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Why Belonging Matters At Work And How To Create A Culture of Belonging

Cedric Chambers
Mar 28, 2019

 

Why Belonging Matters At Work And How To Create A Culture of Belonging

When you start a new job in addition to the normal fears of doing a good job, you probably also worry whether or not you’ll fit in with your colleagues. What is the work culture like? Are people going to like me because (fill in the blank).  It’s high school all over again, for men and women.  In this article, we’ll discuss 4 reasons why belonging matters at work and how to create a sense of belonging in the workplace.

Belonging Matters At Work Because…

  1. It gives a sense of acknowledgement that who they are and what they have to contribute matters;
  2. Helps employees understand that they are creating value within their organization;
  3. Cultivates a sense of ownership in terms of a responsibility to do the best job they can do for the continued growth of the company and their colleagues.
  4. Gives purpose. When employees own their work, receive acknowledgement for their contributions, and feel as if the work they do has value, an employee will have a commitment to continue in this vain that gives them purpose.

Creating A Sense of Belonging in The Workplace, Here’s How…

When you can create a sense of belonging, employees begin to take ownership of their work, meaning they take personal responsibility for the quality and value they contribute within the organization.  Here are a few practices to adopt to cultivate more belonging at work:

1. Acknowledge employees for their contributions.

The Oxford Dictionary defines ‘acknowledgment’ as “The expression of gratitude or appreciation for something” Taking on a practice of first noticing and second acknowledging the contributions of your employees lets them know that you do notice their efforts and you also appreciate them. That acknowledgement will go a long way and keep your employees on their toes because they know you see them and notice their work.

2. Let employees be themselves.

As a manager or leader, you know the strengths and weaknesses of each of your employees. Some may be early risers, and some may not make it through the door until 10 am. As long as each of the members on your team are working the requisite number of hours and getting their jobs done, let them be themselves.

This, of course, includes letting your employees be fully themselves at work.  Don’t make them fit into the majority culture.  Allow your staff to be who they are and create a custom position for themselves inside of the organization.  Never force a fit. Just allow it happen organically

Peter Drucker said, “Accept the fact that we have to treat almost anybody as a volunteer.”

If your staff feel that they don’t belong on your team or in your organization and they aren’t fully owning their work or the role they play on your team, you may lose them to another company where they have a clearer sense of belonging.

3. Create Opportunities To Establish Team

Occasionally, have team lunches where you treat the team for a meal.  Whether you go out to a restaurant or you order pizza and eat at your desks, share a meal together and talk openly.

Create opportunities for the individuals on your team to become a cohesive unit.  That may entail, having regularly team meetings or encouraging impromptu collaborations among staff. Finally, formal team building activities can also be helpful. Whatever you choose, set your intention and communicate with your team.

Remember: Needing to belong is part of being human.

We all feel the need to belong somewhere to some group of people. People who get us and appreciate who we are. Granted, it’s not common to find love and belonging in the workplace, but it’s not too much to ask to feel like your presence matters at work.

Dr. Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist and theorist behind the 1943 Hierarchy of Needs, listed social belonging as the third basic human need.  Needing to belong is just part of being human.  As a manager and a leader within your organization, take the steps above now to start creating more of a culture of belonging on your team.

Topics: Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging