Employees demand stronger relationships, seek connections and above all want to feel “seen”.
According to a recent study by McKinsey, the reasons for the Great Resignation (the large number of resignations recorded post-Covid) should be sought primarily from here. The results of the analysis were quite clear: more than half of the interviewees said they had resigned because they didn’t feel valued by their superiors or because they didn’t feel a sense of belonging in the company.
The increasing shift to remote working – total or hybrid – certainly doesn’t help. According to a study by Airspeed reported by Forbes, more than 70% of remote workers feel they don’t socialise enough and 33% struggle with loneliness.
What are the implications? The first answer comes from neuroscience, thanks to a study by SISSA in Trieste: stress caused by social exclusion (one’s own or that of someone close to us, such as a colleague or friend) can turn into physical pain, with negative consequences on health and behaviour.
If we look at it from another perspective, we can immediately see the positive impact of human connections at work, also in terms of business. Employees who feel connected to colleagues and the company are more productive (94%), are satisfied with their role (96%) and are inclined to stay in the same workplace for a longer period of time (49%).
In short: productivity improves while turnover, with its ever-increasing costs, decreases.
The data is clear. But if human connection is so important, how can we encourage it both inside and outside the office?
Good example always pays off
What for some people might be time taken away from work can actually be a strong driver of growth. People want to be seen, heard and considered, both by colleagues in their own position and by their superiors.
The leader – which is quite different from the boss – must be the first to observe those around him and create a sense of belonging in each team member. But how can this be done? By talking to people, engaging with them and giving constructive feedback.
In remote teams, e-mail and instant messaging are no longer enough: sometimes an individual phone call or video call can be the real game changer.
All of this must be done without forgetting about the group concept, which must be supported by agreed and regular team activities, such as a monthly lunch with everyone, a weekly brainstorming session or a quarterly team building activity.
The important thing is to create opportunities: moments of relationship, of dialogue and growth, both as individuals and as a group. Even moments of simple socialisation can help to feel less lonely in a time where we’re increasingly connected but increasingly distant.