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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Beyond the Water Cooler

by Doug Wysockey-Johnson

Rachel Remen was a therapist for two surgeons who were respected faculty at a nearby medical school. Each one came to her independently, reporting loneliness, depression and burnout. Neither knew the other was also seeing Dr. Remen.

Of this situation, Remen writes:

These two men had been professional partners for more than twenty years. They shared a receptionist, a staff of nurses, an office, but they didn’t know each other. They shared a therapist, too but I was ethically bound not to tell either about the other’s visits or even that they were both my patients. I would encourage each of them to talk to his partner about these things, but I’d get the same response every time: “Him? Heaven’s he would just laugh.”

In the meantime, Gallup research shows that 50% of employees with a good friend at work reported that they felt a strong connection with their workplace, compared to just 10% without a good friend at work.

In an article about this finding, Christine Riordan writes in a Harvard Business Review blog:

Camaraderie is more than just having fun….It is also about creating a common sense of purpose and the mentality that we are in it together. Studies have shown that soldiers form strong bonds during missions in part because they believe in the purpose of the mission, rely on each other, and share the good and the bad as a team.

Based on this growing body of research, more and more organizational leaders are connecting the dots. Employees that are connected to each other and their purpose are happier and more engaged.

This is where Lumunos comes in. The last few years, we have been given the opportunity to see this phenomena up close. Lumunos has been hired by organizations to help their employees develop a deeper sense of collegiality. Sometimes the topic is about the challenges of the work; other times it is about work-life balance. Always the goal is to go beyond water cooler discussions.

Lumunos has been about relationship and purpose for over 80 years. It doesn’t really matter to us whether the conversation happens in a retreat center or conference room. We are just glad that people are talking about things that matter.

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