Feelings of loneliness amongst UK workers have increased since the start of the pandemic with almost a third saying they feel disconnected from their leaders.
The findings in O.C. Tanner’s 2022 Global Culture Report is an analysis of 38,000 leaders, HR practitioners and executives from 21 countries including the UK.
Compared to a year ago, 62 per cent of U.K. workers admit to engaging in far fewer social activities with family and friends, even at a distance. One in three say they see themselves as loners and more than one in four (27 percent) feel disconnected from their team.
“The research suggests that people are finding it harder to create and maintain connections”, said Robert Ordever, Managing Director of workplace culture at O.C.Tanner. He called on leaders to become facilitators of connection and help employees to feel closer to the organisation.
He said: “Employee connection must be nurtured over time, ensuring every individual feels an important part of the bigger picture”, says Ordever. “They need to feel that they belong, are appreciated for everything they do and are working towards a common goal.”
According to the study, staff recognition is an important tool for building connections, and it calls on employers to help employees build connections within the organisation.
Employees need to feel valued, urges the report, it says this helps to connect them to organisational purpose, accomplishment and one another.
This appreciation, it says, will have numerous benefits as research has shows that feeling connected does not simply reduce loneliness, it also has organisational benefits. Employees with strong social connections have less burnout (- 86 per cent). They are also more likely to produce better work (+169 per cent). The report adds that when employees feel connected, there is 12 times’ the chance of an organisation thriving.
The report suggests some of the blame in employee loneliness lies with HR leaders and managers, as it found that since the outbreak of Covid-19, U.K. organisations have only been 28 percent effective at increasing social connections between employees.
It says HR leaders and CEOs must be smarter at bringing people together.
Read O.C. Tanner’s 2022 Global Culture Report here