Building a culture of trust and belonging: where to start?
Studies have continually shown that companies that encourage a positive and strong culture perform better compared to those that don’t. This is not a surprise as a strong culture encourages collaboration and communication and enhances inclusivity. It also fosters a sense of pride and belonging, which in turn improves loyalty, motivation, and hard work.
This is to say that if a company is to encourage productivity, building a positive culture should not be up for debate, more so the culture of trust and belonging. Besides, the modern worker is looking for more than compensations and perks in an ideal workspace. At this time when there is a real struggle for talent, companies need to deliberately work hard in retaining their employees.
So, where do you start building a culture of trust and belonging?
Allow a flexible schedule
Many people struggle in finding a good work-life balance, and oftentimes, these two collide. When an employee carries life stresses at work, his or her performance is bound to suffer, and vice versa is true.
Ideally, if employees are allowed a flexible schedule, it can go a long way in improving the work-life balance. Allow the employees to work when they feel productive, and encourage them to work in environments that increase their productivity. Whether it is from home, or a coworking space when touring the city, give them that freedom to choose.
Besides increasing productivity, you will be communicating to the employee that you trust him or her to create his or her own schedule and deliver as required.
It is hard to really know a person well when you are locked up in a cubicle or working 60 feet away from each other. It is good to note that face-to-face encounters encourage communication, relationships and a sense of community
Be deliberate in creating opportunities for people to interact in the workplace. For starters, you can knock down the walls to create an open plan office where people sit in close proximity. Create a break room where conversations are encouraged when employees meet during a coffee break.
Give feedback the right way
Giving feedback is one way that employees feel that what they are doing is valued. They also feel cherished in that the managers are willing to offer guidelines that will make them better in their careers.
However, this can only happen if the feedback is honest and done in the right way. Giving feedback without explaining your points tend to feel like a one-sided monologue. Ensure that you sit down with employees and highlight your reasons for your feedback. Be sure to listen to their opinion and seek to clarify why your idea is different from theirs.
When teams genuinely work together, there is a shared sense of respect and inclusivity.
Celebrate each other
Celebrating important moments in employees’ lives not only show them that they are cherished, but also create a sense of belonging.
Starts making the employees feel valued from the onboarding. You can successfully do this by giving a welcoming gift such as a t-shirt, appoint a peer to show the new hire around the company, and help them build social relationships.
In addition, celebrate each other’s birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, and any other pivotal moments.
Everyone is vulnerable to life events and sometimes life’s challenges hinder workplace performance. However, if you work in a place where employees are encouraged to share their personal challenges in a healthy way, such situations have less impact on performance. Besides, it creates a sense of trust in that you can share your problems without the fear of being victimized.
Leaders can encourage this by sharing their personal struggles as well. When you allow employees into your personal space, you are setting the pace for a strong community based on trust.
Employees observe your behavior to see if you are living as per what you are telling them. You need to show them that they can trust you by doing exactly what you are preaching.
If you say you want teamwork enhanced, be in the frontline to showcase this. Collaborate with people across teams, encourage dialogue and suggestions, and do what it takes to encourage teamwork. When you consistently lead by example, you will be building a culture of trust in the workplace.