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  • Writer's picturemargothovey

Belonging at Work

We leave our homes in the morning to go to work. How does it feel to you to walk through those doors, to your job? Are you comfortable or are you guarded? Or, are you somewhere in-between? How do you feel when you cross that threshold each morning?

My vision for organizations is for folks who work in them to be able to learn and grow in a supported environment. That means too, to accomplish goals and receive the benefit of satisfaction of contributing, in a significant way, in a way that you are proud of, to your team and the organization that you work for.

Organizations, like families or any social grouping, create cultures. Cultures affect the way you live, work, behave, respond, and your overall state of happiness or contentment.

Oftentimes, Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) initiatives are created and executed solely to check that box off the list. Little thought is given concerning the impact on the culture of an organization or the consequential impact on their clients. It’s ironic to consider that what we ought to be focusing on is not the check mark but the sense of belonging that pervades the corridors.

It is belonging that differentiates between simply being included and feeling at home. There is recognition within belonging that doesn’t exist in inclusion.

A sense of belonging is an attribute of all types of communities. From intimate relationships like a couple or a family to geographically-based neighbourhoods, municipalities or countries or legal entities like organizations. Each of these groupings are communities of people connected by a common thread. The thread itself, the geography, last name, or organizational name is not enough to create an environment where people feel like they belong.

Last weekend I was with cousins who live five hours away from where I do. Although we gathered to say good-bye to a dying member of the family who we all love deeply, there was laughter and joy in the room as well. A few days after returning home, I heard from one of my cousins to say how wonderful it was for her to see me and how much she had missed me since I moved from their city. I responded that feeling recognized by those who truly know us is both gift and irreplaceable.

To be recognized derives from the Latin “recognoscere" acknowledge, recall to mind, know again; examine; or to certify". It is to be known again. The reason that belonging feels different than inclusion is that we are at home and that not only are we known in the moment but we are known again. We belong there because we have a history with that group or community and our story is written into the story of the group. Our stories are interconnected.

Does your organization feel like home when you walk through the door? How do your people feel when they cross that threshold? Do the feel like they are included in a hands off sort of way or do they feel like they have been there before and are at home?

I am working on a Diversity, Inclusion, & Belonging Assessment to create a profile that is measurable on the inside of individuals and from an organizational view. Lead your organization in a culture that is home to many. You can create that culture with the participation of all, including everyone. To find out more about creating organizational cultures that feel like a second home, contact me at:

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