Belonging is a core part of a culture where individuals can thrive in their work and careers. It has always been hugely important, but it gained wider focus as a result of the heightened isolation and disconnectedness many people experienced during and following the pandemic.
Across our business, we continue to embed and develop belonging as a core aspect of including all our people.
This is a measurably significant factor in choosing to stay in a company with 51% of people who left their jobs in 2022 doing so in pursuit of belonging and connection, according to McKinsey.
Workplace (2021) found that a culture of belonging exists when three things are in place:
- Everyone appreciates you for what you bring to the group.
- There is a genuine desire for meaningful relationships.
- There is an appreciation for the differences between people.
Belonging is rooted in how we personally experience our workplace. We need to be and feel valued for who we are and what we uniquely bring to our teams.
Our teams are strengthened by having different perspectives, ideas, and skills to draw from which bring a diversity of creativity, insight and expertise that is essential to our success.
Belonging requires recognising the value of what we bring and having the space, opportunity, and trust to bring those unique traits to our work. This relies on building an environment where we are all acknowledged and celebrated for our distinctive value and personhood.
Executive Coach Ora Shtull emphasises the crucial importance of recognising what makes each team member unique because “no one should be expected to change who they are in order to feel seen, heard, and valued.”
One of the foundational attributes to a culture of belonging is developing what medical anthropologist Geri-Ann Galanti refers to as "cultural competence."
This means taking personal and individual responsibility for reflection and self-awareness, understanding that this is foundational to being strong colleagues and leaders. It is important to be conscious of the link between the quality of our work and our ability to recognise and harness our differences.
Culturally competent team members accept and appreciate the differences in their teams and subsequently take a balanced approach to collaborating which is both individualised and collective.
A culture of belonging is made by the choices we each make every day in not only what work we do but how we do it.
Why not try the 5-day, 5-minute challenge to help you learn more and reflect about the importance of building a culture of belonging.