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New Survey Reveals Forced Socialization at Work Isn’t Working: #VyondtheSurface Explores Top Factors Behind Being Connected at Work

Participation in staff meetings and receiving regular communication from leadership make employees feel most connected at work.

SAN MATEO, Calif. – March 29, 2022 – Vyond, the leader in animated video content creation for the enterprise, today released results from its fourth #VyondTheSurface survey, a national survey of 1,000 full-time employees at large companies that explores how the pandemic has impacted the way employees experience the workplace, how they communicate with one another, and their perception of leadership communication.

Surprisingly, results revealed that common team building activities, like game nights, were not the activities that drove employees to feel most connected at work. Instead, participating in staff meetings (40%), receiving regular communication from leadership (37%), and getting to know colleagues on a more personal level (36%), particularly through video platforms as more than half of employees (54%) feel they have been able to build relationships with colleagues through video conferencing, were among the top responses. Lesser valued activities included virtual town hall meetings (14%), playing games with coworkers (13%), and being part of a mentorship program (12%).

“It’s clear that forced socialization or gimmicky ‘perks’ isn’t what makes employees feel most connected at work,” said Jeniffer Strub, Director of Human Resources at Vyond. “Rather, it’s when employees have the opportunity to naturally build one-on-one relationships, which is why companies must provide ample opportunities to make those real, genuine connections, while being communicative about their organization’s mission to ensure employees truly understand the work happening around them.”

Feeling connected at work looks different for employees of different ages and genders

  • Boomers feel the most disconnected: 1 in 3 employees (36%) said a top frustration of remote work was feeling disconnected from colleagues. Boomers feel the most disconnected (51%, a 4-point increase from last year), which is more than double the 23% of Gen Z that reported feeling the same way.
  • Millennial workers love all-day IMing while other generations feel connected at work in other ways: Millennials say they feel connected at work when instant messaging throughout the day (38%) and receiving virtual kudos from colleagues in a public forum or chat (24%). On the other hand, Gen Z employees feel connected by getting to know their coworkers on a personal level (43%) and having team lunches (39%), whereas older generations feel most connected at work through participating in staff meetings (40% of Gen X and 45% of Boomers). Additionally, women are more likely than men to feel connected by sharing funny memes, emojis or GIFs when communicating with colleagues (25% vs. 19% of men).
  • Can you repeat that? When asked about frustrations and challenges during meetings, men reported being more annoyed by needing to repeat themselves because a colleague wasn’t listening (28% vs. 18% of women), being asked to “hold for a moment” while a colleague attends to something else (24% vs. 17%), and a colleague only using audio while others use video (21% vs. 15%).

Employee communication lessons from the pandemic

As workplaces navigate staying connected in a disjointed work environment, the way companies approach employee communication is key. The good news is that leaders are doing far better now than at the start of the pandemic, according to employees:

  • Leaders have found their stride two years after pandemic communications: Employees are now more likely to acknowledge company leadership is communicating more effectively (67% vs. 58% in February 2021). The channel for communications matters too – half of employees still prefer to watch or listen to a company announcement or communication instead of reading an email or blog post, and 56% say video messages from their company CEO are more engaging than text-based messages.
  • Gen Z and Millennial employees overwhelmingly prefer video communications and digital tools: When it comes to company communications, Gen Z and Millennial employees find video messages more engaging than older employees (61% and 63% vs. 49% of Gen X and Boomers). They’re also embracing digital transformation more, with 88% of Gen Z and 78% of Millennials saying they are happy to see their company push digital transformation initiatives, versus 64% of Gen X and 57% of Boomers.

The digital workplace – what employees want, need, and could do without to feel connected at work

As workplaces have adapted to increased remote and hybrid work arrangements, digital transformation efforts — which integrate digital technology into all areas of a business — have been further prioritized and accelerated, but that doesn’t mean all employees fully understand their impact or feel like they can weigh in, nor does it mean they have a healthy relationship with the digital tools in the workplace:

  • Employees’ take on digital transformation at their company: 70% of employees say they are happy to see their company push digital transformation initiatives, and 2 out of 3 employees say they can see and understand their value. Still, some employees are uncertain about these efforts, with a fifth (22%) unsure if their organization is taking part in digital transformation efforts, and 1 in 3 Boomers saying they are unsure. Additionally, less than half of employees (44%) feel they have a seat at the table when it comes to their company’s modernization.
  • Employees are conflicted over new digital communication tools: 34% of employees said they have too many communications channels to reach colleagues, but when asked if they would get rid of any communication platform they use at work, almost half of employees (46%) said they would not.

“Most employees are familiar with the term ‘digital transformation,’ but it’s frequently believed among non-IT and tech employees that it doesn’t impact them directly,” said Matt Harney, CTO of Vyond. “In reality, digital transformation touches all employees and aspects of the workplace, including the communications tools we all use to connect every day. Leaders need to consider their ‘comms tech stack’ as a part of their broader toolset, which will empower all employees to feel like they have a seat at the table when it comes to digital transformation.”

To review Vyond’s survey findings, visit vyond.com/vyondthesurface. New data will be published later this week. For advanced access, contact press@vyond.com.

Survey Methodology

FleishmanHillard’s in-house research practice, TRUE Global Intelligence™, conducted a survey among a nationally representative sample of n=1,000 adults in the U.S., 18 years of age and older, who are employed full time at a large organization with 500+ employees. The sample is demographically balanced for age, gender, and geographic region to represent employed adults in the U.S. according to the U.S. Census. It also included a mix of remote, hybrid or non-remote workers, seniority levels within the workplace, as well as a mix of people managers and those with no direct reports. The survey was fielded online between February 21 – March 1, 2022.

About Vyond

Vyond’s mission is to put the power of video in the hands of everyone. Vyond allows people of all skill levels in all industries and job roles to create dynamic and powerful media. With features that go beyond moving text and images, you can build character-driven stories or compelling data visualizations that engage audiences and deliver results. Founded as GoAnimate in 2007, Vyond has helped tens of millions of users across six continents easily and cost-effectively produce high quality videos to address any business need. To learn more about Vyond, please visit www.vyond.com.