• Andre

Human Connection: The Social Integration Factor

We are wired to connect.

What exactly is human connection?

Our view is closely aligned with that of well renowned Houston University Professor Brené Brown. She defines connection as “the energy that is present when we feel seen, valued and heard, all without judgement.”

This is where we can draw fuel for the fire to enable us to achieve great things through our people.

As it turns out, humans are instinctively social animals according to scientist Matthew Lieberman. In his highly acclaimed book Social, he delves into the significant research behind human and social connection, and it’s undeniable relationship to the wiring of the brain.

According to Liebermen, our brain’s network for social thinking is likened to a natural reflex that occurs following periods of non-social brain activity. Grasping the concept that socially secure work environments hold more weight for many people than financial remuneration and perks, may be the key to unlocking potential and increasing retention.

Lieberman states that being connected to one another needs no hidden agenda.

So, how does this apply to us in an organisational context?

When we have an increased ability to cooperate and collaborate with others, we are able to use their goals to help drive our own behaviour and vice versa.

Lieberman’s findings also indicate that our social environment has a significant bearing on our emotional state and influences our level of suffering if social and human connections are strained.

If you may be thinking at this point well what are some tangible impacts of these assertions. Lets quantify these. There is an $11 billion impact in the annual cost of lost productivity and labour participation in businesses across Australia. This is directly attributable to lost time from mental health issues, now the leading reason for absenteeism. Where would you rather be investing that kind of capital?

Recent findings from a series of studies at Brigham Young University confirms human and social interactions play a significantly greater role in our overall longevity than physical health and environmental factors. Psychologist and author Susan Pinker explains that social integration is a far more telling contributor to our mortality than factors such as diet, exercise and air quality.

When we start to genuinely appreciate the undeniable links between social integration, close relationships and the positive effects on overall life span, we may begin to sit up and take notice.

The results of the Brigham Young University studies support Lieberman’s assertion that “evolution has placed a bet that the best thing for our brain to do in any spare moment is to get ready to see the world socially.”

Ultimately, although Kin Space places a focus on people experience and human connection within the workplace, we know that there is a far greater social impact outside of this environment.

An increased level of social and self-awareness helps us to ensure that we hold aligned beliefs and values with those of the people around us, and this can be a great catalyst for social harmony and productivity in all areas of our lives.

*How connected are your people?

Blog Tags: Connection, Social Integration, Productivity, Social Impact