Large corporations and organizations are beginning to see the negative ramifications that the lack of “small talk” in an office can have—and they are seeking assistance to fix it.
- In a recent interview with The Guardian, London-based Trigger Conversations reported that communication training courses have quadrupled in demand over the past few years.
- As many as 27% of U.S.-based jobs have become remote or hybrid jobs as a result of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent preferences by employees, Zippia reports.
- This change in the work culture has had a profound impact on employees’ willingness and ability to connect with their employees, HR Brew reports.
Why It’s Important
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers are beginning to realize the importance of soft skills and human connection in a workplace where company cultures are harder than ever to uphold and preserve. Communication has never been more important in the workplace, particularly now when an office full of employees can be spread out in multiple cities or nations through the Internet.
Julie Bauke is the Chief Career Strategist at The Bauke Group in Cincinnati, Ohio. She tells Leaders Media that companies are attempting to address this by bringing in communication specialists and coaches. They are recognizing the fact that small touch, despite its somewhat negative connotation, is invaluable to helping employees bond, build trust and develop proper workplace relationships.
There are many ways that companies can facilitate small talk within their workplace. Sarah Buxbaum is a customer-service expert for CWS Hospitality. She says her company has addressed these issues by incentivizing employees to spend time together casually. CWS Hospitality offers its employees casual lunches before company meetings and gives them 30 minutes beforehand to eat and catch up.
“It gives people a sense of belonging. We tell other companies that it is really easy to incorporate small talk into the culture. Even if it isn’t lunch, bring in coffee and donuts. Give people time to connect and acknowledge that it is important to company culture for people to talk,” she says.
“Many business leaders are concerned about small talk. I’m concerned about it. Younger people don’t want to get on the phone—everything needs to be a text message. It’s taking away alot of professionalism in the workplace and creating loose boundaries. It’s a bad thing that people are losing the ability to have a five-minute conversation and genuinely care about it,” says Buxbaum.
“Gen Z has been coming into the workforce for the last few years, and since college, they have been onboarded from home. Their opportunities to talk to humans have been greatly limited. One of the most common search phrases among college graduates is for jobs that do not require human contact. These young people are not skilled or experienced in human contact in a workforce where communication is more important than ever,” says Bauke.