The Value of Belonging and Building Belonging at Work

Apr 18, 2022

Have you ever worked at a company where you felt undervalued? Or Under-appreciated? Where you felt like you were just taking up space? 

It's a common theme within the employee experience, which is why as leaders, it's so important to understand the value of belonging and creating an environment where your team feels like they belong. 

Belonging is when that person feels valued, necessary, and essential to the group. 

Creating belonging at work can look like team members who know their purpose and feel comfortable and confident in their role. In addition, belonging at work means that team members feel like their contributions are appreciated, and when leaders build belonging at work, their team members are more likely to want to do more.

 

Pause

As managers, we take the time to interview these people, sell them our company culture, pay them, and train them and fail to create an environment where they feel welcome. 

If employees are entering an environment where they are dissatisfied, uncomfortable, or like they're taking up space, we risk losing amazing employees. 

When building belonging, take a moment to reflect on a few questions: 

  • How does your team interact with one another? 
  • How does your team interact with you? 
  • How do you interact with your team?

How you answer these questions can tell a lot about your team and help you, as a manager, pinpoint areas of growth. 

 

Play 

Building belonging requires patience and time. There's no quick fix to having a team that feels fulfilled and that they belong. However, if you're looking for a place to start, here are three small ways you can build belonging: 

 

Pay Attention

Ask your team members what they enjoy working on. Pay attention to what they find interesting and how they're motivated. Then, as you learn more about your team, provide opportunities for them to work on projects that fall within their interests. 

 

Get Your Team Involved

Start conversations and ask questions. Try to encourage team discussions. If you notice a team member isn't speaking up, bring up the conversation one-on-one. 

Bring up upcoming projects with your team, discuss any challenges you're facing, and allow them to speak their mind. Give your team the opportunity to provide advice and feedback on things that directly affect them. 

 

Humanize

Your team is made up of unique individuals with interests and hobbies outside of work. Get to know them outside of work too. Creating belonging is getting to know your employee as more than just an employee. 

Building belonging takes time; whether it's time spent with your team or time reflecting on how your team and company operates, leaders need to take that time to create a more welcoming and effective team. 

 

Perform 

Building belonging can also include a lot of self-reflection and practicing Emotional Intelligence in the workplace. 

While you work to build belonging, make sure you're asking for feedback because belonging can look different for each individual. 

Check in with the individuals on your team and gauge their feelings on their experience with what you're doing to build belonging. It's important to have candid conversations about what is working for your team and what is just creating more work for you. 

As leaders, creating belonging is essential in building a great team. While there's no quick fix or singular fix, understanding your team, taking time to create an environment that makes them feel welcome, and understanding that belonging looks different for each person are good places to start. 


If you're looking for support in your journey to creating workplace belonging, we offer team-building workshops, leadership coaching, and virtual meetings, so schedule a complimentary call with us and let's get started! 

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