The Value Of Human Connection In Shaping Business Success – Forbes
Martha Weidmann is the CEO and cofounder of NINE dot ARTS, an award-winning art consulting and creative placemaking firm.
The workplace has gone through significant change in recent years. In-office presence, once a staple of most jobs, was massively disrupted when Covid-19 hit. As organizations continue to grapple with the impact of a “work from anywhere” reality, they must also contend with the state of their corporate culture and its existence beyond physical walls.
As we emerge from the pandemic, building human connections has never been more important. A recent study by Enboarder (download required) found that 94% of employees are more productive when they feel connected to their colleagues. Employees who feel connected are half as likely to leave within the next year and four times as likely to say they are very satisfied at their jobs. Compare this to other studies that report toxic corporate environments to be far more impactful than compensation when it comes to an employee exiting their job.
The reality is that human connection is essential to business success. Here are a few ways organizations can nurture and promote human interaction, even in a remote and hybrid world.
Prioritize employee value alignment.
Establishing a shared set of core values that employees resonate with can help foster individual and collective investment in the company and its brand. Successful companies establish values early and communicate them often—to clients, consumers and their greater community. When values are articulated clearly and consistently, employees can better understand, identify and act on them. Over time, they can even become better stewards of these values, helping spread them throughout the company and beyond. This is why your values should be the foundation upon which company policies, recruitment and retention strategies and your overall culture are built.
At NINE dot ARTS, we ground all work in our CREATE values: collaborative, resourceful, ethical, authentic, tenacious and educational. From arts-oriented social gatherings to ongoing diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging training and professional development opportunities, we look for every opportunity to connect our staff to what we stand for.
Altogether, values alignment is an essential part of connecting employees to your brand and to each other. And when employees feel more connected to their coworkers and the company, they experience improved perception, appreciation and motivation—all key elements of business success.
Build a culture of candor.
When employees have limited visibility into business decisions, there’s a direct impact on connection in the workplace. In fact, 26% of respondents in Enboarder’s study said that a lack of transparency makes them feel less connected.
Successful companies should emphasize transparency, communicating to their staff the organization’s overall performance and its positioning in the market at large. Sharing key performance indicators from each department, updates on annual budgets and future projections, as well as regular reports from the C-suite can all contribute to candor and trust within an organization.
When these characteristics are put into practice, employees gain a stronger understanding of how their work impacts the company as a whole, increasing both individual and collective motivation and performance. Such transparency can spur renewed purpose, productivity, collaboration and innovation—outcomes that can impact a company’s bottom line.
A culture of candor doesn’t mean sharing every decision or detail. But it does mean being honest about what is shared and communicating such messages with clarity and goodwill. Such transparency helps bring everyone on board, bolstering the kind of camaraderie and connection that drive major impact and improve company performance.
Hire a diverse skill set.
One of the greatest lessons I’ve earned in my career is to hire for your deficits. Even the best leaders have blind spots. That’s why engaging a diverse employee base with a range of skills and life experiences can truly help your organization become stronger. From offering new perspectives to challenging assumptions and holding people accountable, a diverse, well-rounded team will enhance both individual employees and the company as a whole.
At my company, for example, we encourage staff to form topical task forces around our core principles. Staff from various departments come together to brainstorm, ideate and present recommendations to leadership about how to improve our work in areas such as our sustainability and artist engagement efforts. Bringing diverse minds together leads to more thoughtful, creative recommendations and, therefore, better business solutions. Meanwhile, staff get to collaborate outside their typical teams and feel more connected to one another and our firm.
In closing, human connection is one of the most important contributors to workplace productivity, perception and satisfaction. And fortunately, it’s something leaders across industries can achieve. Look for ways to practice value sharing, transparency and collaboration across differences, and the results will speak for themselves.
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