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Jane & Harriet 
If you have ever felt like you do not belong somewhere, you know that sinking feeling. Maybe, you are at a party, and you don’t know anyone, or it’s at a restaurant where the waiter looks at you strangely because of what you ordered. Either way, when we feel like we do not belong in a particular situation, we almost immediately feel uncomfortable and insecure. 
Yet, for some reason, the idea of belonging in the workplace is not something that is discussed very often—if at all. Employees who do not feel like they belong in the workplace are often less engaged and less productive. This does not just affect the bottom-line commercials of a business it could damage your company culture and make for an ugly place for people to spend their workdays and energy. 

Belonging vs Engagement 

In today’s world, workplace engagement is not just a buzzword. It is essential to the success of your business. 
Let us start with the basics: what is employee engagement? It is certainly strongly linked to involvement and belonging. The Cambridge Dictionary defines engagement as ‘the fact of being involved in something.’ 
The state of being involved is as fundamental to an employee as pay, location and benefits. Being able to bond with a team, and connect with a leader, the brand and organisation are vital to a person’s well-being as well as having a direct impact on their performance at work. Engagement and belonging, are directly connected. Engaged teams have demonstrated increased productivity and efficiency, more than just having a team of happy workers who enjoy being at work. However, focusing on workplace wellbeing can lead to increased engagement and productivity through a positive cycle. 

Creating a sense of belonging 

Keeping employees up to date 
Whether you post internal updates and communications on a set schedule or only get in touch when there is something major to report, it is vital to maintain consistent contact with your employees. Even if you are not rolling out any new initiatives, staying connected ensures that your team members do not start to feel a sense of detachment, especially if they are working remotely. 
Recognition and Praise 
The secret to a successful recognition program is to give praise freely and publicly. When workers see others’ achievements acknowledged, they are more likely to mirror positive behaviours themselves to achieve that same praise or feedback. 
It does not need to be time-consuming – taking five minutes out of your schedule each week to formally acknowledge your employees’ hard work will have a positive impact on your overall workforce. 
Accepting Feedback 
Two-way communication is at the heart of employee engagement. If you want your employees to feel engaged, you need to give them a voice. These are the people who make your company what it is, so they deserve to have their voices heard. 
Letting people have their say gives them a platform to share ideas and make suggestions that can improve your business. It also helps them feel valued and respected. 
Scheduling company events is a straightforward way to remind employees they are part of a community. While physical events may not have been possible recently, you can still organise virtual meetups for your staff. Regular events, virtual or face to face, should be at the top of your priority list for a successful employee engagement strategy. 
Thinking about the future 
Companies often fail to let employees know how important their role is within a business and how a particular role adds value to the company. 
It is important to share the organisation’s wider business goals, vision and strategy so that individuals can understand their roles within a company, feeling involved, valued and active contributors to the overall objective and purpose If you truly want to motivate your employees and foster an environment of growth and enthusiasm, it’s important to give your team a sense of belonging in the workplace. You must have open lines of communication between leaders and employees. The more active communication you have with your workforce, the more valuable their input and feedback will be, which leads to a stronger, more valued workforce for your business. 
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