Many individuals and organizations today are in a funk.
Employee engagement is at a low point and the slide down began long before the Great Recession. Research generally shows that 90 percent of employees don’t feel connected to their supervisor or colleagues at work and are either not engaged and giving their best efforts or not aligning their behavior with organizational goals. Is it any wonder that our economy is struggling?
Research shows that many individuals today are lonely, anxious and depressed. Depression medication is now a 10 billion dollar business. Even more children report feeling anxious and depressed. They sense that something is wrong although though they don’t understand why.
The problem today is hidden in plain sight. We are sorely deficient of what I refer to as connection (also known as community, social capital, belonging or meaningful relationships). How did we get to this state? Over the last century we grew myopic and obsessed with increasing efficiency and productivity and forgot that human beings need time for relationships too.
If you’re skeptical, I invite you to take a look at The Connection Culture Manifesto, the Hardwired to Connect report by the Committee for Children at Risk, and The Lonely Society report by the Mental Health Foundation in the UK. Several excellent books also address the issue of declining connection in society including Bowling Alone, The American Paradox and The Loss of Happiness in Market Democracies.
What can you do? Although it’s simple, it isn’t easy. Take time to connect. Reach out to the people in your life, set up times to meet for coffee a walk or a meal and then slow down and focus on being present with those you spend time with. Find out what’s going on in their lives at work and outside of work. Do this daily, if at all possible.
It used to be said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away but research from a variety of fields makes it clear that connection with others and with meaning in life is the real daily requirement that helps human beings survive and thrive.
So what are you waiting for? Just connect.