There are so many fantastic stories circulating about the way people are adapting to a very unfamiliar world, where almost every aspect of the way we work has been thrown up in the air. We are already talking about the creation of the new normal at some undefined point. But what about now? What do we need to have in place within organisations for people to continue to feel connected as the things we know and expect from our working worlds wobble and change?

The fourth component of the Kandula People Performance Model is Meaningful Connections. Working alongside the other aspects of the people ecosystem it covers a number of elements that organisations need to consider to support people to connect and thrive. The ultimate aim is productive and engaged employees.

Whilst all aspects of the Kandula Model are important to have in place, Meaningful Connections is the one that brings everything together. It’s the gelatin in the jelly and transforms a workforce from average to great. It creates engaged and motivated employees who are proud to be part of the organisation. The different aspects of Meaningful Connections are:

Values – closely linked to the organisation’s purpose, they define the unique characteristics of way people act and feel

Community – how the organisation and people within it connect with the community and the environment. Virgin and EasyJet are displaying well with their involvement with NHS Nightingale

Health & Wellbeing – the programmes and opportunities that are in place to take care of employees

Diversity & Inclusion – creating a workforce that represents all parts of society and the industry/ locations where they operate

Internal Communication – the link between leaders and employees that forms the basis for connectivity and engagement

Brand & Reputation – how the organisation is viewed both internally and externally

Recognition – a motivating factor that can be linked to reward (Valued Work)


Meaningful Connections require thought and attention

As organisations move to different ways of working, or even stop operating for a period, Meaningful Connections is the component that requires thought and attention. Many aspects of Meaningful Connections are symbols of the culture and can be nurtured or may be turned into negatives.

Take for instance, the number of people who are now working from home. In my second article in this series about Solid Foundations, I mentioned some of the challenges organisations are currently facing as more and more people are working from home. The implications for the way people connect with the organisation are massive. The aspects that are likely to have most impact are:


There is a lot of talk at the moment about organisations putting trust into people that they will work effectively at home. I am sure we will hear many examples of this trust being broken from the employee and the organisation itself. I have heard of several companies who are monitoring how much time people spend on their laptops. This may be absolutely the right thing to do if it sits well with the organisations values and culture. Or does it become a symbol of something quite different?

Internal communication

Many organisations are having to rethink the way they communicate with people remotely. Technology will play a bit part here. There is also a big role for leaders, possibly adapting styles and being creative.

Brand and Reputation

Already we are seeing and hearing about organisations who are doing some brilliant things to adapt the way they work, how they keep people involved in the organisation and will build a stronger reputation as a result of their efforts. Yet others are damaging their brand. A couple of days ago I heard of a company who were insisting that their admin staff continued to come into the office because the CEO wanted to know they were working and didn’t trust them to work from home. This sends so many negative messages both internally and externally and surely damages the way people feel about this organisation.


In this first wave of change, organisations have been focussing on the practical aspects of changing working practices. Business continuity plans are kicking in and work is being done. My plea is for organisations to also consider how to ensure these Meaningful Connections continue and strengthen in the weeks and months ahead.

For organisations that are grappling with how to adapt and would like to have a chat I’m here to help.

Now could be the time to do a quick review to see what will serve your organisation at this time.