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Human Connection in a Virtual World

Over the past year, business leaders have kicked it into overdrive to shift their current face-to-face initiatives into virtual programs. This shift has allowed organizations to reach larger, more diverse audiences, reduce costs, and provide easier access to employee insights. However, with the continued use of virtual solutions, its essential organizations don’t lose focus on the importance of human connection across their organizations. There are several ways organizations can continue to foster human connection.

Provide Social-Emotional Learning

Social-emotional learning is the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that encourage more positive relationships with oneself and others. With the reduction of in-person meetings and training, it is easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day and forget to stop and reflect on other’s perspectives. This is particularly important when working with cross-functional teams. One way to keep this at the top of mind and to encourage positive relationships throughout your organization is to provide social-emotional learning. It emphasizes the importance of the human connection in the workforce. Learning topics can include:

  • Empathy

  • Problem-solving

  • Self-awareness

  • Compassion

Providing social-emotional learning will not only better equip employees to navigate a digital workforce, but it will also promote an overall more positive work environment.

Create Moments

Virtual meetings and training don’t always lend the opportunity for making connections through conversations. One way to overcome this is to “Create Moments.” This could be as simple as kicking off a meeting with non-work-related questions such as, ”Does anyone have exciting weekend plans?”. Another way to foster conversation is to utilize breakout rooms for small group work or incorporate quick “take five” breaks into your training and/or meetings that allow people to step away or remain on the call to connect with others. Stay on the call and encourage conversation amongst participants. Through these small interactions, employees can build relationships and experience the human connection that is crucial to highly functioning teams.

Say Cheese

We have all been there. The moment when staying in your PJs while sipping coffee sounds more enticing than getting in front of the camera on your eleven o’clock call. However, the ability to see participants lends itself to more transparent communication and collaboration. It allows you to pick up on non-verbal cues and body language that would otherwise be lost through verbal communication. We could also all agree that a smile can easily change the trajectory of someone’s day. Writer William Arthur Ward said, “A warm smile is the universal language of kindness.” Turn on the camera, share a smile and spread kindness.

As you approach your next meeting or begin to develop your next training, consider incorporating opportunities that promote human connection. It’s these small changes that will ultimately play a role in building positive cultures and thriving businesses.

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