Why Most Employees Are Lonely and Underperforming

Today’s workers are lonelier than ever before resulting in a disengaged, disloyal, and disenchanted workforce.
Here’s what’s causing today's loneliness and the role inclusion plays in solving it.

If you’re feeling lonely, you’re not alone.

Sixty-one percent of American adults report they are lonely, a 7 percent increase since 2018. In addition, people are making fewer friends on the job. In 1985, half of people said they had a close friend at work. By 2004, less than a third did.

Among Generation Z workers aged 18-22, 73 percent report sometimes or always feeling alone, a 4 percent increase since 2019. The next generation entering the workforce is the loneliness of any other generation.

Loneliness is a growing health concern. Vivek Murthy, the former U.S. Surgeon General, estimates loneliness can shorten a person’s life by 15 years, equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day or being obese. 

Loneliness also represents an employee engagement and retention issue as half of Millennials and 75 percent of Gen Zers have left a job because of mental health reasons, compared with 34 percent of other generations.

The Modern Causes of Loneliness

Loneliness is the absence of connections. Someone who is surrounded by people may still feel lonely. A connected world that's leaving so many feeling disconnected is counterintuitive and yet it’s our new reality.

Here are a few reasons why humanity is experiencing more loneliness than ever before.

    • Demanding Work: Today’s modern workers have a tendency to deprioritize relationships at work and instead focus on productivity and being professional.
    • Dependency Shift: Information is no longer centralized in a family member, neighbor, or coworker. Information is decentralized, empowering humanity to seek knowledge and help individually via YouTube.
    • Mobility: More mobility in where, when, and how we work has caused people to invest less in their relationships at work and in their community.
    • Technology and Social Media: Technology can reduce quality human interactions through distractions and/or by substituting lower quality online connections. Very heavy social media users are significantly more likely to feel alone, isolated, left out and without companionship.
    • Work Life Balance: If meaningful connections are reserved for outside of work, then today's always-on work culture leaves little to no time to pursue and cultivate meaningful connections. 
    • Immediacy: Today’s on-demand culture has left many people opting for swift transactional digital relationships over the delayed gratification of investing in long-term relationships

The Business Impact of Loneliness

"The trends shaping how we work – increasing use of technology, more telecommuting and the always-on work culture – are leaving Americans more stressed, less rested, spending more time on social media, and less time with friends and family," said David M. Cordani, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cigna. "For the business community, it is resulting in less engagement, less productivity, and lower retention levels."

Lonely workers are…

For organizations to create a more engaged, productive, and loyal workforce, they must be mindful of worker loneliness. Since work is a profound place for people to create belonging, organizations and leaders have an unparalleled opportunity to provide people with a greater sense of acceptance, support and inclusion.

The Science of Loneliness

Humans are social creatures. We have a deep desire to be accepted, cared for and involved in meaningful community. These desires were (and continue to be) essential for our survival. Our ancestors who roamed the plains, lived in tribes where becoming separated or banished from the tribe made survival unlikely. 

This explains why loneliness creates a psychological stress state in humans. And according to Murthy, “When we are lonely for a prolonged period of time that translates to a chronic stress state which leads to higher levels of inflammation in the body which damages blood vessels, tissues, and is the root of other health problems."

Additionally, during recent experiments neuroscientists recently discovered that people who were put through an experience of exclusion, their brain would light up and it was the same part of the brain that registers physical pain. Therefore being excluded is felt biologically the same as being physically hit. Even being excluded from a group that someone doesn’t respect is still harmful and creates pain.

The Significance of Inclusion

What often drives separation, isolation and exclusion isn’t difference, but distance.

Humans aren’t that different. In fact, the three things all humans are wired to do are survive, belong and become. These items are the hidden operating system running everyone's work and personal lives.

Humans, however, can be distant. When someone else's view, perspective or behavior is unknown, unfamiliar or unexplored, distance is created. Understanding and empathy grows with proximity. Abraham Lincoln once wisely said, “I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better.”

Busyness, distractions, hostility, immaturity, ignorance, efficiency, fear and selfishness can all contribute to the distance between people. If less loneliness and greater inclusion is the goal, move towards others and close the distance between people.

A powerful sense of belonging stems from the human desire to utilize one’s strengths, gifts, or talents to make a contribution that is valued by the team. Being needed reduces the risk of social abandonment, ultimately freeing people to do higher-level work.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

How to Lessen Loneliness and Boost Belonging at Work

Organizational leaders play a critical role in the fight against loneliness. Here are seven ways to decrease loneliness and increase belonging, engagement, and performance at work.

People are lonelier than ever before.

In fact, 61 percent of American adults report they are lonely and among Generation Z workers aged 18-22, 73 percent report sometimes or always feeling alone. Additionally, since the outbreak of the pandemic, 75 percent of people say they feel more socially isolated.

Loneliness is not only negatively impacting people’s health but also employee engagement, productivity, and loyalty as I highlighted in my recent article, Why Most Employees Are Lonely and Underperforming.

Work is a major source of loneliness. Remote working, switching to a new team, eating lunch while answering emails, or having no one to talk to on an off day can all contribute to people feeling lonely.

When workers feel lonely, they are less committed and less approachable which makes it less likely that others will reach out to help which compounds the problem. The opportunity to lessen loneliness and boost belonging lies in the hands of organization leaders.

Why Leaders Are Best Suited to Extinguish Loneliness

Perhaps the two things people want most in life are meaningful relationships and meaningful work. Organizational leaders play a unique role in that they can deliver both of those items.

For tackling loneliness, work is very fertile ground for creating connections among people.

