Business Leaders: It’s Time to Prioritize Connections and Culture

Posted in Thoughts & Culture

Updated 26 October 2022

Faced with economic uncertainty, business leaders are often tempted to cut costs in areas that impact retention and employee morale. But that’s a huge mistake, and here’s why.

An organizational culture that puts people at the center is more critical than ever for maintaining employee happiness, productivity and a competitive edge. Recruiters are still calling, and boosting the employee experience ultimately helps organizations avoid the costs associated with replacing valued workers.

New ways of working make culture critical

woman working at desk

Prioritizing human connections in the workplace is especially important for organizations with hybrid and remote employees. Hybrid work introduces many benefits to the workforce – e.g., a better work-life balance, less time spent commuting and increased flexibility. But it can also make communication, networking and relationship-building a challenge. In fact, 73% of employees say collaboration now takes more effort and planning than it did before March 2020.

Now is not the time to neglect the employee experience for the sake of the bottom line. Because when employees form workplace connections, their motivation and productivity increase: 82% of employees say they’re more motivated to work on a project or program when they feel close to the team, according to our latest research.

How do you improve collaboration and create connections in a hybrid workplace?

First of all, don’t completely cut costs that benefit your employees’ connection at work. Pull budget from elsewhere before you consider taking away employee support. For example, travel can be expensive, but if it means bringing your people back together so they can network, collaborate and socialize at an in-person event, then it’s money well spent. You might have to dial back travel and meet less frequently in person, but don’t eliminate it.

Managers play a critical role in cultivating connections for their remote and hybrid team members because hybrid work often limits casual office check-ins and water cooler chats. And without a frequent presence in the office, employees may feel like they’re missing out on important information or team bonding. That’s why it’s essential to remind managers to regularly meet with new hires and reports and keep every employee in the loop.

For many employees, it’s not just about being connected to the work they do. It’s about connecting with teammates and having access to opportunities to collaborate, learn, engage and simply talk with coworkers. When recruiters come calling, your organization’s culture and ability to foster relationships will keep employees from jumping ship. Invest in your people, and you’ll likely see an improvement in employee happiness, productivity and retention, which is ultimately good for your bottom line.