We’re genetically wired to belong; it’s how we survive and thrive in life — and at work. This is especially important for minorities who often don’t feel included at the office. New research shows that fostering a sense of belonging helps reduce stress levels, and consequently improves physical health, emotional well-being, and performance. Here are a few ways you can create a culture where everyone feels they belong:
Make introductions. Don’t introduce people just by their title. Add tidbits that are unique to the individual and show that you appreciate them. Use language like: “This is Sara — she is part of our research team.” The word “our” really adds the feeling of being on a team.
Solicit input. Don’t expect everyone to show up and speak up. Invite people who you want to include, ask their opinion, and follow up with questions so they truly felt heard.
Share stories. Stories show that you, as the storyteller, care enough about your audience’s career to show your own vulnerability and share your mistakes and successes. They also help people connect emotionally.