The growing concern of mental health and loneliness presents an opportunity for organizations and leaders to improve the well-being and health of it’s employees and thus boosting belonging, engagement, and performance

How Leaders Can Lessen Loneliness and Boost Belonging at Work 

1. Prioritize Meals

Employees who say they have colleagues they like eating lunch with are less lonely. When people choose to eat a meal together, their body receives signals to calm down because human biology knows we would have never eaten a meal with a person from a threatening tribe. Meals lower our guard and open us up for deep connection.

For example, the personal grooming company, Dollar Shave Club, utilizes an algorithm within their communication platform, Slack, to pair a person with someone they don’t know to share lunch together. The company even pays the bill for these so called, “Power Lunches."

2. Socialize Smarter

Create connections beyond traditional socializing. While socializing outside of work (happy hours, company partiers, etc.) can reduce loneliness, group conversations tend to stay shallow and people tend to talk about what they have in common which is work. One-on-one conversation or doing an activity together is more likely to create deeper connections.

For example, some UK companies have created connection spaces, such as a “Chatty Table or Friendly Bench,” where the expectation is for people to connect when present in those spaces. Other organizations have created micro-communities where people connect based on similar interests, such as running before work or salsa dancing. Recently, my company helped The Home Depot create an onboarding scavenger hunt where new hires were not only oriented to the work and workspace but also to the people inside the organization.

3. Prompt Personal Sharing

When people feel they do not need to hide their true selves at work, they are less lonely.

One of the primary hallmarks of a high-performing team is psychological safety, the belief that you won’t be punished when you make a mistake. Create opportunities for individuals to share aspects of their personal lives with the goal of seeing the human behind the job. Ways to prompt personal sharing might be to have a bring your kids or parents to work day, provide a virtual tour of your home office, or carve out five minutes each meeting to have someone share a personal anecdote.

For example, Vivek Murthy, the former U.S. Surgeon General, created the “Inside Scoop” exercise where his team devoted five minutes once a week during their all-hands meeting where one person would share pictures of anything they wanted as long as it wasn’t related to their current job. One researcher on Murthy’s team was perceived as very detailed oriented and “nerdy” by her colleagues but that changed once they saw the pictures of her marathon training and heard about how she qualified for the U.S. olympic team. She saw herself as an athlete, not just a researcher, and now her colleagues saw that too.

4. Promote Work-Life Balance

Employees are less lonely among employers that promote good work-life balance and when they can “leave work at work.”

Work-life balance should be pursued and consistently reevaluated by any organization. Enabling telecommuting, prioritizing volunteering, supporting vacation, offering childcare, and extending parental leave are all examples of how organizations can help employees strike better work-life balance. Read this for more work-life balance ideas.

For example, Facebook and IKEA recently began offering new parents (mothers and fathers) four months of paid baby leave. And JPMorgan Chase recently joined other Wall Street banks in telling its employees to take weekends off in order to improve their work-life balance.

5. Create a Communication Agreement

When employees feel that technology helps them make meaningful connections with coworkers and when technology is not perceived as a replacement for in-person interactions, employees are less lonely.

Ubiquitous connectivity has eroded many boundaries we once had between work and life. Communication can be impersonal and incessant if appropriate boundaries aren’t established.

Establish a communication agreement among the team that enables more meaningful connections and ensures every person is heard. Items a communication agreement can highlight are response time expectations, how face-to-face interactions are to be prioritized, preferred communication channels, appropriate technology for the type of information, “do not disturb” timeframes (vacation, evenings, deep work, etc.), channels for urgent communications only, participation expectations during meetings, etc.

6. Model Rapport Building

Leaders should model what effective rapport-building looks and feels like. Here’s how to build a rapid, high-quality connection.

    • Look for uncommon commonalities. Similarities that you share that are rare.
    • Ask open ended questions. Display real curiosity for the other person. (Don’t put on the spot or cross any lines.)
      • What is the most meaningful thing that happened to you this week?
      • What are you reading, watching or making that is bringing you joy?
    • Self-disclosure. Share something about yourself.

Consider creating environments where two people can explore the above with each other. At times, a formal exercise can give the necessary permission to ask deeper questions of a group or team and the mutuality is built in.

7. Help Them Help Others

Helping others helps people feel less lonely. Adam Grant, organizational psychologist and New York Times bestselling author, recently shared on his podcast that he was feeling alone one month, so he began sending emails to people telling them why he appreciated them. As a result, he felt less lonely. 

Additionally, relationships don’t have to be lasting to be meaningful. A brief forty-second positive interaction has significant impact on both people and can alleviate loneliness as long as the moment leaves an individual feeling seen. For example, offering a pen to someone who might be trying to fill out a form can make someone feel seen and less stressed.

Leaders should encourage their team to proactively look for ways to help someone else. As demonstrated by Grant, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to move from lonely to connected. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

The Complete Toolkit to Lead Remote Workers

Use these tactics and tools to keep your remote team unified, productive, and engaged.

Ubiquitous connectivity, mobile technology, shifting generational expectations, and life events (such as the COVID-19 outbreak) have all swiftly contributed to the growing number of people working from home.

Leading a remote workforce requires a different set of tools to sustain relationships and maintain productivity across a team.

Below are tactics and tools for leaders to boost engagement, create unity, and extend company culture among a remote workforce.

5 Ways Leaders Can Extend Company Culture to Remote Workers.

1. Establish a Digital Water Cooler

On a remote team, watercooler talk (random and non-work-related conversation)is nonexistent. However, there are ways to cultivate the healthy aspects of water-cooler talk with a remote team.

Slack or Basecamp are chat services that are ideal for creating "channels" where watercooler talk can happen. Labeling channels such as “LOL” or “watercooler” can create a virtual place where the team can connect and build rapport with one another.

2. Openly Knowledge Share

Leaders should consider sharing industry news, company updates, financial status, etc. via a reoccurring virtual town hall meeting. 

