People

Creating Belonging and Connection

Have the best in you recognize the best in others.

The Case for Belonging

When people feel like they belong at work, they tend to be more productive, motivated, engaged, and 3.5 timesmore likely to more likely to come closer to their full potential.

Further, it can lead to an estimated:

  • 56% increase in job performance
  • 50% reduction in turnover risk
  • 75% decrease in employee sick days
Sources: research by Center of Talent Innovation, BetterUp 2019 study

79 percent organizations say fostering a sense of workplace belonging is important or very important for their success in the next 12-18 months.

13 percent organizations say they are ready to address this trend.

The Case for Connection

People who have strong social connections at work tend to be healthier. Healthy employees tend to have higher levels of work performance, take fewer sick days, and bring more energy to the workplace.

In 2018, only 2 in 10 US employees strongly agreed that they have a best friend at work. But, if that ratio were to increase to 6 in 10, organizations could realize:

  • 36% fewer safety incidents
  • 7% more engaged customers
  • 12% higher profit

Since the start of the pandemic:

30 percent of US workers felt less deeply and meaningfully connected to their organizations.

44 percent of US workers felt less connected to their coworkers.

Behaviors Learned

  • Articulate the shared purpose and values that define your group’s identity
  • Be fully present in every interaction
  • Attune yourself to people’s thoughts, feelings, and unspoken needs
  • Create a warm and welcoming team environment
  • Meet people where they are, and help them feel comfortable
  • Be an uplifting presence for all
  • Constructively advocate for the right values and behaviors
  • Tune into and respond to the needs of diverse subgroups within a larger audience

Core Ideas

Create a sense of belonging

Belonging is not about inviting people to just “be themselves.” It is about creating a space where the best in you can recognize and draw out the best in them.

Offer a choice

Not everyone needs to belong to every environment. First identify your group’s shared values and purpose, from which your group identity is drawn, and then give people the choice of becoming a part of it.

Mentora’s program on Belonging and Connection consists of eight principles:

  1. Define: Clarify the purpose and values that define your group’s identity.
  2. Honor: Honor the presence of the people you are with by being fully present for them.
  3. Attune: Attune yourself to each individual’s aspirations, values, needs, thoughts, and feelings.
  4. Affiliate: Find common ground with people. Accept and offer bids for connection, such as a warm mile or the sharing of a personal story.
  5. Accommodate: Anticipate and meet people’s unique needs, if any.
  6. Elevate: When an individual is being sidetracked or swayed in the wrong direction, seek to elevate them to their best self.
  7. Advocate: Address breakdowns in belonging when they happen in a timely, constructive way.
  8. Differentiate: Do not approach interactions as a one-size-fits-all. Instead, adapt to different individuals and groups.

Case Study

How Leaders Can Foster Inclusion, Connection, and Belonging

Context

At a time of heightened social tensions, strong business growth, and a disruptive pandemic, Accenture was looking for a way to train its Managing Directors on how they may foster greater Inclusion, Connection, and Belonging within their teams.

Program

Mentora designed a 6-month growth journey — based on our unique Inner Mastery, Outer Impact approach — to help Accenture’s Managing Directors learn how to create a more human and connected workplace.

Program Delivery

Mentora adopted a blended approach to deliver this program:

  • A virtually delivered live learning session to introduce them to the 8 building blocks of Connection and Belonging
  • An action-planning lab to help them translate the principles of Connection and Belonging into a concrete set of practical actions
  • Reflection exercises
  • Peer-to-peer practice

This was followed by 1:1 coaching sessions for these leaders on how to prepare and share their personal journeys as a way of role-modeling connection at the workplace for the organization.

Impact

After the conclusion of the program:
100 percent of Managing Directors found their learnings from the training sessions to be valuable to them.
100 percent of Managing Directors who were coached on sharing their personal journeys found the experience to be “powerful,” “illuminating,” or “transformative.”

Participant Voices

I gained a new perspective on the consequences of seemingly well-intended actions. I now understand the need for a continued conversation with my team-leaders on how we can change our approach.

Executive | Accenture

Participant Voices

This training experience reminded me of my own biases and thinking. That is a part of the problem I need to address.

Executive | Accenture