Thrive By Creating a Culture of Connection

Your organization could learn to thrive by creating a culture of connection. But are your people among the less than 75% of employees who claim to actually be giving their best effort and engaging in their work? This may be because many organizations have a culture of control or indifference that drains the energy out of people and sabotages organizational performance, according to Michael Lee Stallard, the author of Connection Culture. In order for your business to flourish, your entire team must be engaged–driven to actively participate in and enjoy their work.  Is employee engagement something you can control?

Yes, says Stallard, and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Your business can thrive by creating a culture of connection, an environment where people care about each other and what they do. When people invest time building healthy work relationships, “the resulting bond creates a sense of  connection, community and unity that energizes the team and spurs productivity and innovation.”

The author suggests five tips for how to thrive by creating a culture of connection:

1. Communicate a clear, inspiring vision. Clearly define goals and keep people posted about the organization’s progress in reaching them. When employees understand the company’s mission, they become united by its values and proud of its reputation. The result is more engagement in the work they do.

2. Recognize each individual’s value. Instead of treating employees as the means to an end, respect and value each one for his or her unique contributions. Your respectful treatment will encourage team members to also appreciate each other and work synergistically to help achieve their potential, both as individuals and as a team.

3. Give employees a voice. Recognize that you don’t have a monopoly on good ideas! Create an atmosphere of safety by encouraging people to share their own ideas and opinions and seek out others’ ideas. Refuse to cut others down when disagreements arise. Such a safe environment empowers people to make a difference.

4. Demonstrate servant leadership. Be willing to put others’ needs before your own, even if it means sacrificing what you want or what’s convenient. Employees will disengage if they know you’ll throw them under the bus to protect your own reputation. On the other hand, they’ll engage if you take the time to know them individually and work, for instance, to help them improve their work/personal life balance. For more on creating a safe workplace atmosphere, read our recent post about how your leadership style can create a sense of safety.

5. Celebrate committed team members. Do you have employees who have a great work ethic, are committed to excellence, and thrive at developing relationships? They’re the glue of your connectedness, so encourage and celebrate them. Hopefully, others will follow their example!

What does it look like for your organization to thrive? Stallard shares that organizations with high employee engagement had higher revenue growth, “21 percent greater productivity, 22 percent greater profitability, 10 percent higher customer service metrics, 41 percent fewer quality defects, and 37 percent lower absenteeism than organizations in the bottom quartile, according to Gallup research.”

With those statistics in mind, who wouldn’t want to thrive by creating a culture of connection! To do so, you’ll need to cast a clear vision, value your people, give everyone a voice, lead by example, and celebrate your employees’ commitment.  As this connection develops employees’ sense of ownership for their work, they’re more likely to be excited about showing up and working hard to produce whatever it is your company provides to the world. That sense of connection is worth all the appreciation and respect you can genuinely muster–and it doesn’t cost you a dime.

Reference: “Building a Culture of Connection,” The Costco Connection, July 2015

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