Your business is likely losing hundreds of thousands of $ every year because your people are coming to work with a 'go-to-work' mindset. We solve that problem!

Belonging: 5 Tips for
Boosting Employee Morale

Boosting Employee Morale By Understanding What Makes Humans Tick!

Who would have thought that leaders need to be part anthropologist, sociologist and psychologist! You see, there's important pieces of information from all three disciplines about which all leaders need to be aware.

It has only been a couple of hundred thousand years since we emerged as humans. 

And, it is only some 250-odd years ago since we stopped being hunters and gatherers, living in small communities, and moved into offices and factories!

That 250 years, since we've shifted from being primarily hunters and gatherers to digital man, is just a blip of time. 

And yes, we may be the most adaptive beast on the planet, yet our instincts are still very caveman-like. We still have strongly ingrained in us our fight and flight reflex. 

“We are communal beings who thrive on interaction. This addresses our primal need to belong and be part of something greater.

Those 250 years since we moved out of small family-based communities and into large, stranger-based communities is too short a time for our instinctive needs to be dismissed.

We still have this intense need to belong.

To feel that our contribution is important to others. Which is why the second B of high-performance is Belonging.

Below are the elements we assessed in the high-performance audit. 

Boosting employee morale through Belonging

4Bs High-Performance - Belonging
Team sizes matter.

When an organisation is small, say less than 30 people, it's easy for everyone to know everyone, and to understand what each person's job is all about. 

At about 90 people in the organisation, it's still possible for the leader to know everyone and have a sense of what they're working on. However, the communication between these 90 people is starting to become more distant. 

Once you get over 150 then people start saying "It's not as friendly around here anymore." Instead of being aligned to the organisation, people generally become aligned to their department or division.

It's vital people continue to feel they Belong as your business grows

So, there's a real challenge for leaders in medium to large size businesses to keep the family feel, while growing. The complexity that comes with growth shouldn't be underestimated from a belonging perspective. You need to put in place systems and processes that enable growth to be sustainable, and keeps people sense of we are important.

One simple action is to put people in teams of about 7 (plus or minus two).  When a team grows too big or too small there are problems. Too small and people don't feel they belong. Too big and decision-making, connection and efficiency all take a dive.

The other thing to be clear about, is that as your organisation grows beyond that 150 mark, silos will begin to appear. Don't fight it. Instead, use an organisational design process to be clear about how and where you want those silos to be. 

Our leadership team uses systematic processes to help people feel they belong in our workplace

Belonging doesn't happen by osmosis! It requires the leadership team to design and use deliberate processes that support an individual to feel that they've found their 'tribe'.

This starts right from the moment you post a job vacancy ad, all the way through to when you are exiting a person from the company.

Your Organisation's Reputation Relies On How People Feel After Interacting With You

As we all know people talk. Your organisation's brand/reputation relies heavily upon what people say about how you made them feel as they interacted with you. Whether that is as a job candidate, an employee, a customer or a supplier. 

Imagine for a moment you had a job applicant arrive at your reception desk for an interview. How would that person currently be greeted by your front-desk people?

In most organisations it is something along the lines of "Welcome. Take a seat and I'll let "name" know you're here." Then there's sometimes a 15-20 minute wait!

What do you think the candidate is thinking it will be like to come and work with this team? How welcomed are they feeling?

Imagine instead this happened:

"Hi, John. Bob let me know that you were coming in for an interview today. Welcome to our team. I hope that you find the interviewing process as exciting as I did. Today's your opportunity to discover if you're going to like working here with us, as much as it is for our team to find out if you're a great fit for the role. One thing I do know, you'll learn a lot about yourself and us as you move through the process. I'm just going to let Bob know you're here. Then while we're waiting I'll come over and you ask me any questions you'd like about what it's like to work here."

How would that make you feel as a prospective employee?

Even if you didn't get the job, what would you say to the next five people you spoke to about the company? You'd certainly be feeling that this must be a great place to work. You'd be thinking, "the people are so friendly."

To get your receptionist to act like this takes deliberate and concentrated action and effort. It doesn't just happen.

You actually need to have processes and mindsets in place that enable people to think about how they want others to feel throughout their entire experience with your organisation. 

As someone said to me recently - "There's no way our receptionist could leave the front-desk and talk to someone for 5-10 minutes - our systems aren't designed for that to happen". And that's the point entirely.

If you want an outcome that when people talk about your firm, they are saying something like, "This team is really welcoming and it's really professional. I'd highly recommend them" or employees saying "This is a great place to work. My leadership team and colleagues really care about my success. I feel like I'm consistently giving my best performance.", then you have to deliberately design your systems:

  • Information & Decision-Making System
  • People System
  • Work processes

to ensure that happens. And that means you need to make deliberate organisation design choices. You are making design choices day in day out. Unfortunately, you aren't thinking about the impact of those choices on the 4Bs. 

