Employee Engagement: 4 Ways to Belong

Employee Engagement: Do you belong?

Belonging is a key in employee engagement. How well does your work and your organization set up the conditions for you to experience these 4 longings.

Employee Engagement Connection Symbol

1. Be long. When you break belong into two you have be-long. When we are engaged we can work for long periods of time and have those periods seem short. We take a long view of our work, our peers, our organization, and ourselves. We don’t race to get things done but we demonstrate tenacious persistence to achieve results that matter to all. Our time frame extends beyond the next text message or trying to improve every quarter even if it means sacrificing the long term.

2. To belong is to be a part of the organization. Do you experience yourself as a part of the organization or do you feel apart from the organization? Strong organizations ensure that employees not only feel and know they are part of the organization —- employees experience and engage in being a part of something greater then themselves.

One of my favorite bloggers, Chris Bailey, expressed it so well with his image of the holographic organization:

Within a holographic image, each section contains a complete image of the original object. So the real beauty of the holographic perspective is acknowledging that the organization is a vibrant collection of all the individuals within it. It recognizes that each individual is fully reflected in the whole. The organization is the individual and the individual is the organization. The interests of each individual and the organization are interconnected and interdependent.This approach offers a more human organization. ~ Chris Bailey

In addition, Peter Block in Community: The Structure of Belonging stated: to belong is to be related to and a part of something…it is the opposite of thinking that wherever I am, I would be better off somewhere else. The grass is not greener elsewhere and in engaged workplaces we can give, grow and contribute right where we are.

3. When something belongs to us we “own” it. To belong also means to be an owner. Are employees owners of their own engagement and work? This could be economic – owning shares or being a part of an open book organization. It also refers to the psychological and emotional ownership of our work.  Again from Peter Block, to belong to a community is to act as a creator and co-owner of that community. What I consider mine I will build and nurture. As the pithy expression states: nobody washes a rented car. Don’t put employees on the bus — help them to own their work and their results.

4.  Belonging also means a longing to be.  Do you long for your work or do you feel you have just been working for far too long? To belong is a longing to be. Does our work give us the opportunity to be fully who we are? Is our organization infused with authenticity and genuine connection. Employee engagement can be a powerful pathway to our deeper purpose in all that we do. When engagement functions at the highest levels employee have gone beyond making their mark to making their work be a signature expression of who they are.

Let’s ensure that employee engagement belongs to all of us!


David Zinger, M.Ed., is an employee engagement writer, educator, speaker, coach, and consultant. He offers exceptional contributions on employee engagement for leaders, managers, and employees. David founded and moderates the 2125 member Employee Engagement Network. His website offers 1000 posts/articles relating to employee engagement and strength based leadership. David is involved in the application of Enterprise 2.0 approaches to engagement and the precursor, creating engaging approaches to communication, collaboration, and community within Enterprise 2.0.

Book David for education, speaking, and coaching on engagement today for 2010.

Email: [email protected]  Phone 204 254 2130  Website: www.davidzinger.com

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