The Top Drivers of Employee Connection in the Workplace

  • Author: Melanie Haniph

As the old saying goes, “No person is an island.” And based on our latest research, that couldn’t be more true in the workplace. Whether employees work on-site, from home, or on a hybrid schedule, they rely on connections—with their work, coworkers, and company leaders—to support a positive employee experience.

We recently surveyed over 400 employees from a mix of industries, roles, and geographies, and learned several lessons about how employees stay connected in the workplace. In this blog, we’ll discuss some of the key findings from our survey, including what respondents said were their top drivers of connection at work.

Top Drivers of Employee Connection

In our research and work with our clients, we’ve found that when employees are more connected at work, they feel a stronger sense of belonging and commitment to the success of their company, team, and work. And while it’s true that not all employees connect in the same ways, some activities have a more significant impact on your employees’ ability to connect than others. They include:

Team Meetings

Team meetings are a common fixture in just about every organization. However, they can be so much more than an opportunity to share updates and keep your team informed. They can also be a critical vehicle for helping employees stay connected. When we asked employees in our survey which activities contributed most to their ability to stay connected with their organization and coworkers, team meetings ranked number one. 

Even if you’re already conducting team meetings, you can take additional steps to elevate them and have an even more profound impact on employee connections. Consider incorporating the following into your team meetings:

  • Reviewing meeting content beforehand to determine what can be covered via email or Slack instead
  • Asking team members for input on the agenda before each meeting
  • Occasionally changing the meeting setting or time, e.g., meeting over lunch 
  • Setting aside dedicated time for Q&A during each meeting
  • Routinely celebrating wins and doing shout-outs

Manager One-on-ones

One-on-one meetings are critical to helping employees connect, and they can also boost employee engagement. As we pointed out in a recent blog post, one-on-ones are more common in highly-engaged organizations than in less-engaged organizations.

Conducting one-on-ones that go beyond status updates can help you create an environment where employees get the coaching and support they need for growth. When we asked respondents in our survey what their employer could do to make a difference in their career, one-on-one meetings appeared frequently in the comments. As one respondent said, “I think having more 1-on-1 meetings and listening to concerns and recommendations would greatly benefit.”

All-hands and Company Meetings

In a global PWC survey, only 28 percent of respondents said they felt fully connected to their company’s purpose. Thankfully, company and all-hands meetings can offer employees the information, inspiration, and guidance they need to feel more connected. Company meetings not only help deliver critical messages consistently across the entire workforce, but they also offer a way for employees to connect with your organization’s mission, values, and strategic goals. 

Company meetings can take many forms, including multi-day events filled with formal and team-building events and more intimate sessions for leaders. As we’ve seen in our work designing company meeting presentations for a range of clients, these larger meetings help employees connect with organizational purpose and better understand their role in helping to fulfill it.

Total Rewards

It’s no secret that employees value competitive compensation and benefits. But, as our survey revealed, total rewards are one of the most important drivers of employee connection in the workplace. In fact, only team meetings ranked higher than total rewards when we asked employees to tell us what made them feel most connected to their organization and colleagues. 

For many employees, total rewards means more than pay and health benefits. In today’s work-from-home and hybrid work environments, it can also include work flexibility and benefits to support the whole employee, including financial wellness, retirement planning, and elder/childcare support. Therefore, to increase opportunities for your employees to connect, you’ll need to look beyond the basics of traditional pay and benefits, and determine which supplemental benefits and perks would be most valuable to your workforce.

Build a More Connected Workforce

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to employee connections in the workplace. However, by understanding employee attitudes about connection and what each individual needs to develop a stronger sense of belonging, you can improve the employee experience and drive higher employee engagement.

Interested in more insights about the power of employee connections and what you can do to build a super-connected workforce? Check out our latest research report, The 2022 Employee Connections Study, and watch our webinar discussion of the survey results.

Get Insights Monthly

Related Insights