3 Ways to Create Belonging and Why You Absolutely Should

It's an opportunity most companies undervalue or maybe discount altogether but the benefits of creating a sense of belonging will out perform most monetary methods when it comes to productivity and retention.

The human need to feel a sense of belonging and identity is strongest in our late teens and our twenties, coinciding with our entry into the workplace. The type of belonging desired by younger generations seems to be at odds with the older establishment, highlighted perfectly by Brexit (if the voting age was 16 all notion of leaving the EU would be distant memory). When coupled with an increasingly complex social and cultural landscape its easy to see why younger generations are left yearning for a sense of belonging. This is where companies can step in and fill the void.  

Create a vision, create a mission and give your staff a sense of purpose. Empower them to deliver and develop this vision.  

The best workplaces level the field. The differentiators that exist in the outside world suddenly don't matter anymore and previously isolated individuals are able to feel that sense of belonging... feel that they've finally found a place their face fits. Beyond the obvious benefits to the individual, organisations that invest in creating belonging enable talent to feel part of something bigger and therefore benefit from greater engagement leading to considerable lift in productivity and staff retention levels.

There are countless ways for organisations to create belonging; here are 3 to get you started.

1. Create company values that are applicable to all levels, from the CEO to the school-leaver starting their very first job. Seniority and experience shouldn't affect the resonance of these values. Communicate these values clearly and in a meaningful way to their position, level and function. Shared values are the basis for belonging.

2. Acknowledge the individual, ask what motivates and satisfies, then act on this. By creating trust between employer and employee as holistic strategy you turn individuals that feel independently valued into a culture of belonging for all.

3. Shared experiences create belonging. Ensure all staff are able to share in both the wins and losses; shared experiences both positive and negative create belonging through common emotions and feelings.

Gary Rayneau