Connection and Moments That Matter

August 7, 2020 Lynne Levy

4-minute read

David Stott

In a matter of months, the COVID-19 pandemic radically transformed work. Offices are empty except for essential workers. The future of work is here and now. 

To talk through these changes, the Northeast Human Resources Association (NEHRA) and Workhuman® hosted a webinar featuring Workhuman Senior Solution Consultant David Stott titled, "What's Next Starts Now: Rearchitecting Your Total Rewards Pie to Drive Employee Connection." 

How to drive connection

During Workhuman® Livestream, Simon Sinek said, “This experience we are all going through has underscored the importance and value of human connection." Organizations must consider ways to foster this sense of connection with employees to drive engagement. And yet, traditional programs in the world of performance and reward were created for a very different workplace. For example, SHRM found only 37% of organizations believe their base pay programs effectively drive performance. 

The key is to create moments that matter, leading to a more connected workforce. David walked the audience through three powerful words that create human moments: thank, talk, and celebrate. The words themselves are simple, but the impact is significant. When practiced routinely, these moments can help organizations build high-trust, high-performing, connected cultures.


The research proves it; gratitude creates a physiological response that decreases stress. When gratitude is expressed, the brain relaxes, and a relaxed brain is a productive brain. Workhuman research has found:

•       Workers who have been thanked for their work in the past 30 days report experiencing significantly less stress versus their other hardworking peers. 

•       Workers thanked in the last month at companies that have been through a significant change in the previous year are nearly twice as likely to trust in their company's leadership team. 

In the past, it was up to the manager to recognize good behavior. The challenge is managers do not have the visibility to understand the day-to-day work that all their employees are doing, especially in a remote environment. The key is to leverage everyone an employee works with to amplify the great work being done. 

Organizations are being judged by how they treat their employees through these challenging times. And when the world moves beyond this crisis, employees will have lots of options. Star performers will question whether they’re at the right company. Gratitude and recognition are tools to help energize your employee base and keep them committed and inspired.


Ensuring managers are checking in with employees is critical to build and maintain connections right now. David said a check-in is about asking, “How is the human?' Some questions to consider asking during a check-in include:

•       How's your head? How are you holding up mentally? What is most worrisome or distracting to you?

•       How's your heart? How are you feeling? What emotions are you experiencing? Where are you finding positive emotions right now?

•       How's your health? Have you been taking care of yourself? Are you caring for your (and your family’s) wellness?

Workhuman’s Conversations® solution focused on continuous performance management includes tools to enable leaders to have productive, effective check-ins. Data from Workhuman shows that the weekly check-in rates surged during the pandemic with a 154% increase in check-ins from February to March, with a peak in April. 

Once you understand how the human is doing, you can move onto the more operational work, including performance. But even when talking about performance, you need to start with positivity and recognition. When a manager recognizes an employee’s positive contributions, the employee can open their head and heart to development feedback.


If you want to build a culture of togetherness, remember to celebrate milestoneslife events, and the community. When these celebrations happen with the people an employee works with, work starts to become like family. For example, Workhuman found that when employees are very/somewhat satisfied with the celebration of life events, they are nearly 2x as likely to agree their company is a good place to work. In addition, the organization is 95% more likely to have won awards for its culture. 


We have the opportunity to rebuild the experience of work through the lens of human moments that matter. Though we’re in a period of disruption, by creating these shared moments, we build a culture that is both humanizing and creates a sense of shared purpose. And the more human moments an employee experiences, the more effective the business outcomes

A more human workplace begins with the mindset that it's up to each of us to celebrate and capture these unfolding human moments. When you can deliver on these types of human moments, employees feel seen and know they belong.


Josh Bersin and the 'Big Heart Reset'

Recognition Is Not a Nice-to-Have – It’s a Must-Have

This Is the Time to Reach Out Even Further, Not Hunker Down

About the Author

Lynne Levy

Lynne Levy is a Workhuman evangelist who lives and breathes helping organizations build cultures that bring out the best in the employees. Her mantra is “do what you love, love what you do.”

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