5 practical tips on how you can create a stronger sense of belonging at work
We’re happier, healthier and more motivated when we feel like we belong.* So, it’s no surprise that 90% of UK employees said that ‘belonging at work’ is important to them, according to our research in collaboration with YouGov. However, over a third (36%) of those respondents admit that they don’t feel a sense of belonging at work. While there are many reasons for this, there are little things we can do every day to create a more inclusive, welcoming, collaborative and high-performing environment, for ourselves and our colleagues.
Welcoming a new colleague
The first few weeks at a new job and workplace can be daunting. So, when a new colleague or team member joins, make every effort to help them feel welcome and included by introducing them to people, engaging them in conversations and checking in on them regularly.
In a meeting
Whether it’s a client meeting or an internal discussion, you’re often expected to share your ideas and opinions. This can be an intimidating experience for some, especially when dealing with different work styles. If you notice someone being overlooked or constantly interrupted, address it. Talk it through with the people involved, making it clear that type of behaviour can have a negative impact and let the affected colleague know that they have your support.
On a project
When working in a group, it’s important to ensure that everyone feels like a valued member of the team. Difference drives innovation and improves performance. So, look out for those who may feel left out or like an “outsider” and give them the opportunity to lead or share their ideas. At every stage, make sure you’re open to new approaches and ideas – ask yourself: “Whose points of view haven’t I considered?”
As a manager
Managing a team requires a fair and transparent approach. Share news or knowledge with all members of your team and provide everyone with equal access to career development opportunities. For example, by giving everyone the chance to network with senior executives and key clients, you can help them feel invested in the team’s success.
Day to day
It’s often the little things that make you feel like you belong at work, like the quick chats you have while getting a coffee, and the jokes and stories you share. However, it’s important to note that not everyone has the same sense of humour or cultural context, so you should always be mindful of others’ cultural and stylistic differences. Be explicit to your colleagues about the importance of recognising different points of view and how this can deliver commercial success.
It takes all of us to create a sense of belonging.
Even the smallest action can go a long way towards making someone feel connected, valued and understood. Whatever our level of seniority or career stage, we can all play a part in creating a workplace where every person feels they truly belong.
Source: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from an online YouGov Plc survey. Sample: 2,016 employees from private sector businesses. Fieldwork dates: 28th September - 4th October 2018.