· Tricia Tan  · 6 min read

Cultivating a Sense of Workplace Belonging

There’s a popular slang expression (or two) that people are using nowadays to describe what they feel about a place, experience, or people.

If they feel off or negative, they’ll often chalk it up to “bad vibes” or “bad juju.”

If the vibe or juju is good, everything clicks in place. When they are vibin’, you know the person feels an overwhelming sense of belongingness.

“This is the place; these are my people,” and that’s exactly the sentiment you want your potential new hires or employees to associate with the workplace.

Belonging in the workplace

Employees feel like they belong at work when they believe their company and coworkers value their individuality. So how do you achieve that?

Being able to feel safe and bring one’s entire, distinctive self to work comes from daily encounters that make one feel like one belongs.

Belonging goes deeper than just making employees feel valued for their work or their part in the company.

Employees treated with respect and given incentives to maintain their individuality within the workgroup experience a strong sense of belonging.

This entails giving value to the numerous facets of a worker’s identity, such as being a parent, being a member of a particular race, or having a specific sexual orientation. In this regard, inclusion and variety are near relatives of belonging.

The concept of belonging at work expands on the hierarchy of needs developed by psychologist Abraham Maslow.

According to Maslow and other scholars, the desire for love and belonging is located in the center of the pyramid of human wants, above the need for basic physical needs, yet necessary before achieving the need for “self-actualization,” which is the highest human need.

Why is it essential for your employees to feel they belong?

The need to belong is fundamental to human nature and psychology.

Humans, according to Aristotle, are social creatures who need to feel emotionally connected to those around them. We want to speak with one another, encourage others, and feel like we belong to this organization.

An “intrinsic incentive” known as the need to fit in has always existed and has changed over time as people have progressed.

This is much more profound and fundamental to who we are as people, not something that can simply be ignored or set to the side.

Without a sense of belonging, you won’t want to interact with others in your environment or form relationships.

Many employees lack the motivation to work and the ability to perform properly in their surroundings when they don’t feel like they belong.

40% of people claim to feel lonely at work, which causes them to perform below par and work to their capacity.

Our brain reacts to exclusion similarly to how it responds to physical pain; as a result, experiencing it frequently can make work unpleasant and have a negative effect on the workplace.

But why is it essential to cultivate such a mindset and experience?

Employees who sense a connection to their company and their coworkers are more motivated to work and participate.

As a result, they are still engaged in and committed to their profession and want to keep getting better at their job. Because of this, there is less employee churn and a higher level of engagement.

It also emphasizes how many workers may feel that their employment is not suitable for them as issues surrounding the misunderstanding of a range of experiences in the workplace are coming to light.

The feeling of belonging can be destroyed by exclusion. But on the other hand, it can encompass individuals of all different identities, resulting in a more varied workforce, by helping employees to feel like they belong in their company.

This has been shown to help the organization and the well-being of all employees; inclusive teams have been shown to make better business decisions 87% of the time with greater effectiveness and superior outcomes.

People are more likely to feel cheerful if they have a strong sense of belonging to a particular group. An individual’s happiness rises for every group they connect with.

Therefore, enhancing employees’ sense of belonging in the workplace is a surefire approach to boosting employee satisfaction.

Making employees feel they belong

Employees need to feel valued by the company to experience a sense of belonging.

With these three steps, foster a sense of belonging in the workplace:

1. Ensure no one feels like an outsider

Many workers still feel alienated at work, leading them to repress further the aspects of themselves that set them apart from their coworkers.

Being made to feel unwelcome is a psychologically unpleasant experience that detracts one’s ability to concentrate and perform.

Even though most offices are still “one size fits some,” with the idea that everyone else will cram in, the office shouldn’t be like that.

Create an environment at work where uniqueness is acknowledged and valued. Show consideration for each employee and offer many chances for check-ins. One is less likely to feel alienated at work if there is trust, understanding, and support.

2. Promote inclusion by involving employees

Encourage staff members to respect the contributions that each individual can make by showing them care, advocating for their voices, and supporting the personal growth of their coworkers.

Show people they have a valuable part in creating an inclusive workplace by incorporating employee feedback into organizational principles.

3. Show that you care by offering rewards and taking action

Benefits available to all demographic groups, such as flexible work hours and mental wellness initiatives, show employees that you are concerned about their requirements at work and outside of it.

Such expressions of gratitude fuel a sense of belonging.

Culture-building initiatives like encouraging diversity in succession planning and hosting celebrations are beneficial.

Business performance is closely correlated with whether or not employees feel like they belong by offering rewards and initiatives that recognize their distinctive contributions to the corporation.

To summarize

Humans naturally seek out settings where we feel accepted and appreciated for our contributions. It’s a natural desire that must be satisfied and, if unmet, can have grave repercussions.

Cultivating a sense of belonging in the workplace means everyone is respected, valued, heard, included, appreciated, and acknowledged. No one is an outsider and a loner in a workplace that values its people.

In small to mid-sized businesses, one way to make sure you foster a sense of belonging is to dedicate your time and energy toward your employees and their welfare.

For your HR department to successfully do that, you’ll need to give them back time. The time you can save if you utilize a complete HR solution like Hezum.

From onboarding, time off requests and management, to ensuring your employees get access to contact details and pertinent HR documents, Hezum can do it all, giving your employees time to focus more on improving the employee experience.

Want to learn more about Hezum’s solutions? Visit the website today.

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