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Employee connection lies at the heart of a thriving workplace culture. In an era where the lines between professional and personal life are increasingly blurred, fostering meaningful connections among employees has emerged as a strategic imperative for organizations. 

A strong sense of connection transcends beyond mere social interactions; it encompasses shared values, common goals, and a genuine feeling of belonging. When employees feel connected to their peers, supervisors, and the larger purpose of their work, the results are transformative. Productivity soars, creativity flourishes, and job satisfaction reaches new heights. 

In this article, we delve into the significance of employee connection and unveil proven strategies that companies can embrace to cultivate a more cohesive, engaged, and ultimately more successful workforce.

15 strategies to boost employee connection

Here are 15 strategies to boost employee connection in detail:

1. Implement cross-functional projects

Encourage employees from different departments or teams to collaborate on projects. This not only diversifies their work experience but also facilitates interaction with colleagues they might not have interacted with otherwise. Cross-functional projects help break down silos, promote knowledge sharing, and create stronger bonds between individuals.

Google is known for encouraging cross-functional collaboration through its famous "20% time" policy. Employees are encouraged to spend 20% of their workweek on projects that may not be directly related to their job roles.

This strategy has helped improve employee engagement by giving them the freedom to work on projects they are passionate about.

Google News and Gmail are two notable products that originated from 20% time projects, showcasing the power of cross-functional collaboration in fostering innovation.

2. Establish mentorship and buddy programs

Pair experienced employees with newer ones to create a mentorship or buddy system. This offers opportunities for guidance, skill development, and personal connection. Mentors can provide insights, advice, and a supportive relationship, which enhances the sense of belonging for newer employees.

Facebook is known for its strong mentorship programs. They pair experienced employees with newer hires to provide guidance and support as they acclimate to the company culture and job roles.

This strategy has helped improve employee engagement by fostering a sense of belonging, helping new employees integrate quickly, and providing them with valuable guidance.

Having mentors and buddies help employees feel more connected and have the opportunity to learn from experienced colleagues.

3. Regular team-building activities

Organize regular team-building activities that focus on fostering trust, communication, and collaboration among team members. These activities could range from problem-solving challenges and outdoor outings to virtual team-building games. The shared experiences help build camaraderie and create lasting memories.

Zappos, an online retailer, is known for its unique approach to team building. They have a "Culture Book" that's created by employees themselves, sharing their experiences and thoughts about the company's culture.

Additionally, Zappos organizes events like "Zappos Family Field Day" and "Zappos Insights Culture Camp" to foster a sense of community and teamwork.

These activities have helped in improving employee engagement by creating a strong bond among employees and making them feel like part of a close-knit family, which is central to Zappos' culture.

4. Open and transparent communication

Cultivate an environment where communication is open, transparent, and inclusive. Regularly share company updates, successes, and challenges to keep employees informed. Transparent communication helps employees feel connected to the organization's journey and fosters a sense of belonging.

Salesforce is well-known for its commitment to transparency. They hold regular "Ohana" (Hawaiian for "family") meetings, where leadership openly discusses company performance, future plans, and answers employee questions.

Salesforce also has an internal social platform called "Chatter" that encourages open communication at all levels of the organization. This strategy has improved employee engagement by fostering a culture of trust and involvement.

Employees feel valued and informed, which leads to a stronger connection to the company's mission and values.

5. Create a social intranet or digital platform

Implement a social intranet or digital platform where employees can connect, share updates, celebrate achievements, and engage in discussions. This platform can mimic social media features, allowing employees to interact and build connections even outside of formal work-related interactions.

Microsoft uses an internal platform called "Microsoft Teams" to connect and engage employees. This platform facilitates communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing across the organization.

It has improved employee engagement by making it easier for employees to connect with their colleagues, share ideas, and work together, especially in a remote or geographically dispersed environment.

Microsoft Teams has played a crucial role during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling seamless remote work and maintaining a sense of community.

Effectively engage employees through recognition, rewards, and surveys, with seamless integration of Microsoft Teams and Empuls. See how the Empuls and Microsoft Teams integration works.

