Creating Employee Connection in a Disconnected World

By: Kelsey Schurer, Executive Editor, Round Table Companies in Company Culture, Purpose, Core Values

The future of work has been changing rapidly. Hybrid and remote work continue to be a priority for many American workers, and advances in technology and collaborative tools are still on the rise. With this flexibility, however, comes inherent disconnection because amidst heightened isolation, our brains have carved new neural pathways that convince us we prefer to be by ourselves. Though it is not true, it is human for employees to believe in this preference and to fight for it, leaving leaders trying to convince them otherwise—a battle that leaders are unlikely to win by attacking it head on.

To avoid disconnection turning into disengagement, resulting in lower productivity and higher churn, leaders need new ways to create employee connection—ways that inspire employees to push for more connection, not less. The good news is that such tools are also a key to solving other challenges that leaders want addressed, such as attracting aligned clients and employees, expediting cultural buy-in of new hires, retaining top talent, and teaching managers how to uphold their company’s values and purpose.

At RTC, we use a Company Culture Temperature Check to help solve some of these problems leaders and employees face regarding alignment between personal purpose and company purpose. This Temperature Check highlights new tools that can offer you pathways to intimate, real, and deep connection throughout your company. Regardless of whether your staff is entirely in person, entirely remote, or falls somewhere in between, creating more profound trust throughout your organization is integral to getting where you want to go faster and with less friction.

The reality is that we are in the midst of so much change—psychologically, economically, politically, globally—that it is unlikely your previous winning formula will be the thing that propels you to new heights. The pandemic, the liquidity bubble, and now the draining of consumers’ savings is forcing most companies into a new hero’s journey. Those who step willingly into the offered transformation are most likely to come out stronger on the other side and to endure the least amount of suffering in the process.

Digital tools, systems, and processes can aid you on this next hero’s journey, but it is your people who will be the largest factor in determining if and how you survive. And if you will need to lean more heavily into certain core values than you have in the past, you will need heightened visibility into the innate gifts of the employees you’ve attracted. You’ll need new ways to leverage employee talents, train for aggregate deficiencies, and recruit in areas where additional ambassadors will be necessary to get where you want to go.

To make personnel and culture decisions wisely, you need visibility into your people’s innate capacity to uphold each of your core values. Especially because the future of hiring doesn’t look any easier. According to Katy George, chief people officer at McKinsey and Company, “The pandemic accelerated three workplace trends that were already under way: the search for meaning, the desire for flexibility, and the pace of technological transformation, which has enabled hybrid and virtual work but also is fundamentally changing jobs and the skills required. It also led to ‘the great attrition’—meaning the unceasing restlessness of much of the workforce.”

“Understanding each of your employees’ innate capabilities—the framing of how they see the world and approach their work—offers you the key to ensuring their sense of meaning and purpose is high.”

Understanding each of your employees’ innate capabilities—the framing of how they see the world and approach their work—offers you the key to ensuring their sense of meaning and purpose is high while that aggregated understanding across your employee base arms you with invaluable awareness that can become the basis of your recruiting and training programs to ensure you are capable of growing in the direction you envision.

When you take a Temperature Check, you will be given the opportunity to take a hard look at your goals over the next couple of years and to ask questions you likely haven’t asked yourself before, such as which of your core values will be most integral to your company meeting its most imperative business outcomes? You will discover new insights and greater visibility into your company culture, such as which of your company’s core values your recruitment processes have been most successful at attracting, what percentage of your employees are innate ambassadors for each of your core values, and areas where people’s self-sabotaging behavior (“kryptonite”) may undermine your goals if not addressed with specific support. As Marshall Goldsmith famously coined, “What got you here won’t get you there,” meaning the mix of talents that got your company where it is today are unlikely to be the exact mix of talents you will need on this next hero’s journey.