As Terri walked into work, the front desk receptionist greeted her with his typical morning smile. Then, while Terri waited by the elevator to go up to her office, he also added, “Congratulations on your son graduating from college this past weekend! I know how much it means to you to have him graduate.” Terri thanked him and quickly mentioned how proud she felt watching her son walk across the stage. She then disappeared into the elevator, heading towards her office on the third floor.
On the third floor, some of her co-workers had secretly showed up 20 minutes earlier to set up a mini-celebration for Terri, because today also happened to be her 10th year with the company. The company had a tradition that each additional year of employment came with a unique in-office celebration and a gift card from the executive team. The team knew how much Terri loved to vacation in the Caribbean, so they set up a tiki bar with mocktails in her honor.
Teri didn’t know any of this was planned, so when the elevator doors opened on the third floor, she was in total happy shock. As if Terri wasn’t already having an amazing day at work, her day ended by closing one of her largest contracts ever. She knew this client was going to have a positive impact on a lot of people who used their software. To say she left work feeling appreciated, supported, and celebrated is an understatement.
Culture of Connection™
Terri is likely to stay with this company for many years to come, if not for life. Why? Because the company has created a Culture of Connection™ where every employee feels welcomed, connected, and engaged. This ultimately leads to higher retention, productivity, and profitability.
The research backs up the value of creating a Culture of Connection™:
- Employees who experience positive social interactions between co-workers showed that they “work for longer hours, with increased focus, and under more difficult conditions.” (The Happiness Advantage *, by Shawn Anchor)
- “Employees who are “engaged and thriving” are 59 percent less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months.” (Article)
- Happy workers are 12% more productive. (Article)
- Socially connected employees are more likely to “improve their own efficiency, or their own skill set.” (The Happiness Advantage *, by Shawn Anchor)
- Positive emotions in everyday life is correlated to better physical health and less sick days at work. (The Happiness Advantage *, by Shawn Anchor)
- Employees who trust their top executives showed a 42 percent higher return for shareholders. (The Essential Ken Blanchard Collection *, by Ken Blanchard)
- Positive social connections increase oxytocin. “[When] the pleasure-inducing hormone oxytocin is released into our bloodstream, [it immediately reduces] anxiety and [improves] concentration and focus.” (The Happiness Advantage *, by Shawn Anchor)
- If an employee has caring co-workers, or a caring manager, they are more productive and have a higher retention rate. (The Happiness Advantage *, by Shawn Anchor)
- “People who truly love what they do and who think their work is meaningful have a distinct advantage when they arrive at work every day. They throw their best effort into their jobs, and it makes them very good at what they do.” (How Will You Measure Your Life *, by Clayton M. Christensen)
The research goes on and on about the value of creating a Culture of Connection™. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is kumbaya stuff. The value extends well beyond just how your employees feel. As little as a 10% increase in successful employee engagement investments can increase company profits by $2,400 per employee per year (Article).
“Profit is the applause you get for taking care of your customers and creating a motivating environment for your people.” – Ken Blanchard, The Essential Ken Blanchard Collection
Your Competitive Advantage
When your employees come into work and feel cared for, respected, and valued as part of the success of the whole team, they will shine. They love doing valuable work, with great people, in a culture that cares about them. Behind every successful long lasting organization is a strong culture filled with amazing people. Your employees are your competitive advantage.
“UPS has pursued a more social capital–intensive strategy than many comparable firms. UPS management has followed this strategy not out of altruism, but because of a hard-nosed business calculation that it is a good way to make a profit.” – Robert D. Putnam, Better Together: Restoring the American Community *
The results, however, don’t happen just within the office walls, they extend to your customers as well. When your employees feel trusted, supported, and valued at work, they will treat your customers better.
“Positive employee passion creates positive customer devotion.” – Ken Blanchard, The Essential Ken Blanchard Collection
Essentially, by creating a Culture of Connection™ within your organization, you are creating a community between yourself, your team, and the people you serve. In the deepest parts of our souls, we want to belong. We want to belong to something bigger than ourselves. The results of successful employee engagement are not only good for the individual, but also for the whole team. Each individual employee can only do so much, but when they are unified as a team, the results are exponential.
“Teams that work well together outperform those that don’t.” – Daniel Goleman, Emotional Intelligence*
Building a Culture of Connection™ within your organization is a no-brainer. Every dollar smartly invested into your company culture produces a positive return. The key here is “smartly invested.” You can see from the prior section that most companies waste way too much for so little in return. As I said before, our current methods aren’t working, but when done right, successful employee engagement efforts have the potential for exponential results.