“A sense of belonging drives a 56% improvement in performance and a 50% reduction in staff turnover at work”.

(Better Up Study 2019)

Do you feel like you belong to where you work?  I know that there were many times in my employed life when I did and when I didn’t.  When I did wow, I was unstoppable, connected, driven, focused.  When I didn’t, I felt myself withdraw, slow down, get frustrated and stagnate.

Can work feel like home?  In a 2020 Deloitte study into global human capital trends, 79% share that fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce was important to their organisation’s success in the next 12-18 months.  93% of those asked shared that they agreed that a sense of belonging at work drives organisational performance.

What is your business doing to drive a sense of belonging?  Tough with remote working certainly, but in my experience it is not the business but the people that create a sense of home.  And that is your boss, colleagues and you!

Interestingly the 2020 study also shows that only 12% of businesses say that they are ready to address this trend.  Of this I am not surprised.  But is it really for the business to act or is it also about each person making a difference?  Regular blog readers know what I am about to say, it is massively about YOU!

Belonging is like magic; it feels good and comes with a good heap of acceptance.  Which means that when we feel that we belong we let go of who we think we should be, are less likely to be guarded and judgemental and more likely to be ourselves, the best of ourselves.  There are three actions that everyone of us can choose right now to lift the sense of belonging in our working world, and at the same time help the business that we work within thrive;

  1. Choose to belong.
  2. Put ourselves out there for others to belong with.
  3. Consciously create a culture of belonging using our reactions and behaviours.

All three of these were often a challenge to me as an employee.  Insecurity made me worry what people thought of me at times and as I compared myself to others I felt a distance between being a number and a valued person that belonged.  We also tend to over focus on ourselves.  I remember being guarded in moments, holding back in some meetings (often because of the other people present…!) and therefore being apart from the rest of the team and the room.

As I look back, I could have chosen to belong all of the time and stop worrying about being good enough (I did in the end hence Courageous Success!).  I could have put myself to one side and been more there for others to belong with, especially before I became a manager of people.  As I write this blog, I know that those reading it feel a sense of belonging with me and with the Courageous Success team.  We can all work to create a culture of belonging with our choices, mindset, reactions and behaviours.

If you felt that you belonged as much to those at work and the brand, the tribe, as in your home or with your friends and family, what would happen to your performance and that of others?  Imagine the culture!

So, lets get going.  Here are my tips for deciding to belong at work and creating a culture of belonging for those around you;

  • Score /10 with 10 being high how much you feel like you belong where you work?
  • As you reflect on your score, who are you blaming for it not being a 10?
  • If it is a 10, what would those who work with you score, all of them, not just those who know you best?
  • As you move into your next shift, conversation, meeting, project, consciously decide that you belong. Belonging comes from the heart.  It is a feeling.  Allow yourself to feel it.  Choose to appreciate your working world.  Be grateful for it and those you work with, not seeing it just as a route to earn money.
  • Because belonging is a feeling, we can forget to use its power. For many of us work is a fast-paced logical world.  Take some action to reflect on your feeling of belonging at home and use the same feeling throughout your days to lift your feeling self at work.
  • Put yourself out there. Show others that you like and appreciate them.  Make time for people as well as task.
  • Start meetings and conversations with a smile. Be warm.  Open up others by being yourself.  Ask people their opinions and for input vs. feeling that you are right, organised, professional or have something to prove (sorry !!).
  • Create a homely work culture that is at the same time stimulating and challenging, but in a good way. Goals, positivity, pace, problem solving, can all combine with care, connection and emotive belonging.

If we all decide to belong and dedicate part of ourselves and our time to generating a great culture imagine what we can all achieve!

Be you.