Today’s workplace includes four generations (Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z). Each with its own unique values, skills, and perspectives on what working together may look like to achieve common goals. Building a sense of belonging in the workplace may look different for each generation but we share insights on the importance of making employees feel they belong.
Baby Boomers were born between 1947 and 1964 and differ in their work ethic, communication, and view of authority from those of Generation X and Millennials. The Boomers focus on competition, teamwork, and discipline. Creativity and work/life balance are priorities for Generation X-ers, and inclusion, flexibility, and collaboration top the list for Millennials.
In the complex setup of a multigenerational workforce, a sense of togetherness and balanced teamwork could not be more important, which is why leaders of an organization must understand the importance of building a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Research shows that a sense of belonging in the workplace leads to employee happiness and boosts performance, which translates into higher productivity levels.
LinkedIn’s recent survey demonstrated, that 59 percent of employees feel a sense of belonging in the workplace when their accomplishments are acknowledged. In addition, 51 percent answered having opportunities to express my opinion freely and feeling comfortable being myself at work all contribute to a sense of belonging in the workplace.
Building a sense of belonging at work can help an employee avoid feelings of loneliness, of not belonging, which can be pretty overwhelming. In addition, such feelings can distract employees from their roles and responsibilities as these thoughts can be consuming.
Companies should take a more proactive approach to encourage a sense of belonging at work. In developing programs for a more confident and higher-performing workforce, the focus on company culture is essential for inclusion.
The importance of company culture
How would you define your company culture? Company culture should express a safe environment for employees to feel valued, heard, and respected. However, given the dynamics of the modern workplace demand companies take a closer look at the workplace culture they support.
In addition to promoting employee engagement and a sense of belonging in the workplace, a strong company culture holds much-needed benefits for an organization:
- Contributes to the identity and outlines the values a company embodies
- Attracts better talent
- It makes it easier to retain top talent
- Adds favorably to brand image.
A workplace environment supported by a strong company culture based on clarity of purpose and expectations builds an atmosphere of positivity that motivates and inspires high performance in employees.
What is important to millennials in the workplace?
Millennials make up the largest group of employees in the multigenerational U.S. labor market, taking up 35 percent according to statistics provided by a Pew Research Center analysis.
What do Millennials bring to their roles at work? Millennials are tech-savvy and in a highly technologized workplace, they are a great asset. While older employees may struggle with incorporating technology to enhance their work performance, Millennials thrive on making the best of the technologies available.
Next to being digital natives, they are quick learners, innovators, and excellent collaborators. To retain the valuable skills offered by Millennials, it is essential that companies not ignore the needs of their millennial employees and do all they can to support them.
To help them work to the best of their potential, it is in the interest of leadership to identify those aspects that are important to them, which would keep them happy and engaged.
The below list is a few things millennials look for in a company:
- The ability to make a difference
- The chance for progression
- Flexible working schedules
- Key perks such as a retirement plan
- Mental health support
- Fair compensation
- Meaningful work opportunities
- Gender equity at all levels
Ways to encourage a sense of belonging in the workplace
Fortunately, plenty of easy-to-incorporate companies can do to keep millennials engaged at work. Three tips appear below:
- Recognize employees for their efforts
It is not surprising that study after study finds that being recognized for their contribution to the workplace is the most significant factor for millennials to feel a sense of belonging in the workplace. This means providing them with frequent feedback on their performance and accomplishments.
- Make employees feel valued
Everyone wants to feel valued at work. A few ways to value employees include encouraging them to offer their opinions in meetings, listening to them attentively, and following through with any ideas they may bring to the table.
- Encourage employees to be themselves
Emphasizing individuality is critical in contributing to a sense of belonging in the workplace. Allowing employees to express themselves in a safe environment can go a long way. It also offers a secondary benefit to the company, demonstrating the celebration of diversity in your company culture.
Creating the perfect environment that invites employees to feel a sense of belonging at work helps them be more successful in their roles and responsibilities. The happier and more engaged employees are, the more empowered they are to make meaningful contributions to the companies they work for.
Here at HW Staffing, we are proud to say “We Connect Great People With Great Companies.” Contact Us Today!