Are your employees leaving? There may be various reasons why they’re quitting their jobs. They could have wanted to feel respected, included, or even valued. There’s one thing you can do that may encourage them to stay for longer and it fosters a sense of belonging.
Here you’ll learn the elements of belonging, how important it is, and what steps you can take in fostering it.
Belonging in the Workplace: What It’s Like and Why is It Important?
A culture of belonging leads to more employees feeling appreciated for what they bring to the team. There is also an authentic desire for people to build meaningful connections with each other when their differences are celebrated and valued.
The connections and appreciation that they find at work will encourage them to perform better because they feel good about themselves and what they do.
In fact, Gallup’s State of the Global Workplace: 2022 Report found that 42 percent of U.S. employees stated that having a diverse and inclusive employer is very important to them when considering their next job.¹
However, when employees feel like they don’t belong in their workplace, they may not feel enthusiastic about work and may not perform their best. According to Harvard Business Review, 40 percent of people feel isolated at their work, and this results in them working beneath their true potential.²
If your employees don’t feel that they belong, they’ll be more likely to be insecure about their position in the company and feel less freedom to be true to themselves.
Steps to Take in Fostering Belongingness
If you’re looking to build belongingness in your workplace to give your employees the space to be true to themselves, here are some steps that you can take.
1. Encourage Employees to Openly Communicate
Show consideration for their opinions by encouraging them to share their ideas and concerns in front of others. Team members are more likely to feel at ease when their leaders value what they bring to the table.
On top of this, open communication can showcase transparency in the office, which will then lead to genuine trust and strengthened relationships among colleagues. It can also help you address company issues better.
Leaders who encourage this can help boost collaboration among teammates because employees will feel a sense of security in working together. This will then yield more innovative work performance.
2. Promote Teamwork and Collaboration
Teamwork fosters inclusion in the workplace. It gathers people with different talents and various backgrounds together. This can help teammates finish tasks faster and can be an effective way to fight off the loneliness some people may feel.
When you encourage collaboration, employees will feel secure that they can get help and learn from their teammates. They can also gain confidence in the fact that they are contributing to their team with their unique skills and perspectives.
Managers can foster teamwork and collaboration by starting projects that people can work on in pairs or groups. Try grouping people who have never or rarely worked together before. This can help them start new friendships and build trust with more people.
3. Highlight Their Purpose
Beyond wanting a job position or a better salary, employees also want to understand how their contributions affect the company’s goals and values. This is where leaders can instill a sense of purpose in their minds.
You can start by having a conversation with them about what the company stands for. Emphasizing their purpose can lead to a feeling of accomplishment and pride among your members.
Related Reading: Employees on What Defines a Great Company Culture
4. Cultivate Diversity and Inclusion
Some organizations may unconsciously put employees through discriminatory practices like ethnic or religious profiling. This and other unhealthy acts must be acknowledged and rectified as they can negatively affect how employees feel about being included at work.
Diversity and inclusivity are cornerstones of a thriving work culture. These can help you drive productivity, innovation, and a competitive edge among your employees. Inclusive companies support and involve their workforce regardless of their title or position in the organization.
It’s necessary for a workforce with members from various backgrounds to support and appreciate each other to make each member feel genuinely included.
You can better foster diversity and inclusion through training programs with topics such as anti-sexism, anti-racism, cultural sensitivity, and human resource compliance training, among others.
Related Reading: The Importance of Diversity in Tech Companies
5. Create Organizational Stability
In an unstable work environment, employees may struggle to perform at their peak. Unfair terms, ineffective processes, and constant organizational changes can negatively impact their well-being and push them to perform dismally.
Cultivating a stable work environment includes providing employees with the necessary resources to effectively carry out their tasks. This includes clarity about their roles and consistent constructive feedback.
Additionally, you can promote stability by offering a comfortable office space, organizing engagement-building events, and implementing flexible office policies. These measures can motivate employees to perform well and be loyal to the company.
6. Recognize and Give Feedback for Growth
Regular feedback and recognition are crucial in ensuring that each member feels valued within the team. Providing consistent feedback and acknowledging their achievements makes them feel good about enhancing their skills and growth.
Some leaders may struggle with delivering effective feedback to their employees. If your organization struggles with this, consider setting one-on-one meetings with each employee. These individual coaching sessions allow individuals to reflect on their unique perspectives and qualities, helping them understand how to leverage their strengths and integrate their individuality into the workplace.
When providing feedback, focus on offering constructive and encouraging criticism to help employees hone their skills. Additionally, highlight their strengths to boost their confidence and foster a sense of pride in their accomplishments.
Collective feedback is another valuable approach. Recognizing employees publicly not only acknowledges their contributions but also informs colleagues about their capabilities, creating a network of support within the team. This fosters stronger bonds between teammates and instills a sense of reliability and mutual assistance.
Related Reading: Leadership Agility: Navigating Change for Business Acceleration
Measuring Belongingness in the Workplace
Gathering feedback is one of the most effective ways to assess the effectiveness of your efforts in fostering a sense of belonging among your employees. Conducting purposeful surveys can provide valuable insights into their sentiments.
Consider involving a neutral third party in survey administration to ensure unbiased and confidential feedback. This approach allows employees to provide feedback anonymously while the third party reports aggregate data to you.
Some of the questions that may be asked in the survey include:
- “Do I feel free in sharing my ideas and suggestions?”
- “Do I feel like my co-workers respect me?”
- “Do I feel like my teammates and leaders recognize my contributions?”
- “Do I feel like I can be my authentic self at work?”
Once you’ve collected data, consider sorting bases on specific demographics such as department or location. This will enable you to pinpoint areas where belongingness is strong and areas that require improvement.
For instance, if a particular department receives a low score in terms of recognizing individual contributions, you can focus on providing coaching to their managers on effective recognition and feedback practices.
Additionally, conducting a follow-up survey, where employees can once again provide anonymous feedback, can help identify any instances of favoritism or neglect within the department.
Understanding how belongingness is thriving in each department allows your team to make necessary adjustments to ensure all employees feel a sense of security and inclusivity within their respective teams.
Foster an Inclusive Work Environment Through Belongingness
When employees feel a sense of belonging, they are more likely to be engaged and productive in their roles within the company. This leads to not only their personal satisfaction but also contributes to the overall success of the business.
FORM A DIVERSE TEAM WITH RASO360
If you’re looking for hard-working professionals from diverse backgrounds to work with on your current or upcoming projects, Raso360 can help you connect with the best candidates in IT, Engineering, and more.
1 Efron, Louis. “What Drives a Culture of Belonging?” Gallup, 26 Jul. 2022, www.gallup.com/workplace/395102/drives-culture-belonging.aspx. Accessed 19 July 2023.
2 Twaronite, Karyn. “The Surprising Power of Simply Asking Coworkers How They’re Doing.” Harvard Business Review, 28 Feb. 2019, hbr.org/2019/02/the-surprising-power-of-simply-asking-coworkers-how-theyre-doing. Accessed 19 July 2023.