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Why Belonging and Mattering Are Crucial to a Healthy Culture

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Why Belonging and Mattering Are Crucial to a Healthy Culture

As I have studied safety, belonging and mattering over the past decade, I believe that these are essential foundational elements to how people perform at work. According to Christine Comaford at The Smart Tribes Institute, “The greater the feeling of safety, both emotional and physical so we can take risks; likewise, the greater the feeling of connection with others, or the feeling that we’re in this together and we belong together; and the greater the feeling that we personally matter and make a difference and are contributing to the greater good; then the greater the success of the company, the relationship, the family, the team, the individual.” Safety, belonging and Mattering (2019) SmartTribes Institute. Available at: (Accessed: 23 June 2023).

So, why do leaders struggle to be intentional about creating a sense of belonging and mattering in their teams? Leaders are preoccupied with many things including meeting financial targets, managing operational issues, and/or pressing demands and priorities. Additionally, some leaders may lack awareness or understanding of the impact that a sense of belonging and mattering has on employee engagement and performance. They may not fully grasp the significance of creating an inclusive and supportive culture or underestimate the potential negative consequences of neglecting this aspect of leadership. Overcoming these and other challenges requires leaders to prioritize relationship building, cultivate self awareness, and commit to ongoing learning and development for themselves and their team members.

As leaders and teams intentionally focus on these essentials they see the following:

Engagement and Motivation: When individuals feel a sense of belonging and mattering, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. This, in turn, leads to higher productivity, innovation, and overall job satisfaction.

Collaboration and Teamwork: A sense of belonging encourages collaboration and teamwork. When individuals feel included and valued, they are more willing to contribute their unique perspectives, skills, and ideas. This diversity of thought enhances problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity within teams, leading to better outcomes and stronger relationships.

Psychological Safety: Belonging and mattering create an environment of psychological safety. When individuals feel safe to express themselves, take risks, and make mistakes without fear of judgment or negative consequences, they are more likely to share their authentic selves and contribute fully. Psychological safety promotes open communication, trust, and a culture of learning and growth.

Retention and Loyalty: Creating a sense of belonging and mattering reduces turnover and increases employee loyalty. When individuals feel connected and valued, they are more likely to stay with the organization and invest their time and energy into its success. This leads to higher employee retention rates, lower recruitment and training costs, and a more stable and committed workforce.

Well-being and Resilience: Belonging and mattering contribute to individual well-being and resilience. When individuals feel supported, respected, and part of a community, they experience a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness. This positive emotional state enables them to navigate challenges, bounce back from setbacks, and maintain their overall mental and emotional well-being.

Take time to really consider “Do you have a culture that fosters Safety, Belonging, and Mattering?”.

Melanie Hammack

Melanie Hammack

Melanie Hammack is a seasoned leader with a passion for maximizing individual and team potential. With a strong background in executive leadership and leading successful teams, Melanie is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations achieve their goals.

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