Belonging and Inclusion
The word “team” is often used in professional environments, but the org chart isn’t the only factor in a team mentality. While no two teams look the same, the core of it remains uniform: you’re valued and belong. So why do so many people not feel this at work, and what can be done about it? In a recent study by BetterUp, they found that 1 in 4 employees feels like they do not belong.
As humans, we are wired to want to belong to something. This natural human experience is often referred to as “Tribe mentality” and goes back to the first humans on the earth. We are engineered to work cohesively and together towards a common goal. But often, if somebody doesn’t feel their voice matters, their opinions aren’t valued, or they aren’t intellectually safe, it leads to frustration, loneliness, and isolation. Now add a computer screen between everyone on the team, and it’s more complex than ever before. Here are a few tips to help build that team mentality naturally and to help the 1 in 4 feel the warmth of inclusion at work.
- Acknowledge where there is exclusion:
- You do not have to be the manager or team leader to speak up for those whose voices are maybe drowning in the noise. If you see a coworker struggling to be heard, be their ally – encourage an environment that listens to all voices, not just the loudest in the room.
- Shine a light on problems:
- The darkness only feeds exclusion. Showing a light on the issues at hand can show those left behind teammates that their struggles matter. Seldom will you find somebody who hasn’t felt excluded once or twice. Use the natural power of empathy to create interventions and streamline ideas to prevent exclusion from thriving.
- Prioritize the individual:
- Successful businesses all have one thing in common – their success is not thanks to only one individual but many great minds playing to their strengths. Learn the talents and strengths of your teammates. Utilize one of the many strength and personality tests to your advantage – see people for who they are entirely and not just at work. Prioritizing your coworkers and teammates as wholes with passions, likes, dislikes, and strengths will make a difference in how they perform at work – when somebody feels essential, it visibly shifts their mental state.
- Do what you can to bring people together.
- If you’re remote or hybrid, make it a goal to spend time together as a team or as a whole company at least annually, if not more. The benefits of working together in a common space speak for themselves. More ideas are shared, more voices are heard, and more opportunities to shine are given. Pushing people outside the comfort of their homes or private workspace encourages innovation and will naturally build team goodwill and trust.
Building a sense of community will increase productivity and the general happiness of those who are productive. Employees are more loyal, hard-working, and dedicated when they are happy, valued, and heard. Making your work environment more inclusive to all the voices who are within it will change your company for the better.
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