How Workplace Connections Drive Better Employee Engagement
According to Maslow’s theory of Hierarchy of Needs, one of the basic human needs just next to physical safety is ‘connection’. The book ‘Drive’ by Daniel Pink describes a test known as the ‘pronoun test’ when speaking to employees to figure out the level of engagement of the employees. Employees who spoke about their company regarding ‘we’ were found to be more engaged compared to the ones who referred to the company as ‘they’.
It is a common observation whenever an employee agrees with something that the organisation is doing, they seem to embrace ownership.
- When employees of a company are satisfied, they say things like: “We have a great team, so it is easier to get things done” or “We are about to implement a new program”.
- When employees are dissatisfied, they keep themselves aloof from the situation. They are likely to say things such as: “They’re bad manager” or ” We cant make any decisions around here”.
When an employee who uses the pronoun ‘we’ they are more integrated with the organisation, taking more ownership, and identify more with the company. These employees are more likely to be engaged, satisfied, productive and effective while doing their work.
The Relationship between Employee Engagement and Workplace Connection
When you feel a part of the organisation, there’s a sense of connection. This feeling makes you a part of a community of individuals who are involved in something which is bigger than a single individual.
When you are part of a community, there is automatically a sense of belonging towards them. You feel not only a sense of companionship but also that of shared values, shared culture, kinship, mission, and customer experience.
DecisionWise conducted a study on more than 363,000 employees across 52 organisations of various sizes. The employees were asked to rate the following statement: “I am proud to tell people that I work with this organisation”. Around 78% of employees responded positively. Interestingly, in some organisations, more than 90% of employees responded with positive ratings to this question. It was observed that not only these employees seem to connect with their organisation, their organisation also connected with them.
The Phases of Workplace Connection
When employees feel strongly connected, they are much more likely to give more towards the organisation, spend that extra bit of energy for one another, and more likely to make positive statements at work and away from work. When the effort, morale, and attention towards detail go up, automatically the profits soar up as well. Connection helps build a team.
However, this connection does not happen overnight. Rarely will you find a new employee who has just joined the organisation to immediately feel connected. People usually pass through a couple of preliminary phases before they feel a sense of connection towards their organisation. These phases are:
Fit: Being fit can be likened to being compatible with the organisation’s culture. This is evoked by having a sense of appreciation for the physical artefacts available in your workspace, an appreciation for the working environment, a sense of connection to the social structure, or being a fit with the organisation as a whole. An individual who fits into an organisation is likely to find individuals with a background similar to his or her own or a sense of similarity with the work that is completed, or the kind of work that they enjoy or has trained in.
Belonging If an employee fits into the organisation, then he or she automatically feels that they belong to the organisation. The workplace has a sense of familiarity they can share their values, enjoy their work together, and feel motivated. ‘Fit’ and ‘Belonging’ combined will certainly produce positive results.
Integration When employees being to feel that they belong to the organisation, they automatically become an integral part of the organisation. Instead of being just a part of the organisation, the organisation also becomes a part of them.
While ‘fit’ and ‘belonging’ are certainly crucial precursors to connection, however, they do not makeup connection. When an employee finds fit and belonging, he may eventually end up feeling that his colleagues understand him and accept him as an individual, his company values his work as well as him and his ‘they’ thinking turns into a ‘we’ thinking mentality. This is ‘connection’, in the true sense of the term.