Why Connection Is Critical to Employee Engagement
October 29, 2020
Decades of research shows that meaningful connection is the one variable that moves the engagement needle more than any other. The intended outcome of this engagement strategy is an improved sense of connection, stronger relationship ties, and higher firm loyalty through proactive communication and experience tactics.
It is important to understand that a productive employee is not always an engaged employee. Even if a business has been able to maintain productivity, that doesn’t mean it can ignore engagement efforts. In fact, during these challenging and uncertain times, it is more important than ever that employers remain diligent with engagement efforts.
Why does employee engagement matter so much?
For one, highly engaged workers tend to be more supportive of organizational change initiatives and resilient in the face of change. Another reason: an engaged workforce is a loyal workforce. And finally, it makes our work more enjoyable!
What employers can do to boost employee engagement:
- Share wins – big and small.
Employers and managers can provide regular group updates and create connection between employees and the overall business goals of the group while also fostering a culture of transparency. In other words, brag about your team members. Praise colleagues. Keep people in the loop while also giving others a pat on the back.
- Host sharing sessions.
At LP, many of our practice groups are conducting monthly sharing sessions to broaden the dialogue around the impact of current events on individual experiences and build a safe space for sharing. Framed as casual conversations yet rooted in opportunities to further foster a culture of trust, vulnerability, and resiliency – and say, “we’re in this together.”
- Consider one-on-one check-ins.
Anonymous surveys are great for gathering honest feedback, but one-on-one conversations can build meaningful connections to foster engagement in a way that surveys cannot.
- Host virtual watercoolers.
These are designed to reimagine serendipitous workplace encounters – important aspects for impromptu collaboration and connection. Employers and managers can use virtual “rooms” via a video call platform, open to small groups to join on a weekly basis.
- Offer Q&A opportunities.
Town hall-style events can facilitate meaningful connection through a “get-to-know” format, whether the topic is work-related or through personal interviews with senior leaders in the organization. Department leads may want to solicit suggestions for Q&A sessions from their group to increase participation. Q&As can also increase employee engagement by enabling employees to feel more “in the know” about the organization’s leadership.