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A Culture of Belonging Starts with Acceptance

Work Desk

What does having a positive work experience mean to you? Competitive pay? Perks? Ample vacation time? While all these things are great, an enriching work life – one that really satisfies and engages employees – is usually about so much more than that.

For a lot of us, a great work experience includes feeling like we’re in an environment where we can truly thrive. It’s about feeling supported by our colleagues, encouraged to grow and develop, and feeling like we’re able to do our best work without constantly worrying about judgment.

In short, it’s about acceptance.

What is acceptance?

While it does have a broader and more generalized definition, the concept of acceptance holds a special meaning when it comes to the workplace.

Acceptance is a key driver of how employees feel in their roles, and can have a significant impact on job satisfaction and motivation. Its presence can easily define one’s sense of belonging, and as such, is an important ingredient to look for when trying to create an engaged workforce.

How acceptance helps organizations and employees foster a sense of belonging

When people feel like they are accepted in the workplace, they naturally feel more inclined to be themselves.

Showing up authentically allows people to build closer relationships with their colleagues and creates a more cohesive workplace. In fact, studies have shown that when employees feel like they can be their true selves at work, they are more likely to be productive and engaged in their roles.

Additionally, feeling accepted by colleagues can also lead to increased job satisfaction and retention. When employees feel valued and appreciated for who they are, they will naturally be more inclined to want to do their best work and contribute to their team’s success. Seeing the impact of your work on your organization is incredibly motivating — and an important way to foster a sense of belonging.

The challenges employees face due to a lack of acceptance

Many employees struggle to feel accepted at work. For some employees, this is because they have to do a lot of covering, or concealing parts of who they are out of fear of judgment. Examples of covering include changing the way you talk to sound more corporate; changing your hairstyle to seem more professional; or lying about your sexual orientation to fit in with a group of people.

Other employees struggle to feel accepted because they lack trusting relationships with colleagues. A lack of trust can cause a general feeling of discomfort at work and feelings of disconnection between team members.

How can employers create a more accepting workplace?

Workplaces that focus on acceptance as a core value tend to be ones where employees feel more comfortable taking risks, speaking up, and offering new ideas. They know that they will not be met with judgment or criticism, and as such, are more likely to feel confident in their abilities and worth. They also feel psychologically safe and are more likely to build lasting relationships with their colleagues based on a foundation of mutual respect and trust.

Fostering a culture of acceptance takes time and dedicated effort. There are a number of ways that employers can create a more accepting workplace, such as:

  • Encouraging employees to be authentic and honest with each other
  • Creating an environment of trust by being open and transparent with employees
  • Promoting respect for all employees, regardless of position or seniority
  • Encouraging employees to give and receive feedback in a constructive way
  • Showing appreciation for employees’ individual strengths and contributions

Creating a culture of acceptance can be challenging, but it can reap serious rewards. Vityl helps HR and People teams foster acceptance and belonging through organizational goals and light, actionable nudges. To sign up for your free trial, visit the Pricing page.

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