Understanding the business impact of human connection

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Human connection has been the focus of multiple studies, books, TED talks and culture pieces for years now, with proven benefits of people who feel more connected to their community living a longer and healthier life. Dr Lisa Berkman of the Harvard School of Health Sciences observed a group of 7,000 people over 9 years. She found that those that lacked quality social or community connections were three times more likely to die of medical illness than those with strong social ties. Other studies show loneliness is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and can also increase the risk for cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety. When we’re lonely we’re less engaged, less productive and less creative. This is how important our human connections are.

In a work setting, human connection is a crucial component in building a productive and efficient workplace, because where there is belonging there’s engagement, and where there’s engagement there is productivity. 

Throughout the pandemic roller coaster these last two years have been, the rise of the “Great Resignation” could actually be referred to as the “Great Disconnection”. With the majority of workers being forced to work from home, away from their colleagues with whom they would normally work with in a face-to-face setting, resulting in 65% of workers feeling less connected to their coworkers.

The business impact of disengaged employees

Just how bad is this disconnect for your business? How does $406billion USD a year sound? Research by Cigna found that employees experiencing heightened levels of loneliness and disconnection have a higher risk of turnover, lower productivity, a higher number of days off from work and deliver a lower quality of output. In contrast, US company BetterUp found that employees who experience high levels of belonging and connection at work, have a decreased rate of turnover, increased job performance, fewer sick days and give a higher NPS score, which combined, results in annual savings of $52million USD per year for a company size of 10,000 employees.

How to engage your people

  1. Have compassion. Starting with compassion, one thing the pandemic exacerbated (in addition to many other problems), was deepening the global loneliness epidemic. What companies need to do now is to prioritise leading with compassion, take better care of its employees and foster a culture of re-connection.
  2. Focus on developing your company culture. Take stock of where the company is at in relation to its desired company culture. Are you living and breathing a culture you are proud of, or is it time to hit the reset button? 
  3. Invest in employee engagement and CSR solutions. Many companies hold onto the belief that employee engagement and CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives need to be two separate things, when in fact, employees are hungry to get involved in the company’s efforts to make the world a better place if provided the opportunity to do so. Combining the two opens up endless possibilities to engage employees, give back to communities in need, and foster a culture that not only says you care, but physically shows it too. With more than 9 in 10 Millennials (the largest workforce) wanting to be a part of a brand or company associated with a cause, they’re also the generation that’s giving the most with nearly 3 out of 4 sending financial aid to friends and family or donating to a non-profit since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

How can Force for Good help?

Combining our own years of company experiences working in the tech/lifestyle/sporting/non-profit space as well as years of professional expertise and individual passions for charitable giving, we have created a digital solution that can that can engage your people with impact.

Force for Good is a modular all-in-one tech solution (app & management portal) which helps connect and engage employees by their passions and fuels them with purpose, by further activating CSR initiatives. We’re always happy to chat about employee engagement and motivation, as well as share tips on running an effective engagement and CSR initiatives, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team today.

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