From Joining to Belonging In Organizations


I came across this interesting post over at Workplay – Redesigning the Work Experience:

“At the executive and managerial levels, work is almost always conversation in one form or another, and yet we spend almost no time apprenticing ourselves to the disciplines necessary for holding real exchanges. That’s partly because they involve a great deal of self-knowledge and a willingness to study how human beings try to belong—skills we hope our strategic abilities will help us get by without.”

Chris Bailey goes on to ask some great questions:

What is so compelling about the notion of belonging? And how can our daily language foster a greater sense of belonging – not only for ourselves but others around us?

When I worked in the non-profit association world, I witnessed the potential of belonging in a professional setting. When an actual spirit of belonging is present, it’s a dynamic and inspiring thing to behold. It not only energizes the individual, it invigorates the group. Yet, all too often, we get the agreement to join and stop there. Joining is the easy part. Cultivating a spirit of belonging takes work, preparation, and, as David Whyte notes, a willingness to curiously study what it means to belong to your group, your set of shared values, and your organization.

If you’re a manager or a team lead, what can you do to foster a sense of belonging in members of your group? Consider that each person has their own need for belonging and it’s your responsibility to figure out what this is. It goes beyond the question of why they’re working in your organization. It gets more to the relationship connecting the employee and their work. We don’t want to belong to something we don’t believe in; rather, we want to belong to something that truly matters to us.

Ask yourself…why would someone want to belong to your workgroup? Your department? Your organization? Taking the job and joining a company is the easy part. Helping someone truly belong to their work is where the power is.

What are you doing today to cultivate a sense of belonging?



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