The Importance of Creating a Sense of Belonging
Having a sense of belonging is a common experience we all share. Our happiness and health are inextricably connected to the feeling that we belong to a community that may share common interests and aspirations. Some may find themselves belonging with their church or even at their workplace.
To build a sense of belonging requires constant effort and practice. A common method for developing a sense of belonging is to find ways in which you are similar to others as oppose to ways you might be different. For instance, in a workplace, a colleague may be older than you but may have greater experiences within the industry, which is worth listening to. Being an active listener contributes to the sense of belonging by first acknowledging that a colleague might have more similarities to you than expected. Not to mention, the knowledge and experience being shared from this individual might just help you further along your own career. On the contrary, consider making a difference and contributing to their lives with your youthful strength such as work life balance. Establishing a sense of belonging should reinforce a newfound relationship that all parties will be able to give and take from. The beauty of finding a sense of belonging in a workplace is having the satisfaction of being a part of a safe community. A community is a group of individuals connected to each other by one or more attributes. The primary source that links them all together is directly at the core and is the fundamentals of the group. According to Ikeda Center Organization, as human beings we need a sense of belonging that will bring people together to advocate and support each other during any challenging moments.
From the very beginning, Net at Work established a community for me by starting the First Year Associates (FYA) Program. As a recent Master’s graduate, I entered the workforce with no related work experience besides my educational background. However, I felt confident on my first day being that I was aware of this new program which was designed specifically for entry-level hires that has just graduated from college. Based on the qualifications of the FYA program, I was reassured that the remaining hires for the group would be within in my age mark. From the moment we all met, the FYAs and I shared very similar hobbies, interests, and values. Our close bond contributed to our pleasant experience during the six-month program. Throughout the rotation, we learned each other’s dominant strengths which helped us to strategically plan and complete our group projects. Furthermore, during any independent tasks we were able to leverage help from one another if we found ourselves stuck after research. In a sense, the genuine bond between the FYAs and I helped create a subdivision mentorship program. Most importantly, we built a strong community that seeks personal growth and development for each other. While each FYA brings various skillsets to the program, the beauty to it is each of us have shown tremendous growth within our personal careers.
While some people feel the human need to belong within a community, most people just want to be a part of a group because there is an indescribably pleasant feeling from it. Knowing you share more than just an office room with your colleague, such as common aspirations and hobbies, makes your work-life a better place to be.
In addition to the FYA program, I am more than pleased to be a committee member for Women at Work. Our primary goal is to shatter limitations within the workplace for men and women. Women at Work plans to promote Net at Work’s growth through the attraction, retention, and advancement of its members and other talented women in the marketplace. I will continue to encourage many of my colleagues to join as we want to cultivate a community of ambitious women and encourage women to support each other’s pursuit of excellence. Join us and belong!