The workplace has changed drastically over the past year, and many organizations and their employees are still learning to adjust to new ways of working. Shifting to fully dispersed teams and hybrid work environments has posed ongoing challenges related to company culture and employee engagement, with many workers feeling lonely, isolated and disconnected from the organization and their peers. 

Now, with a hybrid model likely to be the future of work, it’s more important than ever for leaders to re-inject their company culture with humanity to improve connection, trust and performance on their teams, no matter where they’re based.

Whatever situation your company may be in—remote, back in the office full time, or a hybrid model—there are actionable steps you can implement to more meaningful human connection and achieve greater engagement in your workplace.

Treat everyone in the organization as a partner.

Employees spend most of their waking hours in the workplace, but even in-person workers can grow to feel disconnected from the organizational culture. To improve your team’s engagement, treat everyone as a partner by making sure all employee voices are heard and an integral part of reshaping company culture. 

Solution: Company culture feedback sessions

  • Hosting informal focus groups complimented by surveys helps to gather crucial employee feedback on current challenges and potential solutions.  
  • Once you have aggregated all of the feedback, host a company-wide meeting to share the findings and actionable steps based on what you learned.
  • Active listening forums shouldn’t be a one-time event. Keep the conversation going with a digital suggestion box so employees can share their feedback on a regular basis.

Ensure senior leadership is visible and accessible.

The rehumanization of company culture has to happen from the top down. A key step to ensuring employees feel connected is making sure they have access to the key players at the top. This can be accomplished by providing forums where employees feel comfortable openly voicing questions to company leadership.   

Solution: “Ask me anything” leadership forums

  • Once a quarter, hold a one-hour forum in which your leadership team is visible and employees are free to publicly voice their questions and concerns.
  • Allow questions to be submitted anonymously before the meeting, as many employees may be nervous to ask questions on the spot.
  • Smaller AMA forums can be hosted by department leaders to help solve challenges on project teams or on a department level.

Provide opportunities to connect employees with each other.

Even if your organization employs hundreds or thousands of people, chances are that employees only directly interact with a handful of co-workers on a regular basis. In siloed organizations, employees gain limited exposure to the breadth of unique personalities and talents that exist in the workforce. To help workers create more meaningful connections, it’s critical to tear down the barriers between departments.

Solution: Inter-office 1:1 meet and greets

  • Schedule 30-minute meet and greets for all employees, ensuring they encourage one-on-one interactions to foster meaningful connections and dialog.  
  • Provide employees with a small list of questions to help spur meaningful conversation. Questions should focus on more personal topics and less about their job function.
  • Example questions could include: What are your interests outside of the office? Who are the most important people in your life? What plans do you have for the future?

Celebrate individual and team ingenuity.

So much work is accomplished in the office at such a fast pace that we can sometimes fail to recognize achievements before we’re off the next project. Showing appreciation and recognition for the individuals and teams making it happen is critically important to ensuring employees feel fulfilled and valued.

Solution: Showcase achievements in the workplace

  • This is an opportunity to celebrate wins both big and small by encouraging your management team to nominate great work, which will then be recognized and shared across the company.
  • To create more excitement and a drive to achieve excellence, consider creating a monthly “achievements in the workplace” award to highlight top performers.
  • Share these achievements in a company-wide newsletter with a short explanation of the challenge and the solution, along with links and documents that illustrate the work.

Support employee personal growth endeavors.

Conducting 360 evaluations, identifying areas for growth and setting personal goals often happen only once toward the end of the calendar year, and they provide no real actionable steps for employees. Supporting authentic personal growth initiatives on an ongoing basis, both in and outside of the workplace, is crucial to meet the dynamic needs of today’s employees.

Solution: Personal growth and development funds

  • Provide managers with a budget to help foster the development of employees who have the passion and desire to grow within the organization.
  • View these growth funds from a holistic standpoint. Though activities may be directly associated with work, such as improving presentation skills, they could also be linked to an employee’s growth as a person.
  • Once someone has completed a course or other development activity, encourage them to share what they learned with the team.

There’s no question that we are in the midst of a widespread workplace transformation. Rather than being reactive to external conditions, the most successful business leaders will proactively rehumanize their workplace culture to support more connected, engaged teams in a hybrid environment. How will you unite your culture and people in the new era of workplace connectedness