In addition, encouraging remote employees to share their work or non-work related knowledge is also a great way to cultivate culture. SnagIt or Screencast lets users share videos and images, and has mark up tools like blur, spotlight, magnify, and stamps that make it easy to share and teach others. Zoom or Skype are video conferencing services that also enable users to meet virtual and knowledge share.

3. Provide Recognition Digitally

High fives and pat on the backs aren’t possible when remote working. Leaders must consider new ways to recognize their team digitally. 

15Five is a continuous performance management solution that helps leaders extend digital recognition, feedback, and coaching to their remote workforce. In addition, Tango Card makes it easy to send digital rewards (e-gift cards) to your team.

Read this to understand how emojis (and other visuals) can help clarify the emotional intent of our communications. This becomes increasingly important when remote working because we are less reliant on facial expressions.

4. Send Company Swag

It’s easy for remote workers to feel disconnected from the company brand.

Sending company swag (mugs, t-shirts, phone chargers, etc.) to your remote team can help to keep them connected to the company brand. Also, since remote workers are likely working alongside family members and/or roommates, send additional swag to include them.

5. Meet In Person (Eventually)

As powerful and enabling as technology is, it can’t replace the human-to-human connection. The secret to cultivating and sustaining culture among a remote workforce, is in-person meet-ups. In-person meetings create opportunities for employees to bond, build trust, relationship build, and have fun. All core to building enduring team culture.

For example, the 900+ remote employee company, Automattic, gets the entire company together every year for a “grand meet-up” in a beautiful location.

Once you establish a healthy culture among your remote team, turn your attention to the below tactics for leading your remote workforce effectively.

6 Tactics for Effectively Leading a Remote Workforce

1. Set Clear Expectations

Remote work is usually less structured than non-remote work, therefore clear expectations are critical. Clearly outline the expectations and then offer the necessary autonomy and trust for the team to execute.

    • Mission and vision
    • Yearly, monthly, and weekly goals
    • Hours of operation
    • Available resources and tools
    • Preferred communication methods, channels, and timing
    • Contact into and guidelines for support
    • Project and/or task ownership
    • Team availability (when, where, and how to be reached)

2. Connect Consistently

A lack of consistent connection, can leave remote workers feeling isolated and disconnected from the organization's goals and mission.

    • Schedule routine virtual meetings. 
    • Designate a specific time (daily, weekly or monthly) where the entire team is online at the same time allowing for quick collaboration or help if needed.
    • Consider an "open status policy” (similar to an “open door policy”) where your online status (busy, away, available, etc.) is accurate so that remote workers know when they can connect with you. 

3. Choose the Right Channel

Today’s workers have gotten fairly good at blending digital and non-digital communications in non-remote working environments. However, in a fully remote working environment, all communications are digital and a new set of rules, know-how, and abilities are needed.

When communicating with remote workers, ensure your intended message aligns with the appropriate channel. Here is a quick overview on how to use today's primary communication channels.

    • Phone: long, detailed, difficult, and/or emotional conversations
    • Email: objective and brief information.
    • Chat: informal messages, general announcements, news, quick team collaborating, and socializing.
    • Video (Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.): focused, long, feedback-rich, emotional or difficult conversations.

4. Communicate Transparently

When communicating with a remote team, transparency is paramount. A remote team is able to be more productive and autonomous when they are well informed.

To allow a remote team to function smoothly as a single unit, make information transparent from the sense of being easily accessible and readily available by using file-sharing services like Google Docs, Dropbox, etc.

5. Track Proactively

The ability to track and measure progress is empowering to any worker, and it’s no different for remote workers. However, the tools used to track progress for remote teams can be different. Consider time tracking, task management, and/or activity tracking tools to review what the team and individuals are accomplishing.

    • Hubstaff or When I Work are time tracking tools.
    • Asana is a cloud-based task and project management tool.
    • Monday.com is a work operating system that powers teams to run processes, workflows, and projects in once digital workspace.
    • Trello helps to organize and prioritize projects and track progress. 
    • IDoneThis helps remote workers aggregate their daily activity into a single report.

6. Monitor Well-Being

Setting boundaries between personal and work can be challenging for remote workers. The new independence of a remote worker leading to laziness and low performance can be very top of mind for managers.

"The greater danger is for [remote] employees to overwork themselves and burn out. It's the manager's responsibility to guard against this outcome," says David Hansson, New York Times Bestselling author of Remote: Office Not Required, says,

Help employees take the appropriate time for themselves and maintain work-life balance by utilizing tools like OfficeVibeCultureAmp, and TINYpulse which can effectively monitor employee morale and engagement.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

How to Create Psychological Safety Among a Team

Here are seven ways to create psychological safety to re-engage and reassure today’s anxious, disengaged, and lonely workforce.

Teams can be lonely places.

People can feel vulnerable and exposed if they believe their teammates don’t support their ideas or appreciate their work. These interpersonal struggles intensify for remote workers who lack the support of a nodding ally across the table.

Amid the increased importance of workplace equality and allyship and the growing loneliness and isolation among virtual teams, it’s never been more critical that leaders create psychological safety among their teams.

Workers who feel that they can freely raise concerns, questions, and ideas without repercussion are benefiting from psychological safety. Psychological safety pays off in increased creativity, trust, and productivity among a team and is the single most important quality that determines a teams success.

However, it’s challenging for leaders to create psychological safety because by virtue of their role they have power and power is a barrier to psychological safety. In order to counterbalance the weight of their powerful role, leaders have to go out of their way to intentionally and strategically build psychological safety.

Here are six ways leaders can create psychological safety for their teams.

1. Listen to Understand

Active listening is a hallmark trait of psychological safety. Too often leaders selectively listen for information that reinforces their view or strengthens their argument. Instead, listen to understand from where they are speaking and why they have the opinion they have.

