In a September 2017 article in the Harvard Business Review, former U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy shared that the most common pathology he saw in patients was loneliness. Adults who report being lonely is now 40%, a rate that has doubled since the 1980s; and research indicates the percentage is actually higher. And many adults say they do not have any close confidant.
Loneliness directly affects personal health in significant ways. It can reduce a person’s lifespan as much as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. And it’s tied to greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression and anxiety.
High rates of employees, and 50% of CEOs, admit they feel lonely at work – even people who work in open-plan offices. Loneliness directly impacts the success of a business. Lonely employees take longer to complete tasks, and loneliness inhibits creativity and impairs reasoning and decision making. A 2016 Gallup report found that 87% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. But companies with highly engaged workforces outperformed their peers by 147% in earnings per share.
Murthy states that “for our health and for our work, it is imperative that we address the loneliness epidemic quickly.”
High-growth companies define a purpose, then a strategy to engage employees, Gallup research shows. This approach includes leadership involvement and commitment, a communication strategy, systems that hold managers and leaders accountable, and learning and development programs.
One proven way to build positive co-worker relationships is through well-designed corporate events. When designing an event, event managers must incorporate tactics that facilitate meaningful interactions among attendees. By studying the types of attendees, a strategic event planner will use activities that engage employees who have common interests.
What activities facilitate event participation to reduce loneliness?
Reducing loneliness and the stress it causes will improve the physical and mental health of your employees. And, by engaging employees, it will improve the health of your business. Among publicly traded companies, the Gallup poll determined that companies with a highly engaged employee base outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. We wouldn’t say no to those numbers.
MOC&CO designs engaging, interactive events for our corporate clients. We know the activities that connect employees in meaningful ways to expand and strengthen their networks. Email us at email@example.com to discuss your employee event, and we’ll create an experience that combats workplace loneliness.Employee Recognition Drives Retention
Recruiting requires a lot of time and energy. Organizations must invest the same or more effort into employee recognition and retention programs for the talent already in the organization. Lars Schmidt, a contributor at Forbes, suggests “retention will be the biggest talent challenge of 2017.”
One effective method of reducing turnover and helping retain top performers is creating a culture they can’t imagine leaving. Employee recognition programs play an important role in that effort and a key component of an effective program is recognition from peers. Meetings and events are the perfect venue to accomplish this goal and foster a community-like celebration.
No matter the scale, a small regional meeting of 100 or large national meeting with 2,000+ attendees, events are an opportunity to recognize top performers while they are among their peers. And more importantly, it allows for a shared, in-person celebration of the accomplishment. Research has shown that peers are the top driver of satisfaction in the workplace. Additionally, for those in attendance who weren’t recognized, seeing the celebration could spark the inspiration they need to achieve more.
Meetings and events can help reinforce cultural attitudes, but it takes consistency to build it. Employees want to know their efforts matter to the organization, that what they’re doing makes a difference. A survey from Globoforce shows that 73% of employees who have been recognized consistently over a period of 6 months felt engaged at work. Moreover, employee recognition helps them feel appreciated, which in turn helps them feel good about themselves and the job they’re doing.
No matter how formalized your recognition program is, if leadership fails to consistently activate it, it won’t do any good. Employees don’t leave good companies or employers, they leave managers. Management must make it a habit to seek out and reward excellence. By regularly engaging in employee recognition efforts, management also demonstrates the importance of the program.
What happens once your recruits are in the door, do you have a system in place to train and develop them? Additionally, do you know who your best performers are? Are there metrics in place to track their influence in the organization? It’s important to monitor high performers to ensure they are challenged sufficiently. It also informs the training and development opportunities they need to grow professionally. A study in the International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences found “organizations that train and develop their employees see improved profitability while cultivating more positive attitudes toward profit orientation.”
As competition for top talent increases, many organizations find it increasingly difficult to compete on salary alone. A culture of recognition based on a well-executed employee recognition program can help your organization stand-out. It may also act as the difference-maker for a recruit. Competition for top talent will only continue to increase, and what you offer in terms of compensation will always play an important role in attracting top talent. More and more, however, it’s the non-tangible things such as company culture that will figure prominently in setting your organization apart from the rest.
A true employee recognition plan goes far beyond simply thanking your employees for a job well done. Management needs to tell employees specifically which efforts they demonstrated that upheld the company’s values, and how that behavior leads to achievement the company’s key objectives. It offers employees context into what value their efforts play in the big picture. Everyone wants to see meaning in their work, and often time, are just in need of a reminder. Meetings and events are an excellent forum to provide these reminders, and to celebrate achievement as a group.