Focus your leadership team on being deliberate in taking actions that support people feeling like they belong.

Use Systematic processes to help people feel they belong  

(Free) Moarale in the Workplace - Read this article to discover a few ideas on how you can help people to feel they belong

(Free/Investment) Schedule a free strategy session to discuss your needs (that's the free bit), you'll come away with a couple of ideas you can implement immediately. Following the strategy session, we may make recommendations that will require an investment by you. Use the yellow chat button below

The people in our company trust each other and we have very positive working relationships

Trust is the foundation of all relationships. 

There is nothing more debilitating than going to work knowing that knives are being stabbed in backs, people sell each other up the river for their own gain and people are just downright mean.

The culture of any organization slides from the head down. So, if you have senior leadership who are low in emotional intelligence and have a poor moral compass you can guarantee that trust will be low, performance will be poor and turnover high.

Below is an article where we cover the five elements of trust:

  1. 1
    Do you believe in yourself?
  2. 2
    Do you care?
  3. 3
    Can I rely on you?
  4. 4
    Are you competent?
  5. 5
    Do you believe in me?

Improving Trust

(Free) Read the article Trust in the Workplace

Our team members believe their opinions and ideas are valued

Hand in hand with trust is people's willingness to offer up opinions and ideas, and the culture of the organisation being such that people feel they should do so.

It can be challenging to create an environment where people discuss and debate robustly - regardless of positional power. But when you get this right your performance will soar. 

Opinions and Ideas Are Valued

(Free) Review this article on effective communication

(Free) Review this article on positive attitudes in the workplace

Our work teams are responsible for recruiting their own team members 

A major benefit of involving team members in the selection of their team mates, is that the new team member is more warmly welcomed into the team and their colleagues are more deeply vested in seeing their new team mate succeed.

The 'old-hands' have a sense of ownership and a far deeper commitment to their new colleagues, which makes onboarding the new team member much easier. Because they've met their new work colleagues, they already feel a sense of these are the types of people I want to spend time with. They'll be thinking and feeling something like: "My team mates believe in my ability to do this role and want to see me succeed."

Having that belief in your acceptance in to your new community, (and you aren't just someone that was foisted on them by their bosses), means that people transition more quickly and effectively into their role.  

Reminds Team Members About The Behaviours They Are Expected to Demonstrate

Another benefit that I really like, is that it reminds older/longer-term team members why they were hired and the expectations you have for them in their role. When team members are involved in recruiting their peers, they come up against their personal performance standards and whether they are walking their talk.

For example, if they are asking questions in an interview seeking examples about how the candidate has handled, for example, difficult conversations, or used the organisation's values in the last week to make a decision, or saved money for the company .... it quickly brings them up against their own internal radar.  

They quickly start to ask themselves ... "How well am I doing this myself now?" This stark reminder can be extremely constructive. 

Like all of us, when we get comfortable with something, we become complacent and forget skills and attitudes that help us to succeed. That's just human nature. Not convinced?

I bet you probably don't use all the skills you know from delegation or time management training you've attended.

However, when you are sent on a refresher course, all of a sudden you rediscover a whole bunch of ways in which you could be getting more done with less. All because you aren't using your skill-set to its fullest. Your team members are no different. 

Involving them in a selection process is a subtle but powerful way of reminding them of the skills and attitudes you hired them for in the first place!

There's an advantage to involving front-line team members in selection

When we get comfortable with something, we become complacent. We forget skills and attitudes that help us to succeed. That's why involving front-line team members in the selection process provides a boost to performance

High-Performance Selection

(Investment) Enquire about us running a high-performance selection workshop with your team - use the yellow chat button below

In this two-day workshop we train you and your team in the strategies, skills, and mindsets needed to select the best possible candidates for the job. We use the 4Bs of high-performance as the backdrop to this training: Believing, Belonging, Behaving and Bottom-line. 

When people's values, behavioural styles and cultural/gender differences come up against each other it can create conflict in even the best of teams. However, if you've set out your guiding principles for how you treat each other when clashes occur you'll go a long way to helping smooth out barbs when they appear.

As well, I'm a long-term advocate of the DISC model to help individuals and teams communicate more effectively. When you can get people thinking about and valuing differences in style, rather than fuming about personality conflicts, you set up the foundation for improved performance and a stronger sense of belonging. 


Valuing Differences

(Free)  Discover more about guiding principles and how to use them to minimise conflict

(Investment) Contact Shelley (using the yellow button below) to find out more about using the DISC model in your team, to help improve communication and teamwork

Where to next?