No More Mr Lonely! The First Step in Resolving Workplace Loneliness

Posted in Best Practice Thoughts & Culture

by alicia

Am I part of your tribe?
That's the question your new hire will ask themselves as they start to settle into your organization.

...and if the answer is no, they're mentally (and emotionally) already halfway out the door.

Creating a bond between your new hire and their team will be one of the most crucial and significant achievements of your organization's onboarding journey.

Changing jobs is one of life's most stressful events and while most HRs focus on alleviating the stress of a new role and a new office, there is a third fundamental change and it is a big one – the people.

You probably spend more time with your colleagues than your family. After all, you spend eight solid hours, five days a week, surrounded by your fellow workers.

That's a long time to spend with people who make you feel alone, or that you don't belong.

Researchers at Gallup have discovered that relationships at work deeply affect performance, engagement, and employee experience – and not having those relationships makes workers more likely to leave their jobs.

"Our understanding of biology, psychology, and the workplace call for companies to make fostering social connections a strategic priority," says former United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

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The Hard Facts

Loneliness is a global epidemic.

A study conducted by HR think tank Reventure found 37% of all workers feel lonely at work while the EY Belonging Barometer found 40% of employees feel isolated in their role.

The number rises for millennials (often the earliest adopters of technology) with the World Economic Forum finding that 40% of people aged under 25 years reported being lonely.

It turns out all those technological advances that were designed to make our jobs easier and more flexible had a dark side effect, isolation.

It's not all that surprising when you think about how often you use technology to communicate with someone who is sitting in the same office as you.

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Why Does it Matter to Businesses?

Loneliness impacts your bottom line.

Lonely workers perform poorly. Reventure surveyed 1,000 employees and those that reported feeling lonely also reported that they make more mistakes and 40% feel less productive.

This goes hand in hand with research from the Smith School of Business at Queen's University and Gallup who found that companies with high disengagement and loneliness experience:

  • 37% higher absenteeism
  • 49% more accidents
  • 16% lower profitability
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The Solution: Curbing Loneliness

Simply being surrounded by people isn't enough to tackle loneliness, it can only be resolved by fostering meaningful human connection.

And the most influential time to foster this connection is when someone new joins the organization.

Why?

If two people have worked together for years but never formed a friendship, it's unlikely that one day this will suddenly change without a catalyst.

The perfect catalyst? New people!

Building human connection into your organization's onboarding journey is a win-win for everyone. Not only is this great for your new hire, it's great for your existing employees.

Your new hire wants to be reassured they've joined an organization with a supportive company culture and that they will be able to create a strong bond with their new team.

While at the same time, statistics show it's highly likely you have existing employees who are struggling with feelings of loneliness and isolation in the workplace.

This is the perfect opportunity to bring them together!

Use your onboarding journey to facilitate team (or even company-wide) bonding. Whether that's arranging a coffee catch up between your new hire and their team before their first day, taking the entire team out for lunch the day a new hire begins, or setting up Friday drinks to celebrate your new hire's first week on the job.

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Friendship: A Case Study

Our friends at St John New Zealand, implemented a buddy system as part of their onboarding journey, giving new hires a familiar face from Day 1 and a go-to contact for any questions they might have.

The result?

The organization has reported an increase in friendships! That's right, buddies are crossing over from 'onboarding buddies' to real life friends, even choosing to hang out outside of work!

We can help. 👋

Want to create experiences that drive human connection in the workplace, but don't know what to do or where to start?

We've built our experience-driven onboarding platform to make sure new hires bond with their new teams.