Do you ever wake up curious about unique, personal statistics and how those stats compare to others? I’m sure I am not alone in these metric gathering moments. Today, for example, I woke up wondering how many hours I had logged on Zoom since I began using it years ago. It is in times like these when I wish I would have had the foresight to log the time.
In 2015, the stars aligned in my career, and I joined a forward-thinking law firm, one that was ahead of the technology curve, one that was founded on a fully distributed, cloud-based platform from the start. This type of law firm landscape provided me the opportunity to overcome the pandemic hurdles some professionals encountered when first looking at a screen for hours a day, a screen that included a mirror image of exactly what they looked like in a meeting. It certainly takes a minute to get over the constant pull of looking at yourself – seeing your own facial expressions, the dark circles, the unfortunate mismatch the color of your shirt with your skin tone can sometimes create. It takes time and practice to get over those personal musings. There are still moments when a critical, personal thought creeps in, but I have learned to spend very little, if any, time looking at myself on the screen over the years.
As statistics go, Zoom was one of the fastest growing apps of the pandemic, increasing by 2900 percent. Zoom saw a 317% increase in revenue in 2020. Those are some impressive metrics, and I am here for the increasing comfort levels of people crossing my Zoom path these days despite my preference for sitting across the coffee shop table with a colleague.
There are well-documented differences between interacting with people through a screen versus face-to-face meetings. Earlier this month I attended an in-person conference for the first time in two years. Yes, there were masks and yes there were social distancing measures in place, but the connections were magnetic and exhilarating. There were engaging minds all around, discussing important topics and relating to one another on deep levels. There were also a whole lot of smiles and laughter. Seeing this happen and being in the middle of it all was rejuvenating. Yet as we commence a month known for gratitude practices, I tip my hat to the Zoom application and others like it for providing a path to connection when circumstances outside of our control limit face-to-face time.
Over the years, my willingness to admit how important connecting with people is to me has grown immensely. My stoicism around needing people is thankfully long gone. The data is clear: We all have a basic need for human connection. One of many reasons human connection is valued can be attributed to the feedback we give and receive from these encounters. Feedback helps us grow, adapt, think more critically, improve our empathy, innovate, care about each other, build trust, and so much more.
Recently, I asked my coworkers how important it was to them to receive feedback on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest. Their responses were 8’s, 9’s, and 10’s. While my coworker example involves a small data set, 96% of employees report they want more feedback on a consistent basis. Turnover rates are reported to decrease by 14.9% when employers provide employees regular, constructive feedback. While reducing turnover is important on so many levels, the relationships themselves are even more important. Without relationship, feedback will be questionable at best. The work we humans put into retaining our personal and professional relationships is worth a lifetime commitment. Nurturing that aspect of life is something I believe will lead to joy, growth, and even better health, not to mention a stronger bottom line.
If you are making that lifetime commitment to those around you, you will need to be prepared to give and receive feedback, which I equate to a form of art. Are you giving feedback to those in your orbit? Are you able to receive feedback openly? If not, you might want to take inventory of where to invest some developmental energy. Make no mistake that silence is feedback. The body language of an encounter with another human being is also feedback.
If you are eye rolling at the thought of flexing your giving and receiving feedback muscles, stop for a minute and ask yourself why. Is it because you dread the thought of a person crying after receiving the feedback? Maybe it has something to do with your beliefs around your ability to use the right words, tone, and action steps? Whatever your hesitation, there is hope. You can hone your skills and learn how to engage in constructive and meaningful feedback that will absolutely result in wins of all shapes and sizes. If you value your employees, colleagues, family, and friends, taking the time to nurture your relationships will make all the difference. Why? Because feedback is a core element of trust and operating on a foundation of trust leads to:
- 106% more energetic at work
- 76% more engaged in a job
- 74% less stress
- 29% more satisfaction with life in general
While each of us may likely be situated differently in terms of the ability to meet in person right now and in the future, I am kicking off November with an extra heap of gratitude for Zoom, for providing us platforms that bridge the gap, providing the space to nurture our relationships. While I can only guess at my personal statistics of Zoom hours to date, I have no doubt the numbers will only continue to climb as I remain true to my commitment and belief in the value of feedback and human connection.
 Zoom is a video conferencing app, geared toward business usage, founded in 2011 by Eric Yuan and launched in January 2013.
 Cytowic, M.D., Richard E. “Can Apps like Zoom Replace Face-to-Face Interaction?” Psychology Today, April 15, 2020.
 Maier, Steffan. “Top 3 KPIs to Measure Your Performance Management System ROI”. HR Daily Advisor, updated January 10, 2019
 Craig, William. “Further Evidence that Trust is the No. 1 Ingredient for a Strong Company Culture.” Forbes, January 10, 2017.
Andrea Kirksey joined Stotler Hayes Group in 2015 as the Executive Director & General Counsel. She is admitted to practice law in Arizona, an active member of the Arizona State Bar and the Association of Legal Administrators (ALA). For the most recent ten years, Andrea has studied and trained in the areas of leadership, organizational development, strategy, culture, and values. In 2019, Andrea became a Certified Dare to Lead™ Facilitator. Based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown, Dare to Lead™ is an empirically based courage-building program designed to be facilitated by organizational development professionals.