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The Importance of Social Connections at Work


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Why social connections at work really matter, why they improve employee engagement and retention - talk at Disrupt HR in Amsterdam.

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The Importance of Social Connections at Work

  1. 1. The Importance of Social Connections at Work Dan Fennessy Hi my name is Dan Fennessy and I’m here to talk about why social connections at a company really matters.
  2. 2. Belonging is a fundamental human need. Employees spend more time at work, than with their families. Belonging is a fundamental human need, after food and shelter. And many employees spend more time at work, than with their own families. So they have less time to fulfill social needs outside of work. Therefore work is actually an ideal place to foster the positive social connections that we NEED as humans.
  3. 3. Groups of people can achieve amazing things. People are a companies’ strongest asset. In our knowledge-based economy, companies compete on the quality of their people, above everything else. But it’s not only individual talent that matters. It’s the strength of the network of people. Social connections are key to creating that.
  4. 4. PROBLEMS ENGAGEMENT & RETENTION The problem is, it’s hard to get to that quality network of people. When you’re fighting a losing battle on: Employee Engagement & Employee Retention.
  5. 5. ENGAGEMENT Employee Engagement levels are at all-time lows. Especially among young people: Only 29% of millennials say they are engaged at work. 55% are not engaged. And 16% are actively disengaged.
  6. 6. RETENTION Retention rates are shockingly low. The costs (both monetary and culture-wise), associated with high employee churn are immense (and could be the topic of a whole other talk). Given the fact people stay such a short time - it’s difficult to build that quality network of people.
  7. 7. 88% of Millennials want coworkers to be their friends - MTV Close work friendships boost employee satisfaction by 50% - Gallup Arts So people spend all this time at work, and they really want (& need) social connection, some stats on that ^
  8. 8. Employees with a best friend at work are 7x more likely to engage fully in their work - Gallup Arts Another statistic: Employees with a best friend at work are 7x more likely to engage fully in their work. Not twice as engaged, 7 times! Just by having a best friend at work.
  9. 9. HUMAN RESOURCES The problem, is - many companies look like this ^ Departments working in silos, often different buildings, almost completely separate from each other. And with HR trying to bridge the gap (from above). Social connections, and friendships, just have little opportunity to develop. Especially between departments.
  10. 10. Companies inherently know, that connecting people socially and bridging gaps is important, that’s why they try things like this ^ Perks like ping-pong tables, free lunches (...and slides!).
  11. 11. And organize a big Christmas party. Or a once a year company retreat. The problem is, these company events are usually organized top down. And many employees don’t want to be there at all.
  12. 12. Honestly they are a bit forced. Yet some companies spend millions on a once a year event event (that last a few hours) in the hope that will connect people. ...What about the rest of the year?
  13. 13. 1/3 Millennials: socializing helps move up in career - LinkedIn Employees know that social connections matter too! Those not in the social circle feel like they are overlooked and left out. These are Glassdoor reviews of some well known companies.
  14. 14. Now, I’m not suggesting you encourage more people in the company to take up smoking! But something about that, IS in fact on the right track, which I will get to.
  15. 15. Foster Organic & Authentic Social Connections The Bottom line is - we need foster social connections at work, in an organic and authentic way, year round. (And in a more healthy way than smoking of course!)
  16. 16. Music Interests & Activities How? Simple - via employees’ interests and activities. No matter where people are from, their backgrounds or what department people work in, you can be guaranteed they share interests, in: sport, music, food & more. These interests, and associated activities, can be the catalyst for fostering organic social connections in a company.
  17. 17. With encouragement from the company and HR - Employees can connect, in a stress-free way, to forge these social connections, in and outside the workplace. For lunch, dinners, sport, coffee and more
  18. 18. Benefits: - Improve Onboarding - Foster Inclusion - Encourage Collaboration - Uncover Innovation - Build Trust - Employee Happiness - Engagement & Retention Once people have connected socially, over a common interest or shared activity, there are so many benefits: You can improve onboarding (truly integrate new joiners and much faster), foster inclusion, encourage collaboration and innovation, build trust, improve happiness. All leading to improved Employee Engagement and Retention.
  19. 19. Social Connections Help bridge silos at your company, through social connection. And the great thing is - if this is encouraged by HR, it can be lead by employees themselves. So there is no single point of responsibility of creating this at the company.
  20. 20. Come for the Work, Stay for the People. Create Fun & A Little Weirdness. - Zappos Core Value By connection people socially through their interests you can create an environment where people come for the work, and and stay for the people. And finally, have some fun with it! Thankyou.
  21. 21. ∞JoinMeaningful Social Connections Dan Fennessy Founder & CEO