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Employee Engagement

New research: Closing the employee connection gap must be a 2022 priority

The past two years have been extraordinary. Difficult, devastating, isolating, hopeful, illuminating, … extraordinary. 

And these extraordinary circumstances have accelerated a shift in the business world. Workers are asking new questions and challenging old norms. And innovative organizations are listening and collaborating with their people to reimagine the work experience.

Employee connection will be an essential part of this reimagined workplace. Connection to:

  • The company’s purpose: Am I aligned with my organization’s mission, core values, and vision?
  • The people: Can I build authentic relationships with my coworkers and managers?
  • The work: Am I positively impacting my organization’s goals? Am I positively impacting the world around me?

Connection is key to our happiness as human beings, our sense of belonging, and our resiliency. Which means your ability to nurture workplace connection will be a determining factor in your ability to attract, grow, and retain great people. Especially in this extended time of rapid transformation.

But what will employee connection in the reimagined workplace look like? What should it look like?

Over the final months of 2021, we surveyed nearly 400 HR professionals and over 500 individual employees to begin to answer this question. We wanted to understand:

  1. How important is employee connection to organizational success?
  2. Do individual employees feel connected to their organizations? 
  3. Is there a gap between what HR leaders believe and what employees experience?
  4. How are organizations facilitating connection in our new, hybrid work world?
  5. How can organizations prioritize connection and do more to support it?

In a new data-based report, we explore the complete findings from our surveys and offer strategies to help organizational leaders listen, learn, adapt, and develop a path forward that serves both your people and your business goals.

What we learned about the state of workplace connection.

TL;DR: 1) Employee connection is critical to organizational success. 2) There’s currently an urgent connection gap. 3) But—there’s a clear path forward to close that gap and undeniable opportunity for organizations that prioritize workplace connection.

Get your free copy of the complete workplace connection report.

Here’s a bit more detail on some of our key findings:

People want to feel connected at work. 

HR leaders, professionals, and the general employee population place high importance on connection in the workplace. 85% of HR professionals strongly agree that it’s important for employees to feel connected at work and 77% of employees agree that they want to work at an organization where they feel connected to the purpose and the people.

Employees and organizations agree: Connectedness drives retention. 

Nearly 3 in 5 employees surveyed said they would consider leaving their job if they didn’t feel connected at work. Our survey also found 95% of HR leaders and professionals report that employee connection is critical to employee retention, their response to the pandemic, and overall organizational success.

There’s a connection gap and organizations still have a lot of work to do to close it. 

In spite of its importance, only 31% of organizations say they’ve addressed connection challenges. And employees also report urgent connection gaps. Just 44% of employees agree that their organization is effective at helping them connect to the mission, values, and leadership vision. And only 38% say their company is effective at enabling them to build authentic relationships with coworkers and managers.


Companies are trying to close the connection gap through events, recognition, and technology. 

HR professionals are working to close the employee connection gap using a multifaceted approach, reflecting the realities of today. Events, recognition, and communication and collaboration software are the top 3 ways that organizations are addressing connection challenges. 


Organizations that use employee recognition as a tool to improve connection at work report better results across all measures of connection. 

In our survey, 73% of HR professionals see recognition as an important tool that they’ll use to facilitate employee connection at work. Those companies that already use recognition to create employee connection are nearly twice (2x) as likely to report that they’ve adequately addressed employee connection challenges than the average organization.


Get your free copy of the full workplace connection report and get the complete findings, along with strategies and real world examples to help you close the employee connection gap at your organization.

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Looking for the best way to reward, recognize and incentivize your top people?

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