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Building a sense of belonging

By June 12, 2022 No Comments

Building a sense of belonging

The global pandemic has triggered a shift from 1st Stream Change to 2nd Stream Change where people are at the centre and the reason for the change. The Great Resignation is requiring companies to rethink how they engage their people in change and take them with them on the change journey as co change-makers.

People want more from organisational change projects. They expect their work experience and contribution to be augmented by change. This is being called The Great Awakening. At Brownie Points we call this the New World of Work.

Making your workforce feel included with a sense of purpose is critical in the new world of work, so don’t let a single opportunity for celebration or recognition go unheeded.

Achieving goals, completing an induction or a training program to a high standard, assisting a colleague to complete a project on time below budget all deserve a degree of appreciation as they all add value to your business.

Formal recognition has long been well understood by business leaders. Top performers are almost always given awards and special status. But what about all those who contribute consistently every day but often go under the radar? Those in accounting, HR, warehouse, distribution, front desk, or housekeeping, are vital to your business and also need to receive positive feedback for great work.

What’s far less well understood is the importance of simple, but highly effective recognition, both verbal and through low-cost awards (e.g. certificates, smiley face or thumbs up images in an email, a Recognition Wall in the office or a section in the internal news bulletin, etc, to mark the diversity of employees effort and achievement. Giving positive feedback in a timely manner helps to develop a sense of purpose, value and belonging.

Thought leading organisations around the world understand the value of passionate employees and what they bring to their business, and employees who feel appreciated, valued and respected have been shown to give discretionary effort and perform at higher levels.

These companies appreciate the correlation between passionate and engaged employees, and brand value and corporate performance.

Engaged and passionate employees (those that understand the corporate vision and are committed to achieving corporate goals) are proven to take fewer sick days, stay longer, are more productive and deliver greater customer/guest experience.

Global consulting organisations such as Gallup are predicting that post Covid we will see the years of “talent wars” as many employees (up to 50%) look to move on from their current role, having waited during the pandemic as a form of security.

Implementing a strategy around purpose and belonging to improve talent retention and attraction is critical to businesses looking to become an employer of choice to compete in the war for talent, and developing a strategy to make your employees feel valued is a fundamental component.

Studies have shown that job satisfaction among employees itself doesn’t guarantee productivity or loyalty. It is only when job satisfaction is paired with psychological wellbeing at work that productivity is high. This is true now more than ever before. Psychological wellbeing includes a sense of purpose and meaningfulness in one’s role, a feeling of accomplishment and of contributing to something worthwhile, recognition of work by managers, respect of person, fair treatment, and a sense of reward commensurate with effort.

Psychological wellbeing is so important that if it is low, there will be a high turnover of staff, regardless of how satisfied employees are with their job.

Valuing your employee’s humanity not in the abstract but by how you treat them on the job is the foundation of psychological wellbeing at work. Developing a Culture of Appreciation, especially with a platform that delivers immediate positive feedback and celebrates contribution across the organisation, and which is consistent and transparent is a great place to start.

Employees who don’t feel value and respected respond with an attitude of “if you don’t value me, why should I value you, this job, your company, or the customer?” This can have huge consequences.

On the other hand, an employee who feels valued and respected, and part of the vision by the company experiences increased self-esteem, which in turn leads to increased competence and contribution through discretionary effort.

Valuing your employees isn’t so much a New Age nice to have – it directly affects your bottom line. If this is not your top strategy for 2022 you are likely to see your top performers moving on

Recent studies have indicated that 51% of home-based workers are concerned that their manager or supervisor doubts their quality of their work and productivity. This worry may contribute to employee burn out, as nearly half (46%) of employees say they worry their manager doubts their productivity and commitment when working remotely and this causes them to work longer hours, logging on earlier and logging off later than they need to.

Almost half (46%) of all employees feel less connected to their company and colleagues since the start of the Covid pandemic. In addition, 42% admit that they feel that the company culture has declined since the start of Covid, with most employees placing the blame on a lack of communication or lack of effort to make remote workers feel connected and part of the corporate vision.

Senior managers need to realise that these are serious concerns that are likely to create stress and burn out, and that health and wellbeing is likely to suffer as a result, with top talent deciding that they should move on.

It is therefore critical that management focus their attention on the corporate culture and developing a method for appreciating great work and giving positive feedback across the organisation is a key factor to maintain enthusiasm and passion in the workplace, wherever the employee is based – head office, home, satellite office or cafe.

Building a culture of appreciation that allows employees to give real time positive feedback that can be viewed by everyone in the organisation is a powerful motivator in the fight to maintain and improve corporate culture, productivity, and wellness across the entire workforce.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated, valued and respected. If you don’t recognise your employee’s contribution with positive feedback your competitors will cherry pick your top talent, making your challenge even greater.

Turning a group of employees with varying degrees of engagement into a high performing team does not happen overnight. It takes time, commitment, patience, and belief that it is worth the effort.

If employee’s needs are not met, they switch off and eventually look for somewhere else to work.

There are five primary needs that employees have that MUST be met if they are to become passionate about their work and committed to your business success.

These needs are:

  1. The need to be respected

People need to be treated with respect. They need to be listened to and know what they do is valued by their manager. Disrespect is probably the fastest way to create disengagement.

  1. The need to learn and grow

People have a natural desire to develop their skills and talents. They want to perform at their best. To do that they need to be given opportunities to learn and develop.

  1. The need to be an insider and included

No one likes to feel left out. Feeling judged or being treated differently kills engagement. Employees need to understand how their work fits into the big picture. Successful leaders focus on inclusion to build great team spirit.

  1. The need for meaning

Everyone wants to know that what they do is meaningful, and that it makes a difference. They need to understand the purpose behind what they do and how it contributes to the success of the business.

  1. The need to be part of a winning team

Being part of and contributing to the success of a winning team generates team spirit. High performance teams significantly outperform others because they are fuelled by a passion for what they are trying to achieve.

Implementing a strategy around a Culture of Appreciation to aid talent retention and attraction is critical to businesses looking to become an employer of choice and compete in the war for talent and is a fundamental building block to achieving a sense of belonging with your workers.

After all, if you don’t value your employees your competitors will.

Tony Delaney, CEO Brownie Points



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