The topic of human connection is more important now than ever.
Many of us are returning to the office. It’s been a while … Some of you might be thinking, “How the heck do we do this again?!”
Harvard Business Review writes that returning to in-person work can be tricky. “Whether you’re excited or anxious about re-entry, you can expect being around other people to require a lot of energy that you probably haven’t had to expend in a while. Why is in-person interaction such a drain, and how can you muster up the energy to reconnect with your colleagues?”
Harvard Business Review recommends getting back to the basics of human connection.
In this blog post, we’ll detail 10 unique ways to support your company culture through human connection during this time.
What is Company Culture?
First things first, what is company culture, and why is it important?
Company culture is defined as “how you do what you do in the workplace.” This includes both the formal systems and the informal behaviors in the workplace, as well as:
- Work environment
- Company mission
- Leadership style
- And more
Typically, company culture is something you can feel (even as an outsider!).
10 Unique Ways to Support Your Company Culture through Human Connection
There are many ways you can improve your company culture. Prioritizing human connection is one of them. Here are 10 unique ways you can support your company culture through human connection.
- Kick Off the Week with Some Positivity
Chances are your company has some sort of touch-base at the beginning of the week—whether remote or in-person.
A great way to foster human connection is to kick off the week by sharing a “personal win” and a “professional win.”
For example, maybe one of your employees went skiing over the weekend and didn’t break a bone. That’s their personal win! Their professional win could be something along the lines of meeting an important deadline or managing their time well during the previous week.
Kicking off the week with some positives helps team members get to know one another on a more personal level and start their week on a positive note. It’s also a great way to share and celebrate accomplishments!
Prioritizing one-on-one meetings helps build rapport between leadership and employees. During these one-on-ones, whether bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly, you have the opportunity to learn more about your employees’ goals and experiences within your business.
It demonstrates to your employees that you care.
- Get Your Team Out of the Office
If distance allows it, get your employees out of the office. Take them out for a walk, coffee, drinks, the options are endless.
Fresh air and a change of scenery can help build trust; compared to having conversations in the same old meeting rooms.
- Encourage Conversations about Goals
Ask your team members about some of their personal and professional goals. What are their challenges and desires? How can you support them?
Some examples might include gaining the courage to speak up more in meetings or to better prioritize their time. Keep these conversations honest and light.
- Celebrate the Wins (Big and Small!)
In an article published by Forbes, they discuss the importance of creating a company culture where employees come together to connect and celebrate the hard work that’s been done.
It doesn’t matter if the win was big or small—it deserves acknowledgment!
- Ask a Community Question
Maria Leggett of Forbes recommends asking a ‘community question’ each week.
“Ask about a favorite vacation place, a most memorable trip, or even a funny story that happened at work. Describing the craziest call you ever received at the office can generate great responses and tell you a lot about how people handle the unexpected.”
This is a fun, easy way to foster human connection, thus improving your company culture!
- Practice Listening
Like, really listening … Active listening is a skill that, surprisingly, many of us don’t naturally have. When you’re in conversation with someone, it can be easy to get caught up in your own thoughts and distractions, thinking of what you’re going to say next—especially if you’re tense.
Active listening is a skill that can go a long way in creating authentic human connections. When you practice active listening, you’ll be able to hear what is actually being said, as opposed to misunderstanding, anticipating, or assuming.
- Encourage Sharing
Not quite like show and tell, but almost! As an employer, you should encourage sharing personal stories and interests. Consider talking about a new trending show on Netflix, who you’re rooting for in the Super Bowl, or an upcoming vacation at your next meeting.
This will help get to know your team members on a personal level.
- Polish Your Onboarding Process
The onboarding process can be overwhelming—which is why it’s important for executives to take the time to meet with new hires across the business, regardless of department.
This is especially important in the era of remote work, where employees can feel a bit more isolated than in-person.
- Practice Empathy
The tenth and final tip is to practice empathy! As the old adage goes, “Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes.” This adage stands as a reminder to practice empathy.
When in conversation with someone, consider where they might be coming from. What is their perspective? How is it different from yours? How can you validate their experience?
Harvard Business Review recommends you “consider what barriers you may face in trying to understand the other person, like assumptions you may be making about them, what you need from them, or your own reactivity…. [By] cultivating a level of self and other-focused compassion, [this] can aid in navigating conflict or disagreements more gracefully.”
A Final Word
There are many ways you can increase human connection within your business to bolster company culture; above are simply 10 ways. Interested in learning more? Read on to learn more about how learning and development (L&D) can transform your company culture.