New Research: Rethinking Connection for a Hybrid Work World

Posted in Best Practice Research Thoughts & Culture

Do you want your organization to be more agile? Have more satisfied customers? Employ more engaged employees?

The secret to outcomes like these might be simpler than you think. Enboarder sponsored a new report from RedThread Research titled, “Rethinking Connection for a Hybrid Work World,” which explains why connection within teams, across teams, and with the organization is one of the linchpins for organizational success.

Connection is also a huge challenge right now for leaders. Here’s why:

  • Definitional confusion: Everyone has their own understanding of what connection means.
  • Unprecedented environment: We can’t just force people back together 100% full time and expect things to go back to the way they were.
  • Overwhelm and burnout: These are widespread issues, especially for people managers in hybrid settings.
  • Social division: This is potentially making it more difficult for employees to connect.
  • The economy: Seeing economic uncertainty, some leaders might kick anything related to engagement and connection down the list, which will likely have detrimental effects.

The companies that do prioritize connection in the face of these challenges stand to gain significant advantages, such as 5.4x more likely to be agile, 3.2x more likely to have satisfied customers, and 2.3x more likely to have engaged employees.

RedThread Research offers a helpful model (seen below) to help you determine where the opportunities for driving more connections live in your organization.

4 aspects of connection

Here’s how RedThread Research defines the axes in this model:

  • Emotional vs. intellectual connection (vertical axis): Emotional connection is what employees feel. Intellectual connection is what employees need to know (people, ideas, and information).
  • Forming vs. deepening connection (horizontal axis): Sometimes people need to be introduced to new ideas and information. Other times it’s about strengthening those that already exist.

So what does this look like in practice? Well, you’ll need to download the full report for all of the incredible insights (here’s the link).

But here are a few of my favorite tips. I like them because they don’t require a massive lift in time or budget. They help bring the human element to everyday interactions at work in subtle, yet important ways:

  • Ask new team members to do “meet and greets” with all teammates
  • Tech that matches people based on common interests or values and facilitates deep conversations
  • Incorporate organizational values and purpose into performance management processes
  • Give managers data about employees (e.g. birthdays) that help them personalize outreach

Finally, once you know you want to double down on connections in the organization, you’ll want to find a way to measure your progress. Here RedThread Research also offers some incredibly helpful tips, such as mining the data you already have from existing employee surveys.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the report now and get started on your journey to a more connected organization.