Connecting With People: How to Build a Connected Workplace

To have a thriving workplace, we need to be connected. Sometimes this can be more easily said than done, but it is essential to a successful organization. Connection allows for the exchange of ideas, the building of relationships, and the strengthening of teams. When employees connect with one another, they are more engaged in their work and feel like they belong to something bigger.

Creating a connected workplace is essential for high employee engagement, productivity, and overall motivation. Ultimately, leaders, as in managers, supervisors, and even c-suite executives, play a crucial role in connecting people within their organization. Leaders can encourage a sense of employee connectivity by creating an environment that fosters connection, connecting with their employees personally, and connecting employees with one another. We'll cover why connecting with people is so important, and why it's essential to have a strong sense of connection in your organization. Connectivity is not simply a buzzword. It's critical to strengthen your workplace culture and move your organization forward.

What is a Connected Workplace?

First things first, before you know how to improve connection in the workplace, you need to know what it means to have a connected workplace. DecisionWise describes it as follows: "Connection in the workplace is the feeling of being part of a community engaged in something bigger than any one person. There's a sense of belonging to the organization and the people around you. There's a deep sense not only of social camaraderie but of kinship, shared culture, values, customers, and mission."

It's a simple concept that isn't always easy to achieve. Humans are complex creatures who make mistakes, have implicit biases, and don't always know how to form relationships and strong bonds of trust. So how can you work on connecting with others at work? Let's dive in.

How Can You Foster Employee Connectivity?

There are a few key ways to create a connected workplace. We've previously discussed the importance of your leaders' ability to connect with their employees. Now, we will cover the impact an overall collaboration in your organization can have when it comes to workplace connections. 

First, leaders need to foster an environment where employees feel comfortable connecting with one other, sharing new ideas, and feeling included and respected. This can be done by providing opportunities for employees to interact outside of work, creating social clubs or groups, and encouraging open communication. This sort of employee connectivity is more easily developed and strengthened when there is positive workplace culture and regular communication between leaders and employees.

In addition, leaders should be intentional about connecting with their employees on a personal level. Getting to know your employees as people helps them feel more invested in the company and its goals, invested in their roles, and more motivated to achieve shared organizational goals and personal development goals. If you're wondering how to improve connection in the workplace, there should be an emphasis on supervisors and managers helping foster a sense of employee connectivity with one another. This can be done by pairing new hires with mentors, organizing team-building activities, and promoting collaboration. Overall, the goal is to have a fully connected workplace: one where everyone from the c-suite executive to employees at all levels feels a sense of connection and comfortability coming to work every day and having conversations.

A connected workplace is a thriving workplace. When leaders encourage employee connectivity in these ways, it leads to a deep connection between all members of a company or organization. This connection is what drives employee engagement and productivity.

employee connectivity

Why Is A Connected Workplace Important?

If you still need convincing that it's essential to have a workplace that's connected and fully collaborating with one another, look no further. Here are a few stats to help you understand how essential it is to embrace employee connectivity. According to a 2019 article from LineZero, a connected workforce leads to a 17% increase in productivity, a 21% increase in profitability, and a 40% reduction in employee turnover.  

BIT.AI shared some significant statistics surrounding connection, teamwork, and collaboration that show about 75% of employers rate teamwork and collaboration as "very important," yet only 18% of employees get communication evaluations at their performance reviews. Furthermore, 86% of employees and executives cite a lack of collaboration or ineffective communication for workplace failures.

Employee connectivity is essential for increased employee engagement, retention, and overall business profitability. There is no downside to having a workforce who feels they can have a comfortable conversation with anyone in their workplace, whether an executive, a supervisor or a fellow employee. The bottom line is that it should be an essential piece of overall business success to emphasize relationships between all team members.

Tips to Improve Connection in the Workplace

It's a different world now than it was pre-pandemic and pre-Covid-19. We can either sulk in that fact or embrace the changes that have come to our workplaces as a result and champion positive change. It's clear that many employees have become remote workers, whether part-time or full-time, and that comes with both benefits and challenges. In some ways, it's difficult to keep remote employees engaged and motivated, and that's completely understandable. On the other hand, there's a significant portion of the population, at least in the U.S., who prefers flexible work schedules and the ability to work most or part of the time remotely.

In fact, Fortune.com has shared some staggering statistics for 2022 when it comes to remote work and improving workplace connectivity. For example, at least in the United States, 86% of Hispanic and Latino knowledge workers, along with 81% of Asian and Black workers, indicated they prefer hybrid or remote work. Meanwhile, just 75% of white knowledge workers prefer remote working, the study found. Globally, 52% of women want some sort of work-location flexibility at least three days a week, compared with 46% of men. Furthermore, half of working mothers want to work remotely most or all of the time, compared with 43% of working fathers. This is all based on a global Pulse survey from Future Forum that focuses mainly on the hybrid and remote workforce. Ultimately, all of the data collected shows the importance of connecting with others at work. You can't downplay the impacts a collectively connective and collaborative workforce can have on overall business success.


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Connecting With Others at Work

If you're still looking for details on how to improve connection in the workplace, we've got you covered. It can truly be a daunting task. Firstly, you should request feedback from employees in your organization to get a feel for your team members and to better understand how connected they feel and, therefore, how motivated they are daily. ROI, an employee engagement company, shared the following about how connection relates to the 7 Elements of an Enlightened Workplace:

"Safety – Supportive relationships are foundational in helping people weather challenges and adversity, providing a place for sharing that feels open and safe.

Care – Taking time to build connections shows that you care about those around you.

Respect – True connection is about meaningful, fulfilling exchanges and conversations built on a foundation of respect, which is further reinforced with each interaction.

Joy – Connections are fun! Sharing personal experiences and building relationships can bring great happiness and joy and lead to meaningful friendships.

Progress – With each new relationship you build, a new connection is forged. With attention, that connection will grow deeper and evolve. Enlightened work connections enable projects to move forward more smoothly.

Value – Enlightened connecting offers the opportunity to know and experience another person, with history and experience that is unique to them, which allows us to see a different perspective and identify new opportunities.

Meaning – Connecting with others on a personal level brings a sense of purpose and fulfillment, as we take time to know our co-workers as human beings and understand them more deeply."

As you can see from the data shared from ROI, it's critical to nurture important connections, respect one another, and value each new connection you make in the workplace.

connecting with others at work

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, you cannot downplay the importance of employee connectivity in the workplace. While it can be difficult connecting with others at work, that doesn't make it any less of a focus. Your managers and supervisors, along with any and all executives, should champion the impacts a connected workplace can have on overall business success and the ability to move your organization forward. If you're looking for a resource to help you get started on improving employee engagement and developing leaders who can connect with employees at all levels, look no further. We're here to help! Click here to get started.

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About the Author Walter Orechwa

Walter is IRI's Director of Digital Solutions and founder of UnionProof & A Better Leader. As the creator of Union Proof Certification, Walter provides expert advice, highly effective employee communication resources and ongoing learning opportunities for Human Resources and Labor Relations professionals.