According to the Society for Human Resource Management's 2016 Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement report, two out of five employees indicate that positive coworkers relationships are very important to their job satisfaction. There are actionable steps business owners or human resources managers can take to build better connections among employees.
Strategies to Build Employee Connections
Richard Branson, a billionaire entrepreneur, says, "Companies are all about finding the right people, inspiring those people,... drawing out the best in people." Employees are a competitive advantage. Whether you are all in the same office or if your team works across the world, these tips can help establish and build positive connections among employees.
The members of a team are meant to share its successes with one another. Whether you share these victories via in person announcements or online via the company intranet, your staff members should feel connected with each other. This includes personal and professional achievements. From new marriages to landing big accounts, a team needs to stick together.
Use a Digital Communication Tool
You can use a social network, even just a private Facebook group, for communication or even a chat service like Slack. You never know what type of creativity and strategic alliance can come from a digital communication tool.
In a paper released by the National Business Research Institute, it was found "about 50% of large companies and 75% of small ones (those with less than 500 employees) are using social media. Of these, it is estimated that 40 to 60% have their own social networks."
Spend Time on Icebreakers
Although some see them as cheesy, icebreakers for meetings can build camaraderie within your team. At weekly or monthly meetings, make it a point to open with an icebreaker or team-building question. How else are you supposed to know your coworker is related to Tina Turner? Some excellent icebreakers are:
- Two truths and a lie. Every person says two truths about themselves and one lie. People have to guess which is true and which is not.
- What is one life goal you are working on?
- Share one achievement you've attained, choose personal or work-related.
- Who is your favorite superhero? Now, defend your choice.
- If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items would you bring?
Give Employees Access to Internal Information
In a recent survey conducted by SDL, 60 percent of millennials surveyed expect a consistent experience from brands, whether online, in-store-or via phone. It is possible to apply this concept to the workplace with an internal website.
An internal website portal is great way to provide information to your employees while allowing for consistency from the employer. Combine everything from internal memos to insurance information to new employee documents in one location. Develop it to be a robust space where you celebrate birthdays, share successes, and even provide internal analytics about clients.
Tips for Workers in the Same Location
Working from the same location gives your business a number of traditional advantages. Team members get to see each other on a regular basis, it's easy to conduct in-person meetings, and personalities shine through when you are also able to pick up nonverbal communication.
Choose a Cause and Volunteer Together
Volunteering just might be the ultimate team-building effort. In a recent study, 78% of adults said that volunteering lowered their levels of stress. Choose a cause with your team and give back some time, even if it is just a few hours each quarter. You can give back to your community, work together, and feel good at the end of the day with a bit of volunteer work.
Visit an Escape Room
An escape room can be an excellent team building activity. These rooms have themes and you get locked inside with a limited amount of time to escape. The traditional hierarchy of the office gets forgotten when all you need to do is solve a puzzle in a set amount of time. It is always interesting to see which team members emerge as leaders, thinkers, and active participants.
Tips for Employees in Different Locations
Just because your employees aren't all in the same geographic location does not mean coworkers have to feel disconnected. Even if team members never meet in person, it's certainly possible to provide ways for them to get to know one another. From Caroline and her excellent grammar to Jeremiah the proud family man, having employees in different locations shouldn't mean you can't be a team!
Connect with a Training or Learning Opportunity
Training or learning together helps every team member get on the same page and understand the angle your business wishes to take. It also shows your team that you care enough to educate them in order to do better work. You can take a Udemy course together, read a book, or go through a series of workbook activities.
If you work in marketing, read a marketing text together. If you work in online learning, take a course on teaching lagging learners. Stay connected with training and learning by scheduling a weekly discussion or creating a closed group online.
Host a Gift Exchange During the Holidays
In a time where people are going to their festive office environments, it can get lonely sitting at your regular old desk. A voluntary gift exchange during the holidays is easy to do and anyone who wants to participate can do so. Just set a simple limit (including shipping), draw names, and you're on your way. Everyone deserves to celebrate the holiday season, even if they work from home.