By Giridhar GV
Of late, ‘Great Resignation’ has been the talk of the town and its impact has been felt globally. But, I look at it as “Great Disconnection.” For far too long, a professional connection has been assumed to occur just during the workday, whether through hallway talks, water-cooler moments, or getting coffee. Leaders must now be more proactive in order to cultivate spontaneous moments of connection in a remote or hybrid setting, especially considering how crucial connection is to employee retention.
Referrals, personal ties, and views of how open a firm is, will become increasingly important in people’s decisions about where to hunt for work—and whether to stay at their existing jobs—in a post-pandemic world. Employees who feel more connected with individuals in their networks are 1.5 times more likely than their colleagues to report being engaged at work, according to Mckinsey.
The recipe behind fostering and nurturing connection in the workplace is hidden behind these five focus areas.
1. Focus on creating connections through engagement and shared activities
Organizations can achieve this by participating in both official and informal events. Leaders should actively listen to their employees and engage with them on a regular basis. Virtual events, celebrating milestones, and celebrating shared values are some of the excellent ways to generate engaging, feel-good moments for the team members. Another way is to engage employees in the philanthropic agenda of the organization. Encouraging a culture of volunteering and giving back to the community, and creating a difference that extends beyond your own front door will go a long way in building connections within organisations. A strong feedback mechanism in place should be introduced to keep the ball rolling among the employees and consider their ideas and interests through engaging activities.
2. Focus on the growth and development
Professional and personal growth is vital to keeping employees motivated and engaged. Organizations must not only provide professional growth but also provide enough learning and development (L&D) opportunities for the overall growth of the employee. This will also prepare the employee to face challenges outside the organization. Innovative L&D methods such as gamification and byte-sized learning have become the preferred choice of learning for employees. Keeping a keen focus on providing learning and upskilling opportunities encourages team members to seek out new learning opportunities and help them achieve their personal and professional objectives.
3. Focus on cultivating company culture and making workplace connection a ritual
A community is a place where everyone works together to achieve common goals. When you consider your company in this light, it becomes easier to form essential and beneficial relationships. The culture of your company is critical to maintaining valuable workers and recruiting new ones. According to Glassdoor, more than three-quarters (77%) of job seekers examine a company’s culture before applying, while 79% assess a company’s goal and purpose. Strong company culture may strengthen current employee connections, improve customer service, and recruit top talent. Employees understand what they want from their jobs and the culture of the company where they work. Successful companies understand the importance of listening to their employees and implementing their advice.
4. Focus on taking a conscious leadership approach towards involving employees in decision making
The last decade’s extremely disruptive cultural and technical changes have pushed traditional top-down leadership styles aside in favour of a new approach – conscious leadership. A conscious leader recognises the need of tapping into their talent’s distinctively human skills—their “power skills”—to organise and empower them toward a common objective. Show that you respect connections by your actions and by spending your time. It is critical for leaders to act as role models for good employee connections, and one approach to do so is to promote regular “skip-level” or “ask-me-anything” dialogues across the workplace. Having these interactions and making individuals feel seen, heard, and appreciated is really invigorating. Involve your workforce in decision-making and seek a deeper understanding from your team. Talk to them, run surveys, or get their feedback on company choices. Simply by asking questions, leaders may learn a lot from their workforce.
5. Focus on keeping an open line of communication
Making the employees feel heard is one of the most effective methods to engage with them. Maintaining an open dialogue of continual contact and criticism is critical for all businesses, especially those with remote workforces. Hold frequent check-in meetings to ensure that each team member gets the tools and support they need to perform at their best. Create a workplace culture in which workers may freely express their questions and concerns without fear of repercussions. Employees are more likely to feel connected to a business when they believe they can be honest and that their opinion is being acknowledged. Create channels for information to travel and be heard within your business. This should incorporate feedback, social sharing, and discussion methods at all levels. Open door policy to encourage communications across levels is something that should be practised across locations.
To conclude, business executives frequently think that workplace connections just happen—and this may have been more accurate before the COVID-19 outbreak. However, in a post-pandemic, hybrid world of work, when the water cooler is likely to be virtual and team members’ in-office hours may be staggered, company leaders must reconsider cooperation and connectedness. At work, employees want connection, meaning, and purpose. Social connection is no longer only desirable, it’s quickly becoming a key tool for company leaders to utilise to recruit, retain, and bring out the best in their employees, allowing them to meet (and even exceed) their performance targets.
(Giridhar GV is the Executive Vice President – Global Human Resources at HGS. The views expressed in the article are of the author and do not reflect the official position or policy of FinancialExpress.com.)