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Posts Tagged ‘company culture’

Stronger together: How can you build a culture of belonging at work?


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The rise of remote and hybrid work setups in the wake of the pandemic has led to a lack of social cohesion between people in the workplace. Moreover, COVID-19 has increased turnover rates globally, especially in the U.S. labor market, which was motivated by several factors; among them, the phenomenon known as the Great Resignation

While some may think things have changed, yet the Great Resignation remains as highlighted by ADP economist Nela Richardson said, “the great resignation is becoming the great stay.” Around 46% of professionals are thinking about leaving their jobs, compared to 41% in 2021, as surveyed by Microsoft and LinkedIn. Most of their reasons reflect the quality of their connection to their workplace, which defines the culture of belonging in an organization.

What is belonging?

According to the Harvard Business Review, for an employee to feel a sense of belonging, they must be: 
  • Seen for their unique contributions;
  • Connected to their coworkers;
  • Supported in their daily work and career development; and
  • Proud of their organization’s values and purpose.

All of the aforementioned factors are highlighted in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. As shown below (see Figure 1), psychosociological needs include belongingness, love, and esteem, while self-fulfillment includes self-actualization. Those represent three levels of the model, which build a culture of belonging. 

Figure 1. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs | Source: SimplyPsychology

The figure also shows that belongingness comes before esteem needs and self-actualization, which means that unless an employee feels a sense of belonging in the workplace, they will not be able to perform beyond their daily tasks and reach their full potential. Employees need to be recognized, seen, and supported in the workplace to go the extra mile and send performance to a whole new level.

Read more: How can a motivational culture impact the performance of public servants?

Why is a culture of belonging important?

According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, among the top three reasons for U.S. workers quitting their jobs was “feeling disrespected in their workplace.” A study published by The Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found that toxic corporate culture was the leading predictor of attrition when studying the effects of more than 170 topics on employee attrition for Culture 500 companies in 2021. 

The study found the main factors that contribute to a toxic work culture involve failure to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI); workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behavior. All three go against the very essence of building a culture of belonging in the workplace, leading to companies losing their talent and increasing their recruitment costs to fill the gaps.

Building a culture of belonging has several advantages for employers. For instance, increasing employee productivity can have a cascading positive impact, inspiring employees to go the extra mile. Furthermore, a culture of belonging boosts teamwork for better organizational performance. A culture of belonging also makes employees loyal to their workplace, reducing turnover. 

How to build a culture of belonging

Below are some recommended building blocks for creating a culture of belonging in the workplace.
  • Communication: Two-way communication between managers and their teams is vital. This should be done formally and informally. Managers should not only depend on periodic, scheduled communication to connect with their team members, such as performance appraisals, project meetings, and update meetings. On the contrary, connecting with team members spontaneously can build a stronger bond, creating a real sense of belonging.
  • Strategy and values alignment: Managers should ensure that their team members understand the corporate strategy and the company’s values. Employees should understand the purpose behind their jobs and how they are contributing to the overall success of the company. This would emphasize their importance in the workplace.
  • Democratized decision-making: Involving team members in decision-making makes their voices heard, brings new ideas, boosts creativity, and makes everyone learn new things from one another.
  • Recognition and praise: Recognizing the achievements and contributions of employees should be done both privately and publicly. Each way has its own implications on the individual’s self-esteem and sense of accomplishment.

Read more: Beyond remote work: insights and strategies for enhancing employee productivity and performance

In conclusion, building a culture of belonging is a necessity. It is not easy for companies to replace talented employees, which is why it is crucial to foster loyalty to the company, and a culture of belonging makes this possible. Managers and leaders should ensure that their employees are not just trying to fit in and adapt to the company’s culture, but they actually have a positive connection to and trust in their company as this is what belonging is all about. A culture of belonging makes employees more resilient and able to come together during difficult times.

Elevating performance-driven culture: weaving excellence into company DNA


Image source: pixelshot | Canva

What is the most crucial asset owned by an organization? In the modern business landscape, a company might possess a well-defined vision, mission, and set of value drivers, along with a carefully articulated strategy and aligned objectives throughout all levels of the organization. Nevertheless, employees may fail to adopt these values, as these are not inherently embedded in their actions due to the absence of a performance-driven culture.