2. Conduct Proportional Conversations

Teams where a manager spoke 80 percent of the time or more were less successful than teams who practice turn-taking during discussions. Psychological safety exists when team members feel they have the opportunity to speak in roughly equal proportions to their peers. 

Conducting proportional conversations can occur throughout a week or month by making sure every team member has equal opportunity to have their voice heard or during a meeting by creating space for each individual to speak their mind.

Here are some ideas for conducting proportional conversation during meetings.

    • Preparing and sharing the meeting agenda ahead of time can help people gather their thoughts beforehand. 
    • Assign different team members to run the meeting and rotate weekly.
    • Leaders should consider smaller or one-on-one settings to continue the conversation with quieter individuals.

3. Speak Last

When leaders share their thoughts about a topic and then ask for the team’s opinion, it’s too late. By speaking first, leaders undermine the dialogue and thwart creativity because the team will be less likely to volunteer any ideas that conflict with the leaders.

The skill of holding your opinion to yourself until everyone has spoken provides leaders with the authentic and unbiased thoughts of the team and it provides team members with the feeling that they are heard and valued contributors. 

Steps for effectively speaking last:

    1. Craft open-ended, non-bias question(s). 
    2. Get comfortable sitting in silence as the team processes. 
    3. Address responses in a neutral manner, such as, “Thank you, that was an insightful answer.” 
    4. Trade comments for clarification. Resist providing any commentary and seek more clarity by stating phrases like, “Tell me more.”

4. Identify Blind Spots Together

When leaders invite others into helping identify blind spots, it’s an admission to not having all the answers. This bolsters psychological safety. Anonymous polling during in-person or virtual meetings can help draw out more diverse views since the fear of being singled out is removed. 

5. Productively Address Problems

Instead of blaming or expressing frustration when a team member brings up a problem, instead be appreciative of their insight and dedication to solving the problem. High-performing teams deliver five times as many positive statements (supportive, appreciative, encouraging) to every one negative statement (critical, disapproving, contradictory).

There are three ways leaders can handle problems. Working with the team member to identify how the problem is to be handled can create psychological safety.

    1. Leader to address the problem.
    2. Leader to assist the team member in addressing the problem.
    3. Leader to only listen about the problem.

6. Connect Contributions to Value

Humans have an innate desire for their contributions to be valued by the community. For centuries humans have found safety in numbers. Contributions that add value to a tribe or team safeguard the contributor from being excluded and vulnerable. 

Help team members feel safe knowing their contribution at work is valued. One way to do this is by helping team members identify the beneficiaries of their labor. When workers can connect the work they do to the person who benefits from their labor, not only has performance been proven to increase but more purpose is found in the work. For example, scholarship fundraisers felt more motivated to secure donations when they had contact with scholarship recipients.

7. Switch Video On and Off

Seeing people’s faces during a video call can create engagement and provide helpful visual cues and non-verbal agreement. However, low bandwidth can cause delays resulting in miscommunication, too much visual stimuli can be distracting, and self-consciousness can increase when people are able to see themselves which all inhibits psychological safety. At times, an audio-only option could be a more effective option.

According to a recent study, voice-only communication enhanced emphatic accuracy. When visual social cues are absent people tend to spend more time focused on the content, context, and tone of voice. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

This Question Is the Foundation of Psychological Safety

Leaders who address this one question for their team will gain their full attention, effort, and loyalty.

In your gut, down your spinal column, and in the deepest recesses of your mind lingers the most fundamental question of humanity. It’s the question the entire human body is asking every second of every day.

If leaders answer this one question, they’ll win the head, heart, and hands of employees resulting in better engagement, performance, and retention.

This question is the root of the most common questions that workers ask themselves every day, such as... 
    • Do I have what it takes to do my job?
    • Do I have the knowledge to speak up during a meeting?
    • Do I have enough money to provide for my family?
    • Do I have the confidence to ask for a promotion?
    • Do I have the wisdom to lead my team effectively?

The question behind the above questions—and most other questions we ask ourselves—is the much simpler question that drives human behavior…

Am I safe? 

No matter age, role, or status, every human is unconsciously and repeatedly asking themselves this one question.

"Am I safe” is the cornerstone of each of the three primary human needs: survive, belong, and become.

For the survive need, humans ask, “Do I have food, water, and shelter?” Satisfying these primary human needs leads directly to safety.

For the belong need, humans ask, “Am I contributing and is that contribution valued?” When the early humans who roamed the plains were excluded from their tribe (likely due to lack of valued contribution to the community), they became instantly vulnerable. Today humans still avoid exclusion in order to remain safe. Belonging equates to safety.

For the become need, humans ask, “Am I living my full potential?” By striving towards full potential, humans are seeking safety from regret. Regret for not living life fully and doing what they were called to do. Safety also comes in the form of security in one’s ability to perform well and sustain a fruitful career. 

How can leaders move a team members beyond safety seeking?

Create psychological safety.

Psychological safety is a place “where one feels that one’s voice is welcome with bad news, questions, concerns, half-baked ideas, and even mistakes,” says Amy Edmondson author of The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation and Growth.

Much like hunger or thirst, fulfill the human need of psychological safety and the mind and body are freed to focus on loftier goals. 

When psychological safety is created people are freed to ask questions, raise concerns, and pitch ideas without unnecessary repercussions. Amid increased importance of equality and ally-ship at work; and growing loneliness among virtual teams, psychological safety is invaluable for today’s organizations.

Leaders who create psychological safety among a team reap...

Psychological safety increases the confidence, creativity, and trust among a team and is the single most important quality that determines a team’s success. Additionally, one of the most important benefits of psychological safety is innovation.

