This past week I was fortunate to attend one of my favorite events – the SHRM Volunteer Leader Summit. It’s a great event for many reasons, but the main draw for me is being with other HR volunteers. We have a common bond. It doesn’t matter if you are attending for the first time or have been attending for several years. There is an instant recognition and affinity because we share some commonality in our experiences.
The sessions are great. The chance to visit Capitol Hill and advocate is amazing !! However, when you talk to people in the hallway they share about the people they’ve met, the connections they’ve made and the experiences they’ve had throughout the conference. They focus on how they “belong” to each other. This is more than some sappy emotion. It’s a tangible factor that draws people together.
I know that many HR bloggers write about “engagement” because it is something that also is a really and not some Kum By Ya spirit circle. However, I think we’ve overlooked a key component and that is that people want to belong. I’m not talking about belonging to SHRM or a local HR Chapter, but those are great examples of where this can happen.
Belonging, I believe, is a human desire. We want to be part of something that is bigger than ourselves, and we want to do it with other people. It could happen in many arenas from churches to civic groups to professional associations.
One quick side note on this . . . Belonging is not generationally exclusive. People of all ages want to belong. Different ages may choose to belong in ways that we haven’t traditionally thought of, but they all want to connect. People naturally want to connect and not be alone.
As HR professionals, what are we doing to make sure this happens for our employees and within our companies? You see, if people feel they truly belong in their role and at your organization, then you’ve tapped into something that is much more powerful than merely being engaged.
The challenge of belonging that often keeps people outside of groups is that we don’t ask people to join us. We get used to being a part of a group and enjoy it so much that we lose sight of the fact that someone once asked us to belong. We should never become so comfortable that we don’t reach out to others to have them become part of something. The moment we start forgetting that new people could add to our place of belonging, it will become stagnate and shrink quickly. In the end, people will make a decision to go somewhere else. They will find another place to belong.
This week make sure you are doing some things to make belonging a reality for yourself and others.
Belong Yourself !! – You need to quit trying to do HR on your own. It will never be effective for you. Connect with your peers. I’m asking you to join me. Seriously, if you do nothing else, reach out to me and I will make sure you’re connected !!
Ask Others !! – Don’t let people shift in the wind hoping to land somewhere that has value. Be intentional and ask others to join you where you belong. With so many social media platforms, you can get someone to belong with you easily.
Do This at Work !! – Make sure that your employees know that they belong. Don’t assume this is happening. Reach out and be intentional to evaluate where people see their sense of belonging in their position and within their department and the company as a whole.
I love belonging. I know you do too. Let’s make sure that occurs !!