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How to Build Connection and Belonging at Work

How to Build Connection and Belonging At Work

Jenn DeWall, Denver,  Millennial  Confidence and Leadership Coach & Keynote Leadership Speaker

Social Connection is a basic human need. We want to feel connected to others and that we are a part of something greater than ourselves. Connection or the extent we feel connected to our colleagues can determine our engagement, productivity, stress, and overall job satisfaction.

When the pandemic began there was a dramatic decline in connection at work. According to HOW Institute for Society, 44% of workers reported feeling less connected to coworkers since the start of the pandemic. This is alarming, considering that connection, can sometimes be the determining factor between liking our job and loving our job. Today we are experiencing “The Great Resignation” or the “Big Quit” as it’s been caused and one of the reasons driving this is lack of connection at work. Think about it, have you ever disliked your job but felt that your team and boss made it better? Then with the shift to remote, you notice that the things that made work better are now gone and you’re left with the job you don’t really enjoy? I’m sure many of you can relate.

Here are a few quick tips on how to build connection and belonging at work.


1. Establish group norms. Group norms, or rules can guide your team’s behaviors. The norms establish the expected behavior that you want to see. If you want to create a human-centered culture, you want to be mindful of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and set the expectations to create an environment for all to thrive.


2. Create structure. When individuals have structure it can build confidence, boost productivity, and encourage collaboration. In a hybrid world, it may feel challenging to try and build in structure, but it could be as simple as establishing a recurring meeting every Friday morning to recap the week. When there are structured times and meetings, people can prioritize their time to attend and build connections.


3. See the Whole Person. Every single person in your organization is different. You only see what is above the surface, but if you want to build connection and belonging you must get to know your team and colleagues at a deeper level. This does not mean sharing all of your deep dark secrets, but it does mean getting to know them. Get to know their hobbies, interests, passions, as well as what motivates them at work.


4. Recognize and Support. Recognition, while proven to drive employee engagement has seen a drop throughout the pandemic. Many individuals do not have the same opportunities to say “great job” or to give feedback that came easily in a face-to-face setting. The switch to a remote or hybrid environment removes the ease of access and requires leaders to be that much more intentional in recognizing their employees. Carve out time in your day to follow up and provide recognition and feedback to your team. The more that you do this, the more that your employees will feel valued and supported.


Jenn DeWall is a leadership and confidence coach, motivational speaker, facilitator, and podcast host. Jenn is a Millennial leadership expert based in Denver, CO. Jenn is passionate about helping leaders learn how to build confidence and show up authentically to build human-centered cultures.

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