Why We Need Social Capital

By making investments in your social capital, your professional success will flourish.

We have all heard the terms Financial Capital and Human Capital. Simply put, they are the ‘money and employees’ necessary to run a successful business. However there is a third variable that research is proving to be a driver of innovation and long-term vision – Social Capital.


What is Social Capital?

Social capital at work refers to the personal connections between individuals which lead to an exchange of information and learning, acting as a catalyst for higher achievement and positive change – enabling employees and companies alike to improve agility, collaboration, and innovation.  It comprises human connections such as trust, personal networks, and a sense of community in thriving organizations.


Environment is key to building social capital. This phenomenon cannot happen without a diverse and inclusive culture, where people can trust and assist each other. Research conducted by Deloitte demonstrated that inclusive teams outperform their peers by 80 percent, in team-based assessments.  Researcher and Author Margaret Heffernan took a deeper look at this concept to understand why open and inclusive cultures are proven to enhance innovation and business productivity. In her TED Talk “Why it's time to forget the pecking order at work”, her research unveiled that the most successful organizations were ones with a diverse and inclusive culture, where all employees are valued and felt valued. The most succinct way of describing why social capital fosters innovation was clearly stated by Ms. Heffernan, “Companies don’t have ideas, only people do. …  What motivates people are the bonds, loyalty and trust they develop between each other …”


Authentic and organic trusting relationships take time to build. These don’t come from a single company picnic; they come from individuals working together over time to establish deeper connections by both giving and getting help from colleagues.

The bond that builds fortified social connections is a powerful asset that the most successful companies demonstrate. As I look to our own examples of social capital, I see a strong network and great potential for increased knowledge sharing, growth, and innovation for our businesses – particularly at a time where we are ever-more connected through advancements in technology. 

Day & Zimmermann is a workforce of 42,000 employees bringing their own unique set of skills, experiences, areas of expertise and knowledge to our organization – thus a vast network of available resources. We have seen some of the power of these partnerships from the support each business receives through our shared corporate resources in the Business Services Organization, Corporate Treasury and Finance, Legal, Human Resources and Information Technology (IT). As we make personal connections through our daily work on projects together, we understand the synergies that help maximize our potential to succeed at Day & Zimmermann.


We continue to grow and reach across to integrate our services offered through Mason & Hanger, SOC and D&Z Federal, all critical pieces of one larger Government Services team. The driving momentum of this growing network is evident to all of us. We have found success through collaborative efforts to work together on overseas expeditions, build new integrated solutions for our customers, develop a more robust pipeline of new qualified business opportunities, and problem solve by reaching out to our counterparts in other businesses when we need help or fresh ideas. This success is directly attributed to our openness to work as a team and build social capital toward lasting relationships in the workplace. 

Imagine the possibilities if we all work to increasingly leverage social capital and make more investments in people and their ideas.  We are all equal and valuable contributors to Day & Zimmermann and the more you invest in getting to know and build trust your colleagues, the more you will witness positive change on a personal and professional level. What changes will you make to gain social capital?


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