Culture and Connection

Play cupid, The guide to rekindling employee connections

Emily Lawson
February 26, 2024
min read
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Connecting to one’s environment and society is integral to feeling secure, supported, and motivated.

Community is etched into our DNA, with cavemen hunting and gathering in packs to ensure protection and efficiency. Even in the 4th century BCE, Aristotle described us as 'social animals' by nature. Now, we’re not saying that the stakes are as high in your workplace, but the essence remains the same. Employees who feel connected to their colleagues and workplace are safer to generate new ideas, take risks, and consider the needs of their co-workers in their own work. When individuals feel isolated or do not resonate with their work, results are of lower quality, work is less productive, and burnout is more likely to occur.

Here are some reasons your employees could be feeling disconnected and what you can do to rekindle their passion.

Lack of Inclusion

We are on the way to achieving workplaces that are balanced and reflective of the communities we all live in. However, we still see micro-aggressions, biases, and societal norms excluding groups within workplaces.

  • Women aspiring to leadership positions often miss out on important networking that occurs through alcohol-based after-hours social events to which they are not invited.
  • 38% of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workers have personally experienced harassment and/or discrimination at their jobs.
  • LGBTQI+ employees who don’t feel comfortable being ‘out’ at work are 45% less likely to be satisfied with their job.

According to The DCA's Inclusion@Work, people who feel included by their workplace are four times less likely to leave their job in the next 12 months, four times less likely to feel work has a negative or very negative impact on their mental health, and six times more likely to provide excellent customer service. It is essential to the success of your business that you take the steps necessary to ensure your workplace is welcoming, collaborative, accepting of all employees, and stands up for minority workers.

So, what is an inclusive team, and how do we achieve it?

An inclusive team is one where a diversity of people feels that they are respected and valued team members, able to freely be themselves and can contribute and progress at work. The workplace should award career progression to a variety of employees, include everyone in social activities, and reward dedicated workers.

Ways you can make your employees feel included:

  • Valuing differences: Utilize your employees' range of experience and recognise the strength this brings to your team.
  • Seeking out a diversity of ideas: Involve all voices in discussions and open the dialogue to those who are more reserved or might not feel comfortable speaking up. Provide ample opportunities for everyone to contribute to discussions and refrain from talking over or shutting down your employees' ideas.
  • Treating everyone fairly: Be considerate of how people's cultures and learning habits may reflect differently on the way they work. Offer opportunities to all workers.
  • Dealing with inappropriate behavior: If you hear of an employee being disrespectful or bullying other employees, show your team that these behaviors are not acceptable and deal with them in an appropriate manner.

Remember, it is only through inclusion that organisations can make the most out of diversity.


According to the recent Cigna Survey, more than 6,000 workers are feeling lonely in their workplace. Within this number, half are made up of millennials and Gen Z, and in a workplace, these attitudes can easily spread throughout an organization, resulting in twice as many sick days and displaying less commitment to their work. Loneliness is impacting not only your employees' mental health, but also your productivity as a business.

Signs your employee is lonely:

  • Stops interacting with colleagues
  • Decline in quality, and details are missed
  • Less interest in learning and development
  • Changes to their working hours/inconsistent routines
  • Increase of absences

The attitudes left behind from the COVID-19 pandemic have lingered, with working from home being a comfortable option for many workers. While it comes with benefits such as no commute time, comfort, and accessibility, it can also leave workers with little connection to their team.

What you can do:

  • Increase face-to-face meetings: The small talk and banter before and after meetings always feel more genuine in person. It is easier to see that people are listening to each others’ ideas and can allow for natural collaboration.
  • Give your team a shared purpose: Implementing a strong ethos, target, or reason that everyone is working towards can foster attitudes of camaraderie and togetherness, knowing that they are all working towards a shared goal.
  • Create more opportunities for connecting: Introduce your employees to a wider range of team members so they can interact with more individuals than their direct circle. This can be done through company meetings where different teams update the business on what they’ve been up to or group bonding activities where teams are split up and mixed with other departments.
  • Wellbeing strategies and programs: Implementing a wellbeing program, such as an online hub, can be a useful way to keep employees connected to their workplace without them needing to be physically there. Health at Work's Online Wellbeing Hub is a portal with monthly wellbeing themes, webinars, resources, and challenges that keep employees motivated and united.
In the words of Psychologist, Nicole Lees,“Loneliness is not so much about being alone but more the feeling that no one cares,”. So, make the effort to check in on employees who may be withdrawing and try to keep those who are working remote feeling like they belong, wherever they are.

Lack of Passion

Much like a romantic relationship, an employee can travel through the classic stages of a work relationship. There's the honeymoon phase when they first join the organisation and have all the motivation in the world, and then plateaus occur, requiring nurturing to reignite that passion. When employers neglect to invest the time to keep employees connected, they can become overwhelmed, exhausted, and behaviors associated with quiet quitting can be observed. A passionate employee is more likely to influence their peers' attitudes, interact more with their team, and feel excited to contribute to the growth of their organisation.

How to reignite passion:

  • Show them you care: Employees are keen to work harder for an employer who takes a personal interest in their development. This can be shown through regular check-ins, asking for their input in meetings, offering training opportunities, giving feedback, and genuinely caring for their wellbeing.
  • Make their job count: Make it known to your employee that their work is an important part of the organisation and how it contributes to the bigger picture. Employees want to feel like their work is meaningful, so show them how it is crucial for the business's success and set goals accordingly.
  • Give praise when praise is due: Studies show that employees who feel valued and recognised are the happiest and most loyal. Outstanding performance needs to be recognised, yet regular hard work and dedication should also receive praise. This could be planning a day out for your staff and handing out small awards throughout the day, such as 'most likely to involve the team in meetings' and 'best PowerPoint presentations.'

When your employees feel passionate about the work itself, they are more likely to bond over their shared interest and motivation. When the workplace feels valued, attitudes will be positive, collaboration will increase, and productivity will skyrocket.

If it's in our DNA, connectiveness should be in our workplaces too, given we spend so much of our lives there. By fostering a sense of inclusion, connection, and passion, your team will be united in their goals.
Play cupid, The guide to rekindling employee connections
Emily Lawson