Build Connections–Increase Productivity and Morale

A recent study published by Deloitte Research titled “It’s 2008: Do You Know Where Your Talent Is?: Connecting People to What Matters” explores the interesting issue of how to build “connections” between people within organizations that will provide the highest return in terms of productivity and innovation.  Managers have long recognized the importance of communication and collaboration between employees, particularly in these days when companies are becoming more global and employees who need to work together are located in distant locations.  For example, companies often strive for teamwork through the creation of project teams and make substantial investments in IT resources that facilitate rapid communication and information sharing.  However, Deloitte claims that there are certain types of connections that are more valuable than others and argue that companies must recognize and support three very different kinds of connections with their organizations—connections with other people; connections with a common and worthwhile company purpose; and connections with necessary resources.  A few specific recommendations in this area follow:

  • Give managers the time that they need to engage in networking activities and communications and encourage all employees to create and maintain networks and relationships within the company to learn more about their colleagues and share new ideas that can ultimately be used to enhance company performance.  This can be done by making new networking tools, such as video and various forms of e-communications, readily available; however, be sure that employees understand the need to keep their networking relationships to a manageable level of the time will cease to be effective.
  • Build the connection with a sense of purpose by making an effort to provide employee with fulfilling job activities and opportunities to expand and use their talents.  This means implementing focused and continuous enrichment programs that are designed to prepare employees for new challenges as opposed to simply training them to do their current jobs more quickly and efficiently.  This approach can reduce turnover and keep motivation within the workforce at higher levels.
  • Make sure the employees have easy access to the information that they need to perform their jobs.  This means investing in technology that allows employees to work efficiently with delays caused by waiting on others to provide answers or data.
  • Connection to resources goes beyond access to information to include access to the support and time that employees need to learn, think, rejuvenate and collaborate.  This means assisting employees in overcoming personal challenges that may prevent them from focusing on work, such as finding suitable daycare for their children, and making sure that time is set aside for them to tinker with some of their own ideas for products, services or processes that may ultimately provide value for the company.  Office layout decisions should be made with an eye toward creating spaces for collaboration as well as areas where employees can go to be free of disturbances so that they can concentrate on a specific problem or idea.

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