Written by Rob Bravo, Director of Coaching EMEA and corporate wellbeing expert at Talking Talent

There is an innate need in us to belong – to one another, to our friends and families, and to our culture and communities. Our work environment is no different.

In work environments where employees feel as though they belong, they are more productive, motivated, engaged, and nearly four times more likely to perform at their peak.

At Talking Talent, we’ve prepared a checklist to help increase your awareness and impact around what it takes to build a culture of belonging where your employees and your business can thrive:

1. Transparency and honesty in communication from leadership

Leaders who are honest about their intentions and expectations, and are also open about organisational shifts, are promoting trust, psychological safety, and fostering a culture of belonging.

People feel empowered when they understand the “why” behind decisions (even if there’s a difference of opinion), rather than just being told what to do or receiving news about significant changes through the grapevine. Transparency also leads to greater efficiency since everyone is on the same page. Pertinent information doesn’t get lost in translation, and problems can be identified and solved quickly.

Instead of back-and-forth emails and marathon meetings to figure out what needs to be done, transparency helps teams work together and move projects forward with ease. Lead with honesty and integrity, and watch your team thrive.

2. Being regarded as an important team member

At the end of the day, we all just want to feel appreciated and like our work matters. That’s why it is so important for employees to have a sense of being regarded as an important team member. When employees feel valued and appreciated, they are motivated to put in their best effort.

Feeling regarded as an important team member leads to higher job satisfaction and morale, which can result in increased engagement and sustainable high performance. When your people know that they matter to the organisation it also encourages creativity and collaboration. People are more likely to share ideas and collaborate when they feel respected and valued as part of the team. This openness and collaboration can help create an environment where people can thrive, and productivity is high.

3. Support for adapting to organisational changes

As leaders, it’s important to remember that organisational changes can be difficult for some employees to adjust to and navigate.

Whether it’s providing additional training or offering dialogue sessions, taking the time to listen and understand the unique needs of team members is essential. Some folks might require more information or attention than others. Some may just need more time to process and adjust to the new norm.

Ultimately, the goal is to create an environment where everyone feels seen, heard, and
accepted during times of change. Show your people that they can depend on you as a source of support.

4. Being able to be themselves at work

In this era of work, it is more important than ever for employees to be able to experience the safety and liberty of expressing their authentic selves at work.

When people feel free to be themselves and not have to hide aspects of their identity, they can bring their best self forward: creativity, enthusiasm, and ideas!

However, when employees do not feel a sense of belonging that inspires them to just be themselves, it can lead to feelings of isolation and difficulty connecting with colleagues.

True authenticity being welcomed in the workplace means that people can:
• Express themselves openly and honestly
• Feel empowered to take risks
• Accept that mistakes are simply teachable moments

5. Maximising their full potential at the company no matter their background

The outstanding individuals that you get to work with have a desire, just like you, to fulfil their potential in the workplace and beyond.

But unfortunately for some leaders, there are employees who may not maximise their growth in the company because of a lack of opportunity to do so. Inclusive leaders will strive to foster an environment where everyone can thrive, no matter their background.

Everyone can achieve higher success levels in the company if given the right tools, encouragement, and strategic support. Through initiatives such as sponsorship programmes, leadership development coaching, and employee resource groups, leaders can cultivate a culture where all employees can reach their fullest potential.