6. Recognition and appreciation programs

Institute formal recognition and appreciation programs that celebrate employees' achievements, both big and small. Publicly acknowledge their efforts through awards, shout-outs in team meetings, or dedicated recognition events. Feeling valued and appreciated strengthens the bond between employees and the organization.

Southwest Airlines has a well-regarded recognition and appreciation program called the "Southwest Spirit”. This program emphasizes employee recognition as a core part of the company culture.

Employees, known as "Southwest Warriors," can recognize and appreciate their peers for exceptional customer service, teamwork, and living the company's values.

7. Volunteer and community engagement opportunities

Offer opportunities for employees to volunteer together or participate in community engagement activities. Engaging in charitable or social initiatives as a team fosters a sense of purpose, encourages teamwork, and creates connections beyond the workplace.

Salesforce is also known for its "1-1-1" philanthropic model, where the company donates 1% of its equity, 1% of its product, and 1% of its employees' time to charitable causes.

This strategy has improved employee engagement by giving employees the opportunity to volunteer and engage with their communities during work hours. It not only fosters a sense of social responsibility but also enhances employees' sense of purpose and connection to the company's mission.

8. Regular team meetings and check-ins

Hold regular team meetings and one-on-one check-ins. These meetings provide a platform for discussing goals, sharing progress, and addressing concerns. Regular communication helps employees feel connected to their team's mission and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Amazon utilizes a practice called "Stand-Up Meetings" in their fulfillment centers. These daily, brief meetings help team members discuss their goals, provide feedback, and address any issues in real-time.

This strategy has improved employee engagement by promoting regular communication and collaboration, ensuring that employees feel heard, and allowing them to actively participate in problem-solving and decision-making.

9. Personal development plans

Work with employees to create personal development plans that align with their career aspirations. Provide opportunities for skill enhancement and growth through training, workshops, and conferences. When employees see that the organization invests in their growth, they're likely to feel a stronger connection.

Adobe is known for its "Adobe Learning Fund," which supports employees' professional development by providing financial assistance for courses, workshops, and certifications. This strategy has improved employee engagement by showing a commitment to employee growth and skill enhancement.

Employees are more motivated to invest in their own development, which in turn, benefits the company with a more skilled and engaged workforce.

Another great example is LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, is known for its strong commitment to personal development. They offer their employees access to "LinkedIn Learning," an extensive online learning platform with a wide range of courses and resources.

Employees can create personalized development plans based on their career goals and aspirations. This strategy has helped improve employee engagement at LinkedIn by demonstrating the company's investment in the growth and career development of its employees.

When employees see opportunities for self-improvement, they are more likely to be motivated and engaged in their work.

10. Employee resource groups (ERGs)

Establish ergs based on common interests, backgrounds, or causes. ERGs provide a space for employees to connect with like-minded individuals, share experiences, and work on initiatives that matter to them. These groups contribute to a more inclusive and connected workplace.

Apple has several Employee Resource Groups, including groups for LGBTQ+ employees, women, and veterans, among others. These groups provide a sense of community and support for underrepresented or affinity groups within the company.

Apple's ERGs have improved employee engagement by creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace where employees feel valued and connected. This sense of belonging leads to increased engagement, job satisfaction, and retention.

11. Storytelling and employee spotlights

Share personal stories and achievements of employees through internal newsletters, company blogs, or video interviews. Highlighting individual journeys, interests, and accomplishments humanizes employees and helps colleagues relate to one another on a personal level.

Disney has a rich history of storytelling, and they extend this to their employee engagement strategy. They regularly feature employee spotlights and success stories in their internal communications and at company events.

This strategy helps improve employee engagement by making employees feel like they are part of the larger Disney story. It inspires pride and connection among employees, reminding them of the impact their work has on creating magic for Disney customers.

12. Lunch and learn sessions

Organize informal "Lunch and learn" sessions where employees can share their expertise, hobbies, or interests with their colleagues. This creates an opportunity for learning, discussion, and deeper connections as employees get to know each other's passions beyond work.

HubSpot, a marketing software company, hosts "HubSpot Academy" sessions, which include lunch and learn events where employees can expand their knowledge on various topics.

