Employee connection is a multifaceted concept that is pivotal in the modern workplace. It refers to the sense of belonging that employees feel towards their organization and their colleagues. This connection is not just about fostering friendships; it is about creating an environment where employees feel valued, heard, and integral to the team. 

Three Pillars of Employee Connection (Supported by Recognition) 

1. Employee Connection to People

This type of connection involves fostering a sense of camaraderie and unity among team members, managers, and senior leaders. In this context, we are focused on those ever-important interpersonal relationships and sense of community 

Employee recognition plays a crucial role in fostering a sense of connection to one’s team members, managers, and senior leaders. When employees are recognized for their efforts, it not only validates their work but also strengthens interpersonal relationships. Recognition can take many forms, from a simple “thank you” to formal awards. Regardless of the method, the act of recognition communicates to employees that they are valued members of the team, thereby enhancing the sense of community within the organization. 

2. Employee Connection to the Work Itself

Employees should feel that their tasks and responsibilities are meaningful, and that their efforts contribute to their personal growth and towards their organization’s overall mission and purpose. Employees want their work to matter and to make a difference. This difference can be direct or indirect. Direct meaning is when an employee’s work product is aligned with what the organization does (e.g., a scientist researching new ways to cure cancer for a biotech company). Indirect meaning is when the job provides means and resources that empower the employee and the employee’s family. Both types of meaning are important and should be highlighted by managers.  

Recognition is vital in reinforcing the meaningfulness of an employee’s tasks and responsibilities. When an employee’s efforts are acknowledged, it underscores the fact that their work matters and makes a difference. This recognition, whether it is for a project that directly aligns with the organization’s mission or for a task that indirectly supports the employee’s personal growth, helps to foster a deeper connection to the work itself. 

3. Employee Connection to the Culture

Employees should feel a connection with their organization’s values and culture. The way they view the world should align with the attitudes and beliefs promoted by their company or organization. 

As with the other pillars, employee recognition is integral to promoting a connection with the organization’s values and culture. When recognition is tied to the values and beliefs promoted by the company, it reinforces those values and helps employees align their view of the world with the organization’s culture. This alignment not only strengthens the connection to the culture but also promotes a sense of belonging and engagement within the organization. 

Engagement MAGIC® by DecisionWise 

The overarching concept of employee connection aligns fully with the ‘C’ in the Engagement MAGIC® model by DecisionWise. The MAGIC model, an acronym for Meaning, Autonomy, Growth, Impact, and Connection, is a framework that identifies five cultural elements that promote and foster employee engagement.  

Connection, in this context, refers to the vital sense of belonging that employees feel towards their organization. Our research suggests this element may be the single-most important attribute of a culture that advances and builds employee engagement. If a manager could work on but one aspect of the MAGIC model, Connection would be the first place to start! 

SpaceX: A Case Study in Connection 

Employees at SpaceX are deeply aligned with the company’s mission and purpose. The mission of SpaceX is to revolutionize space technology, with the goal of enabling people to live on other planets¹²³. This ambitious vision serves as a powerful motivator for the employees. In fact, 75% of SpaceX employees are motivated by the company’s mission, vision, and values⁴.  

For 17% of employees, the company mission is the most important aspect of their work⁴. Furthermore, 45% of employees state that the main reason they stay at SpaceX is because of the company’s mission⁴. This alignment with the company’s mission and purpose not only drives employee engagement and retention but also fuels the innovative spirit that is a hallmark of SpaceX. 

4 Examples of Effective Employee Connection to Implement Right Away 

  1. Cross-Functional Projects: Implementing cross-functional projects can foster connection as employees from different departments collaborate, learn from each other, and work towards a common goal. 
  2. Mentorship and Buddy Programs: Pairing new hires with seasoned employees can help newcomers acclimate to the company culture and foster connections right from the start. 
  3. Regular Team-Building Activities: Activities ranging from icebreakers to retreats can foster a sense of unity and cooperation among team members. 
  4. Hire for Connection: When hiring team members look for those individuals that can build connection inside the three pillars described above. Our SpaceX case study is impressive because, whether intentionally or not, SpaceX attracts employees that are fully connected to its mission. But we get it; not every organization’s mission is as thrilling as space travel. This means you may have to be more discerning in your hiring processes to find those that will connect with your organization. As General James Mattis has said, “Hire for attitude, train for skill.”   


4 Tips for Promoting Connection inside Teams 

For front-line managers, promoting connection within a team should be a key leadership initiative. Here are some strategies to consider: 

  • Conscious Leadership Approach: Embrace a leadership style that values the unique skills of each team member and empowers them towards achieving a shared goal. Be mindful of each person’s unique contributions and take the time to recognize individual contributions. Remember that we manage the “whole” person and not just an automaton that shows up to work! 
  • Regular Productive Meetings: Face-to-face meetings, even if virtual, can foster trust and connection among team members. A human touch is vital in building and sustaining connection within your teams.  
  • Encourage Open and Transparent Communication: Encourage open dialogue and ensure that all team members feel comfortable voicing their ideas and concerns. This effort goes beyond asking if individuals have concerns at the end of meetings or promoting your “open door” policy. This means taking the time to ask team members in private for their perspectives and comments. Also, use confidential surveys to gather feedback in situations where employees may feel uncomfortable speaking up about their concerns.  
  • Health and Wellness Programs: Promote healthy habits and offer opportunities for employees to connect outside of work-related contexts. This means your efforts should be varied and deliberate. Simply going out for drinks after work will not cut it. It means considering each team member’s specific values and desires. One day it can be drinks. The next time it might mean a service project to benefit someone’s community. Also, managers need to model healthy behaviors, which means setting appropriate boundaries, taking time for themselves, and respecting their own personal time (and their team’s), when possible.  

In conclusion, fostering employee connection is not just about improving employee morale; it is about creating a work environment where employees feel valued and integral to the team. It is about building belonging. By focusing on connection, organizations can boost employee engagement, productivity, and ultimately, business success. Remember, a connected team will likely be a successful team. 

DecisionWise Can Empower Your Employee Connection Efforts

DecisionWise has tools to help you measure and succeed in these areas. We offer powerful survey software for Employee Engagement, Employee Lifecycle, and 360 Degree Feedback Performance Reviews to provide you the insights you need to help your business succeed. Contact a member of our team today to learn more.


  1. SpaceX – Mission. https://www.spacex.com/mission/index.html
  2. SpaceX Mission Statement | Vision | Core Values | Strategy (2024 …. https://bstrategyhub.com/spacex-mission-statement-vision-core-values-analysis/
  3. SpaceX Mission and Vision Statement – Business Model Analyst. https://businessmodelanalyst.com/spacex-mission-and-vision-statement/.
  4. SpaceX Mission, Vision & Values | Comparably. https://www.comparably.com/companies/spacex/mission

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