Let’s get straight to it. Success at your organisation hinges on strong manager and team member relationships, and workplace connection is a pivotal factor in ensuring those relationships develop and flourish as intended.
But one of the key barriers to creating strong workplace connectivity is a lack of investment in the managers who are expected to deliver it. With your people in senior roles juggling multiple priorities and often living at the ragged edge of what is possible, burn-out and stress often result in managers themselves losing their connection with the organisation and those in it.
So, what does building good workplace connection mean in practice, and how are businesses working to ensure their management tiers are as invested in the organisation as the employees they lead?
What is workplace connection?
Workplace connection is broadly defined through four dimensions, each of which helps to our personal engagement with our organisation at different levels.
- Connection to company/leadership mission and values: At the headline level, workplace connection requires alignment with the overall purpose and ambition of the business, because if we don’t share the desire to achieve these then there is very little chance of creating a culture of success.
- Connection to peers/managers: As employees we all need to have affinity for those we work with. This is not about liking all your colleagues – though that certainly helps – but it is about recognising their abilities and skills and appreciating the contribution they make to the overall performance of the organisation.
- Connection to the work: At a professional level, we need to understand our own contribution to and impact on the operational and financial success of the organisation that employs us. This informs our sense of purpose, which in turn determines our motivation and, ultimately, our satisfaction.
- Connection to self: Most of us spend at least a third of each day in the workplace, so what happens there really matters in terms of shaping who we are and who we become. So, how does our contribution and the resulting outcomes deepen our connection to who we are now and who we aspire to be in the future?
Given all of this, it’s not hard to see how the development of effective and meaningful work around workplace connection by HR and management teams can positively impact on employee retention and performance.
But what should those programmes of activity look like in practice?
Here are some of things that organisations should think about when making workplace connection a focus of their HR strategy.
Build an open and honest culture
As in any relationship, people – managers included – need to feel safe in order to contribute positively to the success of their organisation.
Whether it’s about having the confidence to be able to share ideas without judgement or to disagree with the overall strategy of a business or project, ensuring there is an open culture that values supportive and positive encouragement is essential to achieving effective workplace connection.
Recognise and reward commitment
Many businesses make the mistake of believing their people prioritise remuneration over recognition, but in fact the reverse is generally true.
Yes, being paid a fair wage is obviously important, but beyond that the majority of people place a much higher value on having their work recognised and appreciated. In a well-connected workplace, routine validation of a contribution well-made is the norm.
See the wider picture
Near-sightedness is the thing that will kill the best intentions. If you only see the cost of your investment in building a connected workplace, you will never exploit all the opportunities it will bring. If you only measure the benefit of your connected workplace in people sticking around for longer or being happier, then you’re not fully leveraging all the good things that are happening in your organisation.
Because what a well-connected workplace should really give you is a better customer experience, happier consumers or clients, improved new business volume and, of course, a better bottom line.
If you’d like to find out more about workplace connection and how we can help you to create a winning culture in your organisation, drop us a line – we’d love to tell you more.