Everyone wants to feel like they belong. In the workplace, a sense of belonging brings meaning, satisfaction, trust and fulfillment. Nurturing a sense of belonging, growing relationships, at work is especially important in today’s environment, as many employees work remotely and most conversations happen virtually.
Creating this sense of belonging is helpful to not only individuals but also your company’s bottom line. When employees feel like they are part of the team, they often feel intrinsically motivated to do their best work. Although cultivating an environment where all employees feel welcome and valued is challenging, it is crucial to your team’s overall effectiveness and well-being.
Cultivate an environment of equality and inclusion
You might not always recognize when you are excluding employees. When you are intentional about creating a culture where people of all backgrounds, races, ages, and walks of life are supported, (without bias)you can begin to combat the exclusion that often happens unconsciously. Remember that an inclusive culture views differences as strengths. This creates meaning for everyone on your team.
Encourage respectful connection
Another way to develop a sense of belonging is to build a connected culture. When your team members get to know each other, building relationships, they will intrinsically begin to want to support and trust one another. This connection helps build strong group norms that align with your overall mission, ideals, and goals.
Remind employees that their work matters
If you do not ever pause to thank your team members or show them how their efforts matter in the bigger picture, they may struggle to see how they fit in. Make sure your team members know that their talents, strengths, and efforts are important to your organization’s success. When they know that their work is important, your team will develop an awareness that they are working for something more than a paycheck.
Create a safe culture
Everyone on your team should feel safe to express who they are and what they believe without experiencing backlash. When people know they comfortably belong, they can be themselves without worrying about negative consequences.
Be generous with recognition
You can create a sense of belonging when you frequently and openly express recognition and appreciation. By doing so, you express that your team members matter. When they know they are important, they feel empowered and inspired to do their best.
Belonging is a fundamental human need, want, and desire. You can help ensure your team members feel part of your team by creating an inclusive culture and one where your team members feel connected to each other and free to be themselves. As a leader, you can also show your team members how their work individually impacts the greater organization and that you appreciate their hard work. When your team members feel a sense of belonging, your entire organization benefits. And this helps you thrive.