In putting people front and centre, it gives us the chance to really focus on employee belonging. Celebrating individuality is the recipe for business success. When employees feel like they belong, they’re more motivated, engaged, and productive. They’re more likely to go above and beyond for the company because they feel valued and appreciated.
But how do we celebrate individuality?
It starts with creating a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcome and respected. We need to acknowledge and embrace our differences, whether that’s in terms of 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, and regular feedback and recognition. Ultimately, it’s about creating a culture of belonging where everyone feels like they’re part of something bigger than themselves. When we do this, we create a more engaged and motivated workforce, which in turn leads to a more successful business. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.
Enter, belonging, one of the top human capital issues businesses face today. But what exactly is it? To understand it and foster it, we first need to define it. At Moneypenny, it is about making our people feel seen, heard, and accepted for who they are. Not just for who they are when they step through the office doors, but for who they are outside of the office too. For whom they are. Full stop.
Belonging will be defined differently from organisation to organisation, however it will always contain the building blocks of recognition and reward, connection and expression, and support.
We’ve all been there. The last pick on the playing field as teams are being chosen. It’s not about the popularity contest, necessarily, it’s about feeling respected for what you can do. Being valued and appreciated for what you can bring to the team. And really, your business is just one massive team.
And this massive team will thrive if there is a culture of belonging. If everyone appreciates what each person can bring to the table. And if there is an appreciation for the unique differences between people and how that can make your organisation better.
Diversity of thought
Otherwise known as being open to new and different perspectives that each individual can offer. Now, this only works if there is a common purpose and a framework within which you operate. Everyone will have an opinion about how to approach, manage and fulfil an action. This is what you want. This innovation will keep you moving forwards.
As leaders, we do not have all the answers. This approach recognizes that and will only work if we recognize that.
A workplace where people feel safe in sharing their authentic opinions indicates that said workplace sees and respects them for who they are. And this feeling leads to a sense of belonging. As leaders we need to be the cheerleaders for our people, advocating their ideas and celebrating them.
Makes perfect sense in theory, but how can we foster a sense of belonging in real terms?
Create a safe working environment
Yes, one that adheres to Health & Safety, but equally important is a psychologically safe working environment, where individuals are respected for who they are and what they can bring to the table. Encourage everyone to have a voice. Some will naturally have a louder voice than others, it is your job as a leader to ensure that they are heard and supported.
Build long-lasting relationships
Do not leave it until the annual review to check-in with people. Take the time to get to know your people, build it into your schedule, however hectic it is. And ask for feedback. What do you think we should be doing to help you? Think about it. Personally, you and I will be at our most comfortable when we are with our friends. They care about you as a person, not your job title. Same applies here.
Support employee-led initiatives
This takes my previous point from a different perspective. Building long-lasting relationships between colleagues. Any such initiative will foster greater connection to the organisation but also support people in finding other like-minded people within it. Anything from wellbeing to the environment.
The individuals that work for you, 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.
A culture of belonging
Since Maslow defined his hierarchy in 1943, belonging has been identified as a basic human need. It plays an elemental role in people’s lives and so it should in business. As with so many essential structural components it is founded in your organization’s culture.
It’s important to understand that a thriving culture of belonging rests on the ability and mindset of the leaders. They must be able to recognize the unique qualities of individuals and see their worth. Additionally, they should have the tools and motivation to support others in reaching their full potential. By doing so, they honour each person’s individuality. This approach ultimately leads to a collective team of diverse, skilled thinkers. This is where the magic happens, and a sense of belonging and purpose takes root.