In a world where black swans lurk around every corner, it’s critical a team feels safe enough to show up without a playbook and challenge the status quo. Psychological safety then allows a team to take action, freely admit mistakes, and talk through errors allowing for fast learning and quick iteration.

The absence of psychological safety represses innovation, stunts engagement, slows performance, and decreases loyalty among a team.

Psychological safety is the wellspring of innovation, engagement, performance, and loyalty.

One of the most integral aspects of leadership is the ability to satisfy a team’s deep desire to feel…safe.

For six ways to create psychological safety, read my recent article titled, How to Create Psychological Safety Among a Team.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

How to Raise the EQ of Your Digital Messages

Here are four reasons to use more emojis at work.

We aren’t communicating as well as we think.

Ninety percent of the time people think their emails and texts are understood by recipients, but actually the messages are understood only 50 percent of the time, according to Nick Morgan, author of Can You Hear Me? How to Connect with People in a Virtual World.

For example, according to Morgan, recipients of a two-word email or text such as "nice job" or "great work” interpret the message as sarcastic 60 percent of the time.

Why do people misinterpret so frequently?

Humans have a tendency to assume the worst when the intent of communication isn’t clear. The negative bias that once alerted the brain of cavemen and cavewomen of potential dangers, like bears or alligators, is still very active in the minds of today’s modern workers. 

How do we overcome negative biases hijacking the intended meanings of our communications and ensure our messages aren’t misunderstood 50 percent of the time?

Use emojis.

4 Reasons to Use More Emojis at Work

1. Emoji acceptance is growing.

An early indicator of how culturally-ingrained emojis had become was in 2015 when the Oxford Dictionaries' “Word of the Year” wasn’t a word but actually the emoji, 😂.

Sixty-one percent of emoji users use emojis at work. Twenty-six million custom emojis have been created in Slack since the “Add Custom Emoji” feature was introduced and “emoji use is basically universal” for the 13 million daily active users of Microsoft's unified communication and collaboration platform, Teams.

2. Emojis help clarify emotional intent.

Research indicates that the same part of the brain that processes human faces also processes emojis. When an emoji conveys a human emotion, it can be transferred in a text. Therefore, emojis help communicators manage the emotional tone of digital messages. And emojis help recipients interpret the tone of digital messages.

For example, an “Ok” text from someone can be interpreted as acceptance, apathy, submissive, passive aggressive, or others. But an "Ok 😃” text is easily interpreted as positive acceptance. Adding an emoji removes the emotional ambiguity. Emojis can also create more efficiency by quickly conveying the intent and context that would otherwise be missing in a message.

Unsure what emoji to use for a certain emotion? Use Emojipedia to search emojis by emotions or other categories.

3. Emojis enhance relationships.

The proper use of emojis help people form relationships and understand one another, according to a recent review of 50 studies on the use and impacts of emojis in communication.

More specifically, when emojis are used at work, the majority of emoji users feel they positively impact likability (78 percent) and credibility (63 percent), and make positive news more sincere (74 percent). And 81 percent of emoji users believe that people who use emojis are friendlier and more approachable. 

In addition, 94 percent of emoji users said the “ability to communicate across language barriers” was the greatest benefit of using emojis.

4. Emojis can close the generational gap.

While using emojis at work is becoming more commonplace, many of the mixed views of emojis can be explained largely by age. In general, the emerging generations (Millennials and Gen Z) place more value on using emojis while established generations (Gen X and Baby Boomers) tend to view emojis as unprofessional and counterproductive.

Professionals over 45 years-old, are more likely to say that emoji use at work is inappropriate versus appropriate. In addition...

    • Only 15 percent think emojis improve workplace communication
    • 29 percent say it makes colleagues look unprofessional; the number jumps to 36 percent when upper management uses them
    • 22 percent say it makes colleagues come across as either annoying, less genuine, or less competent

Conversely, young professionals overwhelming view emojis as appropriate for work. In fact, only 17 percent of young adults consider emoji use unprofessional.

Using emojis with Gen Z is a low risk, high return way to connect with and influence the next-generation workforce.

Here are a few reasons emojis might be the answer to closing the generational gap when communicating with Gen Z.

  1. Emojis are native to them.
  1. Emojis are “work-appropriate” to them.
  1. Emojis elicit truer emotion.
    • 58 percent of Gen Z feel emojis best express their emotions, compared to 48 percent of Millennials, 34 percent of Gen X and 37 percent of Boomers. And 83 percent of Gen Zare more comfortable expressing their emotions through emojis than a phone call, compared to 71 percent of Millennials, 61 percent of Gen X and 53 percent of Baby Boomers.
  1. Emojis improve perceptions.
    • When a colleague uses emojis in their communications with Gen Z, Gen Z finds them to be more fun (50 percent), more approachable (43 percent), and kinder (35 percent).
  1. Emojis can show support.
  1. Emojis allow expression.

Beyond emojis, sending GIFs to Gen Z can provide similar benefits as highlighted above. However, there can be greater risk of misinterpretation with GIFs as certain cultural references depicted in the GIF may not extend across generations. When using a GIF be sure the Gen Z recipient will get the intent behind the reference.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is the Future of Work

Technology, Generation Z, and neuroscience are all contributing to emotional intelligence being the future of work.

Emotional intelligence is the future of work.

Human emotion is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Emotions start wars and create peace; spark love and force divorce. While unavoidable, emotions are also indispensable sources of orientation and propel us to take action. But unbridled emotion can make us and those around us to act irrationally. 

Emotional intelligence is a relatively new construct, but its impact on how we work will be significant moving forward. The first academic article on emotional intelligence appeared in 1990, but the topic didn’t become mainstream until Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify and manage one’s personal emotions and the emotions of others. Knowing how you'd feel in a certain situation helps you to gauge how others will feel in a similar environment thus enabling favorable social interactions and evoking favorable reactions from others.

