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ATD Blog

Putting People First: Emotional Connection as a Talent Management Strategy

Tuesday, August 3, 2021

People do not quit companies. They quit bad bosses, and they quit bad environments.

At EmC Leaders, we strive to help management create an environment where people can grow, develop, and connect and feel safe and productive. This type of environment is one a person can bring their whole self to work.

The recent pandemic gave people time to pause and reflect on what they are capable of and their desire to engage in more meaningful work. This trend is expected to continue—we are already seeing the number of people returning to their jobs prior to the pandemic is dropping. Talent management is becoming an essential organizational existential strategy.

Recent studies from McKinsey and Gartner point to the need to develop of human-centric work environments where the individual and the organization are set up to build deeper connections and inclusive cultures.

EmC Leaders focuses on building an emotional connection to create the space for vulnerability, empathy, and generosity to blossom. Our step-by-step approach is built on the science of attachment theory combined with organizational development to provide managers and leaders a pathway to enhance psychological safety and improve team dynamics.

Individuals prosper in teams where they have strong bonds to withstand everyday stress and provide emotional support. On these types of teams, people truly feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves—and not just because they are all committed to achieving the objectives but because they are also committed to supporting each other’s humanness.


Whether through DEI initiatives or other means, human-centered organizations understand that everyone differs in their experiences and views and that the most effective bonds are emotionally based, and by nature, fully inclusive.

It is often the case that we do not realize the power of emotions or our inability to address emotions at the workplace. As a result, it is common to hear phrases such as, “We leave our emotions at home when we come to work” or “Emotions do not belong in the workplace.”

At EmC Leaders, we teach the language of emotions, the power inherent in sharing our emotional experiences, and the roadmap for creating bonding conversations that lead to strong relationships. We know from our own work on more than 600 cases that when people can connect emotionally, they are able to build trust, take risks, garner their courage, and achieve unprecedented results.


Emotional Connection: The EmC Strategy provides a detailed discussion of the entire roadmap to building strong human connections and the importance of leadership in changing organizational culture. Without structural changes in the organization, no number of behavioral changes or personal connections can yield fruit. Our goal is to focus organizational conversations on the most impactful resource any organization has—its people.

In an era of predicted scarcity of talent and projected increasing complexity and uncertainty, talent management and retention efforts differentiate between a good organization and a great one.

Emotional connection is a tool and a strategy that can allow leadership to unleash human power and build a thriving culture.

For more insights, join us August 30 during the ATD 2021 International Conference & Exposition for an author’s chat. You can also visit EmC Leaders at booth 621.

About the Author

Dr. Lola Gershfeld is the founder of EmC Leaders, an organizational psychologist, a board and team dynamics specialist, and a thought leader in her field. She works with organizations to create positive dynamics, building resilient teams and effective organizations where relationships are repaired, bonds are formed, and change happens to foster sustainable growth and ignite innovative potential.

Dr. Gershfeld developed the Emotional Connection (EmC) process, a groundbreaking and empirically supported approach based on the last 50 years of attachment science and the megawatt power of emotions to engage team members, resolve conflict, and build trust. EmC has been adapted and developed into education programs and certification courses that are accredited by ICF, HRCI, and SHRM.

Dr. Gershfeld leads several research projects that focus on demonstrating the effectiveness of the EmC methodology, content, and delivery through substantive research informed by best practices in psychology.

About the Author

Ramin Sedehi is the chief operating and strategic officer at EmC Leaders and Founder of Impact Human Learning focusing on developing new learning models in the face of exponential change in the 21st century. Sedehi’s work with EmC leaders is centered on developing compassionate leadership and building thriving cultures within all types of organizations. He is particularly interested in applying the Emotional Connection strategy toward enabling community building and visionary leadership.

Sedehi has held leadership positions at several magnificent institutions such as UCSF, UCSF Stanford Health Care (USHC), University of Pennsylvania (Penn), American University of Beirut (AUB), and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCMQ). In his three-plus decades of senior and executive service, he has grown as a leader, thinker, and intrapreneur.

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