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Benefits of creating a culture of social connection and support

Chandini Mokthar
September 15, 2023
Benefits of creating a culture of social connection and support

Do You Know the Benefits of Creating a Culture of Social Connection and Support?

Do your team members enjoy genuine opportunities to interact and socialize with each other?  Prior to the pandemic, a lot of companies would have confidently replied, "Yes!" However, COVID-19 restrictions and shutdowns at work have separated your teams in more ways than one. Now, even after the pandemic, companies are still taking some time to find their feet. Revisiting their culture of social connections and support has proved to be a challenge, and this impacts employee well-being.

Why are Social Connections so Important in the Workplace?

Social connections are essential for both physical and mental health. Generally, employees with strong interpersonal connections are more engaged, and those with close ties to their colleagues are also more motivated to perform. In fact, those who report having a close associate at work are seven times more likely to manifest – or excel at – enhanced engagement, relationships with clients, performance at work, well-being, and mitigate injury risk. Not to mention, it is also a retention strategy in disguise! 

A robust social network has been linked with a decreased likelihood of anxiety and depression, lower stress levels, higher drive to invest in self-care, and a longer lifespan. Unfortunately, loneliness was already on the rise prior to COVID-19, and it is reasonable to presume that the social exclusion experienced by many during the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. Isolation caused by social alienation and remote work can have a massive negative impact on your company's culture and productivity. 

Whether the team is remote, hybrid, or onsite full-time, providing opportunities for socialization will help your employees be happier, healthier, more engaged, and more connected to your organizational culture on a daily basis.

What is a Culture of Social Connection and Support?

The extent of our engagement – with loved ones, coworkers, and friends – has a significant impact on our overall contentment and sense of well-being.

A culture of social connection and support, therefore, is one in which these relationships are actively encouraged through positive behavioral examples from the leadership, workplace policies (e.g., support groups), and cultural activities (e.g., informal team lunches). In a sustainable culture of social connection and support, the employee experience is also measured through polls and a robust feedback mechanism to know if everyone is getting the support they need and the gaps, if any.

Benefits of Creating a Culture of Social Connection and Support

By creating a culture of social connection and support, you can:

1. Reduce burnout and stress

Friendships strengthen contentment, which decreases feelings of anxiety. Low levels of stress are extremely advantageous in the workplace. No employee can perform optimally while experiencing chronic anxiety or fatigue. Employers can reduce workplace anxiety by supporting the development of social connections among employees.

2. Improve employee health

Research discovered that senior individuals with a robust social life and high-quality relationships are more likely to live longer compared to those with fewer social relationships. This is significant for businesses as healthy workers tend to have improved job performance, use fewer sick days, and bring more vitality to the workplace.

3. Drive employee engagement levels

Employees who have peers or relations at work are typically more committed and loyal. This is because successful working relationships contribute to the development of a company culture that emphasizes fidelity, reverence, and confidence. A workplace that encourages social connections may also have better recruitment outcomes and enables easier employee engagement.

4. Increase productivity

Social connections foster a feeling of cohesiveness and belonging in the workplace, which is necessary for fostering innovation, partnership, and collaboration. Positive relationships boost employees' commitment and motivation to perform their best.

How to Foster a Culture of Social Connection and Support? 5 Tips

Fortunately, the culture of your company is in your hands, and through a few intelligent interventions, you can nurture these essential relationships.

  • Initiate a rewards program. Employee recognition goes a long way in demonstrating gratitude and respect for the work they do.
  • Plan a basic sponsored lunch where employees' phones are placed in a container and teammates feel driven to interact.
  • Develop a culture of face-to-face interactions. For example, occasionally visit an employee's or colleague's office instead of writing an email to discuss certain matters.
  • The annual office celebration is a staple and a common source of conversation and amusement throughout the year. With the addition of a few more events, employees will have more mutually beneficial experiences.
  • Instead of focusing solely on individual wellness, start developing team wellness contests, such as a team strolling challenge.

The Bottomline

When your employees experience a feeling of being valued at work, they are motivated to arrive each day eager to perform. Employees who sense a connection to their colleagues also feel attached to the organization as a whole, helping your business to draw in and retain top talent. That’s why informal social connections are so important at Moolya, with cool-off sessions and casual banter during calls that help build a sense of community. Ultimately, investing in a culture of social connections and support pays rich dividends.

Chandini Mokthar
Chandini Mokthar
VP, People & Culture
Chandini Mokhtar is the VP- People & Culture of Moolya and plays a pivotal role in defining Moolya’s overall culture and value. As a true People leader, she is highly focussed on elevating culture and helping organisations to navigate the cultural transformation. Chandini has been a talent acquisition specialist, talent specialist, and a talent acquisition consultant with extensive experience in the domain of defining people culture and ensuring a positive work environment. In a constantly changing environment, she creates an agile employee experience and keeps her team flexible enough to accommodate any changes.
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