The Work, Employment & Labor (WEL) Sector

The SOCIAL Framework in the WEL Sector

American adults spend on average one-third of their lives at work. Since we spend so much time at work, there are key opportunities for social connection.

Our report – The SOCIAL Framework in The Work, Employment & Labor (WEL) Sector – explores how business leaders, policymakers, and organizational change-makers can foster connectedness among their workers, workplaces, and society at large.

We have developed these reports to be living documents, constantly adapting to new research and policy updates. As such, we welcome your feedback on the report!

Key Objectives

Equip workers, managers, and organizational leaders with approaches and organizational policies they can test and use to address social isolation and loneliness, and create more high-quality connections within their organizations, for their customers, and society at large

Identify gaps in the evidence base and possible future areas for research for SILC solutions that can be implemented through and at work

Provide evidence-based policy recommendations to create more socially connected organizations and society

Executive Summary

This report offers evidence-based solutions and policies to advance social connectedness and address social isolation and loneliness through the work, employment, and labor (WEL) sector. The WEL sector includes workers who provide services for wages (to organizations or through self-employment) and organizations that employ individuals and offer goods and/or services to the public. Through this report, we aim to provide the information needed by employers, business leaders, policymakers, researchers, and others to develop, test, and implement solutions through the WEL sector. The solutions presented can improve the social connectedness not only of employers and workers, but also, customers, communities, and society at large. We emphasize considering inclusion, diversity, equity, and access (IDEA) and risk factors for social disconnection at different life stages in the development and deployment of solutions. This report was developed in collaboration with a subcommittee of research and practitioner experts. A review was provided by the subcommittee, members of the Foundation for Social Connection Scientific Advisory Council and team, and external experts. Learnings were generated through literature reviews and subject matter expert insight interviews.

Reviewers & Contributors

  • Abigail Gadbois, MPH, Policy Analyst, Healthsperien
  • Anjali Rameshbabu, PhD, Founder, Health2Wellbeing
  • Barbara Waxman, MS, MPA, PCC, Founder, Odyssey Group Coaching
  • Ben Marks, CEO, The #WorkAnywhere Campaign
  • Brett Hautop, AIA, Founder, Workshape
  • David Ballard, Senior Fellow and Scientific Advisor for Workforce Mental Health, HERO
  • Edward Garcia III, MPH, Founder and Board Chair, The Foundation for Social Connection
  • Harry Reis, PhD, Professor of Clinical and Social Psychology, University of Rochester
  • Ian Marcus Corbin, PhD, Instructor, Harvard Medical School
  • Jenn Graham, Founder and CEO, Inclusivv (formerly Civic Dinners)
  • Jillian Racoosin, MPH, Deputy Executive Director, The Foundation for Social Connectio
  • Leigh Stringer, LEED AP, Global Director of Advisory Services, Perkins&Will
  • Lisa Brady, PhD, M.S., Visiting Assistant Professor of Management, Southeastern Louisiana University
  • Marta Induni, PhD, Administrative Director of Research, Blue Zones Well-Being Institute
  • Michael Compton, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry, Columbia University Division of Behavioral Health Services
  • Steve Downs, MS, Co-Founder, Building H
  • Steven Van Cohen, MS, Co-Founder, SyncLX & Author, Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams from Isolated to All In

Framework in Action

A brief overview of how the Foundation is putting the framework into action:

Embed Multi-Sector Approach

We connect partners from different sectors and levels of influence to support united, multi-sector work.

Support Implementation

Through our innovation work, we share evidence-based strategies and learnings with partners who can implement and test approaches shared in the SOCIAL Framework Reports.

Inform Policy

Our research informs policy development at our sister organization, The Coalition to End Social Isolation and Loneliness.

Are you putting the framework in action? We’d love to learn how!

If you are designing, implementing, researching, or testing a solution for social connectedness through the WEL sector, we’d love to learn more! Please contact us and share what you are doing to advance social connection through work!

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