Michael Stallard argues in Connection Culture that growing a ‘connection culture’ in your organisation gives competitive advantage. He argues that it helps productivity, innovation and staff retention, amongst other things. In support, he sites research that compared business units with engagement and connection scores in the bottom 25%, against others with the top 25%’s median averages. Those at the top end of engagement were:
- 21% higher in productivity
- 22% higher in profitability
- 41% lower in quality defects
- 37% lower in absenteeism
- 10% higher in customer metrics
Employees who feel engaged and connected are:
- 20% more productive than the average employee
- 80% less likely to leave
Why? Because people who feel connected with their organisation are happier, perform better, stay longer, come up with better ideas. Stallard argues connection comes from having six basic human needs met; respect, recognition, belonging, autonomy, personal growth and meaning.
How do you generate a connection culture? Building on 24 enabling character strengths, a connection culture comes from a shared vision, value and voice across the organisation. With appropriate leadership, a connection culture builds superior performance.
The book has a compelling, practical logic in what is an esoteric area. It is peppered with comments and anecdotes from the research Stallard and team has undertaken. It paints a picture for what it takes to grow such a culture, including a number of steps at both an organisational and personal level.
It’s worth a read from this angle alone, but there is also an interesting implication for learning. Have you ever pondered what the commercial imperative is for social learning? Perhaps this book holds part of the answer. Social learning is about people learning through and with others. If you subscribe to the 70/20/10 rule of thumb, then informal learning that is orchestrated on social learning principles must surely be a key tool in building a learning culture.
(1) Stallard, M. (2015). Connection Culture. ATD Press