We all want to feel like we belong to a group – at home, at work, and in our larger community. It all boils down to one of our most basic needs: social connection.
When that need isn’t addressed, we can experience suffering — both physically and psychologically — in the same way that other basic requirements aren’t met.
When we have a sense of belonging and inclusion, on the other hand, it can help us live a more meaningful life.
It gives us the impression of being a part of something larger than ourselves. That’s why, for some individuals contemplating whether to leave or stay at their current job, belonging and attachment to co-workers are more motivating factors than money.
How do you create a welcoming workplace where people feel at ease?
Make a Psychologically Safe Environment
Every team should be formed on a trusting basis. On the other hand, most people are uncomfortable talking about how they’re doing at work – how they’re truly doing.
Leaders may set the tone for the team by modeling vulnerability and authenticity. It might be as easy as discussing what went wrong with their endeavours and what they learned for the future. It could also imply being upfront and honest while they’re having difficulties.
We enable others to take measured risks without fear of failure by exposing our human imperfections.
Leaders should also search for opportunities to be allies, particularly for marginalized groups. It aids in the amplification of their voices.
Make contact with others.
Checking in to see how someone is doing, listening closely to their response, and asking follow-up questions are examples of these moments.
Let’s imagine one of your employees was forced to miss work due to her daughter’s illness. When she returns to work, inquire about her daughter’s condition.
It can also be a happy thing. Perhaps a co-worker comments that he and his spouse are preparing a 20th-anniversary meal for the following weekend.
Ask that co-worker how the Monday celebration went by setting a reminder on your phone or pencilling it into your daily schedule.
It’s a terrific way to make your employees feel seen and valued to ask how they’re doing and then actually listen to their responses.
Allow those who are feeling ignored to speak
Have you ever sat in a meeting and seen someone try to break into the conversation with an idea, only to be ignored? Alternatively, they may have had the floor but were interrupted.
The look on their faces says it all: they’re depressed. It may even discourage them from speaking up again.
When someone is interrupted, the meeting leader should quickly step in to regulate, “One moment, Julissa, I’d want to hear the rest of her proposal.” “Could you tell us more, Julissa?” That can assist someone in transitioning from feeling ignored to being recognized.
Encourage supervisors to call on persons attempting to speak up but are having trouble getting a word in.
Consider checking in with them individually to see how you can better involve them in the discourse if they observe that certain team members never speak up in meetings.
People are more driven to see the organization thrive when they are included in it. Exclusionary cultures can lead to team members sabotaging each other and an environment where people are only interested in themselves.
The more people that are involved, the more they will want to see everyone achieve together.
Giving credit where credit is due is another way to feel like you belong at work. Perhaps an employee had a brilliant concept that resulted in a significant victory for their department.
The department head might acknowledge the team’s accomplishment at the next town hall meeting and give a particular shout-out to the employee who came up with the original proposal.
Self-identity should be celebrated
What are some ways you can encourage employees to be themselves at work?
Test the boundaries of what constitutes “professional business clothing.” People of many races/ethnicities, ages, faiths, and gender identities are likely to make up your workforce. Whether a woman wears a hijab or dreadlocks to work, celebrate their individuality.
Allow them to be themselves, not a watered-down imitation of themselves. It begins with the highest-ranking officials.
That sense of self-expression should extend to their work efforts as well. Allow employees who have worked in their current position for a specific number of years to rewrite their job descriptions based on how they believe they can best contribute to the company’s overall aims and objectives.
It’s a terrific way to demonstrate that you value and trust your employees’ opinions. It also allows you to adjust job descriptions to better fit individuals rather than changing people to fit better job descriptions, which could help boost engagement.
Inquire about suggestions
Employees can also play an essential part in creating a welcoming environment. If your organization does an annual employee survey, you might want to include the following question: “How can we better promote belonging and inclusion?” For guiding strategic initiatives, use technology to gain a pulse on trends.
Your employees’ responses can assist you in identifying options, such as a breastfeeding room or a bathroom without a gender identification on the door.
Managers can also promote inclusiveness at the project level by soliciting feedback from team members.
Instead of assigning each employee a task, managers may describe the project’s overall aim and then ask how they’d want to help. It gives individuals the freedom to choose the role they want to play — and makes them more invested in the outcome.
As a business, you might help your employees by utilizing the company’s communications, equipment, and conference rooms for meetings.
Check in on each other, listen when people have opposing viewpoints and include people who may be feeling left out of the discourse.
We can build a workplace where everyone feels welcome by keeping an open mind and choosing kindness.