When it comes to creating a healthy workplace and workplace culture, there are several elements that managers need to inspire and develop. Opportunity, communication, acceptance and recognition all come to mind, but there’s one aspect of workplace culture that is somewhat ambiguous. Belonging refers to someone’s sense of connection, understanding or affinity to something or somewhere. In the workplace, an employee who feels as if they belong can be very a valuable asset to the team and company. Such employees feel a sense of loyalty, understanding and shared vision with the organisation, but just how does it benefit employers and employees alike?
The benefits for employees
Having a sense of belonging at work is a critical factor for employee satisfaction and motivation. Employees that feel welcomed, accepted and valued at work are much more likely to be more content in their lives and this is a huge aspect of wider health and well-being. A happy and healthy employee is of great value to their employer too.
The benefits for employers
Having staff who feel as if they belong in the workplace has many benefits for employers. Employees are much more likely to be engaged with the work they are doing, which can increase productivity and the quality of work produced. Happier and more motivated individuals will push harder for development and progression opportunities, which in turn can generate success for the business. What’s more, creating a sense of belonging will go a long way toward reducing staff turnover and absenteeism – both of which can hinder the efforts of your workforce significantly. So, the benefits are clear to see – but how do you create a culture and environment where people achieve a sense of belonging?
How can it be achieved?
Generating a sense of belonging between your staff and business isn’t an easy task. Many elements feed into this, including the physical work environment, team and management dynamic, employer expectations and workplace culture. A culture of acceptance should be indoctrinated from the top down and accountability for this acceptance should be fostered by all involved. A practical example of this is work clothing or staff uniforms, which can help to create unity and acceptance in customer-facing teams.
Everyone’s work should be valued and recognised, no matter the type or level, because ultimately everyone is involved in the same process and effort. Communication also needs to be consistent across your workforce to ensure that everyone feels like part of the team, and two-way communication can give employees a feeling of involvement in the wider business and input on their role in the organisation.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.