Is Lack of Connection Killing Your Culture?

Is lack of connection killing your culture?

I was following up with a senior leader the day after delivering a virtual teambuilding session.  He said he was blown away by how many people shared with him how energizing and motivating it was to simply connect and have fun together. He said it made him realize how much the lack of connection is costing him in terms of team effectiveness and productivity.

He’s not alone! I’m constantly talking to leaders who are realizing that their “pivot strategy” of working remotely has gotten them through COVID-19 so far; however, it’s starting to take a toll on teamwork and workplace culture.

When we over focus on working independently to the neglect of teamwork and connection, we can expect to experience the following:

  • Team members feel isolated and alone
  • Lower quality work due to lack of perspective & feedback
  • Duplication and mistakes due to blindspots
  • Work is less fun and team relationships suffer

So, what is the solution, knowing that for most of us, going back to the workplace is not an option for at least a while?  Here are three ideas that will help you focus on connection and relationship development in a season of working virtually:

#1. Make Zoom More Fun – Research would suggest that to keep team members engaged and connected in virtual meetings or training (i.e. Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.) you need to do something to engage them every 5 minutes.  This can be something as simple as launching a poll to have them contribute their ideas, or using breakout rooms so you can discuss things in small groups of 3 or 4 people. Another great way to start your meeting off right is to run a virtual icebreaker that gets people connecting and having some fun.  Click here for 5 easy virtual DIY virtual icebreakers.

#2. Do More Check-In’s – I recently took in a keynote by Marcus Buckingham who presented “hot off the press” COVID-19 research from the ADP Institute. It’s becoming clear that managers need to connect one-on-one with team members now more than ever. In fact, right now quantity is more important that quality. Don’t wait to check in with people until you feel you have a lot to offer; instead, be comfortable with simply updating team members on how things are going and to see how they are doing. Research would say that, to maintain engagement and healthy team culture, remote team members must be getting this one-on-one “anticipatory communication” – even if it is only for 10 or 15 minutes each week.

#3. Don’t Stop the Development – Unfortunately, many leaders have stopped scheduling teambuilding and leadership development with the assumption that these types of events can’t work virtually. Don’t be fooled!  These experiences are more important now than ever. Check out these options for some virtual teambuilding programs that are short, inexpensive and effective.

Don’t let the current realty of virtual work and socially distant teams destroy your workplace culture. It’s not too late to get the team connecting and growing before the end of the year. Use the ideas above to re-establish the connection required to thrive!

Tim Arnold

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