Teamwork is the foundation of any well-oiled company, but more people are feeling that they do not fit in with their team. Wanting to be included is a basic human need, and without it, both workers and businesses suffer.
A sense of belonging is central to a healthy workplace environment. With research from BetterUp finding that one in four employees don’t feel like they belong, leaders need to take action in order to improve team performance.
Luckily, nurturing a sense of belonging among workers isn’t complicated. It simply takes listening to employees, having awareness and leading with an empathetic approach.
For starters, acknowledging any exclusions that are happening can help empower team members. If leaders take note that someone’s ideas aren’t being valued or heard, engage in conversation about the situation and give them the space to fully flesh out their experience, ideas and feelings.
Being proactive is also ideal for a truly inclusive workforce. Building culture can mean having a set-in-stone employee experience policy that helps mitigate any risk of excluding workers.
For instance, leaders should always ask themselves if they have heard from every team member after meetings. Then, be deliberate and invite those who may have not been able to contribute much into discussions. At the same time, always praise allies who are supporting and sticking up for their colleagues.