with over 25 years of experience operating as a large employer, knows how critical this is. “At my company, we worked really hard to instill a sense of camaraderie. I’ve found it particularly beneficial to encourage my team to get to know one another and talk about their lives outside of work. I think we can learn a lot from digital natives in the workforce, who grew up participating in online communities and already have a well-developed grammar for building relationships at a distance.”
Acknowledge and celebrate successes, special occasions, and milestones
One of the hallmarks of a healthy workplace is the extent to which they celebrate the contributions and successes of their staff as well as their acknowledgement of special events in the personal lives of their staff. While it may not be as powerful as being physically present, virtual get-togethers to recognize staff, teams, and special events such as birthdays and new babies are crucial in creating camaraderie and a sense of belonging.
Show empathy in times of tragedy and illness
One of the most difficult things for some managers is knowing how to respond to a staff member who has become ill or lost a loved one. The manager can take the lead to find out what the affected person needs from him or her and from their colleagues. , author of Unique EQ at The Center for Empathy, says, “Being emotionally aware allows you to show empathy and create a workplace culture that positively impacts your bottom line. Tuning into and sharing your employees’ feelings and perspectives, stresses, joys, and concerns fosters their bond with you and your mission. Embracing you and your values and vision, they loyally follow your lead to a new norm. And, because emotions biologically activate chemicals that directly impact the immune system, empathy turns crisis to connection, strengthening the mind/body system with anti-stress chemicals, reducing healthcare costs. Empathy is a contagion that is greatly needed in this time of recovering from COVID-19.
Look for opportunities to get together physically
While it may not be possible, or difficult for some time, look for opportunities for staff to get together physically. While we can do a lot virtually, personal contact will always be the best way for people to get to know one another and feel connected. Look for times and opportunities to get together either formally as a company function, or informally to enjoy a fun event together. “In-person get-togethers are critical for any team because they reinforce the human connection and help build a sense of belonging and togetherness,” said Liz Elting. “I suspect that group get-togethers and all-hands meetings with a shared lunch, once that’s safe and realistic again, are going to become a hallmark of business culture, even for companies that primarily work remotely.”