All about ‘belonging’

It’s paramount that a business and its bosses recognise and appreciate everyone who works within the company, says Joanna Swash, the chief executive of Moneypenny

All about ‘belonging’

I have always believed that people are an organisation’s greatest asset. And, therefore, should be a fundamental priority of every company’s strategy. It is a better way to do business – plain and simple.

By putting people front and centre, it gives an organisation the chance to focus on employee belonging. Celebrating individuality is the recipe for business success. When employees feel they belong, they are more motivated, engaged and productive. In turn, they’re more likely to go above and beyond for the company because they feel valued and appreciated.

But how do we celebrate and achieve individuality?

It starts by creating a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcome and respected. We need to acknowledge and embrace our differences, whether that’s race, gender, sexuality, age, or any other factor. 

We also need to provide opportunities for employees to express themselves and showcase their individual talents and skills. This means offering training and development programs, mentoring and coaching. They need to be offered the opportunity to provide regular feedback and they must receive recognition for their efforts. 

Ultimately, it’s about creating a culture of belonging where everyone feels they’re part of something bigger than themselves. When we do this, we create a more engaged and motivated workforce, which leads to a more successful business. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. 

But what exactly isbelonging

At Moneypenny, it is about making our people feel seen, heard and accepted for who they are. And not just for whom they are when they step through the office doors. It’s just as vital to recognise them for who they are outside of the office too.

‘Belonging’ will be defined differently from organisation to organisation. However, it will always contain the building blocks of recognition and reward, connection and expression, as well as support.

We’ve all been there before: The last and remaining pick on the playing field when teams are being chosen. It’s not about a popularity contest, necessarily, it’s about feeling respected for what you bring to proceedings. 

Never lose sight of the maxim: Your business is just one massive team. And the team will thrive if there is a culture of belonging. If everyone appreciates what each other person brings to the table, it will certainly improve a company’s chances of success. Appreciating the unique differences between people will make all organisations better. 

Diversity of thought

This can be described as being open to new and different perspectives that each individual can offer. But this only works if there is a common purpose and a framework within which a company operates. Everyone will have an opinion on how to approach, manage and fulfil an action. This is what all companies should want. This innovation will keep you moving forwards.

As leaders, we don’t have all the answers and therefore need input from our colleagues. A workplace where people feel safe in sharing their opinions is a workplace which respects these people for who they are. And it is this feeling that creates a sense and culture of belonging. Bosses need to be cheerleaders for their people, advocating their ideas and celebrating them.

Create a safe working environment

This is one that adheres to health and safety, but also one that is psychologically safe. Nurture an environment where individuals are respected for who they are and what they bring to the table. Encourage everyone to have a voice. Some will naturally have a louder voice than others, and it is the leader’s role to ensure that everyone is heard and supported. 

Communicate and build long-lasting relationships

Don’t leave it until the annual review to check-in with people. Take the time to get to know them. Build it into your schedule, however hectic that is. Always seek feedback. The aim is for your workforce to respect you as a person, not your job title. 

Support employee-led initiatives

Initiatives will foster greater connection to the organisation but also support people in finding other like-minded people within it. 

Celebrate the individuals that work for you and their achievements

Be proud of your people. And when your people feel aligned, they will be proud of the business. Be proud of the culture that you are nurturing.

Belonging has been identified as a basic human need

It plays an elemental role in people’s lives, and the same applies to your business. It’s important to understand that a thriving culture of belonging rests on the ability and mind-set of an organisation’s leaders. They must be able to recognise the unique qualities of individuals and appreciate their worth. 

Additionally, they should have the tools and motivation to support others in reaching their full potential. This approach ultimately leads to a collective team of diverse and skilled thinkers. This is where the magic happens, and a sense of belonging and purpose takes root.

Joanna Swash
Joanna Swash

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