12 ways to boost connectivity in the workplaceon 23 August 2020 for Companies
We’ve all heard that satisfied employees are more productive, more creative, and more connected to the organisation. But what if we flip that logic? We believe increasing connectivity in the workplace leads to happier, healthier and more productive employees.
As an employee – and maybe even more so as a consultant – finding a connection to your colleagues, the team and the organisation can be challenging. Due to our individual differences – some employees are introverted, while others are extraverted, some are neurotypical while others are neurodivergent – there is no one-size-fits-all miracle cure for creating more connectivity at work. However, we’re sure you can find a few useful pointers among the 12 tips we reveal below. Let’s dive in.
#1 take turns bringing treats
The way through a person’s heart is through their stomach. So connecting over something scrumptious is always a surefire way to boost camaraderie in the workplace. Why not beat the Monday morning blues by bringing something tasty to work and having a chat about your weekend before diving into some deep work? In Belgium or the Netherlands, you can never go wrong with an assortment of Danish pastries or “koffiekoeken”.
#2 follow up your team meeting with a team lunch
Once a month, you can organise a team meeting that finishes at lunch time and follow up with a nice lunch together. This will give you an opportunity to get to know each other in a different way. Why not go out to a restaurant (on the company card, if possible, to make sure nobody is made uncomfortable by either having to stay behind or being shamed into spending more than they can afford on lunch)? Or have a picnic in the park on a sunny day?
#3 make work a place where everyone feels at home
People will feel more comfortable to open up and connect to their co-workers in a laid-back atmosphere where there is time and room to talk about life beyond the company walls and the office hours. Encourage your people to share photos and stories about their family, pets or hobbies. Maybe even prompt them to decorate their desks (if they have an assigned desk), or put up a shared photo wall?
#4 take every opportunity to celebrate
Whether it’s someone’s birthday, an achieved goal or another form of success: celebrate! Celebrate often and in a way that feels good. You can bring cake, go out for drinks, organise an award ceremony for the whole company or set up a page on your intranet specifically for giving shout outs to colleagues who have done something great. Feeling rewarded makes work more rewarding.
#5 treat your organisation like a community
In a community, everyone is equally supported, respected, and even loved. Work is unified and goals are shared. Sometimes, people resort to backstabbing, taking credit for someone else’s work or making them look foolish in front of management. That type of behaviour is a recipe for disaster and can even lead to a toxic work environment. Instead, think of how much better it would feel to be kind to each other. To lift each other up instead of putting each other down. Make sure your team knows there’s enough sunshine to go around, and everyone is valued for their own unique contribution to the shared goals.
#6 give everyone a voice
With an inclusive workplace comes the necessity of giving every person a voice and making an effort to listen to all of them. Asking staff for their opinion and suggestions makes them feel more included and empowered. You can make sure to reach everyone by using online polls and surveys regularly to gather feedback and insights. Don’t forget to let your people know what you’ve done with these insights either, so they know they’re not talking into a void but their voices have an actual impact.
#7 make your culture visible
Whether it’s your office interior or the tone of voice in your e-mails: your company culture should be more than some values on a poster. It should be seen, heard and felt throughout the entire organisation. At Exellys, we place a lot of importance on fun at work. That’s why we have a bar, a pool table, nerf guns and even arcade games. You can preach fun at work or you can actually HAVE fun at work.
#8 venture out of your natural habitat
There’s only so much bonding you can do at the office. When breaking through the boundaries of your natural habitat, don’t hesitate to think way outside the box. Sure, you can take your colleagues for drinks at a nearby bar on Friday night. Or you can even take the whole team on an overnight teambuilding trip and get them way out of their comfort zones! At Exellys, we’ve been partnering with Outward Bound for years to achieve more connection through shared outdoors experiences.
Want to know more? In this episode of our Exellys Talks podcast, we talk to Dirk De Vilder from Outward Bound about the importance of leaving your comfort zone →
#9 make time for regular informal chats
As a manager or someone working in HR, you’re bound to have periodic formal contacts with employees, for example during a feedback or evaluation session. But besides that, it’s also important that you devote some of your time to informal chats or low-key check-ins. This can happen spontaneously at the coffee machine or the watercooler, or online – for example by shooting someone a message on Slack or Teams. It can be nice to check in towards the end of the work day to see how people in your team are doing, of course without making them feel that you’re checking up on them. There’s a big difference between micromanagement and genuine concern.
#10 get to know your employees personally
Whether you’re in management or HR, you want employees to trust you and come to you when they encounter issues or difficulties. Of course, this kind of trust doesn’t just happen. Make it a priority to know your employees personally. Are they married, do they have kids? Are they enjoying single life? What are their hobbies? Are they a cat person or a dog person? Having this kind of rapport between you makes it easier for them to come to you when a problem arises.
#11 set up communities to promote interdepartmental connections
Communities are a great way to help employees connect with each other. You can have work-focused communities to share expertise and best practices, have discussions and brainstorms or share knowledge. But you can also have some fun with it. Why not make a community for pet owners, where employees can share cute photos of their furry friends? Or a community for people who enjoy a good meal, where they can share restaurant reviews or recipes? These online communities can continue in the real world as well. Signing up for a cooking course with coworkers, walking your dogs together or taking an extra course in social media marketing – why not?
#12 host regular social events
If you want your workplace to feel more like a community, then the relationship between employees must extend beyond traditional working hours. That’s why it’s a good idea to schedule regular social events in a relaxed setting, such as happy hour drinks or themed parties. The only rules is that they’re fun and there’s no pressure!
There are many challenges to feeling connected at work: remote working, consultancy, or maybe even social anxiety. But connectivity at work is important for employee wellbeing, and by extension, for productivity as well. Help your people get to know each other, and get to know them, by trying some of the tips above. Let us know how you get on!
Exellys is a Talent Incubator. We bring talent into the daily operations of the organisation of our customers and grow them for the innovations of tomorrow.
From the 1.500 talents we speak to annually, we select the top 7%. We intensively train and coach them on the right skills and competences. Our (scientifically based) training programs (Start Smart, Grow Smart & Lead Smart) accelerate the growth of our talents, and therefore also the growth of our customers.
We “unburden” our clients when looking for and retaining talent. We are committed to getting the best out of talent, while our customers can continue to focus on their core business.
We do this for organisations who want to strengthen their team permanently, as well as those who are looking for a flexible, project-driven solution. Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help.Tags: exellys , talent retention