Hence, the company must foster a culture that actively facilitates the execution of its strategy. This culture should empower every employee to operate in alignment with the established value drivers, behavioral norms, and competencies set forth by the organization to fulfill its mission while being consistent with overarching corporate goals.

Central to cultivating a successful performance-driven culture are leaders. They stand as key influencers, coaches, and role models. Organizations must shift their focus from having managers who assert authority to nurturing leaders who coach and guide. These leaders should serve as advocates for aligning and interpreting corporate objectives for employees at all levels. Proper training is fundamental in equipping them to effectively manage their subordinates.

To enable leaders to construct a thriving performance-driven culture, organizations can implement the following steps:

  1. Build the desired organizational culture. For an organization to define the fundamental characteristics of its desired culture, it must translate its mission and vision into tangible value drivers, anticipated behaviors, and needed competencies. These elements must be communicated extensively to all employees, ensuring their adoption, with an emphasis on starting this process with the leaders themselves.
  2. Highlight a leader’s role in cultivating performance excellence. Leaders are essential in shaping the desired performance culture within an organization. They lead by example, embodying cultural values, behaviors, and skills. This sets a motivating tone for their teams and encourages others to follow suit. Effective leaders foster openness and feedback, which leads to transparency and collaboration. They recognize and reward behaviors that match the culture.
Additionally, they provide coaching and growth opportunities to empower employees. This creates an environment where everyone feels valued and engaged, forming the basis of a performance-driven culture.
  1. Foster performance by promoting employees’ mental wellness. In creating a culture of performance, the importance of nurturing a healthy mindset and prioritizing employees’ mental well-being cannot be overstated. A positive mindset is crucial for a culture of excellence. Employee mental health directly affects engagement, productivity, and satisfaction. Providing resources like counseling, stress management, and flexible work options not only demonstrates commitment to well-being but also leads to a focused, creative, and productive workforce. A mental health-supportive culture enhances individual well-being and aligns employees with organizational values, ultimately improving performance.
  2. Empower performance culture through data interpretation. Organizations have a wealth of data that offer insights into employee engagement, performance, and overall health. Leaders must use data analytics to guide culture development. By studying metrics like satisfaction, productivity, and alignment with values, leaders can spot improvement areas and measure initiative impacts. This data-driven approach refines strategies based on evidence, creating a flexible culture. Regular data analysis shows employees that their contributions matter, boosting transparency and commitment to growth.

Successful examples

Google provides a noteworthy example of a strong performance culture as exemplified by initiatives like Project Aristotle and Project Oxygen. Project Aristotle highlights team dynamics and psychological safety, fostering an environment where all members freely share ideas and take calculated risks. Meanwhile, Project Oxygen focuses on effective leadership qualities such as coaching, communication, and genuine care for team members. These initiatives underscore Google’s dedication to establishing a culture of collaboration, innovation, and leadership, creating a thriving workplace for both teams and individuals.

Another notable example is Netflix, which embodies a performance culture centered around “seeking excellence.” This entails encouraging each employee to excel and contribute to produce their best work. Netflix values individual responsibility and open feedback, creating an environment where high standards and innovation are prized. The company hires top talent and empowers them with trust and autonomy. This adherence to excellence shapes their decision-making and has contributed to Netflix’s success.

Creating the right organizational culture lays the foundation for success. Leaders drive performance excellence by setting an example and supporting their teams. Taking care of employees’ well-being adds to the positive atmosphere, and using data helps leaders make smarter choices. Combining these aspects builds a culture where everyone thrives, innovation flourishes, and organizations prosper.


This article is written by Chadia Abou Ghazale, a seasoned banking professional with 24 years of experience and who excels in budgeting, sales performance management, data analysis, and resource planning. Beyond banking, she is a dedicated reader of self-development topics and passionate networker. Chadia believes that life’s purpose is the pursuit of knowledge. Her extensive expertise and unwavering enthusiasm are a dynamic combination, driving success in her career and enriching her life’s adventurous journey.



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