For employees to truly feel that they belong, they need to experience meaningful personal connections within the organizational community, across a richly diverse population.
According to AWI research, just 15% of employees strongly agree that their organization supports them in making friends and connections at work. HR leaders that want to drive a culture of belonging must invest in helping employees feel connected at work.
What is employee connection?
Employee connection is a key driver of belonging. When employees have strong, diverse relationships at work, they are more than twice as likely to say they feel a strong sense of belonging at work.
Organizations that provide opportunities for employees to connect with one another and develop workplace friendships find that their employees report higher levels of job satisfaction and psychological safety, all of which increase organizational commitment. Further, research out of the Achievers Workforce Institute shows that employees who experience regular, meaningful connection with their managers are more engaged at work.
How can organizations support employee connections?
Give employees time to connect and build relationships
Employees need time to talk to each other and build connections. Support this by scheduling breaks together, encouraging micro-breaks, and leading by example by asking employees questions about their lives.
Encourage Employee Resource Groups and other employee-led groups
AWI research shows that employees at companies that support ERGs have higher levers of connection. These groups create spaces where employees can be themselves and meet like-minded coworkers.
Organize social activities within work hours
Social activities can be an excellent way for employees to chat and build relationships but too often these are organized for outside work hours, which limits some employees’ ability to attend.
Leverage technology to connect dispersed teams
Technology is one of the best ways to scale connection efforts. From communication tools to specific employee connection solutions that help employees meet people from outside their team, office, geography, or job level, these are critical to building and maintaining strong relationships at work.
The right employee connections program can encourage employees to build new relationships, can drive innovation, and even helps individuals find opportunities for growth and mentorship. Be purposeful in supporting employees to connect with each other. Your teams will be happier and more committed as a result.
What is Achievers Employee Connections?
Achievers Employee Connections drive powerful connection by enabling cross-functional conversation. Every month, employees are matched with someone to meet in-person or virtually to get to know them and their role at the company. They meet for at least half an hour and are offered an ice breaker question to get conversation flowing.
Program administrators can create specific groups to pair people for different reasons and drive specific organizational objectives. For example, you might choose to pair people based on their role, building connections between the sales and product teams. As part of a solution that integrates with your HRIS, there are any number of ways you can pair off your employees to drive better connections in targeted areas.
In this insight paper, learn how Employee Connections can foster stronger relationships and networks in your organization, driving belonging and positive individual and organizational outcomes.