Human Instinct from birth and beyond is feeling and finding a sense of belonging and connection with others. A sense of belonging is necessary in our personal and professional lives. My first story of belonging was when I was 5 years old. There was yet to be a desegregated kindergarten in my little Southern town. A brown girl in a Black and White America, it was a Church that welcomed me and my family, despite being Muslim and Arab. (Can you find me?)
How is a sense belonging created at work? According to Gallup Poll, when employees’ values align with the company’s values, it brings out the best in people. More productive, loyal and better performance for the company. According to Brene
Brown, social science researcher, when one can bring their whole self to work, perfect and imperfect, vulnerable self. Do you feel safe, secure at work to
- Ask for help?
- Speak up with a new idea?
- Pushback on idea, opinion expressed?
One of my first jobs gave me a strong sense of belonging. As the first international student advisor at a community college, I was encouraged to bring new ideas, programs and initiatives. Values aligned. However, it was another position at an established university where I felt risks, new ideas were not encouraged. I didn’t last too long at that employer.
Creating meaningful moments of interaction make all the difference. What moments, stories, situations, life experiences do you have when you asked for flexibility in your schedule due to childcare, your input was solicited on a new project or you spoke up with your opinion contrary to your manager? Collection and sharing of these stories that convey belonging creates a culture to belong.
What is your story of belonging in life or at work?