Most humans crave connection with others. One of the potential benefits of working as part of a team is the opportunity to form workplaces connections. In workplaces with strong employee connections, employees have greater wellbeing and happiness, lower stress, and employee engagement. A 2019 EY survey found that “…more than 40% of U.S. respondents reported feeling physically and emotionally isolated in the workplace.” This is a sad statistic that could be improved with some effort
What is the difference between employee connection and employee engagement?
Employee connection is all about feeling like you are part of a community that is working together to meet shared goals. When strong employee connection is present, workers feel a deep kinship with each other along with shared culture and values.
Employee engagement is the level that employees invest their mental, emotional, and behavioral energy into positive outcomes for the business. Engaged employees come to work on time, are enthusiastic about their work and often find meaning in the work they do.
How Strong Employee Connection Improves Employee Engagement
When employees have a strong connection to each other, they typically put in more effort to help their teammates and contribute to the business’ goals, both broadly and in the details of their individual projects. Workers feel a sense of satisfaction when the company succeeds because they know that the pride they take in their work is directly contributing to company outcomes. Owners are happy because productivity and profits are up.
So, how does a business encourage employee connection? Fostering employee connection takes careful planning and effort but it can be done. Here are some ways to help employees feel connected:
1. Hire the right fit
While it isn’t a good idea to hire people who all think exactly the same way and will never challenge each other to come up with the best ideas or processes, fit is an important part of creating an environment that breeds strong work relationships. Some ways to hire workers who are the right “fit” are to hire people with similar certifications or work experience for specific departments, and people who share the company values or who generally fit in with the company culture. These things can be assessed during the interview
2. Ensure that core values are reenforced during onboarding
Make sure that all new-hires are fully aware of your business’ core values. The onboarding process is a great time to re-enforce these values through careful communication. As you create awareness about values, you can gently encourage new employees to align with them.
3. Encourage banter and fun
Work requires focus but that doesn’t mean that every minute of the workday has to be serious. One of the best ways to help employees bond is to encourage a workplace online chat or lunches/potlucks where employees can laugh and talk about common interests outside of the job they do.
4. Create a sense of belonging
A good workplace is one where it feels like a family; employees should feel comfortable and welcome. Encouraging appropriate workplace inside jokes, hosting social events and encouraging staff to share pictures of pets and kids are great ways to help people feel like they belong.
5. Keep everyone in the loop
Keep employees in the loop about company goals, successes, and challenges. Everyone should also have a clear understanding of how their individual job benefits their team and the company goals overall. Sharing information openly not only gives employees the tools they need to get their job done, it makes them feel like a valued member of the team.
The bottom line is that employee connection is a key component in whether employees are engaged or not. Any opportunities that you have as a business owner to foster a meaningful connection between your employees will pay off in higher productivity. Ask employees how well they feel connected to their co-workers and what you could do to encourage even greater connections.
When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are compliant with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long and changes happen). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services, and technology solutions.
With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet, or phone. We can truly improve your employees’ work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.
What are you waiting for? Companies that partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!