Now more than ever, workers want a culture of value in their workplace. Workers rightfully want to feel that their work has meaning and that their contributions matter. For this type of culture to exist, everyone in the organization needs to commit to creating a space of belonging.
“Belonging at work is a feeling of community with the people and environments that make us feel connected.” –LaFawn Davis, Indeed
From the people in charge to workers on the ground floor, it takes everyone in a company to foster a sense of belonging. If you want to be part of the solution, we’ve curated meaningful tips to build that culture.
Bring everyone on board
It seems obvious that for everyone to feel involved, you must actually involve everyone, but what exactly does that entail? How can an organization put that philosophy to life?
It starts with extra communication and eliminating a sense of “outsiderness,” according to Jackie Wiles and Jordan Turner of Gartner.
“Seven out of 10 employees say their organization fails to inform them of opportunities to promote inclusion in their day-to-day work.” –Wiles and Turner
Start by actively encouraging employees to appreciate what everyone brings to the table and encourage them to make sure every voice is heard. And if you’re in a leadership role, make sure to do this visibly to lead by example. Meanwhile, strive to notice and appreciate individuality and make sure not to take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Invest in growth
Another way to show you want your team members to feel like part of an actual team is to invest in their growth. A company willing to invest time and growth in their employees will see a great return on investment.
Employers should offer upskilling opportunities and opportunities for growth, if available. When a company takes extra time and resources to help its employees grow, it shows that you value that team member. Feeling like an important player in the organization will foster increased belonging along with having a more skilled workforce,
Forbes’ William Arruda says to go even further and provide team training and coaching programs on important topics to help workers gain a stronger sense of their abilities and to provide bonding opportunities with their team members.
Share the spotlight
Something anyone in an organization can do to grow a sense of belonging is to elevate others and spread and share the spotlight. No one likes a manager or project leader that hogs credit, and if you’re willing to highlight everyone’s accomplishments and unique skills, you’ll build a stronger culture.
“Model inclusive behavior by being empathetic and listening to all voices on your team, including those who may feel “othered.” –Julia Taylor Kennedy and Pooja Jain-Link
Julia Taylor Kennedy and Pooja Jain-Link of Harvard Business Review state that a good senior leader is inclusive. Create diverse teams and elevate those on the team. Highlight the accomplishments of those who may feel “othered” and make sure they feel seen.
Even if you aren’t a team leader, you can still publicly praise your coworkers and thank them for any effort or help you receive from them. This goes a long way toward showing someone you consider them an equal and value their contributions.
Be generous with appreciation
At the end of the day, the easiest way to forge a culture of belonging is to be generous with your gratitude and show empathy at every given chance. Simple acts of kindness and thanks go a long way.
William Arruda says that the best leaders are those with high emotional intelligence, and highly emotionally intelligent people understand that people want to be appreciated. A simple “I appreciate the work you do” can pay massive dividends.
Entrepreneur’s Terrell Strayhorn says that certain micro-actions can lead to belonging. In addition to thanks, welcoming newcomers publicly, having route check-ins, and bringing up their talents uprooted make an employee feel seen and appreciated.
A company culture’s effort to foster belongingness should start at the top, but everyone in the organization can do their part to help. Whether it’s grand gestures, providing growth and leadership opportunities, or simply expressing gratitude, anyone can make the workplace more inclusive. Take these tenets to heart and find your own ways to make your team feel included!