Fostering a sense of belonging
Belonging involves having a sense of connection and feeling valued by the people around you. Connection plays a valuable role on our mental health, which makes having positive relations and purpose within working life extra important.
The belonging of employees should therefore not only gain attention once a year during an annual wellbeing week. What about the wellbeing of your employees throughout the other 51 weeks of the year?
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are simply not enough! If an employee does not feel like they belong in the workplace then they cannot experience real inclusion.
It’s important to continue making an effort to create a sense of community by embedding wellbeing and purpose across your business and lead with humanity.
Why is a sense of belonging important?
Employees with a stronger sense of belonging perform better. It’s that simple.
Leaders should have a plan to enhance their employee’s wellbeing because workers who are healthy and feel a greater sense of purpose achieve far more.
Covid-19 has provided the most powerful business example of why the health of employees is so important and why companies should provide resources so that people can stay healthy. The most vital asset in an organisation needs to be the health and the wellbeing of your people.
In return for increased belonging, businesses should expect to see the enhancement of the wellbeing and compassion of employees, resulting in a positive knock-on effect on commercial performance and financial profitability.
Organisations should therefore elevate the belonging and mental health of their people to being a strategic priority. So that health is not just a priority for the wellbeing manager or only of significance for the diversity and inclusion committee, but also considered from an executive level because belonging is a critical enabler of improved performance.
Leading with Humanity
Many of us have become accustomed to the loss of connection which working from home during a global pandemic has brought.
The previous social connection we experienced within the office space, such as the casual conversations over the coffee machine and little colleague catch-ups during breaks almost seem long forgotten.
Many are continuing to struggle with the loss of the previous routine that travelling to work outside of the house provided and the impact of the blurred lines between personal and working lives on our overall mental health.
Employees in less senior roles, who don’t have the luxury of a spare room to work in and have instead been switching to work from their bed, sofa or kitchen table are looking forward to returning to the office space.
However, due to the long-term impact of Covid-19 on the workplace, many companies will likely continue to stick to a working structure that involves some days working from home and the rest back at the office. Therefore, a flexible and blended approach is needed to improve belonging across this hybrid work structure.
4 ways organisations can increase a sense of belonging in the workplace:
- Leaders can do an audit of your organisation and see what is working and what other parts are causing stress on your people and not encouraging belonging.
- Elevate the emotional wellbeing of your employees to become a strategic priority for your business, by taking on a much more proactive approach towards across the whole business structure. Onboarding is great place to introduce wellbeing topics to support belonging.
- Provide greater flexibility within the workplace. During these times we need to show more compassion towards one another.
- Make belonging a priority around the board table by investing in financial and human resources, which will positively contribute to people’s physical, mental, and emotional health to give individuals and teams a greater sense of purpose in their role.