According to Culture Amp, there is one single factor that consistently ties to an employee’s “commitment, motivation, pride, and recommendation—a sense of belonging”. They surveyed over 7000 people in 35 companies, and belonging was their one consistent finding.
Many of you might be asking yourself what that even means. This is work, for heaven’s sake, not extended family!
Right. However, why would a talented person want to spend a great deal of their lives in a place they don’t feel they belong? Why wouldn’t they just pick up their skills, education and experience and offer them to another company where they:
No one wants to spend their days looking over their shoulder waiting to get thrown under a bus. Or being gossiped about by their co-workers. Or not even clear about what it is they are trying to accomplish. Or even worse, bullied and called names by an insensitive or cruel supervisor.
Belonging means that you feel comfortable, appreciated, trusted (and you trust others), and able to be vulnerable without feeling frightened about being made fun of or shamed. This can be even more of a challenge if you are from a different race, culture, or gender from the rest of the team.
Are you creating that kind of an environment among your team? Because it is so important, you don’t want to leave it to chance. As the leader, it is up to you to thoughtfully and intentionally create a high level of trust and understanding and support among your folks.
How to do this?
You may have team members who don’t see eye to eye, or simply don’t like each other. It is on you, as the leader, to make sure the workplace is safe and accepting. Expect that people encourage a sense of belonging. But no doubt about it—you set the tone. Make it a good one.