How Leaders Can Foster a Sense of Belonging in the Workplace —and What is Its Significance?
by Puja Bhardwaj
Due to the recent pandemic-induced disruptions, employers and employees have both encountered numerous difficulties. Traditional work habits have changed, and as a result, more work-from-home and hybrid models are being used, which has left employees feeling alone and put businesses at risk of a downturn in employee happiness.
One of the key impacts of underscoring an aspect of the working experience that is widely acknowledged as vital to the success of a company is a sense of belonging at work or a culture of belonging in the workplace. As teams began working remotely in 2020, the significance of belonging increased. According to research, during COVID-19, the importance of belonging increased by 12%.
You can give employees the assurance of showing their true selves by encouraging a sense of belonging at work. They do not have to make an effort to fit in. That’s when you can unleash their true potential.
But what is a sense of belonging in the workplace? And why is it so important to a company’s success?
In this article, we will look at different aspects of a sense of belonging. We’ll also go through six effective strategies on how to create a sense of belonging in the workplace. Your company may employ people to develop a culture of workplace belonging.
The Significance of Belonging in the Workplace: Why Encourage a Sense of Community?
As per the recent study by Glint, “As more remote work is done, belongingness will become 12% more important in ensuring employees’ happiness in 2020.” Since adults spend a third of their lives working, it makes sense for managers to give their staff members a sense of community. Your employees may lack a sense of belonging and feel excluded. Their organizational dedication and involvement are impacted, as are their psychological and mental health. However, fostering a sense of community has a good effect. It:
- Helps employees stay focused: A diverse workplace invites people of various racial, geographic, gender, and other backgrounds. As leaders, you must create a warm, welcoming workplace environment that honours workers from all backgrounds. Employees may be themselves, thanks to this. Additionally, when your personnel feel safe, they put aside concerns about fitting in and concentrate entirely on finishing the job at hand.
- Enhances the Both between Teams and Company: A sense of belonging encourages dedication and ties the team and the organization together. It brings out the best in your staff and stokes their sense of obligation and commitment to the company.
- Benefits to the Company: Research from BetterUp shows that workers who feel like they belong perform 56% better and use 75% fewer sick days. Due to the emotional attachment and comfort level employees grow for their business, belongingness also reduces the company’s risk of turnover by 50%.
6 Ways to Foster Belonging in the Workplace A Quick List
Be Open to Working and Sharing Ideas
People feel like they belong when they believe they have been heard and are a part of something greater. In the workplace, nothing is different. Therefore, businesses should encourage a culture of idea-sharing. The support of executives for this project is very crucial.
In addition to executive support, having a particular daytime platform, forum, or location to encourage ideas and cooperation is beneficial in fostering a sense of belonging at work. Make plans for a working lunch with several company personnel. Take your team on a trip to foster bonds.
Appreciate Employees for their Efforts
By appreciating employees for their contributions, the company demonstrates how much it respects each individual’s potential. Employees who feel valued are more likely to say that they are cared for by their employer and that their team is more cohesive. Programs for recognition also support creating a culture of belonging in the workplace; it is a result-oriented method among the six ways to foster belonging in the workplace.
Create a Human-centric Workplace
Although productivity is the ultimate goal of any firm, varied people are constantly present in workplaces. Building any sense of purpose is absolutely antithetical to feeling like cogs in a machine. Making employees feel like they are a part of something bigger has to be the top priority of human resources. Make it clear to your team that you regard them as people and not simply their output on paper.
Building a sense of belonging to the company and among your staff ultimately comes down to treating them with respect and valuing their individuality, abilities, and time.
Encourage Growth and Development
An employee may begin to feel stuck and alone if they aren’t pushed to flourish personally and professionally. A stalled employee may develop resentment, which is essential to morale, business success, and any sense of belonging to the company. Support and promote development efforts to prevent this.
Do all of your staff, across all departments, have access to training and development opportunities? A key strategy for fostering staff growth is to have clear avenues for advancement. Mentorship programs are a fantastic method to foster relationships, encourage development, and create a culture of belonging in the workplace.
Employees’s Involvement in Company Decisions
Companies must commit to listening if they want their employees to feel like they have some control over their work. This isn’t accomplished by giving out an employee survey and responding by adding a perk or two. That’s great, but what’s even better is listening to employees in different ways. Qualitative data collection, listening sessions, and an open-door policy are requirements for great workplaces. Talk to your employees.
Your managers also need to act on the needs that employees express. If you don’t intend to act on the insights from the focus group, there is no point in holding on to inclusion and belonging in the workplace.
Encourage an Inclusive and Respectful Culture
An atmosphere of belonging in the workplace can be fostered by promoting an inclusive and respectful working culture. An inclusive and respectful culture welcomes everyone to be who they are while acknowledging that everyone has a unique perspective. A company that lets workers interact with coworkers from similar backgrounds is one approach to creating an inclusive atmosphere.
Employees feel free to share their thoughts when they work in an inclusive environment. This brings up the bottom line!
Fostering a healthy and effective work environment depends on establishing a sense of belonging among employees. Employers can support their employees in feeling valued, respected, and connected by identifying the obstacles to belonging and putting into practice doable measures to foster an inclusive culture. Although it takes continuing work and dedication to maintain a sense of belonging, the rewards are well worth it: happier workers, improved team relationships, and a stronger company culture. It is our duty as employers to establish an environment where all employees feel like they belong.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it important to have a sense of belonging in the workplace?
Team members are united around their goal as they work to deliver when they feel engaged, valued, and like they belong. In turn, ownership, engagement, accountability, and dedication to the team and the organization are fostered by meaningful and purposeful work.
How do you foster belonging in the workplace?
To foster belonging in the workplace, follow the given strategies:
- Develop a positive work environment and a sense of community.
- Establish shared objectives.
- Facilitate Opportunities for Growth
- Encourage open communication.
What are two things you can do to advance your career?
By creating social connections and encouraging a shared vision, you can advance your sense of belonging at your workplace.
What are some examples of belonging in the workplace?
The family, friends, coworkers, and any groups or organizations we belong to are a few examples of the things that contribute to our sense of belonging. For example, kids often feel a sense of community in their classroom. They experience a sense of community with everyone in the class since they all know each other. Football and baseball are two team sports that provide a comparable sense of belonging. In fact, even spectators may experience a sense of community.
How do you measure belonging in the workplace?
Following are the major ways to measure belonging in the workplace:
- Use a standardized assessment tool.
- Stay connected with colleagues regularly.
- Conduct stay interviews.
What leader fosters a sense of belonging?
Managers must work to create a culture of belonging by making all employees, whether they work on-site, remotely, or in a hybrid environment, feel like they belong by showing concern for their coworkers, standing up for each person’s needs, creating or maintaining a space where all voices can be heard, and investing in their professional success.
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