Employee engagement is the buzzword on everyone’s lips in human resources currently. Without it, countless hours are lost to employee absenteeism, resulting in reduced productivity, and retention rates for good employees may actually be driven down due to lack of engagement.
But how can it be achieved?
Employee engagement can be driven by social cohesion, i.e. by creating “chemistry” between your employee so that they “bond” together. Social cohesion creates a team environment, so that your employees work for not only their pay-packet, but also in order not to let their teammates down. We call this concept, the “diamond” phenomenon.
What does social cohesion look like?
In essence, it looks like a diamond. You probably know that a diamond is created under pressure. Actually, diamonds are made up of carbon molecules highly bonded to each other. So too, with the correct social cohesion, pressure need not destroy the links of a company, but solidify the bonds and turn your company into a diamond.
As an employee, you are in a unique position to create social cohesion. Your actions are like the electrons that form bonds in a diamond, creating the structure that binds your team together by the bonds you form with your team members. What is an example of a bond, I hear you ask?
One example, is to create “coffee dates” between employees. Have all the names of your employees in a draw and match up employees to go on “dates” to get to know one another. If you’re feeling generous you can fund the coffee. The more that your employees are involved with this scheme, the more employees they meet and get to know, and the greater the social cohesion
Another strategy is larger events. Holding office barbecues or Sunday picnics are another way of encouraging social mingling, as are parties for celebrations or holidays. Alternatively, organise a “fun” activity once a month, such as rock climbing or bowling.
Additionally, providing a meeting place for employees can help maintenance of social cohesion. Schools provide a teachers lounge for employees, similarly, a common room can provide an opportunity for socialisation between co-workers. With a common room, you can provide an occasional lunch, or an occasional take-away dinner if people are staying late, creating further opportunity for workers to take a break and mingle.
The effect of one social link
Hemoglobin is an unique chemical structure when looking for a comparison to social cohesion. It is the oxygen carrying component of red blood, and with each bond to oxygen, the structure of haemoglobin changes so that it can bind more oxygen. This is similar to friendships in the workplace, one friendship, is likely to encourage others to form, and the overall structural integrity of the whole company is improved.
Hopefully you’ve learned how to influence the engagement of your employees by improving social cohesion. So if you currently have a bunch of inert gases (people) who won’t bind to each other at all, take these steps to start the process of mingling in the office, and end up with a stronger, more productive company.