These sessions encourage continuous learning and skill development. It helps improve employee engagement by providing opportunities for professional and personal growth during work hours, fostering a culture of curiosity and development within the organization.

13. Peer recognition programs

Implement a peer-to-peer recognition program where employees can acknowledge and appreciate each other's contributions. This fosters a culture of appreciation, builds rapport among colleagues, and creates positive connections driven by colleagues themselves.

Cisco has a peer recognition program called the "Connected Recognition" program, where employees can recognize their peers for outstanding contributions through an internal platform.

This program has helped improve employee engagement by fostering a culture of appreciation and mutual respect. Employees feel motivated and appreciated when their colleagues acknowledge their efforts, leading to increased job satisfaction and a sense of camaraderie.

14. Collaborative challenges and competitions

Introduce friendly challenges or competitions that require teams to work together outside their regular tasks. These could include trivia contests, fitness challenges, or creative projects. Such activities encourage teamwork, boost morale, and create memorable shared experiences.

Microsoft uses gamification and collaborative challenges to engage employees. One notable initiative is the "Hackathon," where employees from different departments collaborate to develop innovative solutions.

This strategy has improved employee engagement by encouraging cross-functional teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving.

Employees are motivated by the opportunity to work on exciting projects and showcase their skills in a competitive but collaborative environment.

15. Employee feedback circles

Set up small employee feedback circles or focus groups that meet regularly to discuss workplace experiences, challenges, and ideas for improvement. This creates a space for open dialogue, helps address concerns, and empowers employees to actively contribute to a more connected and inclusive environment.

Google is known for its "Googlegeist" employee feedback survey. This annual survey collects anonymous feedback from employees on various aspects of the workplace. Google then takes the feedback seriously and makes changes based on the responses.

This strategy has improved employee engagement by making employees feel heard and valued. It also shows that the company is genuinely interested in improving the work environment based on employee input, which leads to a higher level of engagement and job satisfaction.

These strategies, in addition to the ones mentioned earlier, can help create a holistic approach to boosting employee connection within your organization. Remember that the key to success is genuine interest in fostering a sense of community and belonging among employees, which will ultimately lead to increased engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction.

Empuls helped Prodevans Technologies to reinvent employee engagement for distributed teams

Prodevans Technologies, an ISO 9001 | 27001 | 20000 accredited technology solution provider, aimed to improve employee engagement for their distributed teams by streamlining communication, rewards, and recognition with the help of the Empuls platform.


  • Prodevans faced difficulties in streamlining their existing rewards and recognition (R&R) process, which involved the manual purchase and distribution of Amazon gift vouchers and cash incentives.
  • The lack of a robust R&R platform led to a lack of employee appreciation and engagement initiatives.

How Empuls helped:

  • Empuls simplified the R&R process, allowing employees to redeem rewards easily.
  • Empuls introduced a reward point system with no expiration date, providing flexibility for employees to redeem points at their convenience.
  • Prodevans employees gained access to a wide range of reward options, improving overall satisfaction.
  • Empuls introduced peer recognition, making it easy for employees to express gratitude towards their colleagues, thus boosting morale.


  • Empuls not only improved the R&R process but also significantly increased employee engagement.
  • More than 70% of Prodevans' employees actively participate and engage with peers on Empuls.
  • Employee surveys, which previously faced participation challenges, saw an increase in submission rates due to Empuls' platform and nudges.
  • Empuls bridged the gap created by remote work, enabling consistent communication and connection among distributed teams.
  • Prodevans plans to invest in Empuls long-term as it has become a crucial platform for driving employee engagement, and they anticipate a boost in employee satisfaction in the future.


In the fast-paced world of business, employee connection is the glue that holds teams together. With these employee connection strategies, you can forge stronger bonds, enhance collaboration, and create a more vibrant and cohesive work environment. 

Remember that these strategies should be integrated into the company culture and consistently supported by leadership. An authentic commitment to employee well-being and connection is essential for these initiatives to succeed. Regular feedback and adaptation based on employee responses are crucial to refining and enhancing these strategies over time.

Even small efforts towards fostering connection can yield significant rewards, leading to a happier, more engaged, and ultimately more successful workforce.

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