Define shared values 🧡
The key to a successful organization is to have a culture based on a strongly held and widely shared set of beliefs that are supported by strategy and structure. Defining a mission, vision, shared values, and principles is key to building a community, at work and beyond. Teams bond best when individual action responds to a common purpose; so, common values, and team goals are key.
Buddies, not policies—create one-on-one connections 🧸
Gallup’s most predictive measure for engagement is having a close friend at work. We can defeat loneliness through deeper connections, which are more likely to come from building high-quality, one-on-one connections and having meaningful conversations, or by actually doing something together. As human beings, we don’t need a huge offer of social events, or a lot of people to connect with; we really only need a few people with whom we can connect by sharing our struggles and thoughts. The important thing is that the interaction needs to make us feel seen and understood.
Some of our recent research showed that, when colleagues are struggling, the most common method of support is to have more frequent check-ins, or send more frequent messages of support; it can be as simple as this.
Holistic Human—create space for vulnerability 🔮
As we enter a Virtual First work environment, where many of us have never met our new colleagues in real life, it’s more important than ever to put effort into connecting on a personal level. Personal knowledge about someone's life outside of work humanizes relationships; it helps us see how we are similar, or that we are struggling with similar things, and reminds us that we are not just digital representations of ourselves, but are holistic human beings who can connect on a deeper level.
The more we’re able to be vulnerable, transparent, and bring our whole selves to our conversations and digital interactions, the more likely we are to open up, be empathetic towards others, and build trust and connection. As stated on HBR, “making time for small talk is important… It’s the chit chat, the side conversations that lift emotions and promote well-being. It’s one way we strengthen and deepen relationships and is critical to building high-performing teams.”
Embrace new rituals to cultivate a culture of kindness, fun, and collaboration 🌸
Doing activities together bonds us. Having gatherings occur on a regular basis allows people to plan, which creates an important anchor for a sense of connection. Space to play creates intersections with other people, helps us feel connected, and lets true creativity and moments of serendipity happen.
Start small and redesign existing meetings! Instead of putting more meetings into your calendar, try slipping it into the team’s day to day organically. Try it out, wait for people’s reaction, adapt as needed, and repeat. Think about activities you are already doing as a team—are there little things you can add to make them more meaningful?
A ritual can take the form of a handwritten note, an e-mail, or a way to start a meeting/conversation. As with all rituals, setting aside a particular time to do it significantly increases the chances of success.
Offer a helping hand 🤝
There’s evidence that helping others can make us feel less lonely. It allows us to feel that we matter, that we’re valued and appreciated. On days when we’ve had a positive impact on others at work, we feel energized as well as more competent. Have you ever tried mentoring someone, or offered your help to a friend or colleague who’s stuck at something? Even small acts of kindness can be antidotes to isolation.