Adela Belin is a content marketer and blogger at Writers Per Hour. She is passionate about sharing stories with the hope to make a difference in people's lives and contribute to their personal and professional growth.
Pub: February 18 2022
Upd: November 14 2022
Building a sense of belonging in the workplace is no longer just a simple nice-to-have but rather a necessity.
But what is belonging? Like food and clothing, belonging is a basic human need to feel support and security. In the workplace, this means making your employees feel that they are part of the organization.
Belonging will make work more enjoyable, promoting workplace happiness, resulting in a team that will stay with you much longer. Essentially, this all will add up to better business results.
So how exactly can you foster a sense of belonging in the workplace? Here are six simple ways:
1. Open and honest communication
For employees to feel like they belong, businesses should practice open communication. It can build your team’s trust and empower them to share their opinions without being afraid.
However, open communication doesn’t mean more team meetings or bonding activities. It is a culture where people can express their thoughts freely without fearing repercussions.
The key is to be radically candor with your employees. Welcome employees' feedback and face them head-on instead of brushing the issue under the rug.
Keep an eye on the participation of your team in meetings. Encourage everyone to participate by asking questions and normalizing any differences in opinions.
A way to hold honest and open communication is top-down transparency. Share your company information like operation cost or financial status across the team, which will create a sense of ownership among your employees.
2. Develop inclusive leadership
When push comes to shove, the success of instilling any company culture depends on the leaders in the workplace.
How managers act can influence the team's confidence and set workplace culture. For example, are mistakes opportunities for learning or mistakes — this can directly affect belonging among your staff.
Employees who trust their managers and believe that they care about them as individuals will more likely feel a sense of belonging. In contrast, leaders who don’t care about their staff's wellbeing will have a divided team with discouraged staff.
That’s why successful managers are inclusive leaders who always look to empower others.
They understand why it’s essential to ask for input and encourage employees to share their thoughts and ideas.
As team members feel supported and appreciated, they are also better able to take advantage of critical feedback and other learning opportunities.
Overall, this will build a culture of belonging where each individual is contributive and always thriving to produce great work.
3. Create a space for employees to be their authentic self
Do your employees feel entirely accepted as members of the workplace? Fostering belonging at work means creating an authentic workplace.
Feeling like you can be yourself at work will make you feel more accepted and confident, which will lead employees to be more open in speaking their minds and making decisions. They will worry less about their relationships and focus at work.
The key to creating this environment of belonging at work is building trust and acceptance. That means communicating positive signals to your employees, like improving representation and removing stereotypes and judgments.
A quick test to see if your employees think they are in a safe workspace is to play some music and see if they will start dancing,
4. Recognize efforts and accomplishments
Organizations that celebrate team efforts and accomplishments can make employees feel like part of the business.
Employees spend almost one-third of their life at work. Being rewarded for their contribution and effort can significantly boost their morale.
Likewise, if you implement a staff’s idea and see great results, make sure to acknowledge their contribution because this will motivate them and inspire others to contribute.
You can show recognition through an appreciation gift, award, or giving company perks and benefits like flexible work scheduling or additional time off.
Additionally, make sure promotions at the workplace are merit-based regardless of cultural and social background.
Knowing that your contribution is seen and that everyone has an equal path to success can help foster belonging.
5. Improve team bonding
To belong is to fit in. That’s why it is crucial to give your team opportunities to get to know each other outside of the workplace.
Planning team-building activities like bowling night can give your employees a chance to bond outside of work and create a shared experience.
Feeling connected to those around you will fulfill your employees' core need to form and maintain strong, stable interpersonal relationships.
Being a valued team member will also help them stay motivated and become an ally that supports other co-workers in need.
When all your employees come together and work in sync, they will form a relationship that strengthens team engagement and collaboration.
6. Create a shared vision in your organization
Our sense of belonging also stems from pride. Just like the story of the janitor who helped put a man on the moon — a grand vision can connect your employees to your business.
Establishing and communicating a shared vision for the organization will let your employees know the significance of their work and contribution to society.
This makes work meaningful and fulfills your employees’ sense of purpose and belonging.
Knowing that, make sure to establish a shared vision and regularly review your culture and values to make sure you “walk the talk”.
Ultimately, know that creating a culture of belonging doesn’t happen overnight. Organizations need to create an environment where people feel confident and secure.
Employees who bring their authentic selves to work, a strong bonding between team members, and an inclusive leader are significant factors to building workplace belonging.
But what’s most important is to be inclusive and listen to what your employees need and take action that feedback to them.
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