.
Greater diversity helps your team members to avoid feeling isolated. It also gives them an opportunity to get to know people they might not have had a chance to meet otherwise.
When it comes to diversity in hiring practices, make sure there’s also diversity in leadership and upper management.
Without diversity in these areas, it can be harder to implement initiatives that truly support your workers from different backgrounds. When leadership is less diverse, these workers might also feel less comfortable speaking up about potential issues.
If you want your employees to connect and socialize with each other, make sure you’re connecting and socializing with them.
Don’t just create a place for water-cooler conversation. Actually use that chat window to show your team that you want them using it, too. If you arrange a team get-together, attend that get-together and be an active participant.
Check-in with your team on a regular basis, too, and find out what kind of support they need. Do this during team meetings and during one-on-ones. That way, even if someone doesn’t feel comfortable speaking up in front of the group, they can still make sure their concerns are heard.
Clearly, a sense of connection in the workplace matters a great deal, especially when it comes to improving productivity and boosting your bottom line. Keep the strategies listed above in mind so you can encourage organic connections among your employees and help them to feel more engaged while on the job.
Simplova has furniture solutions to help aid in employee connection. Contact us to see how we can help.