There is nothing more important to well-being than personal connection. Studies conclude that “social capital” is one of the biggest predictors for health, happiness, and longevity.
Yet making connections in any environment can be tough, no matter how experienced (or old) you are, as I was recently reminded after moving my kids to a new school system. You want to dive in and make friends, but people are distracted, some not so friendly, it’s hard to know how to connect. And I’m describing are the grownups…
Fitting in is challenging, whether you’re the new family, the new kid or the new hire, it takes time to develop that sense of belonging that inspires us to feel integrated and comfortable.
Leaders take note; this process can take months, years or forever, depending on the company onboarding process, the culture and of course, the new person. However, a lack of connection among team members is not insignificant. In fact, team connection is one of the most important factors in employee engagement, satisfaction and productivity.
So the question is, how do you facilitate and maintain ongoing connection within your team or organization? One solution I’ve found highly effective is to create opportunities for peer to peer engagement.
- Encourage employees to directly engage – the social connection doesn’t always mean that leaders need to be a part of the engagement.
- Encourage your teams to interact with each other and people from other organizations – in person or over the phone.
- Model your recommendations by connecting with employees randomly just to say hi, check in or share a cup of coffee.
- Build engagement into the workday; create an early morning meet and greet in the break room to encourage people to say hello is a great way to begin the workday. Arranging lunch time strolls or after work activities is also a good opportunity for people to socialize.
This is not only a nifty technique to augment your leadership toolkit, it’s smart business strategy. In a recent Psychology Today feature, Dr. Emma Seppola summarized her studies by saying that social connections “create individuals who have higher self-esteem, are more emphatic to others, and, as a consequence, others are more trusting and cooperating with them” as she confirmed the link between social connections and positive performance.
Looking for a turnkey program to connect your workforce, improve peer-to-peer accountability and increase productivity? Contact me at Elizabeth@TheBorelliGroup.com for a free 30-minute consultation!