A recent McKinsey article addresses how important a sense of belonging is to most employees. It refers not only to their immediate supervisor but also to the organization at large and, especially, to the team they work with. Based upon their research, a “sense of belonging” is valued more than work/life balance, competitive pay and skills growth, to name but a few. Let that sink in!
This research underlines the key role leaders have in making a sincere connection with each of their employees. A sense of belonging and connection may mean different things to each of us, but generally it means to fit with the culture. This particular culture is defined as positive, inclusive, diverse, humanistic and flexible, with both teamwork and autonomy in their roles. This atmosphere gives meaning and validation to their work. Consequently, employees enjoy coming to work, have more work friendships and are inspired by leadership. The result is a happy, committed employee.
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There are several ways leaders and organizations can begin to create this feeling and connection — by leveraging and investing in:
- Creating a meaningful purpose
- Holding inspirational leadership events & practices
- Values being practiced and visible in day-to-day leadership behavior
- Hosting team social events
- Organizing team building exercises
- Management and leadership being visible and accessible to all employees
- Active social responsibility
- Social committees
- Fostering small, empowered team structures
- Instituting work/life balance policies
- Shared decision-making practices
- Creating safe environments for people to learn and fail
- Fostering one-on-one supervisor to employee connection
Employee surveys are a good barometer to measure how your organization is doing in this endeavor and point you in the right direction. Don’t wait to get started. Start making a better connection with your teams today, and you will see results.