Do you view workers as whole people or as cogs in a machine? Scott Behson, author of "The Whole-Person Workplace," believes an employee should be regarded as a whole person. Behson asserts that the separation between an employee's work and their life is fictional. He believes that company leaders can better support employees if they embrace each worker's whole self, including their mental health, physical wellbeing, and personal challenges.
This idea of the whole person worker is more prevalent today because there is a movement towards addressing people's interests and needs outside the workplace. Years ago, the separation between an employee's work life and personal life was easy to discern. But, after the COVID19 pandemic, it forced many to work remotely and this separation has become harder to make out. This shift has prompted many to cultivate a culture of connection in the workplace. In this article, we dive deep into the importance of creating a human-centric work culture and provide strategies you can start implementing in your organization today.
Building authentic connections in the workplace can positively impact a company and its workers. Fast Company states that workplace connections can increase happiness as much as making $100,000 annually can. Also, workplace friendships serve as retention factors because they help workers feel connected to their place of employment. Based on information from a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), workers that have six or more friends in their work environment feel incredibly connected to their companies.
Workplace friendships can boost engagement. According to Gallup, employees with a best friend at work are seven times as likely to be engaged. Employee satisfaction can also rise due to a connected work culture. Gallup found that tight-knit friendships in the workplace increase employee satisfaction by 50%. Ultimately, there is significant value in building connections in the workplace.
There are three ways to create a strong work culture. The first is to understand your coworkers as people, acknowledging that they are more than their work. The second is to personalize the recognition and celebration of workers so that they can feel a sense of belonging. The third is to make time and clear space for authentic connections.
You can understand your coworkers as people by taking the time to get to know them. For example, you could participate in weekly team meetings and ask your coworkers questions to get a good sense of what is going on in their lives. You can ask about the best thing that happened to them, how happy they are, or what great things they saw their teammates do. You could also engage in fun activities, ones that generate a great deal of laughter, such as playful online discussions. For example, at Bucketlist we use a tool called Donut water cooler topics to spark conversations amongst our team members. Donut poses fun questions to the team through our slack channels, such as “when did you have your first donut” or “what’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently”. This gives the team a chance to learn new things about each other, and you’d be surprised by how much you learn about someone through simple questions like these!
Employee recognition is crucial to increasing employee engagement and reducing turnover. There are many ways to implement recognition into your workplace, such as investing in an employee recognition software like Bucketlist, but there are also many other easy ways to get started today with recognition as well. One way to celebrate the accomplishments and contributions of each worker is to create a recognition channel on a messaging platform, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. You can invite all staff to this channel and have your leaders set the tone and start recognizing employees. The best and most effective way to recognize someone is making it specific and personalized to the individual. Before you know it, your whole company will be participating and joining in on recognizing their colleagues. Celebratory conservations can have long-term positive effects, such as increased focus and motivation, because they can boost the presence of feel-good chemicals like oxytocin and serotonin.
To foster a connected work culture, workers need safe and inclusive environments. Company leaders can help develop such environments by giving employees the time and space to create authentic connections. They can encourage employees to plan and attend social gatherings that will allow them to converse and interact with each other. These gatherings can occur regularly and can take place in person or online.
Some company leaders may find it helpful to provide workers with conversation starters that prompt them to learn about one another's personal experiences. Others may find it beneficial to lead by example, taking time out of their day to speak with a coworker. Other helpful tactics include daily company scrums and virtual team-bonding events. At Bucketlist, we host daily company scrums where we take the time to each individually state our daily work and personal goals. This helps connect our growing team on a daily basis.
Employees and employers can benefit from a human-centric work culture. Building a human centric workplace requires intentional efforts, but it has tremendous benefits.
Want to hear more on this topic? Watch our webinar with Donut, where we discuss strategies for building a human centric workplace or Contact us for a free product demo with one of our friendly Culture Evangelists to learn how Bucketlist’s employee reward and recognition software can help keep your team happy and engaged.