Humans are social animals. Really, it is our ability to build connections and lasting relationships that often sets us apart as a species. But unfortunately, this instinctual need to connect with each other doesn’t always come easily to us. According to a 2018 study conducted by Cigna, over half of all Americans reported feeling alone and isolated. This includes Americans working at our businesses. If we consider that the average employee works a 40 hour week, that’s a possible 2,080 hours a year that we may be contributing to a sense of loneliness in our team!
How can we connect the dots? How can we take a group of employees, your team, and transform them into a thriving, happy community that coexists with one another? And how will that help your business?
The good news is that it takes relatively small changes to start to foster a sense of community within your workplace. Face-to-face interactions, encouraging physical and mental wellness, and helping to facilitate a healthy work-life blend all contribute to employees feeling like their job is more than just a paycheck—it’s a place where they belong and desire to contribute. Time and time again, it has been proven that happy employees bring in better business. When team members feel heard, seen, and validated, they are less likely to go looking for new opportunities, which leads to a decrease in turnover and a more stable culture in the workplace. They produce stronger work when they are allowed to contribute to the business as a whole.
The main thing to remember is that this community starts with you, the manager, the boss. Instead of emailing your team, go out into the office and connect with them in person. Keep your door open, both literally and figuratively. Be open to collaboration, no matter the source. In his book, The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle discusses the need to provide areas in your organization for collision (not to be confused with collusion). From VPs to the newest intern, everyone in your business must be viewed as an active and vital community member. When you treat everyone with openness and respect to prove that they are valued, they will return that attitude to you and their co-workers.
It can also be beneficial to open yourself up to the larger community that your business exists within. Luckily, with social media, this is easier than ever before! Utilize Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., to reach out to your customer base. Studies show that Millennial and Gen-Z customers are more likely to interact with and remain loyal to a business that takes the time to personalize their experience with that business. Just like your employees, your clients are hungry to belong as well. With a little intention, time, and elbow-grease on your part, you can ensure that they will return to you and your business again and again.
Looking to create a community within your corporate culture? Connect with Leadership Delta today! We have the skills to help you connect the dots between your team and your business to build lasting communities.