Emotional intelligent people gain social aptitudes such as the ability to resolve conflict, teach others, or manage teams. 

The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence

Rising rates of loneliness, depression, and mental health concerns represent an opportunity for companies and leaders to embrace emotional intelligence in order to reengage people at work and life. 

According to Google’s famous Project Aristotle initiative, a high-performing team needs three things: 1) a strong awareness of the importance of social connections or “social sensitivity,” 2) an environment where each person speaks equally, and 3) psychological safety where everyone feels safe to show and employ themselves without fear of negative consequences. To harness these three elements of a successful team, it takes an emotionally intelligent leader.

People feel cared for when these three items are present among a team or organization. People that feel cared for are more loyal, engaged, and productive.

In fact, employees who feel cared for by their organization are…

    • 10x more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work.
    • 9x more likely to stay at their company for three or more years.
    • 7x more likely to feel included at work.
    • 4x less likely to suffer from stress and burnout.
    • 2x as likely to be engaged at work.

Why Emotional Intelligence is the Future of Work

1. Deep Human Needs

The three core human needs of work (and life) are to survive, belong, and become. Much like Maslovs Hierarchy of Needs, once humans fulfill the need of food, water, and shelter they will then seek to be accepted for who they are, and then finally to learn and grow to become their best selves.

As the world advances, more and more survival needs are being consistently met causing the workforce to turn their attention to the next tier of needs, most immediately being belonging. Emotionally intelligent leaders are capable of extending belonging to their teams.

2. Technology Will Enhance Humanity

The Industrial Revolution required strong workers. The Information Age required knowledgeable workers. The future age of work will require emotionally intelligent workers. 

As the world fills with more sophisticated technology such as artificial intelligence and 5G, human skills like compassion and empathy will define the competitive edge of workers and entire organizations.

In addition, as the world becomes more high-tech, there will be a desire and opportunity for more high-touch. As technology advances, it will take on a lot of the work that humans aren’t good at, don’t like, or too dangerous. This will leave us with more time and capacity to show up emotionally for each other.

For example, if artificial intelligence can diagnose diseases with greater accuracy than a doctor, doctors will have more margin to deliver the much needed human elements of empathy and compassion to patients. Or if robots can assemble a customer’s meal more accurately and efficiently than a human, that creates an opportunity for a human to get out from behind the counter to hold the door for a customer or meet them at their car during a rainstorm.

3. Work and Life Blending

Not only are emotions finding their way into work, but workers want it more.

A pervasive myth exists that emotions don’t belong at work, and this often leads us to mistakenly equate professionalism with being stoic or cold.

The boundaries between work and life continue to blur. People are bringing more work home, and more personal life is spilling into work. Try as we might, we cannot flip a switch and leave our pain, joy, sorrow, and excitement at the office door. Emotions travel with us.

According to Liz Fossien, co-author of the Wall Street Journal best-seller, No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, “In the moments when our colleagues drop their glossy professional presentation, we are much more likely to believe what they are telling us. We feel connected to the people around us. We try harder. Perform better. And we are just generally kinder. So it’s about time we learn how to embrace emotion at work."

4. Evolving Employer-Employee Relationship

In the past, the employer-employee relationship was very transactional. Punch in, punch out, and collect a check. But in today’s always-on work culture, the boundaries of the employee-employer relationship are expanding. And considering work is the activity people spend the most time engaged with after sleep, employees are expecting more from the workplace.

More and more employers are leaning into the highly emotional aspects of their employees’ lives. For example, Hilton offers an adoption assistance program that will reimburse Team Members for qualified adoption expense up to $10,000 per child, with no limit to the number of adoptions. Facebook offers employees up to 20 days of bereavement leave in the event of a family member’s death. 

As employees seek more from their employers, moving from employing to empowering will serve employers well. 

5. Generation Z Demands It

Companies are struggling to adapt to the evolving emotional needs of their workforce. This is especially true among the emerging generations as 18-to-25-year olds have the highest prevalence of serious mental illness compared to other age groups, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Additionally Gen Z is the loneliest generation in the workplace with 73 percent reporting sometimes or always feeling alone.

It’s not surprising then that more than any other generation, Gen Z wants their managers to be empathetic, according to The Center for Generational Kinetics' 2020 study, Solving the Remote Work Challenge Across Generations.

If the youth is the future and Gen Z are lonely and psychologically stressed then the future of work must be emotional intelligent.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

How to Raise Your Emotional Intelligence in 3 Steps

Three steps and questions to lead with greater emotional intelligence.

A pervasive myth still exists. This myth stifles wellbeing and performance at work.

The myth is that emotions don’t belong at work. That workers can flip a switch and shed all of their fear, joy, sorrow, and hope at the door of work. This myth leads many to behave cold and stoical throughout their professional lives.

Not only is feeling feelings part of being human, but research shows that when coworkers drop their polished professional presence, those around them experience a boost in trust, kindness, performance, and connection. Divorcing ourselves from our personal lives is not only unfortunate, but it’s bad business. 

This is why emotional intelligence will be the hallmark of the most successful leaders and organizations of the future. In my recent article, 5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Is the Future of Work, I highlight how technology, Generation Z, and neuroscience are all contributing to emotional intelligence being the future of work. 

The ability to identify and manage one’s personal emotions and the emotions of others will be an advantageous skill for leaders as mental health concerns, depression, and loneliness continue to rise in the modern workforce.

