Something we always hope to hear from our team members. When someone feels like they belong, they're 800% less likely to leave. But, fostering a sense of belonging is easier said than done.
To build ChattyKathi.com, our founders spent over a year researching the key elements required to foster a sense of belonging. We're sharing our research with you here because we realized how important, and needed, it is in today's world.
A sense of belonging should be accessible to anyone, anywhere. Together, we can make that happen.
When Belonging is Missing
When people don't feel like they belong in their community, being happy is almost impossible. Exclusion drives depression and anxiety, which causes work to suffer. Participation dwindles and attrition rates soar.
We know that creating a sense of belonging is important to team success, so why do studies show that the majority of us feel like we don't fit in?
40% of employees feel isolated, regardless if they're remote or on-site.
Belonging leads to a 75% reduction in sick days.
63% of employees feel more isolated from their teams than before the pandemic.
Dr. Marisa G Franco
To better understand the scope of this issue, we devoured countless academic studies and publications, studied methodology in friendship psychology books, and commissioned the expertise of experts like Dr. Marisa G. Franco
Make sure your team talks to one another often. When this happens, we begin to see this team as a stable, supportive aspect of our lives and are more likely to form deeper relationships and share about ourselves.
Give everyone opportunities to be vulnerable, and ensure their vulnerability is met with support and positivity. Being vulnerable lets people see different sides of us, which is essential to a sense of belonging.
Prioritize fun - to be sustainable, teams need to have 5 positive experiences for every 1 negative experience. Promoting conversations about topics other than work school allows your community to have a deeper bond, too!
Ensure kudos are shared amongst peers and in mentor/mentee relationships. Do your best to eliminate competition from these relationships, as unhealthy competition fosters a sense of inadequacy, not belonging.
What Changes When We Belong
Once someone feels like they do belong, their relationship with that team is completely transformed.
They become happier, are less likely to leave, and are more likely to give back.
A Heightened Sense of Belonging Leads to
56% increase in job performance
50% drop in turnover risk
75% reduction in sick days
Small Changes, Big Results
Most organizations already employ policies and activities to help teams engage and drive belonging.
We've learned that a few crucial components can catalyze these programs' impact and optimize results. For example, implementing a mentorship program seems like it would be a slam dunk, but having a negative mentorship experience makes someone feel more isolated than experiencing no mentorship at all.
Many of these changes are simple, and the biggest impact can be felt by altering how questions are asked.
Forget the Superlatives
Asking people to describe their "favorite" anything puts them on the spot to 1) think of one experience that was better than the rest and 2) choose an experience that includes others in the conversation. Changing this question to ask about "one of your favorites" makes a huge impact!
It's never a good idea to ask a group "who's the best" or even "who do you think might be the best" at something. You never know who might quietly be hoping to be mentioned or how this might expose someone's insecurities. Instead, use this opportunity to celebrate someone's skill or accomplishments!
Focus on Small Groups
Asking someone to answer a question in a big group or in front of a whole organization is like asking them to answer with a microphone in their hand. To promote genuine conversation, break your organization's online conversations into small groups no larger than 10 people.
Talk About our Differences
Feeling like we belong doesn't require us to believe that everyone in our community is exactly like us. It's more important for us to feel like our unique backgrounds and personalities are appreciated. Prioritizing conversations that allow us to express our diversity is instrumental to creating belonging.
The ChattyKathi Solution
We've created a tool that helps foster a sense of belonging by highlighting what makes your team and the individuals within special.
Inclusivity & Easy Access
Messages are exchanged over SMS, Slack, and other messaging platforms you already use. This gives all different types of people the opportunity to participate in group chats.
Communicate your brand values, emphasize your unique culture, and promote event awareness with custom questions, interest libraries, and chats.
Data & Sentiment Analysis
Receive data on the engagement rates for your questions, interest libraries, chats, and members. Keep a pulse on your community without relying on surveys.