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Communication Is Valuable Workplace Currency.

Success is a direct outcome of investing in connecting.

“Only connect.” ​​​​​The simplicity of author E. M. Forster’s prescription for humanity, underscoring the value of personal relationships, is really very complex.

Only connect. How do we connect in a society of empty over-connectedness and constant pinging? How do employers grow to truly understand what their people value, who they are as individuals and what talents they bring to the group? How can workplaces foster connections that go deeper than a team project or company outing? ​​​​​​

There’s no single answer. And it’s not easy. But developing meaningful connections with employees that validate their worth and contributions is increasingly important in the modern workplace.

Amelia Dunlop calls it “elevating the human experience.”

The Chief Experience Officer at Deloitte Digital delivered a keynote at the 2024 In-Value-Able Conference & Expo. As a precursor to her book, Elevating the Human Experience: Three Paths to Love and Worth at Work, Dunlop conducted a quantitative study to better understand these feelings, maintaining that when our worth, humanity and authentic selves are valued, individuals and organizations perform at a higher level.​​​​​
Success is a direct outcome from investing in connecting.

In her role, Dunlop leads a team of problem solvers who use human-centered design and customer insights strategies to help businesses shift their focus from the customer experience to the human experience. This means valuing our interactions and relationships with employees as an integral aspect of delivering excellent client service. It means working from the inside out.
“Elevating the human experience is necessary because workplaces have exacerbated, if not created, the problems of burnout, lack of inclusion, lack of diversity, and lack of meaning and purpose,” Dunlop says.

She adds, “Elevating the human experience is necessary because it leads to more productive and creative outcomes at work.”​​​​​​

Dunlop’s research revealed that workers who believe their employers rate high in humanity, genuinely caring about their experience, are 2.5 times more likely than their peers to be motivated at work and 1.5 times more likely to take on extra responsibilities or go above and beyond.

We need to make it a priority to create work environments with open communication, understanding employees as people—what is truly important to them from multiple perspectives: life, health and wellness, career, and community.

The real life balance is about acknowledging that life happens at work, and work is a significant part of life.

Individuals want to know their employers recognize their identity as more than a job description. Statistics back up this attitude. In 2017, 24% of respondents to a Pew survey said their career was important to their identity. In 2021, 17% expressed this view.

To compete for talent, employers are recognizing they must make quality of life at work a priority. The only way to achieve this is through connecting authentically with our people to deliver the benefits and work environment that affirms their worth, includes their voices and, as a result, makes a positive impact internally and externally.

Communication is valuable workforce currency.

Case in point: Dunlop’s research uncovered that Gen Z is asking employers for two things. Not a bigger paycheck or more time off. This twenty-something population—including soon-to-enter the workforce teens—wants an employer who practices patience and empathy. Today, Gen Z makes up 36% of the workforce.

Patience and empathy are essential for reacting in real time because life is happening. By centering our focus on improving communication, we will better understand the conditions and circumstances our employees face, and how to support them by offering health and wellness benefits designed to address our populations’ needs.

Doing so tells them, “We hear you. We understand you. We value you.”

About Health Action Council 
Health Action Council
 is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid-and large-size employers that enhance human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services, and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents, and retirees. Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders – health plans, physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry – to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community.

Patty Starr bio image

About the author

Patty Starr

Patty Starr is president and CEO of Health Action Council and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the organization--build stronger, healthier communities where business can thrive. 

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