If leaders can’t get comfortable wading into emotional waters, they run the risk of never fully solving the problems of their team or customers because empathy, a core pillar of emotional intelligence, is required to fully problem solve. As Bill Gates stated in his 2014 Stanford University commencement speech, “If we have optimism, but we don’t have empathy then it doesn’t matter how much we master the secrets of science. We’re not really solving problems; we’re just working on puzzles.”

Emotions aren’t a problem to solve but a tension to manage. How leaders successfully manage that daily tension is with emotional intelligence.

According to Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, emotional intelligence is a better predictor of academic success, job performance, and life success than someone’s intelligence quotient (IQ). And, unlike IQ, people can increase their emotional intelligence throughout life. Here are three steps to become more emotionally intelligent.

1. Find balance on the emotional spectrum

A line exists between sharing our feelings that builds trust and oversharing which erodes trust. Oversharing can undermine influence, elicit discomfort in others, and demonstrate a lack of self-awareness.

Most people either let their emotions drive the car of their life or they lock their emotion out of the car. Neither are ideal. Emotions help us navigate the world. They shouldn’t be driving or locked out but rather in the passenger seat where they are visible, included, and used for guidance.

Emotional expression is a wide spectrum. At one extreme are under emoters, people who prefer just the facts or have a hard time accessing their feelings. At the other extreme are over emoters, people who are constantly sharing their feelings. Neither of these extremes are healthy. Those who are prone to oversharing, consider editing. Those who are more reserved, look for moments to open up and be more vulnerable or relatable.

Emotional intelligence is about finding the balance on this spectrum. Recognize and manage feelings without being controlled by them.

Strike the right emotional balance with selective sharing. Open up while still prioritizing psychological safety and stability for both yourself and others. Selective sharing can be achieved in the following ways:

    • Flag Feelings: If a feeling is non-work related or isn’t associated with the a particular individual, then flag the feeling without going into detail by telling the individual that you are having a tough day and it has nothing to do with work or them. 
    • Need Identification: Identify the need behind the emotion. If a looming deadline has you feeling anxious or worried, the need behind the emotion might be to ask your team to put a plan in place that ensures the deadline is met.

Emotional intelligence question to ask yourself: What emotional expression do I bring to work each day?

2. Strive for relatability over vulnerability

Emotional intelligence seems to be inextricably linked to vulnerability. While vulnerability can be a valuable tool, too often—for leaders especially—it can position someone as weak and erode confidence among a team. Leaders should instead strive for relatability.

By definition, being relatable establishes a social or sympathetic relationship with others. Asking “Am I relatable?” or “What’s it like to be on the other side of me?" force you to consider the circumstances of the person you're interacting with which creates an opportunity to empathize. 

Here are two ways others can relate to you as a person, not just a professional.

    • Tell your story: Replace the polished professional presence with relatable stories of discomfort, doubts, or delight in a way that is authentic and in service of others. People listen autobiographically to storytellers so when you tell a personal story, others are listening through the lens of their own life. Share where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going in order to become more relatable.
    • Ask to hear a story: People long to be seen, heard, and belong. Ask thoughtful and open-ended questions of the people you serve that allows them to respond in story. Often the stories we ask to hear are much better than the stories we tell.

Emotional intelligence questions to ask yourself: Am I relatable? What’s it like to be on the other side of me? 

3. Actively listen to understand and identify

Famed entrepreneur and author, Jim Rohn, said “As a leader, you should always start with where people are before you try to take them where you want them to go.”  Too often people listen for an opportunity to insert their comment, point, or argument. Instead, emotionally intelligent leaders will actively listen to understand and identify the emotion behind the story or behavior.

Here are a few phrases to assist with active listening.

  • Tell me more. Fight the urge to insert your insight or advice into a conversation but instead simply state, “Tell me more." This provides the necessary margin for people to continue to share and further communicate how they feel.
  • How did we get here? Experienced FBI negotiators don’t tell the culprit what to do or not to do. They first seek understanding by asking, “How did we get here?” This question is helpful in evoking a story or more context about the current situation.
  • What drives you to show up every day? This is a helpful question to explore with an entire team. Answering this question among a team will establish relatability and accelerate trust.

Emotional intelligence question to ask yourself: Am I listening to comment or understand and identify?

Are emotions messy? Yes. Are emotions inescapable? Yes. The choice to sweep under the rug or steward to success is up to leaders.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

How to Improve Communication With Your Remote Team

Here are three communication tips to increase productivity, empathy, and performance among a remote team.

Remote work has worked. 

Halo Top, the reduced-calorie ice cream brand, grew from $230,000 in 2013 to more than $100 million in 2018 and they achieved that growth with all 75 employees working remotely.

Remote work has to work. 

Eighty-three precent of office workers want to work from home at least one day a week, and 55 percent of employers anticipate that most of their workers will do so long after COVID-19 is not a concern. Global Workplace Analytics predicts that thirty million US employees will regularly work from home within the next two years which is six times as many as did before

Remote work has to be worked.

Forty four percent of high-level executives are “completely confident” that their companies can maintain employee engagement during COVID conditions, but only 25% of employees feel the same. And 48 percent of high-level executives are “completely confident” they can maintain good communication between themselves and employees during the crisis, while only 28% of employees agree.

Workers won’t be returning to the same workplace they left behind. All workers will need to discover new ways to collaborate, connect, and perhaps most importantly... communicate.

3 Ways to Improve Communication With Your Remote Team

1. Schedule Times for “Bursty” Communication

A “bursty” communication style, where ideas are communicated and responded to quickly, leads to a 24 percent performance increase among remote teams

A remote team can cultivate burstiness by identifying a common day and time (Tuesdays from 3-4pm EST for example) where the entire team is online and prepared to engage with any team communications. Using communication channels like text, chat, or email synchronously instead of asynchronously during times of burstiness enables teams to achieve higher performance. Productivity and engagement increase when team members know someone is ready to immediately respond to their communications. 

