A whopping 62% of HR professionals agree it has been difficult to maintain workplace culture during the pandemic, according to SHRM’s 2021 Culture Refresh Report – are you surprised?
We all know culture can make or break your business. Telltale signs of a disjointed company culture can include high turnover, average performance, ineffective collaboration, misalignment of business objectives, and a whole lot more.
The underlying problem that is negatively impacting company culture and growth is the lack of authentic connection.
This recent report found that “when employees feel less connected to their workplace, culture, and purpose, the likelihood of producing great work falls 90%, the probability of burnout increases 11x, and the odds that employees will leave within three years surge 6x.”
It’s hard to facilitate a sense of belonging and connection in hybrid and remote work environments. It’s even harder for executives, managers, and leaders to know what team members are thinking and feeling.
Benchmark Current Levels of Connection
Businesses are able to reach new heights and unlock their full potential when employees feel genuinely connected.
We have identified five points of connection: company, work, manager, peers, and self. Employee engagement and company performance increase when employees feel authentically connected in each of these five areas.
Our employee connection survey makes it easy for leaders to understand where their team stands within the five connection points – and how to take action. To get started, you can access the first part of our survey for free.
Using Stories to Create Authentic Connections
Today’s leaders have the unique opportunity to change the game with effective storytelling. Meaningful connections are formed by sharing genuine stories and encouraging others to do the same.
In launching our employee engagement platform called Latch, we’ve identified types of video stories that help unite people together in this hybrid world.
Stories told from across the organization – top-down and bottom-up – have the ability to spark open dialogue and inspire action.
The secret? Using video to communicate is the best way to bring the human element into all work environments.
Let’s dig into the who, what, why, and how stories can increase connection in your workplace.
Connection to Company
Too often leaders believe that they effectively communicate the company’s vision, goals, and progress. When in reality, there is a workplace communication crisis.
According to Axios 2022 Communications Report, 66% of leaders think they know what updates employees need, but only 31% of employees agree.
So, how can leaders use effective communication to develop clarity throughout the organization?
1) Share Company Updates That Stick
- Challenge: Company messages get lost or lost in the flood of information, and people end up feeling uninformed.
- Solution: A video from a leader sharing an exciting initiative can be an invitation for team members to reflect and plan accordingly. This beats a written email or Slack update any day every day. It instills confidence, trust, and inspiration by creating an emotional connection to the message.
2) Bring Company Values to Life
- Challenge: Teams need more than an employee handbook and stickers with company mantras to feel aligned with core business values.
- Solution: A video from a teammate on how they embody values through their work can inspire teammates to think differently. Showing how they align their actions with organizational values sets the stage for how others can as well.
Connection to Work
If your people do not feel a connection to their work, it’s a recipe for low productivity and high turnover.
72% of employees who believe they don’t have the opportunity to do what they do best report feelings of loneliness.
On the flip side, 83% of employees who are offered opportunities to take on new challenges are more likely to stay with their organization.
What stories can help your people see the value in their work?
1) Make Career Growth Real
- Challenge: Unengaged employees may feel stagnant and unsure how to level up within the organization.
- Solution: A video from a coworker detailing their professional development journey can highlight different paths to career growth at the company. It helps get employees thinking about their own career mobility and what’s possible.
2) Showcase That We All Stumble At Times
- Challenge: People may feel frustrated or embarrassed when they have difficulty conquering a problem at work.
- Solution: A video from a team member who faced persevered through adversity may be exactly what a colleague needs to hear. By paving the way for vulnerability without judgment, it reinforces that everyone faces obstacles, but it’s how people continue forward that matters.
Connection to Peers
A Harvard Business Review reported on a study of over 2,700 employees, and it highlights how pervasive loneliness is across industries.
- 75% of people say they feel more socially isolated since the pandemic began.
- Nearly one in three employees say their team does not maintain informal contact while working from home.
- People who are lacking informal contact are 19% more likely to report a decline in mental health.
When coworkers feel a genuine connection to their peers, it lessens isolation and increases feelings of fulfillment.
What stories can help bridge that gap?
1) Intentionally Make New Hire Introductions
- Challenge: New hires and existing team members feel disconnected from each other. Remote and hybrid work makes it challenging for people who don’t have preexisting relationships.
- Solution: A video from a new hire sharing what drew them to the company and what they are most excited about can make them feel seen, heard, and understood. Plus, colleagues and leaders can learn more about who new hires really are and what they’re passionate about.
2) Show Collaboration in Action
- Challenge: The Great Resignation is real. Many organizations are battling attrition, and employees who stay take on more responsibilities. With increased workloads and limited resources, people often worry they may burden others by asking for help or collaboration.
- Solution: A video of team members who worked together to accomplish a project or goal can reinforce collaboration as a critical part of the company’s culture.
Connection to Manager
Here are two stories that managers can share to help improve their relationships with direct reports and others across the organization:
1) Humanize Managers
- Challenge: There can sometimes be a lack of trust between managers and their direct reports.
- Solution: A video of a manager sharing who they are personally or career-defining moments can help put the human element back into work. By showing up authentically, managers make it clear they are emotionally invested in their team and company.
2) Recognize What You Want to See More Of
- Challenge: Employees crave positive feedback from their managers.
- Solution: A video celebrating an individual contributor or team for a job well done can go a long way. This approach motivates the team and provides clarity of what high-performance looks like.
Connection to Self
Employees who feel they can be their authentic selves at work are nearly three times more likely to be proud to work there.
On top of that, employees who feel their voice is heard at work are five times more likely to feel empowered to perform their best work.
Looking for stories that invite people to bring their true selves to work?
1) Have Fun!
- Challenge: All work and no play makes for a dreary work life. People want the chance for colleagues they work with to understand who they are as a person – not just defined by their role.
- Solution: A video highlighting personal passions and skills can inspire, entertain, and help teammates find common ground. Inviting work and non-work-related storytelling gives people a voice and a way to connect.
2) Highlight Individual and Team Resilience
- Challenge: People have a lot going on personally and professionally, and they often don’t have an outlet or support system.
- Solution: A video of a coworker who has worked through a difficult situation can make a meaningful difference. When people feel comfortable sharing a time they’ve overcome fear or adversity, it opens the door for honest conversations with others who can relate and empathize.
Ready to Use Storytelling to Improve Your Company's Culture?
Let’s connect so you can see how our employee engagement platform Latch makes it easy.