Scheduling bursts of activity is particularly important for teams distributed across different time zones or who may have varying work schedules. Burstiness differs from meetings in that there is no set agenda and the central goal is the rapid exchange of information and/or ideas.

Burstiness allows remote team members to align their activities where the result is energetic and focused collaboration.

2. Clarify the Emotional Intent of the Communication

Vague digital communications such as “Sure” or “Fine,” can leave recipients spending unproductive time and energy reading into the emotional intent behind the text. In fact, 90 percent of the time people think their emails and texts are understood be recipients but the messages are understood only 50 percent of the time. As digital communications grow, the lack of facial expressions and tone of voice leave more room for misinterpretation. For example, 60 percent of the time a two-word email or text is interpreted as sarcastic.

When the intent of a message isn’t clear, humans will fill in the gaps using a negative bias and will assume the worst. In order to avoid negative biases hijacking the intended meaning of your digital communications, clarify the emotional intent of your communications.

Here are two ways to clarify the emotional intent of your communications:
    • Use emojis. The same part of the brain that processes human faces also processes emojis. Emojis can help close the generational gap, enhance relationships and have become more prevalent at work.
    • Use more descriptive words. Instead of texting “Ok,” which can be interpreted in many different ways such as apathy, submission, passive aggressive or acceptance, consider adding more description such as “Ok, happy to follow up with the client later today.” The word “happy” removes the emotional ambiguity and clarifies the emotional intent.

3. Communicate Using Voice Only

Voice-only communication enhances emphatic accuracy. While working remotely, it’s tempting to turn on video for every interaction. However, if you want to know what someone is feeling, you might be better off just hearing their voice. In experiments, people read other people’s emotions more accurately when the room lights were turned off or when the video feed was disabled. When virtual cues are absent, people tend to focus more on the conversation content and tone of voice of the person speaking.

Additionally, deciding to turn off video during communications can allow introverts to more fully contribute. Introverts are more sensitive to stimulus and consistent eye contact or visual stimuli can be overwhelming and exhausting for them.

Video communications is very useful, especially when establishing trust with someone, however, when trust is established considering using voice-only. Next time someone asks you which video platform you prefer for the meeting, tell them audio.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.

5 Steps for Better Smartphone Etiquette

Whether at work or home, these five tips will ensure your smartphone doesn’t get the best of you.

.Ninety-two percent of Americans believe smartphone addiction is real but most underestimate just how much they use their smartphone. Sixty percent of people think they touch their phone 100 times or less per day, however, a typical user taps, touches, or swipes their phone 2,617 times per day. 

In my opinion, smartphones offer more benefits than risks. GPS, camera, transportation (Uber and Bird), education (podcasts and audio books), note taking, and search are just a few of the benefits I don’t want to live without. But I also don’t want to live without giving my work and my family my full focus. Always available translates to being never fully available.

If the risks of smartphones remain unchecked, the devices can encroach on our relationships and productivity in the workplace and at home. The mishandling of smartphones can result in...

5 Steps for Better Smartphone Etiquette

1. Understand your usage

Getting control of your smartphone usage starts with understanding how you use it.

Enable features that provide data on how your using your smartphone. Apple’s new iOS 12 offers Screen Time which highlights most used apps, time on the device, pick-ups, and more. Google offers a similar feature called “Digital Wellbeing.”

2. Supervise your settings

Google's “Wind Down” feature sets your phone into Do Not Disturb mode where no notifications will show and the feature puts the entire screen (or designated apps) in grayscale mode which discourages use. With Apple’s new Do Not Disturb setting users can quiet notifications at set times or locations (such as your favorite lunch restaurant) and turn on auto-reply texts to inform contacts of your unreachability.

Addictive apps like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have also begun introducing similar features where users can track their usage, gain more control over notifications, and set daily usage limits. Email and other tools like Slack, can also be controlled to snooze at certain times to ensure users are fully available at the appropriate times.

3. Curb your checking

Resist the urge to check your phone every time it dings, pings, or rings. Ride the arc of the craving to check and consciously choose not to check. Every time you successfully beat the urge to check your phone, you strengthen your resolve of resisting your phone. Dishes aren’t washed every time a single plate is dirtied. Dishes are done in batches. In the same way, batch your responses to ensure you don’t lose focus. Manage the tech, don’t let tech manage you.

For the communications that are absolutely critical or urgent, identify a communication channel for emergencies only, such as calling.

4. Announce your activity

When someone checks their phone during a conversation, both parties are immediately and momentarily disconnected from the conversation. This can cause resentment on one side and mental (and sometimes emotional) detachment on the other side. Instead, announce your activity and narrate out loud why you're checking your phone during the conversation, such as “let me check my calendar to see if I’m available,” or “allow me to check my flight departure time.” Announcing your activity keeps both parties actively engaged in the conversation.

If you don’t have a good reason to narrate your phone activity then keep your phone away. This will also help to curb your checking.

5. Accentuate your alternatives

Emotion drives attention. This is why it’s so easy to slip into the mindless scrolling of social feeds, because it inserts us into the lives of those we care about. To make checking your phone less appealing, engage yourself through a better alternative. Find ways to attach emotion and meaning to the work and tasks you do everyday. (Read this for a few tips for engaging smartphone-distracted employees.)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins, CSP® (Certified Speaking Professional)™, is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker, virtual trainer, and author of Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams From Isolated to All-In. For a decade, he has helped organizations lessen worker loneliness, create inclusive cultures, and prepare for the future of work. He is also co-founder of LessLonely.com, the premier resource for addressing workplace loneliness. Follow his latest insights at @RyanAndSteven.

Need help strengthening the connections across your team or organization? Contact us today to see how our experts, assessments, or other services can help.